So you want to be a… video editor

Ellie Johnson has edited music videos for some of this decade’s most popular musicians, and her ad work has earned her clients in KFC, Galaxy and Land Rover. We talk to her about what makes a good editor, overcoming biases and whether university is worth it

Ellie Johnson is quietly becoming one of the UK’s most in-demand video editors. Over the last few years, she’s been enlisted to bring her instinctive flair and vision to music videos for global hit-makers like Rihanna, Calvin Harris, Ed Sheeran and Pink. On the commercial scene, since joining edit house tenthree, she has worked on projects for meaningful causes and big-name brands alike, including KFC’s visually arresting Chicken Town ad.

She talks to CR about tokenism, taking the back seat, and the importance of trying new ideas – and letting them go.

You’re not there to be the star It’s very difficult to look at a piece of work and say that it’s good because of the editing or that it’s succeeded because of the editing. Good editing is not seeing the editing. Everything that [editors] do is about reflecting the key players of the piece: it’s about showing off the DP’s work, it’s about showing off the writing, in advertising it’s about showing off the idea… Overall, it’s about showing off the director. Sustained relationships show that you can work well with people and help you build your [reputation] as someone that’s a safe pair of hands.