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Current state of the Video Editing industry

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Hunter Hempen
Current state of the Video Editing industry
on Aug 21, 2010 at 3:49:09 pm

I'm sure you guys are hearing this inquiry at an increasing rate, however, I'm just looking for some simple advice.

Essentially, I'm wondering if any of the experts here could inform me as to how the video editing industry is doing at the moment? I've been asking around my college and several professors say the industry is dead and dying, whilst others say jobs are to be found and that there is a "demand". I checked out a different editor forum on the web and found quite a few college grads wandering about unemployed, or even complaining about low salaries, scarce hiring, etc. I know the economy is especially bad, but has the recession affected the industry? Or has it been teetering on the edge for quite some time?

Editing is one of the few things I enjoy in this world, but more and more I'm seeing that what you love might not necessarily work out career wise in times like these. My After Effects professor recommended taking video/film as a more minor course of study, and to major in something like web design, therefore casting a double-edged sword of, "Not only can I build you a website, but I can shoot/edit brilliant video as well." I see where he's coming from, but is this indeed true in today's world? Web designer/Videographer/Editor???

Most of my friends in this field are unconcerned as to "how" you get a job, and more or less say that after graduation they will simply "work" at an internship or news channel; this bothers me - doesn't sound like a very solid blue-print for a career.

Thanks for your input,
Hunter Hempen


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David Johnson
Re: Current state of the Video Editing industry
on Aug 21, 2010 at 5:41:16 pm

Hunter,

I happened to be having a conversation in a different forum that relates to the issues you're wisely considering early in your career. It's with another person who has been in the business a long time (Alex Udell) and he suggested we continue in a different thread since our conversation started in an old thread and is also off-topic for the forum it started in, but directly relates to your questions. So, in order to continue our conversation, but also because I think seeing it may help you understand better what your professors mean with "the industry is dead and dying", I'm going to copy over our last few posts before I reply to you more directly.

By the way, as you'll see when I do reply directly, I somewhat agree that "the industry is dead and dying". However, I also believe there will always be room for talented, driven people so I'm not mentioning that I somewhat agree with that sentiment to discourage you ... only because I think it's important to consider all angles when making an important decision.


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David Johnson
Re: Current state of the Video Editing industry
on Aug 21, 2010 at 5:47:42 pm

David Johnson
Note that I've only copied over the parts of these previous posts that seem most relevant to the topic at hand.

Re: Lightworks
by Alex Udell on Jul 1, 2010 at 9:40:10 am

Sorry for the tangent....

One of the side effects of having no barrier of entry (at least by way of cost) is that suddenly, everyone is an editor. (just like everyone was a desktop publisher). Although it's not true, the appearance of cheaper tools and presets, gives the impression that the craft is somehow less valuable. Last year's hot design effect, is this year's preset or plug-in. The waves and havoc it creates for those that use the craft not for the craft alone, but as a survival mechanism is painful. The reduction cycles are so condensed now. There is no "normal," no "plateau," just a slope down. It really does feel like a race to the bottom.

Visually, I feel like I'm doing some of my best work ever now. I've matured in knowledge, experience, speed, and creative capacity, yet in terms of compensation, I'm making not much more than I made when I left college almost 20 years ago and have fewer benefits. I'm no slacker either, I'm not waiting for anyone to do anything for me, I get out there and make things happen for myself.

I suppose the saving grace is that the number of outlets for content has also grown exponentially. So I suppose the game is about about quantity now. To try to be as efficient and do as much, as quickly as possible. Oh and as an aside, if you can....making the content good would be a plus.

You want fries with that?


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David Johnson
Re: Current state of the Video Editing industry
on Aug 21, 2010 at 5:49:12 pm

off-topic
by David Johnson on Aug 17, 2010 at 8:32:01 pm

Alex,

I just stumbled upon this string long after it occurred, but after reading through it, still felt compelled to tell you two things ...

Edit* was the first NLE I really worked on (after brief Avid stints) and I still consider it the best. As someone else mentioned, to this day, it's sometimes a struggle to get FCP to do things edit* did easily (or Speed Razor for that matter). By the way, for all I know/recall, it may even have been you who gave me and a couple others our introductory crash course on edit* at TV16 in Tampa.

That said, the main thing I wanted to mention is actually how much your "tangent" struck a chord. In my opinion, it really indicates keen observation of the state of our industry, rather than just a tangent. I often think to myself literally everything you said ... in almost the exact same terms. From the effects of "making not much more than I made when I left college almost 20 years ago" on "those that use the craft ... as a survival mechanism" due to being forced to "do as much, as quickly as possible" while only "as an aside, if you can....making the content good would be a plus" ... all the way through to the primary cause being the elimination of all "barrier[s] of entry". Even the "You want fries with that?" is a phrase I use regularly to amuse myself and retain some semblance of sanity in dealing with the cumulative effects of those issues.

