Thinking of Pursuing a Video Editing Career

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by rmlred, Mar 15, 2011.

  1. rmlred macrumors regular

    Jan 27, 2010
    Rockwell, NC
    Im 15 years old, I'm very interested in film/digital video and photography. I'm currently working for a small company/website as a cameraman and editor. I'm still in high school majoring in business. I'm planning on going to college, either for business or digital video. I also want to own my own company, if all possible.

    I live in Charlotte, NC, USA. Are there any good school for this around here? I know if I want to be a major editor Ill need to go to NY or LA.

    I'm just looking for advice, from past experiences from people with a video editing career or individuals who knows about this industry.

    Does your job get boring?

    What is your average salary per week?

    What application do you use?

    Do you ever get to see what you're editing being shot?(This helps me a great bit)


  2. FroColin macrumors regular

    Jun 4, 2008
    Majoring in business? In high school? Are you in running start? Orrr... You know that when your done with high school you don't have a major right?

    As for your actual question I would say (Take everything I say with a grain of salt, or perhaps a full salt shaker of salt) that a major in business would be much more helpful/useful especially if you want to start your own company. Promo reels are much more useful generally for clients. You can learn most of the stuff you get with a degree with some work on your own, the internet is a wonderful tool, as is experience and a few books. Also people with business degrees generally look better then digital cinema degrees or whatever.
    Just my two cents
  3. ElmerT macrumors newbie

    Mar 13, 2011
    I agree that having a good knowledge in business is very valueble. This is what most freelance editors are missing. And with that missing a lot of opertunities.
    In the end it is all about contacts and knowing were the fututere is heading.
    With a bit of talent and alot of work (learning) you can learn to be a good editor on your own.

    Both skills you can learn on your own as learning on school.
  4. VideoCave macrumors member

    Mar 16, 2011
    RE: Video Career

    Definitely get your business degree. Video can be learned on your own.

    Here are a couple of video tutorial sites:
    YouTube is ok but limited.

    A four year school is waist of time and money for learning video editing. I have seen and talked to a few students that went to school to learn video and almost everything they are taught is wrong in almost every way on how to edit with proper settings and codecs.

    I learned it on my own. in 2004 I just decided one to buy Final Cut Express and a cheap video camera and went from there. I think its better to just learn things as you need to otherwise you just forget it anyways if you don't use everyday.

    Mostly everybody uses Final Cut Pro or Avid. So practice with one or both of these and see which one you like better. There are others but these are the main ones. There are also editors that are called High-End Finishers for example SMOKE. If you definitely want to be and in-demand editor this would be a very good software to know in the future. Or if just want to go balls out take a stab at it there is a trial you can download of it. But it is very expensive to buy so keep that in mind. But it doesn't hurt to try.

    And once you get an understanding of how to properly encoded and edit video. Then move onto learning a 2D effects application like MOTION or/and After Effects. And once you are comfortable with those definitely learn a 3D software, like Maya or Cinema4D etc... You can download trial versions of a lot of things. So do that and practice to see what you like. But know this, 3D apps can be a difficult thing to learn just take it slow when getting into these and eventually things will become much easier.

    As always the more you know the more you are worth. Its as simple as that.

    One more thing to know. With video editing you need to be EXTREMELY ORGANIZED with your files. Its not just video you are dealing with. There are images, audio, animations, script documents, exports/renders. So spend the extra five minutes to do it right or you will spend hours later trying reorganize your files because you said to your self "let me just put this here for now and I'll come back later to it". Once something has been added to your timeline from your harddrive and then you move it later the link to that file gets lost and you have to remember where you moved it to, to relink the file to your video timeline. Video apps don't embed files into your projects they simply link to the original.

    Also get know Photoshop for optimizing images for video. Many people don't realize that a simple jpeg image can crash you video app or keep it from rendering/exporting to final product because you images settings are wrong.

    These are just things you will just learn over time. It has taken me seven years to learn these things and I still run into problems that drive me crazy. But eventually you figure it out and theres one more thing you now know how to or not to do again.

    Oh and be careful of fonts. Don't just install every cool font you find. Only install and use fonts you need. These can also cause problems but you would never think of it being why your app is crashing not exporting.

