Interested in a career change to video editing?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by RiskyShenanigan, Jun 30, 2014.

  1. RiskyShenanigan macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2011
    #1
    Hi,

    I understand this subject must come up a lot regarding jobs in video editing, but I just wanted some advice on people which may be involved in video editing and the career within it.

    With myself leaving my current job of online internet marketing, I want to do something different that involves more creativity. I have been looking into video editing and it is something that has interested me for a while. I used to do cheesy gaming compilations in Windows Movie Maker when I was younger (i'm 24), but never thought of it as a career.

    Anyway, I have been looking at short courses to see how I can learn about Final Cut Pro and see if there is any internships I can get involved with.

    Is there any advice people can provide in moving to this type of career, what materials I need? is it worthwhile changing career to this field? what can I do to be successful?
     
  2. Imaginator macrumors regular

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    Apr 4, 2014
    Location:
    The Cosmos
    #2
    The tools (Avid, Premiere, Final Cut) are basically the same (FCPX is a different story, none of the post-houses I work use it or want anything to do with it). Anyone can learn the tools, you have to learn pacing, flow, when a certain type of cut is motivated, and how you can use certain tools to help sculpt whatever it is you're working on. That takes time and experience. You're not going to be editing The Godfather anytime soon, so just learn as much as you can and try to watch everything you can through an "editor's eye" once you figure that out. And read http://www.amazon.com/Blink-Eye-Revised-2nd-Edition/dp/1879505622, that guy actually did cut The Godfather and he's the grand-daddy of editing right now.

    And on the note of experience, if you're starting out, get your hands on as much work as you can. 48 hour film festivals are great experience and an education. Throw yourself in the deep end and don't be afraid to make mistakes, there's always the undo hotkey, well, unless you accidentally format your footage drive, then you're right frak'd.
     
  3. RiskyShenanigan thread starter macrumors member

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    Oct 11, 2011
    #3
    Thanks for the reply and advice. In terms of a career change is it possible, since I do not have a MacPro or iMac, I don't want to make the financial commitment for materials only to find trouble finding work.
     
  4. Imaginator macrumors regular

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    Apr 4, 2014
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    The Cosmos
    #4
    Any Mac from the last few years will run any video editing software. You have to learn how to use the tools though obviously. Avid, Adobe, and Apple all have 30 day free trials for their editing software. You'll want to check out Lynda.com as well.

    It's a tough industry to get into with a close-nit family atmosphere. You have to get out there and get to know people. I haven't had a job interview in 10 years, every gig I've gotten has been word-of-mouth. Other piece of advice "don't be an *******" because that gets around real fast.

    One of the biggest things you'll need to learn as an editor these days, as more and more places don't hire Assistant Editors who manage your media for you, is organization. 50% of my job as a freelance film editor is media management. It makes my life 10x easier. And I've done features, documentaries, reality, corporate, political, commercial, etc.
     
  5. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #5
    Let's assume in stead that you wanted to be a writer and write novels. OK not a bad plan. But then how silly would it be to think that learning to use a work processor was the big hurdle, If only I would learn to use Word or Pages I would write books and be rich.

    We all know how wrong this is.

    It's the same thing with learning Final Cut or whatever and thinking you are going to be a film editor. Learning the software is the easy part. Just get a way-cheap camera and go at it and when you can't figure out something read the user manual that came with the software. Make some simple videos like "lets go buy food and cook it for dinner" Then pick three styles and cut it into three different shows. You can lean FCPX that way in a month.

    What an editor needs to know is called "Film Making". We used to do this with real film and cement splices. The basics are the same. There is a LOT of theory to be learned about cutting. It is easy to teach yourself the technology but the ART is what matters and for that you really should go to school or work with people who know what they are doing and hope it all soaks in.

    The editor really is the person who makes the show. The tools are easy to learn but making a show that people will pay good money to watch is not easy. And your paycheck comes ultimately from people who pay to see the show. Like the novelist, why idiot can write (I'm proof of that) but writing something people will PAY to read is not easy.

    So when you think about a career, who is the paying customer? Are you making corporate training videos, weddings? Hollywood movies? Likley NONE of those. You'll be making student film projects for a long while until some one says "MAN this are GREAT can you work for me? I have an unpaid internship available." So you jump at the change.

    Learn the rest of the business. Cameras, sound, lighting and planning and the business end too. If you start and the bottom and work up at first you will be dong jut about everything.


    Figure at first you'd just be shorting clips, adding keywords to them culling out the really bad mistakes, certainly NOT cutting the entire show yourself. You start by doing the monkey work
     
  6. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #6
    Sory to be so stern but did you NOT read the above? You don't need a computer. You certainly don't need a Mac Pro. The goal is NOT to lean about software. It's to learn about film making.

    What you need is some books. Then AFTER reading what a lot of different kinds of shows.

