Whats it take to be a Editor in the industry?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by shadowknight123, Aug 5, 2009.

  1. shadowknight123 macrumors newbie

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    Aug 5, 2009
    #1
    Heya everyone nice forums you got running here :D


    Anyways iv been searching google for this answer lately, iv done editing since i was 8 years old, starting with the basic program movie maker, moving up to i forget what somthing my aunt bought me when i turned 10, and then got into adobe premier and now im 19 working with adobe premiere CS3 Also have final cut, both are very similiar though my PC just runs better.



    Anyways heres my question, to get into the industry and do well, what does a editor need to know or be skilled at. Yes i know what most of it is really what im trying to get at, is does a editor need to know Animation? or 3D programs, or every inch of after effects and compositing? Or is that a whole nother field in the industry? Because im not very good with 3D programs, im not artistic in that way, i am however very artistic and take editing very seriously, my timining is always perfect and the shots and angels i have to work with i always make sure they look perfect and are interesting to watch if I was the audience, sit back and pretend to know nothing about the film and see if it catches my attention ect.


    Ive taught my self alot in editing, i could almost say was a born skill, im learnign after effects now slowly but surely, (tough program to learn but can be rewarding defanantly) But do i need to learn a 3d animation as well? If so im defanantly taking a college class because thats to hard for me to learn on my own off of tutorials like im doing with after effects.

    Of course learning it will widen my creativeness and make others be like whoa! But can i survive or make it with just being very skilled at editing? :confused:


    I hope alot of you can help clear this question its been bothering me lately.
     
  2. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

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    #2
    Editing is editing and not (3D) animation.

    You don't need to be fluent with 3D animation software, but it may be an advantage knowing something about the process, including other processes like filming and other aspects of post production.

    It's good if you are at what you say you are, from an artistic point of view.

    But maybe you should look also into either Avid Media Composer and/or Final Cut Pro, as they are used more for TV/film productions than Premiere.

    I came from Premiere 5, went to Avid and sometimes also use FCP.

    Also if you're really interested look at some college/universities' offerings of editing classes, if you want to study it. It depends on where you wanna go.
    If its just TV news or short features, you can do without studying, but editing longer features and films might need a whole new approach, which you might not yet have in your skill set.

    For instance, I think (and many others, who have told me so) that I'm quite a good editor for short films and short news features and even some kind of music videos, as I did all those during my studies of media technology, but I have not the skill set to edit a feature length film, as I lack the dramaturgical knowledge of how to build such a lengthy film.


    Can you maybe post some examples of your work?
     
  3. bigbossbmb macrumors 68000

    bigbossbmb

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    #3
    do you want to be an editor for TV? features? documentary?

    It really begins with starting small and working your way up. whether you start at the bottom of a company and work up to editor or pair up with a director, start with shorts and work up to features.

    You don't NEED to know 3d programs or After Effects, but every skill you obtain makes you more valuable. Things like compositing and motion GFX are assets that can set you apart from other editors and make a production company/director want you over somebody else.

    This doesn't apply to only editors either, but the entire scale of work up to being an editor. Right now I'm an assistant editor for a production company that is entirely Avid-based. When I started there (as a logger), I didn't know a single keystroke of Avid's interface. I went out and learned Avid on my own and then worked hard to show my dedication to the company. Next time an AE spot opened up, they came to me first because they knew I would work hard and that I had skills the other AE's didn't (knowledge of FCP/Compressor, MANY tape formats/conversions, and motion GFX).
     
  4. MattSepeta macrumors 65816

    MattSepeta

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    #4
    Well Rounded

    It really depends on what you plan on doing, specifically.

    However, you are on the right track with learning AE. For smaller jobs, it will be VERY good for you to have compositing skills.

    You dont want to be stuck using FCP for everything, or premier, or whatever. You probably shouldn't spend much time learning 3d until you know if that is something you want to go into. Just get your program down to a T, and throw in some other skills. AE is a good start, and you should learn Photoshop too, it can integrate really well into FCP and premier.
     
  5. RedTomato macrumors 68040

    RedTomato

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    #5
    There's the technical side - knowing your tools - FCP, AE etc. You've covered that above.

    There's also the theory - why make a cut at a particular point? different styles of cutting etc. Perhaps you could try to learn a bit more about the theory - watch the films of famous editors in the past and look very carefully at their cutting and at the choices they made.

