When you’re looking for a video editor online, Upwork is one of the first places you’ll come across.
No matter what Google search you launch related to hiring a video editor, you’ll end up on Upwork. It’s a bit like roads and Rome that way.
But is Upwork the best place for hiring a video editor? What does it involve? How expensive is it? And how fast can you get your video edited?
We’ve gone through the process for you and hired one of the highest-rated video editors on Upwork. Here’s our in-depth review on what the experience was like, and whether that route is worth it.
It was a wild downhill spiral – so buckle up!
Want to skip straight to the video edit we got, and compare it to our own version? Click here!
The Scenario: Vlog Editor Needed
For the purpose of our review, let’s pretend you’re a content creator on YouTube.
You’ve just gone on a road trip with a friend, hiking to a beautiful lake. Now you want to share that experience with your channel audience – and you need a professional video editor to spin the raw footage into solid video gold.
You’ve also already uploaded all your footage into your Google Drive, along with some basic editing instructions. You want a fast-paced, silly clip full of funny pop-ups, text in swooping fonts, and happy, upbeat music. Overall, the final video should run to about 6–7 minutes.
In addition, you’ve included your channel assets – logo, intro, outro – and a past video so that the editor will be able to gauge your style.
You want to post your video in about a week, so the turnaround time should be as fast as possible while still producing a high-quality edit.
With that, let’s venture onto Upwork and try to find the best person for that job!
Signing Up for Upwork
Upwork is one of the biggest hubs for freelancers in the world. No matter if you’re looking for a copywriter, a video editor, or a web designer, you’ll find someone with the right skills offering their services.
This includes video editors.
Apart from the huge service offer, one of the reasons Upwork is so popular is its rating and review system. It allows you to easily filter out the most reliable and highly-skilled people for your job. (At least in theory, as we’ll see below!)
Signing up for Upwork is straightforward.
Once you go to their signup page, you have to select whether you’re a client looking for freelancers or a freelancer looking for work.
Select the former, and you’ll be asked to enter your name, email address, password, and location.
After you’ve verified your email address and entered your payment details, you’re ready to start hiring.
So, for our review, we set up an Upwork Client account and started looking.
Finding the Best Video Editor on Upwork
But how do you choose who to hire? How to find the best video editor on Upwork?
This is where Upwork’s rating and filtering tools come in handy.
To find the best video editor on Upwork, we went to the video editing category and filtered our candidates using three criteria:
- Availability: We want an editor who can get started right away.
- Star ratings: We want someone whose clients have been satisfied in the past.
- Completed projects: We want an editor with experience. Someone who’s a seasoned pro on Upwork.
With these criteria, we soon pinpointed our top contender. They’ve got a 4.9 star rating. Dozens of successfully completed contracts. Top-rated by Upwork itself. Sweet!
Plus, this candidate offered multiple service tiers when it comes to video editing.
We decided to go with the Advanced Package at $100.
Not only does that cover the right raw footage length and final video runtime, it also includes unlimited revisions, color grading, sound design, and motion graphics.
Hiring this freelancer was extremely straightforward.
All we had to do was select our video editing package, click “Continue” and then provide editing instructions. Since we’d already compiled everything in a Google Drive folder, we simply linked it here and placed our order.
A little later, we got a confirmation message from our editor.
Amazing! So we were all set to get the first draft of our edited video in five days’ time or less.
While they’re working on the edit, we have time to come up with our next great video idea.
Communication Difficulties and Delays
Five days passed with no word from our editor. At first, we thought that was a good sign. Our instructions were apparently clear, and we were pretty sure they were in front of their screen, cutting, color-grading and rearranging our clips into an awesome final video.
On day four without a word, we got a little antsy.
On day five, we were disappointed. Due to the time zone difference, we knew we should have heard something from our editor by early evening.
On day six, a message. Finally.
And it was a request for more time.
No context. No explanation. No exact delivery date.
We reached out. Asked exactly how much longer they’re going to take.
Instead of an answer, we got questions. About our source footage. And about the instructions, which should have been clear.
Which made it pretty evident that our editor hadn’t so much as looked at the source files so far.
We were irritated. But everyone makes mistakes. Things come up. Freelancers especially don’t have the luxury of relying on colleagues when life gets in the way of their work.
So we replied and decided to wait.
Another five days later. Three days past our intended publish date for our video, and we still hadn’t seen a first draft. Or heard from our editor again.
We messaged them. They replied, promising a first draft before the day was out.
They didn’t deliver.
At last, another day later, we finally got a Google Drive link with a first version of the video. A week past the original deadline.
We hoped that the edit was at least worth the wait, and that we wouldn’t have to request too many revisions.
The First Draft: Video Review
Again, on both counts, we were disappointed.
Here’s this first draft of the video:
Here’s what we got.
Overall, the edit is mediocre. The video is way too long – at 12 minutes, it’s almost double the requested run-time. And the edits are far too simplistic.
