How Long Does It Take to Edit a Video?

Howl long does it take to edit a video?

As a video creator, it’s a question you’ll face sooner rather than later: How long does it take to edit a video? 

You might be a newcomer to the world of video production, just planning your first project. Or perhaps you’re an established YouTuber thinking about outsourcing your video editing

In any case, it’s crucial to know how much time it takes to morph hours of raw footage into a captivating, polished clip

Here’s the run-down on how fast you can have it done.

edit time vs turnaround time icon

Editing Time vs. Turnaround Time

First off, we’re going to be talking about professional video editing.

If you’re new to video editing and are learning from scratch, that’s a different matter entirely. (In case you’re wondering: you might be able to master the basics of most programs in a few days. To get to a pro editing level, though, you have to factor in at least six months of continuous editing work.)

For professional video editing, you have to distinguish between two different time frames: editing time and turnaround time

First, editing time is what the editor spends on the job itself. In a way, it’s how long they actually sit in front of their screens. This includes everything from skimming through the raw footage to rendering the final product

Second, turnaround time depends on a lot of other factors, like the availability of editors and transfer times for files. If you’re outsourcing your video editing, turnaround time starts with sending in your order form and the source material and ends with getting back the first draft of the finished video. Subsequent versions often arrive faster.

Also: Neither editing time nor turnaround time will include any revisions you may request on the basis of a first draft.

How long does it take to edit a video?

How Long Does It Take to Edit a Video?

In general, editing time depends on the quality and length of your source material, and the complexity of the edits you want. 

As a rule of thumb, expect 30 minutes to an hour of editing time per minute of finished video.

If you want to produce a vlog-style YouTube video, and send a concise amount of high-quality footage to your editor, you can expect a final result fairly quickly. Especially if you also include a clear narrative structure, and want only basic cuts.

This, by the way, will also lower the editing cost.

In contrast, if the editor needs to sift through 10 hours of raw footage, it’s going to take much more time (and money). Particularly if they also have to attempt to fix low audio and video quality. By weeding out the worst with a free video editing app, you can make your editor’s life easier.

That said, higher-quality footage doesn’t always shorten turnaround time. If you use a high-end camera, your files will be larger and take much longer to transfer and render. The high-performance file transfer services that good editing companies use help, but big files slow down everything downstream. 

The same is true for sophisticated special effects, transitions, or voice-overs. Color profiles, in particular, might look stunning in the end, but require additional color grading steps. 

Finally, editing time also depends heavily on the experience and skill of the editor. This is something to keep in mind both when you consider brushing up on your own editing skills – or looking for someone to outsource your video editing to.

editing time factors

What Does Turnaround Time for Video Editing Depend On?

When it comes to turnaround time, it depends on what kind of video editor you’re working with, and what your working agreements and conditions are. 

Most professional video editing companies will guarantee a turnaround time, at the end of which they’ll deliver a first draft. These usually range from two to seven business days for short videos.

In addition, some companies also offer express options like overnight, 24h, or 48h, though these typically come at an extra charge

Once you receive the first video draft, you can usually request a limited number of edits, or revisions. Generally, these will take another 24-48h to implement. 

If you hire someone on a subscription basis, turnaround time may depend on the subscription tier you opt for. 

Apart from that, turnaround time also depends on factors such as the time of day and day of the week you send your raw material. Also, if you give your editor a heads-up well in advance, they can schedule work time for your project. This often means a shorter turnaround once you send them the files.

The Bottom Line

All in all, how long it takes to edit a video depends on the quality and quantity of your source material, and the type of editing work you want done. Generally, you can expect an average of 30–60 minutes of editing work for each finished minute of video content. 

Turnaround times vary depending on the editor or video editing company you work with, though you can usually expect a minimum of two business days until you get a first draft for all but the simplest of edits. 

Ready to give professional video editing a shot?

A good rule of thumb is around 30 to 60 minutes, but it depends a lot on your footage, your requirements, and your editor.

For a 5-minute video, an editor might take about 3 to 5 hours on average. For this kind of video, many video editing services will have a draft ready within 48 hours. 

Realistically, after about 2-7 days. To get a short video done faster, expect to pay a hefty surcharge.

That depends on how much there is to change, but generally you can expect the same turnaround time as for the first edit, maybe a bit faster.

It’s the time between you making a video order and getting back your first draft. This usually takes a few days. Any revisions will have their own turnaround time.

About 10 to 20 hours, since a minute of video will take half an hour to an hour of editing on average. That means an editor will take several days to do it.

A five-minute clip will take about 3 to 5 hours to edit, assuming it’s a fairly standard video. As a rule of thumb, a minute takes up to an hour to finish.

Yes. Video editing is the single biggest time sink for most content creators. This is why YouTubers, marketers and other video makers often outsource it.

You can expect to learn the basics of video editing within a few days or weeks, and some advanced techniques within a few months. Professional-grade editing, however, takes years to learn.

To a point. There are plenty of courses, even online, that will teach you the basics of video editing. Since it’s more of an art than a science, you’ll learn better with plenty of feedback from teachers and peers, though.

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  • Alex Lefkowitz

    Alex Lefkowitz is the founder and CEO of Tasty Edits. He holds a BA in Entrepreneurship and is an experienced video editor, having edited hundreds of videos for dozens of creators before starting his own video editing company. Since launching Tasty Edits, he has directly managed thousands of video and thumbnail orders. Now, he draws on his experience working with professional creators to write about video editing, the creator economy, and video marketing. You can also read his work on Hackernoon and Medium. Plus, he's contributed several expert opinions in interviews and articles as a guest on platforms like Jotform.

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