    Some examples from films - Battleship Potemkin, Buster Keaton (the ones he directed and cut himself) - Stanley Kubrick's work etc.

    Adverts - Ridley Scott has done very good adverts, the Apple adverts, the Guiness adverts.

    Sports - live world cup or olympics finals which are filmed by extremely experienced camerapeople and editors - look at how they know when to cut from one camera to another, and the angles they choose.

    The basics:

    a) something as simple as a person walking from one room into another - there's at least 5 or 6 different points at which you can make a cut. Work out:

    - what these moments are,
    - look at who chooses which moment to make the cut from one room to another
    - why they made that choice
    - what their aim was
    - the effect a different choice would have.
    - Same action, different scene. Was the cutting point the same or different? Why?

    b) two people talking. Look at how great editors cut simple conversations - the talking shot and the reaction shot and mixing of narrow angle and wide angle shots. Even experience editors still work on their basics.

    That's enough to be starting with. Good luck!
     
  6. parkds macrumors regular

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    Jan 23, 2003
    #6
    This is just my opinions from my experience as a producer and working in television for almost a decade.

    The most important skill set is the ability to tell a compelling story. This applies no matter what you are editing. Even if you think you are great at it, keep developing that skill. Like a writer, you always can be better. Also you should be working on the ability to tell a story within a set time frame. This means for advertising 10sec, 15sec, 30sec, and 60sec. For broadcast 22 and 44min. It can be surprising difficult with some content.

    The speed you work at is also very important. It doesn't matter if you have an amazing skill set that earns you a $700-$900 day rate if you take 2 days to do something that someone slightly less good can do in 1 day. At the national cable network I work for we keep a black list of freelancers who are too slow. Time is money and networks and agencies don't want to be throwing extra money around.

    We also blacklist freelancers who are unable to listen or take direction from creative producers. It sounds so simple, but there are a lot of editors who are unable or unwilling to take direction.

    Really I would just work on developing your skill set. Find indie movies or shorts being made that need an editor and work on cutting the movie and a trailer for it. You will likely only make share, but the experience is worth it.

    In terms of software skill sets, I would definitely know your AE basics. There is a strong overlap between NLE and basic AE knowledge these days, with the understanding of color correcting, keyframing, keying, masking, layering, and time remapping (from my experience...learn Twixtor) being essential in round tripping your project. Beyond basic AE and compositing, there will likely be other resources for more serious tasks, but you are going to need to be able to converse with those people in the right language to make sure you both are on the same page.

    Again, these are just my opinions.

    Definitely learn either FCP or Avid well. Knowing one program very well and the other slightly should allow you to get work done in either environment. The basic workings are remarkably similar. I have never used Premier so I cannot comment on that.
     
  7. Greedo Guest

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  8. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    Los Angeles
    #8
    Some skills and/or attributes it takes a be a successful editor, IMO, are storytelling, patience, determination, collaboration, speed, resourcefulness, malleability, communication, temperament, rhythm, a thick skin and some luck.

    This "industry" though covers everything from $200 million dollar movies to $1500 weddings so sometimes you'll be a single cog among many in the post department and other times you will *be* the post department. Each takes it own sets of skills and knowledge. The best thing you can do, and bigbossbmb kinda said this already, is got a job or internship at a post or production facility in your area and learn from professionals in a real work environment. Learning solely on your own is convenient but limiting and can lead thinking you know more than you do.

    RedTomato,
    There are no editors for live events. The director decides which cameras to go to.


    Lethal
     
  9. TaKashMoney macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2005
    #9
    I would highly recommend reading "In the Blink of an Eye" or "Conversations" by Walter Murch. The second is technically by Ondaatje, I think, but Walter Murch will yield positive search terms.

    I also don't mean to be a grammar prick and please disregard this if English is not your first language, but I would not hire anyone if their emails or cover letters were written like your post.
     
  10. DaReal_Dionysus macrumors regular

    DaReal_Dionysus

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    #10
    In order to be a good editor in any sense I believe you have to be addicted to what you do. But know you don't need to know 3D, but it really does help. For awesome titling and other areas where you can expand on your craft. Everything everyone has said here is very true and I would move to Avid or FCP as soon as you can. When starting out I would recommend learning about several different aspects of the trade and than you can spread your wings in the direction you want to pursue most. I work in TV, film and other projects for a number of clients, but i really like TV the most. But that is just me.

