Do I need shcool to be a video editor?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by FCP1223, Jun 20, 2010.

  1. FCP1223 macrumors newbie

    Jun 20, 2010
    Las Vegas, NV
    I bought FCP in December and have been ripping DVD's and editing them. I dont have any good schools out here and so far have self taught myself. Do you really need school to be a professional editor? I play on opening my own business anyway so I doubt it but just wanted to get some opinions.
  2. spinnerlys Guest


    Sep 7, 2008
    forlod bygningen
    No, you don't, if you're really, really good.

    And it also depends on what kind of video editing you have your eyes set.

    Local television has other standards than national television for example.

    So what kind of business do you want to open and for what kind of field and market do you want to edit?
  3. FCP1223 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 20, 2010
    Las Vegas, NV
    My friend is a Graphic Designer and does web pages and things in that sort. I want to edit videos such as weddings, home videos, exc. We are going to open one together.
  4. scwinsett macrumors 6502a


    Apr 21, 2010
    Nashville, TN
    I am a videographer and editor for a certain website, and I dropped out of film school. I found it to be a waste of time. But that is just me, and I already knew how to edit! If you do not know how to use Avid, Final Cut Pro, etc, you should take some classes at a local art school. they usually have software-specific night classes
  5. ryanvalle macrumors member

    Jun 14, 2009
    Short answer: no you don't need school to become a video editor. I started doing professional video editing when I was still in high school.

    However, I see only two ways of becoming successful in video editing (or in any business actually). One, you either have to know the right people, or two, have the experience that will make people want you.

    I got lucky and went with route number one, getting hired by a production company as an editor through a friend's dad.

    For the other route, school is a great way to get beginner's experience and learning industry standard software and techniques, going through exercises which can help you succeed and stand out from the rest. However, as scwinsett noted, it can be a waste of time, especially if you know how to edit.

    However, your case is somewhat different since you're opening a company. You'll be your own boss and will work with your clients directly. You don't need to show them a diploma or certificate that proves your education, but instead just need to talk them into what you can do for them. In the beginning, it'll be tough to succeed since you will need to know people and have good marketing skills, but definitely, to start up a business does not require you to go to school. Taking a few marketing and business classes may help though.

    In either case, I hope this was helpful and wish you the best of luck with your future.
  6. FCP1223 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 20, 2010
    Las Vegas, NV
    I have a degree in Business Mgt. even though I forgot most of it unfortunately, and as far classes for editing so far I have no trouble with using FCP Youtube tutorials work for me when I need answers. Thank you for your advice.
  7. puckhead193 macrumors G3


    May 25, 2004
    from job searching, most of the jobs i've found for networks require a degree in a related field....
  8. JDDavis macrumors 65816


    Jan 16, 2009
    No real experience in professional video editing but I'd just like to add that education of any kind is never a bad thing. It could broaden your experience or provide different oppurtunities. You don't necessarily have to go to school to continue your education either. Any way, not sure why I felt the need to jump in but this is after all, the internet. :rolleyes:
  9. mBox macrumors 68020

    Jun 26, 2002
    Any experience is good. School helps you with both education and interaction. You actually gain experience faster by creating projects specially with a sense of deadline. I learned fast during a Multi-media course. The video portion did not exist (too early in curriculum) but I had to create a quick video promo for myself, so I jumped into Adobe Premiere 1 (haha just dated myself) right away.
    I teach FCP at a local college during nights, and I get all kinds taking the course. From veteran Broadcast to newbies.
    I always open up with "if you really want to gain fast experience, do your sisters wedding video" :)
    But seriously, all resources help and if you can take a short course do so. Nothing wrong with learning specially the internet (wish we had the bandwidth back then) either.

    Just to add, theres more to just editing videos if you get deeper into the game. I can teach anyone how to edit raw shot footage fast. However, add recent tech and old tech such as sequential rendered animation files, RED/XDCAM/P2 footage and mixed media, sometimes school or getting into a network of users helps you along the way :)
  10. chrono1081 macrumors 604


    Jan 26, 2008
    Isla Nublar
    Most places want a degree even if its not necesarrily in your field.

    As for school, honestly most schools in my opinion are about the same (I've been to three colleges). What you get out of it is what you put in to it. If you just go to class and learn only in class you won't walk away with much. If you are motivated and learn outside the classroom and challenge yourself you will get a lot more out of it.

    IMO school is just for the paper that proves you stuck with something for four years. The learning is what you do by challenging yourself outside the classroom.
  11. xdhd350 macrumors 6502

    Mar 9, 2010
    Could not have said it better myself. :)

    To the OP: School is never a waste of time, even if you are already familiar with part of the syllabus. You'll still gain those insightful nuggets of information from the courses and/or your classmates.