It bothers me that I so often think the way I do about the craft I was once so passionate about, but it's also refreshing to hear others express similar thoughts. In other words, thanks so much for sharing your "tangent". Cheers!


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David Johnson
Re: Current state of the Video Editing industry
on Aug 21, 2010 at 5:50:22 pm

Re: off-topic
by Alex Udell on Aug 18, 2010 at 9:45:30 am

David...

Nice to know that there are some out there that share my thoughts on the industry. I think in the current climate there are a lot of people who think it....but may not be willing to discuss it openly, at least not right now.

Gosh....I did give a lot of edit* training, and I do live in FL. So it might have been me.

Funny, a couple of years ago, I helped out a legacy client/friend get his edit* system running after a drive failure. Muscle memory being what it is, I mused at how fast I was able to sit down at the box and edit without even having to think about it.

Hands down....a feature I miss so much is to simply be able to select the source viewer empty and just type a timecode. Edit* would just load the fist clip that matched that timecode into the viewer and park you on the frame. If there was more than one match you could quickly cycle through them all, until you were on the right clip.

Of course this was the tape era...so in productions consisting of multiple tape shoots, good videographers would increment the hour number on the reel, making it easy to identify the right clip.

Things get a little more cumbersome in the file based world we are in. I find we seem to collect a lot of automated metadata....but people seem to have less time to do it in a disciplined setup to make it useful for post....plus the fact that the whole post process from offline to finish is lumped into one blurry continuous cycle now. Maybe ipads and iphones wirelessly connected to our cameras will make this more convenient to set up and track in while in production.....one can only hope, eh?

Well.....waaaaaaayyyyy off topic here so...why don't we continue this chat in in a fresh thread. :)


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David Johnson
Re: Current state of the Video Editing industry
on Aug 21, 2010 at 5:51:02 pm

Re: off-topic
by David Johnson on Aug 21, 2010 at 1:24:54 pm

[Alex Udell] "waaaaaaayyyyy off topic here so...why don't we continue this chat in in a fresh thread"

Agreed. In fact, I hope you don't mind that I took quite a liberty to accomplish that as well as something else at the same time ...

A few young guys starting out in the business have posed questions in the Business & Marketing forum that relate to our "tangents" and they've lead to what I think are some interesting ongoing discussions. It seems it would be helpful for them to see a related conversation between two people who've been in the business a while so I took the liberty of copying over your last two post so we could continue there and also see what others are thinking on the subject.

I really hope you don't mind that i didn't ask first ... I've been spending way too much time in the forums lately so it seemed combining two related conversations couldn't hurt.

By the way, I must say that being able to "edit without even having to think about it" is something I miss very much. I know this is slightly different context than you were referring to but, in today's production world of a zillion formats, codecs, software options, hardware options, etc., etc., I find myself (and see others) so overwhelmed by the mechanics that there's no time left to focus on the craft ... seems to defeat the whole purpose of getting in the business in the first place.


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Mike Cohen
Re: Current state of the Video Editing industry
on Aug 21, 2010 at 6:07:32 pm

Hunter
Your professor is, in fact, a professor, not a working editor (or is he/she?).
In other words, does this person actually work in the industry?
And the "industry" is a vague term - there are countless jobs that involve video/multimedia production. Is it the same industry as 20 years ago? No. But such is the case with many industries.
Look at the two most recent threads in this forum and you will find some clues - it is the person looking for a job more than the industry at large that is important. Be prepared to start at the bottom.
Thinking back to college, professors operated in a box - teach the subject - no one ever talked about what happens next.
But we didn't have the internet - you do - and you are smart enough to recognize that your professor does not have all the answers. We can help with that.
Mike Cohen


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Hunter Hempen
Re: Current state of the Video Editing industry
on Aug 21, 2010 at 6:58:54 pm

Mike,

My professor currently teaches After Effects classes, and has (I think) 20+ years experience in directing, writing, editing,and producing pieces for not only the university, but previously for news stations as well. I can't say that he ever worked for a major network, but he is still currently active in the university's Video Services department, pumping out video after video for the various colleges within the campus, doing a good portion of the editing himself.

Obviously the industry has changed, which leads me to mention that the few employees under his wing working for him, seem more or less concerned about meeting deadlines, etc. It seems that this younger generation is much more lax than my professor. In addition, they appear very comfortable with the digital editing chaos which drives him crazy. :)

So in turn, I am told by other, perhaps younger (no offense), professors that there IS a "demand" out there...is my generation simply more optimistic, or blind to reality?


