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Current state of the Video Editing industry PART 2

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Hunter HempenCurrent state of the Video Editing industry PART 2
by on Sep 6, 2010 at 5:02:56 pm


So, I would like to thank you all for the wonderful, inspiring amount of input in the last thread.

Needless to say, the sarcasm is starting to rub off on me as well. I also can't really say that I've been encouraged nor discouraged, but my opinions are definitely more down than up as of the moment.

In the past few weeks, I've decided that pursuing an additional field complimentary to video production would be key. What that may be, however, I'm am unsure of. My professors have recommended studying web design or computer science related fields to assist in the more technical side of the video industry. As one said, "You're either on the creative or technical side of things." ??? Is this true? Double majoring in Tv/Film & Web Design makes more sense to me than simply video production alone, and from as far as I can tell, quite a few of the editing jobs out their are requiring web integration of video as a necessity.

Lastly, I'd like to ask for advice on good websites / places to look for jobs. This is probably a pretty common question around here, but I know online job searching can be deceiving; upon conducting a job search on the LA Times classifieds, eight video editing jobs resulted nationwide. Obviously this can't be (or it really is! ah!), so I'm hoping more entry-level jobs exist elsewhere...and if so, what cities would they be in? Austin? D.C.? Chicago?

Inquiry rundown:

1.) Video Production + Related study = good idea?
2.) Good places / websites for job searches?
3.) Any particular place beginners would have better luck breaking in to?

Thanks again,

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Bob ZelinRe: Current state of the Video Editing industry PART 2
by on Sep 6, 2010 at 6:04:07 pm

Boy Hunter, you just want an easy answer.

This is what employers want today. They want EVERYTHING. Whatever you study in school, no matter what subject you study, they will want something different. You have to be prepared to say "YES" when they say "well, can you do this ?" -

let me give you an example. I have years of experience. I setup a few new editing systems for a TV station recently. I know editing systems very well, but I didn't know this brand - Grass Valley Edius. So I set them up (no big deal) and then the client had certain demands. "How do we get these files into our Broadcast Pix clip server, and 360 Systems On Air playout server in MPEG-2 format?". Well, Hunter, guess what - I DID NOT KNOW HOW TO DO THIS.
Do you think I said to my client - "gee, I don't know, but let me take a class in a community college on compression formats, and I will come back in 6 months". Or I could have said "gee, I don't know this stuff, I don't have this background because I am a video guy - maybe you should hire someone else". Guess what Hunter, I SAT THERE for 3 days, under great pressure and figured it out. I make lots of calls, I did extensive Google research, I made lots of mistakes (the first day I said "oh oh, I can't figure this out") and I figured it all out in a few days.

So when you take your "second major" in web design, your new boss, or new clients will say "ok, how do we stream these videos, how do we get them on You Tube, how do we have private access for seperate clients with seperate log in's". "How do we setup an FTP site for our clients to download our videos. How do we setup proxy files so that our clients can screen our footage that we store on our server. How do we deliver to DG Systems. How do we deliver to Pathfire."

And so, you suffer learning all this stuff, that you have no interest in, because you want to make creative video's. But now, it's time to make that video "we want a 3D model of the clients product to come spinning out of their logo, and then explode on the screen". We want to color grade these images. We just bought the new Canon EOS D5 camera - how do we edit with these files. We are going to rent the RED camera to shoot with - how do we get those .r3d files into our editing system. We have to project our image on a large screen projector - are we working at the right resolution - will it look stretched out."

I can go on - do your professors know the answers to these questions. Are you going to tell your employer "I don't know" when he asks you these questions ? Why are you so damn concerned about taking courses to teach you your career. You are young, you have friends in bands, or you see guys in bands on campus. Who taught them how to compose those songs, or use those new effects pedals. Maybe they recorded their own demo songs, and have it up on You Tube - did they take a class in music composition, guitar theory, and Pro Tools, to make this music, and get it up on the web.

If you have a passion for any of this stuff, you will learn it, you will figure it out. Don't rely on your professors, or your school to teach you your craft.

Most employers today want one thing (it's always been this way) - they want CHEAP LABOR that can do the job of their existing expensive labor. If you come in knowing XYZ, and they are paying Mr 20 years experience 80 grand a year, and you (some new snot nose young kid) comes in and can do the same job as Mr. 80 Grand a year, believe me, you will get hired. If you know nothing, and expect to learn on the job, then you will get your minimum wage, get coffee for Mr. 80 Grand, and maybe start the learning process then. Your employer is not going to send you to After Effects classes at his expense.

Bob Zelin

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Craig SeemanRe: Current state of the Video Editing industry PART 2
by on Sep 6, 2010 at 6:23:30 pm

[Bob Zelin] " They want EVERYTHING."

Basically what I just said as well. The first fail is to say "video editing." One learns what one must learn to survive or starve. If one starts in a box one assures starvation.

What Hunter needs to learn is how to learn.