    That will only take you so far.. the rest is reliant upon your natural talent and aptitude for creating art from moving images.

    You can practice with stock footage, using it to tell a story in some way. There are both free and paid sites to help you get going as well.

    Good luck.
  12. FSMBP macrumors 68020


    Jan 22, 2009
    Think about this from a client's perspective:

    Would you rather have an editor who has a degree in Film/Production or one who doesn't?

    It's not 100% necessary obviously, but it will really depend on who you know if you don't have schooling. Networking is key.
  13. GeekOFComedy macrumors 6502a

    Sep 29, 2008
    I learn as I go along and I can do some cool GFX :cool: BTW I'm 14
  14. nep61 macrumors 6502

    May 17, 2007
    School is never a waste of time... especially learning grammer and punctuation.

    Editing is easy, once you know how... communication through e-mail is the norm these days... writing and sounding like you have a complete grasp of the English language goes a long way in the video business.

    Take it from someone who has been a profesional editor for 25 years. If I read the posts on this forum you posted, you'd still be looking for a job.

    ie. "I dont have any good schools out here and so far have self taught myself." :eek:

    "...and as far classes for editing so far I have no trouble with using FCP Youtube tutorials work for me when I need answers." :eek:

    Sorry to be so harsh with my comments but, at first I thought I was reading a Post from a 14 year-old... then I saw.... "I have a degree in Business Mgt. even though I forgot most of it unfortunately,... and I thought.... "Oh, College grad... Hmmm." That compelled me to reply... Again, my appologies for being so harsh, but someone would have said somthing eventually.
  15. Winni macrumors 68030


    Oct 15, 2008
    Right. But even I as a non-native speaker know that it's "grammar", not "grammer".
  16. nep61 macrumors 6502

    May 17, 2007
    Yup, you're right.
  17. vizfxman macrumors regular

    Mar 31, 2010
    Los Angeles
    As someone else mentioned, school is never a bad thing.

    That said, experience in the field > school.
  18. handsome pete macrumors 68000

    Aug 15, 2008
    Equally important is your demo reel. This is a visual medium. Having something to show people that basically says, "Look at this, I created that" is much more effective than a piece of paper that says "I can do that."
  19. MattSepeta macrumors 65816


    Jul 9, 2009
    375th St. Y

    No way!

    My advice: DO NOT GO for "Video Editing." Go to school for something non-artistic. Waste of money IMO, especially for something like video editing which you can teach yourself the basics of with a computer connected to the internet.

    Sure, take some classes on it, but don't major in it. also take some classes in graphic design. Knowing photoshop will sure help your editing career.

    Otherwise, getting to know the right people in conjunction with a killer demo reel is how you will become a "video editor".
  20. THX1139 macrumors 68000


    Mar 4, 2006
    Most video editing classes I took focussed on the technical aspects and didn't go to far into aesthetics. That is why there are so many cheesy videos out there... just because you know how to edit doesn't make the end product good. Take classes that teach you how to see and how to solve visual problems. Video editing is just learning software. Unless you are lazy, you can learn that on your own.
  21. mBox macrumors 68020

    Jun 26, 2002
    Its hard to pin-point without knowing your actual goals though. Video-editing the term can easily be learned, but surviving the job without knowledge is tough. Like Ive mentioned, Ive taught broadcasters and video guerrilla artists of all kinds and without above and beyond the simple Overwrite/Insert edit knowledge (FCP jargon), you can easily lose credibility/jobs/clients just from screwing up at the beginning e.g. using wrong settings with odd footage.
    Sure the new world of video is simplified with HD (never have to learn 3:2 pulldown or dealing with Telecine) but again add other factors such as Mixed formats and you could be in a world of hurt come crunch time.
    There are tons of books/web sites ( that'll teach you.
    Maybe you dont need a college degree for video editing but if added value such as, Photoshop, Illustrator, Maya and After Effects comes with it, might not be a bad thing if you like this medium :)
  22. advres Guest


    Oct 3, 2003
    I am a 31 y/o freelance editor who has worked the gamut from feature length films all the way down to short 30 sec tv/web spots. Right now I am working on an episodic television series.

    I have never once had a prospective employer/client even bother to read about my schooling on my resume.

    Short answer... no.

    Long answer... it could be beneficial. Do you know people in your field? Professionals? A nice thing about school is you get to really network right from the getgo and an internship (easier to get if you're in school) can really help out with either a fulltime job down the road or just a bigger network.

