Cinematics Editor

  • Cinematics Editor

In video games, cinematics editors progress the story and add a film-like quality to the user experience. A cinematics editor works closely with the larger department to craft animated sequences with attention to storytelling, virtual camera placement, and the established artistic style of the game.


Duties

Under the supervision of the cinematics director and designer, and in cooperation with animators, the cinematics editor uses software applications like Final Cut Pro and After Effects to compile animated sequences in a scripted cutscene. A project typically begins with production meetings where the cinematic team reviews the script. From there, the editor is tasked with developing storyboards to map out each frame of the cutscene according to the written design documentation. He or she will cooperate with the cinematic director to achieve a look and scene flow that is consistent with the theme and style of the game. The next step may be to compile a rough animatic based on preliminary animations or character art. When the cinematic team has finalized storyboards, animators and artists will finish the final assets, and voiceovers are then recorded for dialogue. When all elements are complete, the editor and director piece together each animated frame to produce a polished scene. The editor is chiefly responsible for applying an artistic eye to camera angles and framing, with concern for telling a cohesive and engaging story through the series of images.

Skills & Education

Like an editor for film or video, the cinematics editor should be trained in visual technique and traditional storytelling, as well as the use of editing software. A college degree in film and television production is recommended, though degrees in game design or computer animation are also applicable with demonstrated editing skills. Within a game development environment, a cinematics editor should be proficient with After Effects, Photoshop, and similar applications. Likewise, experience with software like Matinee and the Unreal Engine is necessary. This person should be comfortable producing storyboards based on a script and the director’s notes, in addition to understanding the flow of the studio’s production pipeline.

What to Expect

The cinematics editor may work within a specialized cinematics team, or as a member of a larger art department. He or she is responsible for completing assigned tasks according to the established production schedule and working within the studio’s pipeline procedures. This person will have regular interactions with developers across all segments of the art department and may be called upon to assist other teams as necessary. Excellent communication skills and willingness to work in a team environment is necessary. The role of the cinematics editor typically requires at least two years of professional experience within a game development studio. Prior employment within the film and television animation industry is also valuable.

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