    One hint for working with no-budget. Don't shoot HD. Use an old DV cam that sells on ebay for $80 and you can use a 10 year old computer with standard definition (480i) video. Make up some really cheesy "plots" then cut them eight ways from Sunday. Shoot with an iPhone or whatever.
     
  7. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    Redondo Beach, California
    #7
    I'm looking for a book for my daughter, high school age. She has taught herself Final Cut Pro X to the point where she can copy a style she sees. but knows zero about even the basics of film, even the idea of a long shot to establish the scene or continually.

    like all kids, 500 pages of text is not going to work. Maybe some one has a good Youtube series to cover this really basic stuff?

    Most of the instructional materials I find are about how to use some software or dial twirling on the cameras. Not the stuff that matters.
     
  8. Meister Suspended

    Meister

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    #8
    this is what I though.

    Reading books doesnt teach you anything. Its learning by doing.

    Like someone here wrote, just get any old camera and any old editing software and start ...

    If you have questions on the way, google your question.
     
  9. azpekt macrumors regular

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    Jun 27, 2012
    Location:
    hp, illinois
    #9
    Hi guys,

    Long story short - I`m 31 years old, am I a bit old to jump into video operator/editor career?

    Long story - I`m a UNIX/IT guy, who was passionate for camera and editing like 8 years ago. I edited weddings, did a lot of photo related job. Basically, I`m very fluent with software and hardware alike. But I became very tired of 12-hours office job, staring at screen.

    So, do I have any chances - or this industry impose some age-limit?

    Thanks,
    NM
     
  10. Borntorun macrumors member

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    Nov 15, 2011
    Location:
    Perth, Australia
    #10
    You are either a born editor, or you are not.

    It is an art.

    You walk into the Louvre, take a look at the Mona Lisa and walk out deciding to be an artist. You now walk into a shop selling paint, canvas and easels, and buy some stuff. A quick google will tell you how to mix paint, dip the brush into the paint and apply the brush to the canvass. That makes you an artist.

    Really?

    You want to be an author. What do you do? Learn how to operate MS Word?

    Really?
     
  11. daybreak macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2009
    #11
    Some good advice has been given to you. The main point which keeps repeating is doing it. Join a video club if one is available and get some gear and produce material and then learn edit. Also go on YouTube and see what tutorial are available on your subject.
    Also "GOOD LUCK" as many generation today all got the media bug.
     
  12. Small White Car macrumors G4

    Small White Car

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2006
    Location:
    Washington DC
    #12
    The best advice I can give for a beginner is to NOT just fool around with the software and "some random clips." You'll never learn anything.

    Instead, you have to have a well defined project. Now, maybe you have an actor friend with a script. Cool. Tell him to boss you around and you'll get better. But what if you want to do something by yourself?

    You can do it, but you have to set all of your goals ahead of time and then make yourself follow them. Be a boss to yourself and don't let yourself weasel out of anything.

    Example:

    1)
    "I"m gonna go to the county fair and get some shots and mess around with them."

    BAD PLAN :mad:

    What does this do? It lets you do the 15 things you already know again and again.

    2)
    "Self, go to the county fair and record a news piece for the newscast tonight. Get several interviews, show b-roll of what they've spoken about and then end it with a map graphic showing the location of the fair and their hours all weekend."

    GOOD :D

    What does this do? It makes you realized you don't know how to import a graphic. It makes you realize you can't read the text you made because it's bright red. It makes you have to figure out how to do an audio L-cut. What's an L-cut? Forget looking it up in a book, I can promise you that you'll invent it and figure it out yourself eventually with a project like that.

    - - - - - - - -

    The point is to set the goals up front. You'll constantly be cursing yourself later, but that's how you learn. Always start with "what do I want to see?" and then go to the software. Never start with "what can I already do?" and plan based on that.
     
  13. handsome pete macrumors 68000

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    Aug 15, 2008
    #13
    I don't think there's anything wrong with either of these. For someone just looking to get into the field, #2 might be a bit cumbersome to just jump right into. If you're specifically looking to do ENG work, then sure, maybe that's a good direction to start. But editing covers so many types of content. So there's nothing wrong with just going out with a camera and grabbing a bunch of footage to then piece together. After all, editing is all about telling a story. You can certainly go out to the county fair, shoot it, and cut a story out of it.

    The software is more important than some are making it out to be. It's certainly not the priority, but you will have to learn the tools as well as the craft. The analogies to authors learning MS Word are dumb.



    Of course you'll always be competing with younger talent, but there's no age limit. Talent is the key word, and trumps everything else (except in places that are more assembly line "creative" atmospheres. But that word is in quotes because there's usually little to no creativity involved.)


