Editing Terms: What You Need to Know

Are you looking to hire an editor for your writing or maybe correct a mistake you made? Or do you want to see what kinds of knowledge an editor has?

In this article, we’ll go over the editing terms you need to know. After reading this, you’ll be more familiar with editing jargon and know how to communicate with an editor.

Aspect Ratio

Aspect ratio is one of the most important editing terms that you should know when working with photos or videos. It is a mathematical expression of the ratio of width to height in an image or video frame. The most common aspect ratios used today are 4:3, 16:9, 21:9, and others.


Editing terms can be confusing when producing a video or film project. B-roll refers to any supplemental footage that is shot beyond the main scene. It is generally used for the purpose of integrating specific shots into the actual main footage.

Bit Rate (Data Rate)

Bit rate is the data rate of a compressed audio or video file. It is indicated in bits per second or bps. Higher bit rates mean better audio and video quality but also means a larger file size.

A higher bit rate will also mean a higher data rate, which is the amount of data transferred over a certain amount of time, usually measured in bits per second. A higher data transfer rate leads to a more visually appealing video and a higher-quality sound.

Close Up

A close-up is an emphasis on a specific object or person, usually framed from the chest or waist up. It is meant to draw attention to the subject, to reveal emotion or a specific detail otherwise lost in a wider shot.
Close-ups often use shallow depth of focus to help draw attention to the subject. Other important editing terms to know are cuts, match cuts, wipes, and crossfades.

Color Temperature

Color Temperature is an important terminology used in editing to understand when working with digital photography and videos. It typically refers to the overall color shade of an image, as well as how much warmth or coolness it gives off.

In photography, the color temperature of a photo is measured in Kelvin (K) and ranges from 1000-20,000K. For example, a low color temperature (1000-3000K) will give off a warm or orange-ish hue, while a higher temperature (5000-6500K) will produce a much cooler tone. Make a gif and try to experiment with the color temperature that suits the object.


Compositing is the process of combining two or more elements from separate sources into a single combined image. This is often to create a special effect.


Compression is a video editing term that refers to decreasing the overall size of a file. Compression is usually used in order to reduce the size of a video or audio file before sending it to someone.

This is especially important if the file must be sent over the internet. Other times, compression is used to reduce the file size in order to take up less storage space.

Editing terms are not only helpful to know, but they are also necessary to know in order to effectively communicate with editors and peers in the writing process. To acquire more knowledge on editing, consult a professional editor or take a writing course.

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