How 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.
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, this is the time between sending the source material and getting back the first draft of the finished video.
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?
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 for each 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, and add sophisticated special effects, transitions, or voice-overs.
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 same is true for color profiles that might look stunning in the end, but require additional color grading steps.
Finally, editing time also depends 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.
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.
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.
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.