    I would also recommend learning stuff like aftereffects, motion and saphire FX. That way you can do more than just edit, you could use your artistic ability with visuals that can help in your editing timelines. For 3D I would recommend Zaxwerks. It's a simple 3D program that also plugs in to programs like AE, Motion and FCP or as a stand alone system as well.

    These are just my recommendations for your editing and artistic ability to show it's full potential.

    Good Look in your venture,

    Neon
     
  11. shadowknight123 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 5, 2009
    #11
    Well my post wasn't meant to be sent as a job application or a cover letter sir. Was a question I wanted to get answered and it was 3:00 in the morning, english is my first language, however when Im speed typing grammer isnt really on my mind and expecially at 3:00 in the morning when I have been searching for answers all night i was tired, I wanted to get a post up and have answers in the morning. Nor did i Proof read it which I would do if i sent in a email or a letter to a employer. So yes you are a grammer prick lol.

    By the way great forums here i was very surprised at the ammount of reply's to this thread :).


    Anyways, I hear Avid is mainly geared towards using film rather then mini dv tapes and all that. I was strongly thinking about buying Avid but if i cant use it to edit my mini dv stuff, I dont see a point since I wouldn't be able to film using anything but Mini dv, I own a Panasonic AG DVX-100B. But when i go to college this year at Saddleback Junior college, they just bought the Red cameras so im very excited to use those, and I believe they also have Avid as there Editing Program.

    Thnak you all for these quick replys, Very apprecaited and not taken lightly. I have done one short film was 4 years ago, poorly planned on my part but ended up ok. It was for a assignment i did get 1st in the class for it however, but I have defanantly learned alot from doing the project looking back on it. I didnt even have after effects or premiere CS3 for doing that project either so my skills and tools have broadend alot more. Im currently finishing up a short film, Im the Editor, visual effects artist, and in charge of the SFX, while my friend does Lighting, and his friend Brian who he introduced me to so i could edit this film, is the Director and script writer. We lucked out and got 4 brilliant actors, they do alot of Drama Productions at there college/Highschool. Its very close to being done defanantly will be finished by Augest 14th so stay tuned!

    Ill be releasing a Trailer soon as well. :D

    Justin
     
  12. bigbossbmb macrumors 68000

    bigbossbmb

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    #12
    completely false

    Avid can capture miniDV just as easily as FCP.
     
  13. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

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    #13

    Good grammar and spelling just makes it better to understand, what you want to convey to us, and what you want from us.


    Also, Avid can handle DV footage, as it can handle film footage.
    DV is such a compressed format, that it won't even stress Avid.
    I currently work on a candid camera show with two Digi Beta cameras and up to six DV cameras, and we use the almost latest Avid versions.

    Have a look here what Avid is capable of, even without any additional hardware - and FCP is capable of the same of course.
    http://www.avid.com/products/Media-Composer-Software/index.asp
     
  14. shadowknight123 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 5, 2009
    #14
    Alright, yea I really should take my grammar more serious though its just a bad habit i need to break, I blame MMO Games :rolleyes: Got me into the poor grammar skills genre.

    Alright very good to know Avid can handle Mini DVs. Now my 2nd question I guess is, How different is it using Avid on a PC ro a Mac? If a man wanting to hire me and i said i know Avid on the PC, would he flinch? Or is it only slightly different, as in using quick commands with alt on the PC, and Options key on the mac?
     
  15. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    Los Angeles
    #15
    Starting w/Avid Media Composer version 3.0 there is complete parity between the two so the only difference should be of the alt/option type. The software version of Avid MC is only like $300 for students which is a fantastic deal. As long as you know your way around both operating systems you'll be fine.


    Lethal
     
  16. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

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    #16
    Mostly just the CTRL key from Windows is the CMD key in Mac OS.

    Other than that, Avid has it own kind of behaviour, that seems to be OS independent. It's almost as it's alive.


    And don't take the remarks on spelling and grammar as an insult, just personally, as a hint.
    Bad grammar and spelling are a sign of laziness amongst many things, so working on that might help you.

    I'm short of thirty, and I meet many people, that are in their thirties or forties, and sometimes their spelling just sucks and makes the whole experience worse.

    But as we progress more with this world wild wet thingy and the decrease of proper spelling, it might not be a problem in the future. I don't really know.

    PS: I did make about ten to twelve spelling mistakes in this post, and it took me not more than three seconds each to correct them, and it's late for me, 3am in the night, and I'm at work for 13 hours, and I want to got to bed. But I took the time to correct myself. And please don't take this here as an insult.