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David Johnson
Re: Current state of the Video Editing industry
on Aug 21, 2010 at 6:51:02 pm

Hunter,

First, I must say that only after seeing all those posts with my name did I realize that I should've thought through more the idea of copying over all those posts and started a new thread instead of taking over yours ... my sincere apologies.

In any case, as you'll probably gather if you decide to look through those posts, a recurring theme of the conversation between Alex and I is that the business we're in today is very different in many ways from the one we got into ... that's what I wanted you to see.

Part of what I mean by that is, in regards to "how the video editing industry is doing at the moment?", my opinion is that, although there are always exceptions, overall, it isn't doing very well at all. You may notice the references to painfully low salaries, etc.

At the same time, considering the U.S. economy's direction in recent years, some may argue that the "at the moment" is the most important part of your question ... in other words, that things will turn around significantly when the rest of the economy does. Although that's a valid argument, I'm not sure I buy it and here's why ...

If you read through some of those posts and other recent threads, you'll see various people who've been in the business for some time refer to things like the current "ease of entry" and the elimination of "barriers of entry". What those generally refer to is the main drawback to otherwise very beneficial technology advances. What I mean is, for example, when I first got into the business, professional-level video required a $100k camera and several $100k tape decks ... there were no cheap alternatives. Now, anyone can make video with a $2k camera and a $2k computer and there's nothing stopping anyone from calling anything "professional-level". Are the results the same when the tools are in the hands of hobbyists and amateurs? Of course not, but the problem is that the people contracting the work often don't know or care about the differences or consider them worth paying for. All too often, the standard has become "good enough", rather than good. So, the value of both the work itself and the people who do it has dropped dramatically and, to me, it's hard to believe that will change.

I'm sure others will chime in with arguments like it's not about the tools, but the craft and the skills of the people doing it, which I couldn't agree more with. The only problem with that argument is that it's only ever made, understood and accepted by the people who do the work, not the people who pay for it. In other words, it's increasingly common for client types to have the perspective that they can buy a $500 camera at WalMart and make 100 videos for a fraction of what they use to pay for one ... and they do exactly that with increasing frequency as technology improves and the prices of "good enough" technology go down.

Those are the kinds of things your professors mean when they say "the industry is dead and dying". However, as I said before, I still believe there will always be room for talented, driven people so I'm not mentioning that I somewhat agree with that sentiment to discourage you ... only because I think it's important to consider all angles when making an important decision.

My opinion is that your professor who suggests making your skill set as wide and deep as possible is exactly right ... being just a top-notch editor doesn't cut it anymore (forgive the pun ;~). For example, when I got into the business, it was much more common for producer, director, shooter, editor, mograph designer, grader, etc., etc. to be separate jobs done by different people and that was true at every level of the industry ... now, only at the highest ends of the business does that structure still exist and, even there, you rarely find people who don't wear at least several of those hats.

I hope you find my input helpful and I wish you all the best.


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Hunter Hempen
Re: Current state of the Video Editing industry
on Aug 21, 2010 at 7:04:19 pm

Thanks Dave,

That efficiently sums up my worries and concerns into one, simple explanation to myself.

Now to find out what to do with my life.


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Alex Udell
Re: Current state of the Video Editing industry
on Aug 21, 2010 at 8:14:38 pm

Hunter....

Don't get down. At the time I started, the role of editor, was one of many in the world of post production.

You had offline editor/online editors.
You had people that worked in graphics.
You had people that specialized in audio.
You had producers/directors as an independent roles.
and more....

The accessibility, and afford-ability of the technology has both allowed and necessitated that many of these roles merge and evolve.

You can do so much more now with so much less. It is truly amazing.
The evolution of digital also changed things a lot. Artistry and craft aside....the cost to maintain a high quality image from acquisition through final master used to have an astronomical price tag attached. Since the equipment cost more, the rates a post house had to charge to finance the equipment were a lot higher. In all there was a lot more money sloshing around in post...and a larger portion of that went to compensate the talent that was running the gear.

Now it's all done on the computers we run on our desktop, with greater speed, efficiency, and capability than ever before...at resolutions that none of ever imagined working at...now completely common place.

So the there are markets for the dedicated "craft of editing." My guess is the feature film track. Today however, most of us are really digital content creators....doing lots of the jobs each of which used to pay a lot more....for the same or less than we used to make doing any one of them. Is it fun?..sure....is it creative....absolutely....I'm still very happy every time I get the green light on an ad that I've edited....and amazed that I was able to complete in just a few hours what I would have spent at least a day on in the past...