    Good luck.
  5. mBox macrumors 68020

    Jun 26, 2002

    When I started back in 1994, our options were slim to none :(
    You also had to be a "jack of all trades who's willing to work for free" :p
    Now with the internet Im finding that "driven and dedicated" people are learning it all without going to any colleges.
    I teach at local college part-time (FCP, AE and Maya) and have found this to be true but only with people that are driven.
    Any learning options will be good and yes the business part should be looked at cause your going to need it when if you decide to venture out on your own.
    In my carreer Ive been lucky and worked for most of the bigger broadcasting (local) stations and a few post-houses.
    Too scared to go on my own :p
  6. mBox macrumors 68020

    Jun 26, 2002
  7. puckhead193 macrumors G3


    May 25, 2004
    See if your local station and or business might take you on as an intern or perhaps you can observe too see if you like the field.
    I know around me a lot of local schools have a video class and or club. Get involved with that and you get to meet new people. :)
  8. ElmerT, Mar 17, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2011

    ElmerT macrumors newbie

    Mar 13, 2011
    It is true that there is a lot of garbage on the net. The best learning material I personal find these ones. You might want to do a FCP certificate program. (i personal find it to expensive) (for all FCP related, some teachers there write for the FCP certificate program) (VFX and more, it is all about the film industry, and you'll get student license to follow the courses)

    For both above you have to pay, but it isn't very much. Most of the time it is around 100$ per course.

    These two courses I know are good. But be carefull there are courses online that ask thousends of dollars for very poor quality

    For Avid I haven't find a good solution jet.

    Edit: Avid has there own courses (, and sometime SAE ( give them too.
  9. alph45 macrumors member

    Jun 2, 2010
    Film school may not be the route for everyone, but it's hardly a "waste of time". People learn differently.

    1. to be a professional editor you need a grounding in film production, not just editing.

    2. people make contacts in school, you are studying with your contemporaries who may turn out to be your future employers. Same goes for profs.

    3. learning on the net and in person are not the same thing. working with groups vs. solo is not the same thing.

    4. some people may want an accredited degree.

    Not to say there aren't tons of resources these days, or that you SHOULD go to film school, just that it's a personal decision based on a number of factors. You have plenty of time to study up now, work as an intern, learn software, etc. and make a school / not school decision in a couple of years.
  10. mBox macrumors 68020

    Jun 26, 2002
    from experience you also have to go in level headed.
    The school isn't there to make you a million bucks and not there to fix everything for you.
    I meet so many jaded people in local colleges assuming the school owes them everything.
    Not sure I they were jaded before they started but it seems a lot of them are.
    Be positive and beg, borrow and steal :)
    It's a competitive business :p
  11. lia77 macrumors member

    Jul 23, 2007
    Speaking from my own experience I think it sounds like you are choosing between a more "boring and rational" choice and something that you really like to do. Maybe I am wrong. But what I wanted to say is that if you are really passionate about video editing (which as someone also pointed out, should involve studies in film as well) I think you should really go for it.

    If you love what you do and put a lot of work into it, you will eventually become successful.
    A business degree might be really useful as some people said, but the question is, what do you really like and enjoy the most. I´d go for that and worry about how to earn money later:)
  12. FroColin macrumors regular

    Jun 4, 2008
    I once got to speak to a very very rich man. He made tens of millions every year and I asked him how he had done it. He said "When all my friends were going off into careers they loved, I chose something that could make me money, suffered through it, did it well, now I have more time and money to do the things I love then any of them". Not to just flat out argue with you but sometimes you have to do some things you don't love to do to do the things that you love. A lot of people seem to think that these days if you love to do something then you will be successful and make money. This is... err... wrong. We hear a lot of stories from people where they say "Do what you love" because that's what they did and it worked. No one bothers to talk to the people that did what they loved and are now broke which are the majority. That isn't to say that you shouldn't pursue your dreams but be smart about it. Most people don't get through life by doing only what they love all the time. Also, sometimes doing what you love requires money, so you have to think about that too. You have to do some things you don't love to get to do what you do love.

    Just something to keep in mind :) and of course I'm not an expert. Lots of people do well doing only what they love and don't have to worry about money. Good luck with whatever it is you do
  13. martinX macrumors 6502a


    Aug 11, 2009
    I had the misfortune of having film and television students at work to make a short piece for one of our units. Disorganised, annoying, presumptuous, (eventually) smelly and they all wore black. And all they ate were 2-minute noodles. Tons of them. The piece they created was OK but they originally brought over an Avid file to show, apparently because that's "industry standard" - but not in my industry so no-one could play it. I wondered why they were such knobs. Then I met their lecturer...