IMHO the first thing a good teacher would do is hand the the "tool" of the class and say, "today you figure out what it does and tomorrow you do something." The next day you'll see who the good explorers are under pressure. You'll see who tried but were befuddled. You'll see who stared at the tool and couldn't get past the on button. That last group gets escorted out of the class for good. They'll never make it. The other two types consists of those who can learn and those willing to try and fail. They both learned the first lesson of survival. THEN you can start teaching them the details.

You can not want to "be" before you can want to learn learning.

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Craig SeemanRe: Current state of the Video Editing industry PART 2
by on Sep 6, 2010 at 6:08:07 pm

I'm not sure if you really digested the posts on that first thread.

The entire economy is down. Why would you think Web Design would be any different than editing? You'll now have two trades you can be unemployed in. Why do you think employers higher from job boards? Those are cattle calls. Buying lottery tickets doesn't replace real job search skills.

You need to broaden what you need to know about video. It's Production and post production and there's such an overwhelming amount to learn. Specialization may come later as you discover/develop where you might excel. Production includes everything from camera work, lighting, project organization, writing, sound Producing, Direction, cinematography. Post Production can include editing, motion graphics, compositing, 3D, audio mixing and sweetening, etc. On the business side you need to learn marketing and management. All these skills can put you in a position as your career develops. Any one position may involve and interrelationship of some number of the above skills.

The demos you produce in college will likely look like "college" work. You'll want to do work that looks like it's product service focused. Find some local not for profit that can't afford to pay and offer to produce in return for visible credit (DO NOT DO THIS FOR A FOR PROFIT BUSINESS EVER!). The not for profit has donors who may take note of your common interest and capabilities. They may become your clients.

In a down economy production/post production houses can often get very experienced people for less money than they used to so it's that much tougher for beginners. That's not specific to video though.

Internships are valuable ONLY if you will actually get training and gain access to gear that you couldn't otherwise. Many "internships" are just looking for free labor. Avoid those. You want training.

If you LOVE doing video work it's worth sacrificing for. If you can say "I'd give my right arm for . . ." it's the right career move. Don't worry, you'll learn how to shot left handed.

What's wrong is that you wan to be a "Video editor." That's just far too narrow. If the only thing you can think of as "related" to video editing is web design then you really need to understand the industry and how it's changing. Of course learning "design" can be critical for both web and motion graphics but you need to see how technologies tie in. You may want to understand the technology behind codecs or the differences in video streaming technologies such as rtsp, rtmp, http. That's not "web design" though. It's not "video editing" though. Focusing on narrow niches will likely be a fail.

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Bob ZelinRe: Current state of the Video Editing industry PART 2
by on Sep 6, 2010 at 6:50:29 pm

Craig writes -
Internships are valuable ONLY if you will actually get training and gain access to gear that you couldn't otherwise. Many "internships" are just looking for free labor. Avoid those. You want training.

this is so true. You want training - even if it is your own training, and your ability to get HANDS ON, on the equipment. I STILL DO THIS. I just installed a CACHE-A tape archive system for a Christian organization FOR FREE. Now I know how to do it. I will charge my full rate next time. I think back on all the "mean cheap people" that hired me in the early days. These people, while looking for the cheapest labor they could possibly find (me) gave me an opportunity to do work, that NO OTHER COMPANY would ever give me if they were a normal "legit" company. I was unhappy while I was doing it (working my behind off for practically no money, while I barely understood what I was doing), but when I got done with these few companies in about 2 years, I started to know exactly what I was doing (for that time period), and now, I could charge REAL money for my abilities. Remember, that almost all of my knowlege from the early 80's is now TOTALLY USELESS (other than basic video knowlege), so you ALWAYS have to keep learning, to stay employed.

Bob Zelin

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John DavidsonRe: Current state of the Video Editing industry PART 2
by on Sep 6, 2010 at 11:05:14 pm

Hunter, forget web design. You can pick the basics of that up without having to learn all the CSS crap and whatever ridiculousness is included in that - and it'll all change by the time you get hired to use it anyways. If you want to learn web design, see if your college has a continuing education course for the public. You can get a web design certification like I did, and you'll get the basics without lots of calculous or whatever ridiculous things the computer science people will throw at you.

Marketing. Take Marketing classes. Learn how to make ads, manipulate audiences, and get mass media results. My school is really great at cranking out news editors - terrible at cranking out producers. It's one thing to know how to use a tool, but marketing training will teach you why you're using it.

You wanna win? Be a producer who edits - not an editor who produces. The future will be advertised.

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Dan AsselinRe: Current state of the Video Editing industry PART 2
by on Sep 7, 2010 at 1:32:51 am

Hunter I couldn't agree more about web design. That's a skill I picked up in 48 hours to help a good client who needed to get some clips online fast.

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Rob GrauertRe: Current state of the Video Editing industry PART 2
by on Sep 7, 2010 at 1:31:38 pm

I definitely agree with everything here. But since I only graduated from college a year ago, I'll share some pointers since I was one of the lucky ones who actually landed a legit job.