    If that's the case then you'll definitely want to pursue producing, shooting, and editing. Or a "preditor" as some call it. Because if you get placed solely in an editor role, then you'll often be staring at a screen for long hours, without the benefit of windows to the outside world.
     
  14. Small White Car, Jul 1, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2014

    Small White Car macrumors G4

    Small White Car

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    #14
    This only backs up what I'm saying. (What you describe here is not what I meant in #1. Doing my #1 will not tell a story but will instead result in a montage of shots that is meaningless and communicates nothing.) I'm not saying they have to make a news piece. That was just an example. I'm saying they have to make something that's "a thing."

    Your example here still fits the bill just fine. Your goal of "tell a story about the fair" is what I meant by making a plan and sticking to it.

    Perhaps you think my advice is far too simple, then. But I've seen too many people just mess around with the computer without any plan and they never actually make anything. They learn what all the buttons on the screen do but literally nothing else.
     
  15. handsome pete macrumors 68000

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    #15
    Gotcha. I get what you're saying now.
     
  16. RiskyShenanigan thread starter macrumors member

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    #16
    I do appreciate the advice been given here, but I was expecting more direct tips for someone who is a beginner to video editing instead of weird metaphors like "You walk into the Louvre, take a look at the Mona Lisa and walk out deciding to be an artist."

    For example, I have been looking at internships and there are a view looking for video assistants and editors, however they require some knowledge of Final Cut Pro.

    Now I am willing to learn through an internship and build myself that way, but before I make the commitment to moving to this career, can someone like me who is a 24 year old, have no knowledge in video editing have a future in this career field? This is why I ask for people who may be part of this industry in some way.
     
  17. handsome pete macrumors 68000

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    #17
    Of course. Go for it.
     
  18. ChrisA, Jul 2, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2014

    ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #18
    They way to go is to create some films yourself. Basically hire yourself as an intern.

    Like I wrote above once you get good at this and have some work to show to prove it, people will say "Wow I like what you can do. I might have an un-paid internship position for you."

    But no reasonable person will hire you into even as un-paid intern if you don't have a body of work to show off your ability.

    If you need to learn the tools, how FCPX works buy a $25 per month subscription to Lynda.com and work through every one of the on-line editing classes. But even then you WILL need a portfolio of your work. At first it will be 100% stuff you did all on your own. Then if some day you do get that intern spot you can add that to your resume and as you work your way up you can add more. But you need to start by just making your own.

    Think of this like the street musician who has to "prime" his tip jar with five to ten dollars of his own money. You need to prime the resume/portfolio with some GOOD, really good creative works. It has to be good enough to grab someone's attention.

    Don't spend a lot of money. Spend TIME shooting and editing footage.

    Just remember that no one will be impressed if you tell them "I can operate some software". Anyone can learn that in a month. They WILL be impressed if you say "I can make stuff like THIS..." and they like what they see.

    It's not hard or expensive. I started at about age 13 with an 8mm camera and made simple things like a "chase" where this girl was running, tripping falling and getting out of breath and being fearful and this guy chasing here was just walking slow and catching up. It was an ultra-simple non-plot but it was all done with cuts (we used cement and razor blades) Or just shoot a scene where two guys have an argument and then finally see they are both on the side side. SIMPLE stuff can be very powerful. You need a BUNCH of these clips. As you continue you retire the weakest clips from your portfolio and add better ones. The strength of the portfolio grows as you learn until at some point it is good enough to impress someone.
     
  19. monokakata, Jul 2, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2014

    monokakata macrumors 68000

    monokakata

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    #19
    Go back and read borntorun's Mona Lisa posting again, carefully. If you still think it's "weird," then I don't see a future for you as an editor.

    I'm not an editor, but my son is a professional editor at a well-known NYC post house, and I've watched him grow and learn and move along the well-trodden pathway from expeditor to assistant to full editor. He's 32 now, but even when he was in high school, using analog equipment, I could see that he understood pacing, he could tell a story, and he understood how to make audio work with video.

    His current house hired him away from another place even though he was using FCP7 and the current place is an Avid house. He didn't know Avid. They didn't care; they wanted him because they liked his work and knew that he, like anybody, could master another set of tools. It wasn't the editing tool that was important.

    What some of the posters here are trying to tell you is that your first task isn't to worry about one tool or another, but to find ways to discover whether you have the ability. That's not technical. It's "artistic" in the largest sense.

    Have another look at imaginator's postings. They are spot-on, as are ChrisA's.

    Putting it another way, nobody can predict whether you have a future or not without seeing your work -- even your beginning work. And if you haven't started editing (anything) then you can't predict it either.
     
  20. RiskyShenanigan thread starter macrumors member

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    Oct 11, 2011
    #20
    Maybe "weird" was the wrong word and I understand what he meant by the reply. A video editor needs to have good intuition when creating the content from frame transitions to audio integration which I feel I have. I've always been a more creative person with that intuition and I can see myself doing this career more in the long-term.