But I've watched my salary go up....and I've watched it go down....and my output quality is as good as it's ever been...so that's the frustrating part for me....

However, I will say that we live in an age where there will be more channels for content than ever before....so in the long run....as long as I can be creative and efficient and boost the quantity of output...maybe that will make up the difference...


Alex


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David Johnson
Re: Current state of the Video Editing industry
on Aug 22, 2010 at 3:21:39 am

By the way, Alex, I sincerely apologize if you feel that I misinterpreted your comments or took them out of context ... just seems the conversation is relevant to the questions posed here.


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David Johnson
Re: Current state of the Video Editing industry
on Aug 22, 2010 at 1:58:04 am

You're quite welcome, Hunter, and I'm very glad that you found my input helpful. And, it's not a one-way street ... being younger doesn't mean I and others don't also learn from your perspectives.

Hunter Hempen "So in turn, I am told by other, perhaps younger (no offense), professors that there IS a "demand" out there...is my generation simply more optimistic, or blind to reality?"

Maybe neither ... you generation just lives in a somewhat different world than people of significantly different generations so your perspective and reality are somewhat different too. Perhaps when two perspectives seem opposites on the surface, one doesn't necessarily have to be "right" and the other "wrong" ... seems to me both your professors have very valid points.

Hunter Hempen "Now to find out what to do with my life."
Obviously, only you can answer that so perhaps find the balance of the two perspectives that works for you ... maybe you're a person who will only be happy doing something where you're practically guaranteed a particular minimum income level or maybe you're a person who will be equally happy doing something you enjoy even if you might have to struggle to make a living ... again, only you can figure that out.

It's unfortunate that some interpreted my comments as "doom and gloom", but more importantly, I hope you didn't get that impression. Risks of discussing complex subjects in writing rather than verbally are easy and frequent misunderstandings. So, in case this wasn't evident from any one phrase out of a larger point, I love what I do, as do most people I know in the production world. At the same time, I would consider it irresponsible of me to convince someone just entering the field that the number and quality of opportunities in the industry at large seems to be on a trend of increase. It's important to consider both the pros and cons when evaluating anything and the cons are typically less obvious and, thus, at least equally important to discuss/consider.

It also seems to me that the whole point of your question was to gather various viewpoints to consider ... I agree that's a good approach. Again, my belief is that neither of your two professors is necessarily wrong. Are there good opportunities out there? Absolutely ... I've found some so I know with certainty that there are. Are the quality and amount of them increasing or decreasing? Personally, I'd have a hard time arguing that either the quality or amount is increasing relative to the decades over which I've observed the trends. I just haven't seen much of that happening, but then again, just because I haven't witnessed it doesn't mean it couldn't possibly be happening somewhere or to some degree.

All in all, I'd recommend against letting any one thing I or any other single person says sway you ... perhaps consider that, for example, when one publishes research, there's good reason why citing more than one source is typically a requirement. Best of luck!


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John Davidson
Re: Current state of the Video Editing industry
on Aug 21, 2010 at 10:57:13 pm

I for one think the industry is fantastic right now. Our income is better than ever, we're winning awards, our clients are happier than ever with our work, and the future is very bright. It is not all gloom and doom. The storyteller has more and better options than he's ever had before. Embrace that!

If you're starting out, it might be smart to find a job outside of the larger markets that lets you experiment in lots of various realms within the industry (Nashville, Atlanta, Denver). Shooting, graphics, editing, etc - the roles are merging and the more you know the better off you'll be. Build up an aesthetic sense - find the people who really know their stuff (they'll usually be the quiet ones that aren't talking about how great they are), and learn from them. Experiment. Have fun.

Even in a bad economy, cream still rises to the top. Nobody ever makes good money starting out, so plan on having roomates, a crappy car, and near squalor living conditions for a few years. You'll look back on those days with fondness. Top Ramen tastes good when flavored with hope and dreams.


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Bill Davis
Re: Current state of the Video Editing industry
on Aug 22, 2010 at 10:38:13 am

Personally, the best analogy I can think of right now is that for many, many years, the world of production was a huge city where the only source of water was special wells. Some of those wells were crafted carefully, dug deep, and located with care so that they corresponded with traditional deep sources of water.

Technology started making it easier to dig wells. So easy in fact that everyone and their brother started digging them. But the VAST majority of the people drilling the new wells were new to the water business and most of their wells are shallow, and most of them are positioned poorly.