    PPS: Expect long working hours in this field.
    I'm just an assistant right now, so I usually work more (380 hours in July, but with an hourly fee), but most editors I met work 10 to 13 hours, if it has to be rushed and the deadline is approaching.

    So invest in a good chair.

    Good night, or day, or evening.
     
  17. shadowknight123 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 5, 2009
    #17
    Oh most defanantly! :D No insult taken either. Is working post more "job safe" then say working pre? Or do they both have there + and -? I've heard that post jobs are more reliable, usually are always there for you, where working on set you have to really search around and are always working for different people ect. And are most Editors single? Married? Divorced haha. I have always wanted to get married once i get my career underway, but when you say alot of hours i can handle that, because this is somthing i live for and love. However how hard is it on the family life? Kids or wife? Is there ever any time off? Between movies, TV shows or news?

    Just be good for me to learn this now then learn it later and have it bite me in the ass hard :eek:. And to answer some of the above questions, i would love to be able to get in on a feature, but working for a TV show sounds just as great for me. Defanantly what ever door opens im going to take it what ever it be and be the best damn editor or whatever they hire me as and really show off! :D



    PS. My cousins girlfriend, Bestfriends father was a Assistant Director on lost in 2005, and did ugly betty AD 2005-2007 i believe, then went onto other shows and projects. His first name is Alan, his last name i forget, but ill defanantly write it down and post it here, its somthing uncommon. Anyways he said he would defanantly get me on board his crew, and i would have to join the Union if i worked with him (good or bad?) but he said take my time, learn my stuff and the door is always open. He does work for both ABC and Fox.

    If I started now i would be doing the the job of a Juicer i believe, he described it as laying cords, rolling up cords powering lights and all that. But im sure if in two years i get alot of experience under my belt with Avid or final cut, and get a Reel going i can hopefully get into post quickly. Do you have to go through set in order to get to post work also?


    Justin
     
  18. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

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    #18
    Finding work and having work depends on how you work.

    If you're employed you're sometimes have a lot more security, but you can also freelance, as a lot of editors do.
    They jump from one project, thereby firm, to another.

    The editor on the project I'm working on, is working 20-25 weeks on this show. He did it last year too.
    As we also have three shooting blocks (right term?), he has six weeks of in between, where he plans to have another project going.

    I usually work just for this one firm I'm currently employed at, but in the first half of the year I also worked at another as a "simple" capturer, meaning I had to digitize tapes in up to six Avids in a nightly shift.


    As to the part of working on set:

    It's good to know the mechanism of set/studio production, so you can at least sympathize with the material you'll be getting, and see what kind of errors can happen on the way, and you won't get as frustrated with the material you get.
    For example: As I have already written, we just shot (and will continue shooting in October and November) a candid camera show with up to 8 cameras, which I (and two other assistants I brought into the project) have to "group", which means we have to synchronize those videos, so that camera B is the same as camera G, and so on. And that we have to do take by take, up to 100 takes per day on up to 50 cassettes per day.
    Normally one has the time code (TC) as help, but often there is none - we use the actual time as TC eg. 16:23:54:12 instead of 00:04:33:12 - so we have to use our eyes to find the same point in the footage.
    It's long and tedious work, and often boring, but you get to know the software in a very specific way.
    To get to my point (knowing the mechanisms), I know, that errors happen, technical and human, so I'm not pissed and frustrated, when footage without TC arrives, as I myself did my fair share of mistakes on the set.
    I even once forgot to press record when interviewing a general (I was in my first year, and the camera was a cheap shoulder mounted JVC which I didn't really knew), but the man was kind enough to do it again.

    But what is more important is to know the aspects of editing, as LethalWolfe pointed out so clearly (and MisterMe + others in this thread), an ability I still seem to lack - English is not my Mother's tongue, no excuse, but explanation.

    So I shall go to bed now, It's already dawning outside.

    Till tomorrow.
     
  19. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    Los Angeles
    #19
    Lots of people have families you just have to find someone who understands, and can live with, you being gone a lot and you have to be okay w/missing things like birthdays and baby's first words. This is assuming of course that you are in a major market working a demanding job. Not every segment of the market is as crazy as TV or film in Los Angeles.