    The only thing I worry about with this career change is the uncertainty of future success which everyone feels. I keep asking myself, "I'm 24 now, should I take the risk in the career change to video editing?"
     
  21. monokakata macrumors 68000

    monokakata

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    #21
    OK, good. I probably sounded harsh. It's great that you understand what people are suggesting to you.

    Get the minimum equipment, then, and start learning and practicing while you continue with your current job. Then test the waters when you have something to show.

    I had to make a decision like yours when I was 21 and had to decide between an academic career and a literary career. I had professors/advisors pushing me in both directions. I chose the academic career and delayed learning whether I had the chops for a literary career for 30 years. Then, in my mid-50s, I decided to find out. I did it on the side. I had a secure position as a professor, so it was low-risk (I understand that it's not low-risk for you).

    I did what people here have been advising -- I started doing it. I started submitting. I had a little success, enough to suggest I should keep going. Then I met a teacher, a well-known poet who later became a good friend, and became his student (even though I was writing fiction, not poetry). I even took an undergraduate workshop and sat in on many of his graduate workshops, all the while experimenting to find my voice and the kind of writing that I did best. I found a few other people to study with. I was a full professor but no one, including all the twenty-something students, cared at all and neither did I. Starting again in a new field was exciting.

    Now I have a handful of stories out there in magazines, a book in print, an unfinished novel and another one that I've just begun. And I'm 71.

    Don't wait as long as I did.
     
  22. daybreak macrumors 6502a

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    #22
    You asked, you got answers. Now do your research. In 50 years you got be sitting in your rocking chair and think back......if...............;)
     
  23. RiskyShenanigan thread starter macrumors member

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    Oct 11, 2011
    #23
    Thanks for your background info, it's stories like this which makes me wonder if I should just take the risk and do it now before it's too late.

    Also I cannot do it during my current job as I am being made redundant by the end of this month, I guess this is why I want to make a decision now and put all my energy into it.
     
  24. profwilliams macrumors newbie

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    Jun 5, 2009
    #24
    @Risky,

    To answer your question, yes. There is now, fortunately, lots of work for video makers/editors because EVERYONE wants video.

    But the advice here is sort of correct, your best bet is to call up a local industrial/wedding film company and ask if you can work for free with them. I'm sure you can find many companies that would love to have the eager, extra hand. Then you can see the shoot, but more importantly the editing.

    Also, someone mentioned Lynda.com, and that- the $40/month- subscriptions comes with footage, so you can edit a film, with their footage right along with their excellent teachers.

    As for the software, if you have a newer mac or PC chances are it comes with some basic editing software, and on a base level, they all do the same thing, so I wouldn't stress out over that until you work a bit and see if you really like it.

    Good Luck!!!

    #ChrisA, I've been teaching filmmaking for almost 20 years and what I've realized now is that kids know SO MUCH more about editing than they know because, unlike many of us- they've seen more visual storytelling than any previous generation. So what I do know is put terms to what they already know. Example: I used to have to explain what a jump cut was- in great detail, now I show them and they KNOW it cuz they've seen it a thousand times. Likewise, I used to spend HOURS on the 180 degree line, and while it is now broken all the time, in the old days this was the most strict editing rule. Now, I don't mention it because kids rarely break it--- because in seeing so much visual storytelling-- they already know how to put shots together.

    For your daughter, I would also suggest a Lynda.com subscription- rather than seek out some youtubey series if only because Lynda.com is so well organized and the Trainers are VERY good.

    Good Luck!!! She's lucky to have a dad like you.
     
  25. AcesHigh87 macrumors 6502a

    AcesHigh87

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    New Brunswick, Canada
    #25
    I did four years of university studying film (odd I know, it's usually a college thing) as an art form. When we did cut we were always on Final Cut Pro and that's what I had on my personal systems. I learned the finer points of film for what it is: an art form.

    Learning the programs won't do you any good if you don't understand how to pace a cut, when to have what shots, when to break up the action, etc.

    I was hired straight out of school as an intern to the largest post house in my area (with where I am that doesn't sound like much I'll admit but we're pretty big). They didn't have one Final Cut machine in the building and still don't, all Avid. They knew when they hired me that I didn't know the program. So why did they hire me? Because they believed I had the essentials needed to do the job, and I do.

    Learning Avid rather than final cut was nothing , just different buttons really. The challenge isn't learning the software, it's learning when and why to do certain things. No amount of working with the software can teach you that.

    You may not like what guys are telling you here but it's the truth. Read up on filmmaking, not on editing. I've seen amazing things cut on 8 year old MacBooks with iMovie just as I've seen **** cut on Mac pros with Avid. It's all about knowing how to properly tell the story. Learning the tools will come later.
     

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