    What is important is your reel, who you know, your speed and wide range of proficiency. Example, I would hire an editor who knows FCP, After Effects, Photoshop and Illustrator over someone who knows only FCP and Photoshop. The more you know, the more valuable you will become. I have an effects reel, an offline reel and an online reel. It shows prospective clients I am not a one trick pony and can handle anything they can throw at me. My rate is higher than many others with similar time in the field around these parts for this reason alone. I know an agency who would call in an editor to do a rough cut and then someone else gets called in to do the 2d graphics work. Once they got their hooks in me, they realized when they needed me, I could get the whole job done by myself. Sure I was more expensive, but I could work straight through, had a good grasp on the project come graphics time and it's easier dealing with one person.

    I do a lot of work for an agency whose head editor is not formally trained. He is an exception to the successful editors around Boston who are unschooled.

    My $.02... school teached me the fundamentals that makes me a better editor today. Did MOST of the school work go out the window once I got into the real world? Yes. But do I think it helped in all the areas I said above? yes.

    EDIT - You don't need to go to a 'film school' either. I went to a state college that had an outstanding communications program and my whole 4 year education cost what one year at a film school like Emerson would cost.
  23. randomerratum macrumors 6502

    Dec 3, 2009
    Santa Monica, CA
    It totally depends on what kind of career you ultimately want;

    If you eventually want to compete and be creative in the film/tv industry ... school is probably a good start since you'll need to compete directly with other editors for jobs and you'll need a lot of diverse skills (both technically and creatively) to do that successfully.

    If you're just offering your talents directly to clients- you should at least consider getting some tutorial courses... like from ...which'll teach you how to maximize the features in FCP (of which there are MANY you'll likely never stumble across on your own)

    For instance, becoming efficient with Compressor and DVD Studio Pro would be important because your clients will surely want DVDs and videos to post online. Motion is great to learn so you can offer professional looking graphics.

    Teaching yourself is FANTASTIC since it forces you to understand the fundamentals at a very basic level, but without some guiding help, you'll miss out on some of that fringe knowledge that could really benefit you.
  24. WayneH1 macrumors member

    Apr 28, 2010
    Many great insights and perspectives so far. Allow me to add my 2¢.

    Many people look at college as if it were a trade school, which to me means training specifically directed at helping you get or keep a particular job, like taking courses on film editing, Photoshop, Excel, whatever. "Going to college" as most folks mean that term, is NOT very effective at this. You could easily graduate college - even a good one - not trained for any job and not able to do anything in particular better or faster than anyone else.

    That's the way it should be! "Going to college" and getting an education can be a positive and life-changing experience and I think few people regret it. It might not be the fastest and surest path to a career and financial reward, but it gives you a good foundation to keep learning throughout the rest of your life. You learn how to learn, to think critically, and many other skills not necessarily learned in a classroom.

    (Maybe your grammar and English will improve - and I agree that would have a definite impact. Like the other poster, I'd never hire you based on your posts. They scream "unprofessional". Sorry to be blunt.)

    You'll meet fun and interesting people that you'll network with for your whole life. And a degree proves to the world that you're capable of clearing the hurdles. Lacking a degree actually makes you a minority these days. Right or wrong, it's a proxy for your intelligence and determination, the things that can be tough for a client or prospective employer to assess in other ways.

    (An aside: Employers once used intelligence testing as a hiring tool. Eliminating this practice in the 60's and 70's for PC reasons forced employers to demand college degrees instead, and that's why college admissions skyrocketed in that period. This had the perverse effect of requiring smart minorities - who could have otherwise gotten a job with a high-school degree and a good IQ test result - to first attend college for four "wasted" years to get a job that didn't really require the education in the first place.)

    "Trade school" type education has its place but can be something you consider as you're working. Unlike "college", where the benefits may be mostly intangible, the costs and benefits of "trade school" are easily weighed. IMHO, for a given amount of time and money, you can learn more about software on your own, just by using it and talking to others. More abstract concepts like effective use of lighting and color, composing a good looking image, pacing a movie composition, etc, would likely be better learned in the classroom, learning from the hard-learned trial-and-error of your predecessors.
  25. chown33 macrumors 604

    Aug 9, 2009
    Sailing beyond the sunset
    As a prospective client, I'd be much more interested in seeing your work than your diploma.

    The more good work you can show, covering a range of styles and project sizes, the more likely I am to trust that you can deliver what we agree to, in the time and budget I have.

    If all your work is the same, in style or project size, then that tells me you are successful in that narrow range, but it tells me nothing about anything else. Unfortunately, your diploma (or lack of one) tells me nothing about your work outside the narrow range of work either.

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