    Having someone in a position of power to help you get your foot in the door is great because getting consistent work is all about networking. No one cares where (or if) you went to college and no one cares about what's written on your resumé. If your friend of friend Alan can bring you onto one of his projects that's great but if what you want to do is edit find out who Alan knows in post that can help you out and start moving that way as soon as possible. It's very easy to be 'type cast' in this industry and moving up the job ladder can be difficult and often involves taking a short term loss for hopefully a long term gain.

    For example, you start out as PA and after a few shows you got it down and you want to move up to digitizer (like spinnerlys). Well, you don't have any digitizing experience so no one in LA will hire you as a digitizer because there's already of glut of digitizers fighting for every job. So what do you do? Stay after hours ('cause digitizers normally work at night) and see if one of the digitizers for the show you work on will let you shadow them and kinda teach you the ropes. So now you have some 'unofficial' digitizing experience which means you can probably talk your way into a crappy, bottom-of-the-barrel type digitizing gig. But after that crappy gig you get a better gig, and a better gig until you've had enough digitizing gigs that you want to make the jump up to Assistant Editor. But you don't have any AE experience so no one will hire you as an AE... sound familiar? Well get used to it because this is pretty much how career advancement works in LA. Even once you become an editor it doesn't change. If most what you edit is TV drama you'll have a hard time getting work cutting Reality. If mostly what you edit is documentary you'll have a hard time landing comedy feature film. I know editors who are very successful in Reality TV and they've gone back to being assistant editors for dramas because they want to change career paths and have to take a 'step down' in order to get their foot in the door.

    Oh, and it helps to think of things like these a challenges and not obstacles. :p

    Lethal
     
  20. bigbossbmb macrumors 68000

    bigbossbmb

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    #20
    You don't need to go through field production to get into post. I started in the story department before going into post. The sooner you can get jobs with significant projects, the better. Experience with high profile projects (Broadcast Networks) would be valuable no matter what part of the production you end up in.
     
  21. shadowknight123 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #21
    Ah ok good to know!
     
  22. shadowknight123 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 5, 2009
    #22
    Gotcha... Well good to know that its not always like that. It seems though that alot of these jobs pay well to hold a Family afloat pretty nicely up in the Hollywood area??

    What do PA's get payed? I watched this http://beta.thesubstream.com/node/339

    And he said 150 a day? Hes working overtime and only get 150? :eek: That seems a bit shocking.... if its true. Thats almost less then min wage pretty much after a 12 hour day.
     
  23. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    Los Angeles
    #23
    There are defiantly well paying gigs in LA but the bigger the paycheck the bigger the demands of the job. There are gigs ranging from $1k a week to $10k a week out here. Obviously there's a lot more on the lower end than the higher end. You can't do this job for the money though 'cause you'll never make as much as you think you should given how much you put into it and how much it can take out of you.

    PA's get paid sh*t. Welcome to the super-saturated market that is LA. :D Hell, I had a buddy who worked on really low budget films and got $150 a day as a 1st or 2nd AC (He's working on prime time network shows now). I've worked AE gigs for $1000/wk and the week was between 50-70hrs depending how busy we were. When you are fresh outta school in LA you are slummin' it for at least a couple of years which is why I always recommend people to not blow their money on a gear they don't need or a big name diploma that no one will care about because being able to feed, clothe and house yourself when you get to LA or NY is much more important, IMO. It's an adventure. It's like hazing. Everyone who was able to work though it has stories about living in a two bedroom apartment w/two or three other people eating ramen noodles and scouring Craig's List for any type of gig just so they can make rent. I don't know what part of the country you are from but cost of living out here is ridiculous. What would be considered a shack back in the Midwest is probably an $800k+ house in a decent area of LA.

    With all that being said though there's nothing else I'd rather be doing and nowhere else I'd rather be living. LA treats us like b*tches and all we do is say, "Thank you. May I please have another." :D


    Lethal
     
  24. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020

    CaptainChunk

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    #24
    Sound advice from a lot of people here. This isn't an industry for the weak... But I couldn't imagine doing anything else myself.
     
  25. bigbossbmb macrumors 68000

    bigbossbmb

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    #25
    x2 for me

    I'm not on the higher-end AE gigs yet, but I like where I am (and how far I've come in the last 2 years). I know I'm one of the luckier ones and most people don't get decent gigs starting out (although I had two awful *AWFUL* jobs from CL at first).

    If you stick with it, it is definitely a fun industry to be a part of. I especially like the perks of screenings/events around LA. Going to see The Goods at Paramount tomorrow.
     

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