- As stated, learn EVERYTHING. Kiss your social life good bye for a year or two. Instead of buying a 30-pack of PBR, buy a 6-pack. If you want to work in post, READ the manuals of as much software as you can. I work with FCP daily, but I know my way around the entire suite and can do some basic tasks in every area of post. Do I consider myself to be an audio professional? No way, and I don't advertise myself as that. But I certainly can perform some basic cleaning and sweeting of audio in Soundtrack Pro. Same goes with motion graphics. I suck so bad at that, but I can go into Motion and make some nice lower thirds (with the help of Photoshop and Illustrator). I'm not a colorist either, but I know how to prep a timeline for Color, do some basic color balancing in Color, and send it back to FCP. I can make a pretty complex DVD as well. So yes, learn EVERYTHING. And besides, when you take the time to learn something on your own, you get this nice, "Yea! I learned this on my own" kinda feeling. it's nice.

To give you an example on how much you should know: I work for the marketing team of a corporate company, but there are only 3 video guys: me and my two bosses. Well, my two bosses create a 10-episode reality show for The Outdoor Channel...just the two of themselves. Talk about needing to know EVERYTHING. And no lie, I don't see many shows on TV with better production values.

- Build yourself a website to display your work and résumé. Don't blow your money on demo DVDs. It's expensive if you want it to look presentable, and they go in the trash anyway. I wish someone would have told me this because I spent about $400 when I didn't really have any money so I could send out about 100 DVDs. Not one response. So build yourself a website so you can email cover letters and résumés along with a link to your website.

- Be willing to relocate. Hey, I love Philadelphia, but there is practically no work there. New York, LA and DC have always been the places I looked the most...until I got lucky.

- You can check, Craig's List actually has legit jobs for DC now, and there's even job postings forum for here on the COW, which is actually where I found my job. Also, I haven't done this in a while, but I go on IMDB because it always lists the production companies that make shows or films. Then I just Google those companies for the contact info, haha. Never led to anything though...

- Take 10 minutes to look over the stuff you send to employers. After I got hired, my bosses were telling me how some of the cover letters they received said things like, "I think I'd be a valuable team player for HGTV." Yea, we're not HGTV...

Also, you really should feel lucky that you've chosen a path in video production. Why? Because you have the COW. I feel so bad for my graphic designer friends and photographer friends, and whoever, because they don't have ANYTHING that comes close to this website. I mean, look at all the free information people are just giving out on this site. I learned more here than I ever could at any school, and I can honestly say I don't think I'd have my job if it weren't for this site.

So dump your girlfriend and say good bye to your friends, spend a few hours reading manuals everyday (and of course mess around with the software as you're reading), visit the COW for a few hours a day, spend a few hours just looking for potential places to work (I keep a list at home of all the places I'd like to work along with their contact info). And I don't mean spend like, 2 hours doing all this. I'm talk about doing this all day - from when you wake up until you go to bed. I remember in college one teacher said to me, "FInding a job is a job itself." And my teacher from high school said to me, "If you keep trying you're bound to get lucky, because once you give up you guarantee nothing will ever come your way.'

Doing all of this paid off for me.

Rob Grauert, Jr.

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Bob ZelinRe: Current state of the Video - Post of the year
by on Sep 7, 2010 at 1:57:54 pm

Nothing can beat this advice, and instead of coming from the old dogs like me, Rob's post should be copied to anyone else asking "how do I get in" or "what should I study".

Perfect post. 2010 post of the year.

Bob Zelin

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Tim WilsonRe: Current state of the Video - Post of the year
by on Sep 7, 2010 at 2:35:02 pm

[Bob Zelin] "Perfect post. 2010 post of the year."

Agreed entirely. Be sure to rate the post - I did with both "Like" and a green checkmark for "Solution."

Kids, be sure to rate EVERY post you like. This is how to direct other people to the very best stuff.

Like this.

Tim Wilson
Associate Publisher, Editor-in-Chief
Creative COW Magazine

My Blog: "Is this thing on? Oh it's on!"

Don't forget to rate your favorite posts!

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Mike CohenRe: Current state of the Video - Post of the year
by on Sep 7, 2010 at 2:46:07 pm

I agree - great post from Rob.

Hunter, don't think we are beating you up telling you to work hard to learn everything - this is advice that no college professor will ever give you.

My tv professor in college was a great mentor and friend to me - but he basically taught us how to use the gear and then waited for the cream to rise to the top - then he would nurture the best students who showed an aptitude for learning and an attitude for wanting to learn.

Hunter is showing, however, a trait not often seen in college students - asking people with more experience for help.

Mike Cohen

Medical Education / Multimedia Producer

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Rob GrauertRe: Current state of the Video - Post of the year
by on Sep 7, 2010 at 3:23:42 pm

Thanks guys. Just returning the favor.

Rob Grauert, Jr.

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