    To the OP: half the difficulty of being in the video business is "business". Money, paperwork, rent, lawyers, schmoozing, hiring, firing, all the stuff that's not video. Some people got it, some people don't. My brother "gets" business and does it very well. I don't :D
  14. mBox macrumors 68020

    Jun 26, 2002
    haha well most schools have more than lecturer (instructor whatevs). that jaded mentality also grows within a group (students against the establishment) I know cause I was one too but I got lucky I was too positive to to wear black all the time ;)
  15. mBox macrumors 68020

    Jun 26, 2002
    even after your experiences with the students you still have to show respect. Ive been in this biz long enough that Im running into past students little siblings coming up the ranks and even their children :)
    if your in it for the long haul, beg borrow and steal but in a positive way...well maybe most of the time, its very competitive ;)
  16. martinX macrumors 6502a


    Aug 11, 2009
    Ya, I know, I have tertiary qualifications too :D
    I just got to meet the lecturer for this particular subject.
    We (I share the floor with a bunch of people from different units) went out of our way to accommodate them. A lot of the bad vibes washed back on me because they were using my studio (OK, it's really just a large room with my gear) so people assumed I was in charge of the whole circus. In reality, I had to vacate for two days and did SFA in my office.

    Don't get me wrong, they had the gear and knew how to use it (although I think Sound Guy was a little too sensitive to extraneous noise. Tweaked or hungover? Who knows ;) ) and will probably turn out to be decent human beings. But they've ruined it for any future student projects. The nice people I have met in this game all seem to have come up through the system, learning the ropes from wiser hands. Must be where they learn to be nice.
  17. lia77 macrumors member

    Jul 23, 2007

    This topic got really philosophical now:)

    It really made me think and I believe that when we give other people advice, we often try to re-write our own history. But every person is different, and it´s impossible to know what would be right for somebody else.
    So my last advice is: Don´t listen to anybody else´s advice, just follow your own gut feeling:) Good Luck!
  18. MarianoE, Mar 22, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2011

    MarianoE macrumors newbie

    Sep 10, 2008
    I started out as an assistant editor at a production company and over the years I've moved on to interactive and have become an Art Director at a major agency.

    The fact is, you're better off going to business school and hone your talents and technical abilities in your own time, look into getting certificates in editing. You're still young, so assuming you have lots of time and energy, it should be easy for you. Film school is fun, but a degree in business is far more practical. I did one year of film school and never finished because they raised tuition by 1/3. I didn't feel the value of the degree was worth the student loans. Instead I started picking up freelance gigs and working with mentors who provided way more knowledge than most of my professors/instructors did. After that, I had a decent reel and landed my first job. The reel was key, not the degree. As a matter of fact, not having a degree hasn't stopped me from moving up in my career.

    I'm not saying this is typical, but just showing the value of a degree in the industry vs a reel and experience. Degree or not, you have to be talented to succeed. If you have the talent and are ambitious enough, you can still become an editor with a business degree and later leverage the degree to land a position as producer or run your own post house. And hey, if a career as an editor doesn't work out, you have a generic enough degree to pursue something else.
  19. martinX macrumors 6502a


    Aug 11, 2009
    Just to provide a flip-side, I came into this as a hobby and slid into it as a job. Not a big job, just a job making corporate stuff generally for internal viewing, as well as AV guy work. What I feel missed out on by not going to "film school" as a young 'un is the time, talent and teamwork to experiment; to have a lecturer set an assignment of "music video" or "interview" or "instructional" and have the time and friends crazy enough to make it happen. Film school can provide "structured play time". I'm not sure if the reality matches my perception, or even if it would be worth the cost, but I'm sure film schools are good for some things.

    Still, at that age, I had no idea I'd be doing this. My highest qualification is a degree in Biotechnology. Complements my three-day FCP 101 training course nicely :D
  20. The Mad Kiwi macrumors 6502

    Mar 15, 2006
    In Hell
    My friend works as a video editor, she hates it, long hours, dull work, lots of deadlines, and to top it off poor pay. It's might be different working for big budget movies, but TV drama editing is a dog job.

    On the other hand my bosses brother is a camera man and he loves it, short hours, great pay and good job variety and challanging work.

    If I was you I'd get a business degree, where ever you work, for yourself or somebody else, it's going to be a business.

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