For one, there are no VFX, animations, overlays, or text pop-ups. We’d specifically asked for all this, and the video editing package the editor offered did include it.
For another, even the basic work wasn’t up to snuff.
Far from being funny, upbeat, and fast-paced as we requested, the clip drags on. Long shots of the creator talking and nothing else happening. False starts and weird hand movements that weren’t edited out.
The intro sequence is a yawn. It fails to capture audience attention, and nine YouTube viewers out of ten will immediately click away. Long before they make it to the half-hearted montage, which only starts at the one-minute mark.
Plus, the colors and sounds are off. Audio volume varies wildly, with ill-fitting background music sometimes flaring up so loudly that you can’t understand the conversation that’s happening. In several places, the color grading looks greenish or overexposed.
Even the one “advanced” effect that our editor decided to include is badly executed.
At 7:25, the video transitions to slow-motion – and ends up looking laggy, choppy, and generally unpleasant to watch. The issue: Our footage was shot at 30 fps, meaning you can’t just slow it down by much without losing fluid motion. There are ways to compensate for this, but our editor evidently didn’t use any.
The bottom line: After waiting for eleven days and facing delays without explanations or proper apologies, we had a thoroughly uninspired first draft.
Prepping for revision
We pulled ourselves together. Reminded ourselves that it was only a first draft.
A first draft is meant to exist, not to be perfect.
So we took our time, compiled detailed notes, and sent our editor extensive feedback.
With that, they should have been able to polish their work.
After all, our video editing package included unlimited revisions. And we’d get the content there eventually.
No Revisions and a Rude Termination
The response to our in-depth note on improvements for the first revision came a full two days after we sent it.
It was curt, minimalistic. Rude.
Sorry, can’t do any better.
No explanation. No real apology.
Think we exaggerate? No.
Far from sticking to the terms they accepted – unlimited revisions! – our editor terminated the contract.
Since it was they who failed to fulfill their obligations, we got a refund on the fee we paid.
Still, sixteen days after we hired the best freelancer on Upwork, eleven days past the official deadline for the project, we were left with nothing but disappointment.
Well, and a shoddy video edit, which we couldn’t upload to YouTube without embarrassing ourselves.
The Bottom Line: A Waste of Time and Effort
The bottom line of our experiment hiring a video editor on Upwork is this.
It was an absolute waste of time and effort. And a source of endless frustration.
The delays. The rude, typo-filled messages. The absolute lack of context or apology for failure to stick to the terms of the contract!
In the time we spent putting together the editing brief and reviewing the first draft, we could easily have cobbled together a better video ourselves.
To be absolutely fair and objective, we know that this editing experience on Upwork is not universal. Obviously, our editor had satisfied clients in the past, or their ratings wouldn’t have been as high.
However, our experience also illustrates the fundamental unreliability of freelancers on Upwork. They are single individuals, doing their best (we assume) to meet their obligations. If something comes up, though, their clients are left taking the hits.
We don’t believe our editor left us hanging just for the hell of it. Maybe something came up in their personal life. Or they were sick. Or simply overwhelmed with work. That happens.
Still, we were the ones left with unmet deadlines and half-edited footage.
That’s a danger you always run with Upwork.
So what’s the alternative when you’re trying to find a video editor?
The Alternative: Video Editing Services
Instead of opting for a freelancer, you could take your business to a dedicated video editing service.
The advantage of video editing companies is that they have multiple professional editors on staff. As well as internal quality control.
That means if one editor can’t complete their work – or can’t complete it to the standard that you hold them to – one of their colleagues has their back. And yours.
Unlike freelancers, you can expect video editing services to deliver consistent, high-quality work. On time.
Bonus: Our Video vs. Their Video
This review is part of a full Tasty Edits vs. Upwork comparison. For this, we gave our editors the exact same brief.
Check out the version of the same video edited by our team here at Tasty Edits.
Our shorter, snappier edit.
The freelancer’s dragging draft.
Hiring a video editor on Upwork can be hit-and-miss. While you could find a great freelancer, you can also just as easily end up with someone unreliable, who is unable to complete their contract on time. We hired one of the top-rated video editors on Upwork and were still disappointed.
You can check out star-ratings, reviews, and the portfolios of your candidates to get an idea of their skills and reliability. Heads-up, though: Even the best-rated individuals can disappoint.
To hire a video editor, you first need to clarify your own needs. Do you need someone for a one-off project or a long-term engagement? How complex are the edits you need? How fast do you need them done? Once you’ve determined these criteria, look up video editing companies or freelancers on sites like Upwork and Fiverr and compare their rates and the quality of their work.
It can be. If you hit the jackpot and find someone who fits your budget, is available, and reliably delivers high-quality work. However, don’t forget that you’re dealing with individual people. The quality of their work can easily vary, especially if they are stressed or something comes up in their personal life.