Right now, folks are selling water on every street corner. So many vendors that it's barely possible to charge enough to make a profit in the water business. But running a water business is still surprisingly hard work. And not a lot of people will likely stick with it and make it their careers in the long haul.

So those of us who've learned to position our wells carefully - and who understand how to operate a sustainable business long ago learned not to try to FORCE the market to do what we want, but rather to keep flexible and watch and be ready when things dry up a bit. Yes, there are still relatively large contracts being let for water. Yes, prices are down. Yes, there's a GLUT of cheap water sellers everywhere. But those conditions change.

If you love the water business - you'll find a way to be around when the folding tables and cheap street merchants get tired of playing and look for an easier way to make a buck.

Cuz the water business is not really all the easy.

My 2 cents anyway.



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walter biscardi
Re: Current state of the Video Editing industry
on Aug 22, 2010 at 1:07:59 pm

[Hunter Hempen] "several professors say the industry is dead and dying,"

The old model of specialized individuals for every single aspect of post production is gone. The old model of people very overpaid for very little actual work is gone.

The craft of video editing is probably more alive than ever before thanks to iMovie, Final Cut Pro and Premiere making the tools so affordable for everyone. Anyone can edit video today, it's not just in the realm of million dollar edit suites.

THE most important thing in the industry today is talent. In the case of my company, that talent is storytelling. What I see coming out of colleges today are a lot of very slick demo reels that are so overproduced and feature so many motion graphics I have no idea what was the original project and what is the demo reel. It's not that hard to put together 1000 edits in a 3 minute demo reel set to music. It's really difficult to show me 3 minutes of a good story.

I have a three part series here on the Cow about starting and growing your own business along with another article about "thinking big." Essentially I started out at CNN back in 1990, went to another company in '95, started my own Post company in '98 with a partner and then started my current company in 2001. Everything I did up to 2001 was a learning experience to prepare me to start my own company and even there I was completely unprepared for the path this has taken me.

In 2001 I was just planning to be a freelance editor working either at my home or at a client's facility. Too many people enjoyed coming to my house because we're set in a quiet area out in the woods. So I ended up moving into an office nearby so folks didn't have to come into our house any longer. Then one client propelled us to a new level by bringing us into the national broadcast arena. From that we've grown to 4 edit suites and currently have a new 6000 square foot facility under construction that will house 8 edit suites and a 5.1 surround sound mix room / color enhancement suite.

The big part of this expansion is I am not going to follow the "old model" and jack up prices to obscene levels just because we have a big building. We're being extremely frugal with this place, taking advantage of the down market (the land was a foreclosed property) and simply giving us and the clients more room. Our rates will remain exactly the same and I'm not going to go out and hire a bunch of staff hoping that "if I build it they will come." We will do some smart hires and then bring in some very talented people in the Atlanta area as needed for projects. In addition, we'll have the facility available for local editors who need a place to digitize, master, meet with clients, etc... who would need to use a "big facility" from time to time.

In addition I'm developing four of my own original television series. Why? Well because of the "current state of the economy" I'm taking more control of my own destiny. Yes we're still building our clientele roster, but by developing our own programming, and partnering with others in the area doing the same, it allows us to have some control over what we do and some security to know that we're funded for X years.

So the point I'm making in this rambling note is that the "video editing industry" is not dead. It has simply evolved into something that does and does not resemble what it once was. But then nothing about television or film production really resembles what it once was. If you don't keep up and evolve with it, you'll be left behind.

I honestly think you're coming out in the best and worst of times right now. It's great because you have the tools, it's the worst because everybody else does too, even those who didn't go to school for video production.

Look for a small production company or an in-house corporate production company where you will wear multiple hats. These are always great places to start out because you learn a little bit of everything and knowing about everything makes you more valuable as you move forward with your career.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

"Foul Water, Fiery Serpent" featuring Sigourney Weaver coming soon.

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Bob Zelin
Re: Current state of the Video Editing industry
on Aug 22, 2010 at 4:59:51 pm

Has the business model changed - you bet is has. Is there a future for someone young to become an AVID editor at a post house - probably not. Today, you have to do everything. And more importantly, you have to learn what others do not know. What your professor does not know - this is what you have to know. This is how you stay ahead.

I have told this story before - back in the stone age (early days of AVID editing), I told a young David Kuther (leading editor/graphics guy in NY) that if could learn how to import Photoshop graphics into an AVID, everyone would hire him (seems like a joke today, doesn't it) - well, he did exactly that (because no one knew how to do it), and he skipped many steps into getting accepted by the NY commercial editorial market. So when you hear the "I am an editor, I dont go graphics, don't do audio, don't do color grading, don't do websites, don't do file encoding, don't do streaming" - whatever it is that THEY don't do - this is what you need to do.


