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How to Become a Freelance Audio Editor

Anyone who enjoys listening to music, audiobooks, and other recorded content takes crisp, clean sound for granted. Those who work behind the scenes to ensure audio is edited, refined, and delivered in its highest quality have earned the title of audio editor. If you enjoy ensuring various pieces of audio content achieve their highest quality, you might have what it takes to be a freelance audio editor on Upwork.

What does a freelance audio editor do?

Freelance audio editors can apply their skills across a number of segments of the entertainment industry, including television, film, and music. In addition, audio editors can be employed by publishing companies to edit sound for audiobooks.

More specifically, a freelance audio editor will be responsible for listening to sound content for the purposes of reviewing, editing, and refining it for post-production. Audio editors working in broadcast television coordinate and synchronize audio for sports events, manage the audio portion of newscast sound bites, and work with graphic designers to create promos. In the music industry, audio editors will work with sound engineers and producers to ensure soundtracks are properly synchronized with no background noise. In the film industry, audio editors are responsible for managing sound quality, maximizing audio levels, and synchronizing audio with video to deliver a highly refined cinematic product.

What skills do I need to become a freelance audio editor?

While freelance audio editors may offer a host of creative and technical skills, there are common capabilities anyone operating in this space should possess. Some skills require left-brain/analytical ability, while others lean more on right-brain/creative ability. Audio editors with both types of skills are more likely to be well-rounded, in-demand professionals.

Common skills a freelance audio editor should possess include:

  • Familiarity with audio editing software. Freelance audio editors should be ability to work with editing software such as Final Cut Pro or Camtasia.
  • Attention to detail. Audio editors must be able to identify and resolve the smallest inconsistencies prior to moving the audio to post-production.
  • Experience using recording equipment. Capable audio editors should have experience working with recording equipment in order to understand settings, input, and output requirements to ensure the highest quality.
  • Ability to work well in a team environment. Freelance audio editors are members of a larger multimedia or production team. As a key member of the team, audio editors need to collaborate effectively with producers, sound engineers, mixers, directors, and others to ensure a high-quality final product. Working with others requires communication skills and respect for the production process.
  • Excellent problem-solving skills. During the recording and editing process, challenges arise frequently as a result of faulty equipment, miscommunication, external interference, and more. It’s the responsibility of the audio editor, often working in collaboration with others within the production team, to identify the causes of these issues and resolve them in order to ensure high-quality final audio output.

What are the core freelance audio editor job responsibilities?

The tasks that freelance audio editors will be responsible for will differ slightly from job to job. While some audio editors will offer assistance to sound engineers, directors, producers, and other editors, others may have leadership responsibilities in a variety of areas often handled by others.

The most common responsibilities freelance sound editors have include:

  • Set up and operate sound and other recording equipment
  • Work with the director to coordinate audio recordings for scenes of a film production project
  • Test and resolve any issues related to sound recording and sound quality
  • Properly mix sound inputs and feeds for live events
  • Manage and maintain sound equipment inventory
  • Meet audio editing deadlines in preparation for post-production
  • Identify, diagnose, and resolve any problems with media systems

Should I get a degree or certification to become a freelance audio editor?

In addition to developing your skills and gaining experience from a variety of employers or projects, obtaining a degree and/or professional certification can help your Upwork profile stand out.

Examples of popular degrees or certifications audio editors should consider include:

  • An associate’s, bachelor’s, or master’s degree in computer science, acoustics, music, audio production, film, or any equivalent field of study from an accredited college or university.
  • Certificate in Audio Production Techniques—offered by University of Washington
  • Certified Audio Engineer (CEA)—offered by the Society of Broadcast Engineers

Jump-start your freelance audio editor career on Upwork and start looking for your first job. Eager to learn more about freelance audio editor jobs on Upwork? Check out these additional resources:

Upwork is not affiliated with and does not sponsor or endorse any of the tools or services discussed in this section. These tools and services are provided only as potential options, and each reader and company should take the time needed to adequately analyze and determine the tools or services that would best fit their specific needs and situation.

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