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Career path to becoming an online editor?

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Patrick Ranger
Career path to becoming an online editor?
on Mar 8, 2012 at 11:17:35 am

I am enthusiastic to becoming an online editor. I appreciate that there are different paths to getting there. please could you take the time to tell me your career journey on how you reached this position? any advice would be greatly appreciated



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Neil Patience
Re: Career path to becoming an online editor?
on Mar 8, 2012 at 12:54:59 pm

I have been online editing for many years now. As an online editor the primary task is essentially finishing a programme to broadcast standards or to a finished standard. So it is important to know how to conform to whatever spec is requested.
It often involves creating effects, colour correction, captioning, and understanding tape and file delivery formats.
So an understanding of how to conform from offline to online formats is needed but increasingly edits are completed in HD from the beginning. As systems and storage become increasingly cheaper this will only continue.

Sometimes you will finish audio but usually on broadcast shows this is done in a sound dub so in some cases audio is pretty much bypassed in the online stage although you may need to send audio files to a dub.
I think its important to learn about the television waveform, how to spot issues and problems specific to broadcast, levels, blanking errors etc etc. and how to use measuring equipment, scopes PPMs etc

In most broadcast environments that I work Avid is by far the dominant system. Often used with Unity shared storage and Interplay so it would be good to see if you can get some experience in that direction.

So in terms of career path, check out what NLE's are used in the kind of places you want to work. Almost certainly Avid but likely to be a combination of others depending on where you are.
Learn about tv waveforms and how to conform to them.
Go to any relevant broadcasters website and download a programme delivery tech spec - this will give you a good idea of the kind of requirements you may be asked for.

Good Luck in your career.

best wishes

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Patrick Ranger
Re: Career path to becoming an online editor?
on Mar 12, 2012 at 11:53:16 am

thank you for your advice and comments

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Jerry Hofmann
Re: Career path to becoming an online editor?
on Mar 8, 2012 at 1:00:27 pm

Any more, we're all mostly "online" editors. Mostly gone are the days where an edit is "offlined" then "onlined" by a specialist. Maybe my definition of this is different from your's, but pretty much I'd guess that well over 90% of the work is finished or "onlined" by the same editor.

That said, to become a working professional, what you need to do is edit, then edit some more.

I say to my students always that what makes a career isn't talent. I believe that talent is cheap. There's lots of that around. Rather, it's perseverance, and a strong positive can-do attitude that makes careers. Talent keeps you there, but it doesn't usually get you there.

Study the craft by finding a job in a facility is a good way to start. Take any job they'll give you and work your way up.

Another way is to simply start your own company. That's how I started any way. If you have the ability to sell, you can get going that way. In fact, if you have the ability to sell production, then in effect, you hire yourself to edit. That's what I did. I produced, directed and edited. Of course this means smaller jobs to begin with, but it does mean that you have a lot of control over your own destiny. Further, if you over deliver on projects you've landed, your business will grow. This industry is based on repeat and referral business, which is why it's not really clear how to get started. You can't get repeat and referrals if you're just starting out. Persevere my friend... it's those first jobs that are the hardest to get I think.

I think the majority of the industry is sort of down sizing. More people in it for sure, but smaller groups of people are working together. Case in point: Alpha Dogs is a popular posting facility in LA. There a group of editors joined together to create a shared facility full of high end gear. They all work together and their collective "repeat and referrals" keep them all busy. It's an employee owned company. This is what's happening all over the country these days. So starting your own company isn't out of the ordinary don't think.

Another direction to take is to freelance. Build a strong demo reel of what you can do, and make time-honored rounds to facilities and entities who might hire you to edit their projects. Figure for every 15-20 calls you make, you can land one interview. But after a couple of years of this, your "repeat and referral" freelance life perks right up, if your can-do attitude is present and you have the talent you likely have already or you wouldn't even be interested in the career... right?

My 2 Cents.


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Ricky Barrow
Re: Career path to becoming an online editor?
on Mar 9, 2012 at 5:46:16 pm

Knowledge and experience, perseverence and patience - all as others here have stated .... and I just can't resist this ... "It's not too late to become a doctor or lawyer!"


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