Look at RED, and Alexa. These new "young guys" would never have a chance at getting into the 35mm Panavision film market, but the RED and Alexa (and CAnon) opened up the doors for tons of new young DP's, where the old dogs will never learn these skills, and never get the opportunity that a new young guy will.

The most important thing is that your school, and your professor CANNOT TEACH YOU any of the things that you will need - you have to teach yourself, you have to be aggressive, have the passion, and have a little luck in choosing the right "new thing" or things to learn, that will seperate you from the rest of the pack.

The industry is dead for people who follow the old model (I used to edit for all these companies and now, it's all in house, and there are no jobs out there) - well, there is MORE TV THAN EVER BEFORE, more stations, more shows, more web videos, and guess what - someone makes all that stuff.

Work hard, and you will make it. Most people give up. don't give up.

Bob Zelin



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Chris Blair
Re: Current state of the Video Editing industry
on Aug 22, 2010 at 5:43:30 pm

I agree with just about everything everyone has said, especially Bob Zelin and Walter Biscari's comments...BUT...I believe you have to be both positive and pragmatic. The economy sucks right now. Sure there will be people who are doing well even in these tough times, but one thread mentioned trying mid-size markets like Nashville and Denver. I know people in both markets and can say with certainty that long-standing production companies, ad agencies, photography companies and design firms in both markets are closing their doors. And these are not start-up or young companies...these are companies with prestigious awards lining their walls and reputations that shine like the sun.

Many of these companies WERE branching out, and "doing thing differently" as everyone suggests. The fact is, your ability to survive or thrive in this economy is DIRECTLY related to your established client roster. If you were doing work for people that DO need content now, you're probably thriving. If the bulk of your work was for companies or in industries that are cutting back or struggling, you too are probably struggling. Case in point is companies that were heavily tied to the auto industry. Do you think no matter what they were doing in terms of broadening their skills or offerings...that they're doing well right now?? Probably not.

You can do everything that everyone suggests in these forums and STILL succumb in an economy like this. That's the reality.

Should this dissuade the original poster from getting into the industry? Not if he loves the work. But as everyone has mentioned...he should be aware that making himself as marketable as possible (having as many skills as possible) will dramatically improve his chances of getting a job. But like those companies that have closed...there are no guarantees.

Chris Blair
Magnetic Image, Inc.
Evansville, IN
http://www.videomi.com
Read our blog http://www.videomi.com/blog


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Tom Meegan
Re: Current state of the Video Editing industry
on Aug 22, 2010 at 9:18:01 pm

Although the job description of "video editor" continues to expand to an implied fluency in many areas rendering the age of specialists increasingly to the "high end," I've found that it is helpful for individuals to have areas of content expertise.

For instance, Mike Cohen's company specializes in surgical/medical videos. His knowledge of that field translates into effectiveness and efficiency. Most of my work is in sports – though any editor can edit sports video, cutting sports video for a living for 13 years has made me better and faster when I cut sports.

Have an idea of WHAT you want to edit. Although editing skills will translate (I've edited documentaries, news, and magazine show features effectively) having a solid knowledge of a particular content area can help get you in the door and keep you happy as you learn yet another new technology to do an L-Cut.

Best of luck,

Tom Meegan


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Mick Haensler
Re: Current state of the Video Editing industry
on Aug 23, 2010 at 9:05:00 am

I just had this conversation with a client the other day. The question was asked "what is it exactly that you do??" Well...I'm a...

Videoeditor-shooter-sounddesigner-soundengineer-photographer-lightingdesigner-mographdesigner-liveeventproducer-IMAGdirector-digitalsignagemanager AND......

Musician who plays in four bands...Yea....that about does it...

Mick Haensler
Higher Ground Media


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Mike Cohen
Re: Current state of the Video Editing industry
on Aug 23, 2010 at 2:04:09 pm

[Tom Meegan] "For instance, Mike Cohen's company specializes in surgical/medical videos. His knowledge of that field translates into effectiveness and efficiency."

Good point Tom. I went to school for Mass Communications, which in early 1990's terminology meant video production (pick one, corporate, broadcast (news or sports), or independent, or radio, or journalism)). We graduated with knowledge of all of these areas. I at one point considered being a tv news reporter, but my experiences as a tv news intern changed all that.

Having a niche helps. However within a niche, as in my experience, there are sub-specialties - but as others have said, you have to know a little of everything and a lot of a few things. Do we use a lot of After Effects in medical video? Not too often, but we have someone on staff who knows the software and what can be done with it. Sell yourself not just on what you know, but also on what you can do for a client. Why be R2D2, who is really good at fixing hyperdrive generators, when you can be Han Solo, who can fix things, program a computer, negotiate contracts, pilot a ship, hold his own in a fight, dress sharply, crack a good joke, mentor a young farmboy, get out of dicey situations and gets the girls.

I am a video editor as one of my job duties, sure, but also a project manager, manager (of other people, budgets, proposals, marketing, new business development, etc), writer, instructional designer, producer, director, graphic designer, etc. The "etc" is a catch-all for whatever comes along that needs doing.

Don't leave college planning to be just one thing your whole life. Plan on the "etc".

Mike Cohen


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Bob Cole
Re: Current state of the Video Editing industry
on Aug 26, 2010 at 4:39:57 pm

[Mike Cohen] "I am a video editor as one of my job duties, sure, but also a project manager, manager ... etc. The "etc" is a catch-all for whatever comes along that needs doing."

Interesting thread, but I think we tend to look at this through the wrong end of the telescope. We're discussing how EDITORS increasingly have to be able to do other things. I think the reality is that people doing OTHER THINGS are adding editing to their skill sets.

The tv reporters who edit their own segments are only the most obvious examples.

I just received my third request in three months to send old video assets to a client so that they could have one of their employees do some repurposing. These employees were not hired as editors, but as something more corporate, perhaps "communications specialists."

Of course I can't tell for sure, but I suspect that many of the people posting questions on the COW's editing forums are making their living as something besides editing.


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grinner hester
Re: Current state of the Video Editing industry
on Aug 27, 2010 at 9:56:33 pm

Post houses use to be able to rape ad agencies with rates and billing multiple rooms per hour. Nobody had a choice at the time so the price was paid. Now that the son of the guy who wants a video has an HD camera and FCP, folks have to justify their rates. Post houses alone just can't do that today. If you can't produce a great turn-key production for one flat price today, you are not competing. Time schange fatser than old paost houses... hence the closing of so many.



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Scott Sheriff
Re: Current state of the Video Editing industry slightly OT
on Aug 29, 2010 at 4:49:18 am

You wanna see the current state of the video editing industry?
read this post from the FCP forum:

http://forums.creativecow.net/readpost/8/1100921

So is the industry heading in the same direction as local record shops, newspapers and movie rental stores?
You have to wonder, when a guy thinks he can break into the biz and quits his day job because he has a Flip cam and imovie.
If this was April 1st, I would think I was getting punked, reading that post.

As far as this actual post.
I'm on the fence about posting a response to this guy, since I don't feel I can say anything that won't be snarky, or dripping with sarcasm. Maybe "don't quit your day dob".
Oh...wait...never mind, you already did.

Scott Sheriff
Director
SST Digital Media
http://www.sstdigitalmedia.com


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Chris Dolan
Re: Current state of the Video Editing industry slightly OT
on Aug 29, 2010 at 12:39:31 pm

Scott- Maybe I misread his intent in that thread, but he didn't sound like someone who quit his day job to pursue a profession in video editing. It sounded like he is a piano teacher who wants to provide a leaning tool for his students and has decided to do it himself.

How much would you charge him to provide the same video? If he and his students can live with the sub-par quality and it is a useful learning tool, what's wrong with him doing it himself? Kudos to him for taking the initiative and time to figure it out himself.

Let me put your mind at ease; you don't need to worry about losing market share to a guy making movies with a flip cam and iMovie.

Chris Dolan


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Scott Sheriff
Re: Current state of the Video Editing industry slightly OT
on Aug 29, 2010 at 7:11:14 pm

Chris,
Here is what he said:

"Now I'm working on doing my own video production. I've recently quit my job (as a public school teacher) to do this. I want to be able to create quality videos and edit them myself."



Chris-How much would you charge him to provide the same video? If he and his students can live with the sub-par quality and it is a useful learning tool, what's wrong with him doing it himself? Kudos to him for taking the initiative and time to figure it out himself.

Well he said he wanted to "create quality videos and edit them myself.", and "Ultimately, I guess I just need an excellent video quality for my students."
I think the real question is what would I charge to teach him how to edit, not what would I charge to do the videos. I'm not against new folks in the biz. I just want them to get in the back of the line.

Whats wrong with this guys post? IMHO, Everything. Being so naive. Quitting your day job to get into a business you know nothing about. Not having a business plan. Especially in this economy. How about expecting working professionals to tutor you for free? This guys post is more than a simple question, a lot more. To me, this is far beyond helping a colleague, because you would first have to be an editor to be a colleague, and this guy is not.
I wonder how many free piano lessons this guy gives out?

Chris-Let me put your mind at ease; you don't need to worry about losing market share to a guy making movies with a flip cam and iMovie.


I have to admit I am bitter and angry, when I see posts like this.
Maybe unintentional on his part, but completely disrespectful.
Hey, it's a 'no-brainer', just buy imovie, and some POS camera, ask few questions on the web, and your an instant DP, and an editor.
So you have yet another guy that thinks he can come crashing into a profession overnight, that many, including myself, have spent years, if not decades learning.
So I'm not worried about this guy taking work from me, or anyone.
I'm not worried, I'm just tired of it. I'm sick of people trying to cut in front of the line. And then when they are having a melt down, they expect those they cut in front of, to bail them out. And we see it all the time, it's not just this guy.

So to me, this is the 'Current state of the Video Editing industry'.
OK, I'm done ranting...

Scott Sheriff
Director
SST Digital Media
http://www.sstdigitalmedia.com


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grinner hester
Re: Current state of the Video Editing industry slightly OT
on Aug 29, 2010 at 7:52:03 pm

I, on the other hand, love folks who help me justify my rates. Second best sales dudes I have.



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Rick Turners
Re: Current state of the Video Editing industry slightly OT
on Aug 29, 2010 at 8:26:38 pm

If the market you make your living in in competes directly with people who could simple replace it with a flip cam and imovie, you need to learn and offer more.

I believe the basic shoot + edit packages are drying up.. it's accessible and children are learning how to do these things in 3rd grade, if not sooner. Give it 7 years and that market will be a professional wasteland.

What if he needed motion graphics? 3d? color grade? HDCAM SR master? compositing?

There are still things that customers need specialists and professionals for, it's our job to figure out what those things are.


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Chris Blair
Re: Current state of the Video Editing industry slightly OT
on Aug 30, 2010 at 2:59:01 am

Rick Turners: I believe the basic shoot + edit packages are drying up.. it's accessible and children are learning how to do these things in 3rd grade, if not sooner. Give it 7 years and that market will be a professional wasteland.

Regardless of when kids are learning how to use video cameras or editing applications...there is a HUGE difference in the quality of what I would provide as a basic shooter/editor (with 25 years experience), vs. even a recent college graduate. Heck...there's a huge difference in what I would provide vs. someone with 10 years of experience!

Some of those differences would be speed, reliability, quick decision making, experience from over 2500 shoots, from one-man band type deals to shoots with 25 person crews, the added benefit that I've worked as a producer and writer...I could go on for another paragraph or two.

People who want "effective" videos that teach, inspire and sell...hire professionals. People that want cheap videos that please the boss do it on themselves. There are dozens, hell hundreds of reasons why much of the industry is struggling right now. It drives me crazy to read all the posts from people who have these surefire reasons why the industry is going to do this or that. Let's be honest. NOBODY knows what the industry is going to do or what the industry will be in 2 years or five years or ten years. It's darn near impossible to predict what the industry is going to be doing in six months.

There will always be a place for high-quality production. The key is finding the clients who still want it and are willing to pay for it. Since it seems there are many companies deciding they no longer can afford...or for some reason don't want quality production, the competition for those that do is going to be fierce.

I'm not sure I believe that doing production "differently" will necessarily result in more clients. I DO believe production professionals have to figure out how their skills transfer to other industries, like video encoding for the web, assisting web design companies with getting video onto their sites, even moving into web design since it's much more similar to television graphic design than print design.

But there is STILL market for talented, experienced people in this business.

Chris Blair
Magnetic Image, Inc.
Evansville, IN
http://www.videomi.com
Read our blog http://www.videomi.com/blog


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Garrett Gibbons
Re: Current state of the Video Editing industry slightly OT
on Sep 10, 2010 at 6:39:15 pm

My 2 cents: it's becoming a challenge to educate clients (potential clients) about the value of professional work.

I recently had a bid from a business out of state who wanted me to make a series of TV ads (15 sec, 30 sec, through a 2.5 min web ad). We talked logistics: they needed shots of vehicles driving on the road, they needed dozens of actors on screen, they needed several versions of a script to be developed, etc. When I inquired about their budget, I was thinking that I'd bid around $10,000. They had $1000 available, including my travel expenses.

What do you do with a client like that? Sure, we write them off and hope that they'll find some high school student to make it and get a shoddy product, but what if he finds a desperate, out-of-work seasoned pro who's just trying to stay busy and pay the mortgage?

The bottom line is that this industry is suffering from economic depression, and professionals, amateurs and consumers are all developing lots of bad habits that are going to take some unlearning if/when things get better again.

http://www.garrettgibbons.com


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