By Zack Arnold As a Hollywood feature film, trailer, and television editor of 20 years…
Video is everywhere — and that means more jobs for skilled video editors.
No longer is video confined to traditional sources like television and movies. Now, you can view video content on your computer, your phone, an airplane, at the mall, on electronic billboards, while pumping gas —did I miss anything? Probably.
All the new video content that’s being created needs to be edited and the bar has never been higher for the level of quality an editor needs to deliver. Now more than ever, there are big opportunities available for talented editors with professional skills.
Let’s take a look at some of the facts.
Video on the Web
Broadband internet has opened the door for video content to become a viable means of communication, expression, advertising and art. YouTube alone now reports that 100 hours of video are uploaded every minute and over 6 billion hours of video are watched each month on the site.
These are incredible numbers — and that’s just one website.
Video advertising is all over the web, from banner video ads to product pitches. Each of those videos needs to be edited. And at the cost companies are paying for the ad space, they better not suck.
Video on Television
Television editing is also raising the bar.
Many TV series now rival the production value of Hollywood films. Shows such as Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, Person of Interest and countless others are so well-filmed and edited that it’s a miracle they’re still profitable.
Well-known directors such Martin Scorsese (Boardwalk Empire), J.J. Abrams (Almost Human) and Ridley Scott (Klondike) are bridging the gap between film and television, elevating viewer expectations and standards across the board. And it’s not only famous Hollywood directors who are pushing the envelope.
Webisodes are also taking the Internet by storm. With the ability to write, film, edit and upload anything you can dream up for the world to see, thousands of extremely-talent rising stars are pushing massive amounts of quality content onto the web on a daily basis. Some of the work I’m coming across is very impressive, to say the least.
Video In Growing Film Industries
The international film industry is also growing at a rapid pace. Many countries are experiences huge growth in box office sales, requiring more highly-trained, professional editors than ever before.
The BRIC nations — Brazil, Russia, India and China — continue to expand their already substantial film markets. China alone is already a multi-billion dollar film industry, and it shows no sign of slowing down.
Additionally, growing film communities are appearing in the following countries:
- South Africa
- South Korea
So what’s this all have to do with editing?
Now more than ever, there is a massive demand for editors who can do justice to the caliber of film and television being produced by talented writers and directors — and there’s a LOT more of it.
Video editing is a quickly-growing field…without a good educational support system.
Film Schools Do Not Teach Editing
Video editing can actually be taught relatively quickly. The problem is that no one’s really teaching it. It used to be that the skill of editing was passed down through mentor/protege relationships. This isn’t the case anymore. Perhaps it was the switch from film to digital editing, which tightened deadlines and demanded quicker turn-arounds. Maybe this has left experienced editors less time to discuss the craft with those looking to learn?
I really don’t know.
Ultimately, all that matters is that things have changed. Editors and filmmakers aren’t getting the editing training they need — and it’s a problem.
“The craft of editing that was passed on from generation to generation through a process of apprenticeship is rapidly becoming lost…
…many film schools have now dropped editing completely from their curriculum in favor of teaching the complexities of the latest operating systems which increasingly resemble battleships.”
– Alan Collins
Every year, school’s are focusing less on teaching editing skills. Instead they are choosing to spend their time training students in software, which is an extremely poor use of time and money in an academic setting.
They also tend to focus on lofty editing theory, without teaching the actionable techniques used to implement the theory during the cutting process. For example, I don’t want to just learn the general theory of pacing — I want to see how to how apply it when cutting a fight scene, a car chase, a joke, a suspenseful moment — you get the point. Theory is most useful when taught in the context of real-world editing scenarios.
Walter Murch, the talented and well-spoken film editor, promoted an editing education that was:
“…free of the fog of theory that can settle over academic situations.”
– Walter Murch
What’s worse is that filmmakers and editors looking to improve their skills are forced to pay extremely high prices for these courses that aren’t even teaching them the techniques they need to really perform at a high level. No matter how “advanced” the course, most still only convey very basic skills compared to what will be required in a real job environment.
And guess what else — traditional schools are expensive.
Take at look at some of the prices for just a SINGLE CLASS at a brick and mortar film school. Why would anyone choose to take one of these courses when they could get more value out of a $25 book and a some downloadable software tutorials?
It gets worse.
Check out some of these outrageous prices for film degrees. Not only are these programs extremely expensive, they are also very basic. The degree programs are great for teaching the filmmaking process, group collaboration skills and high-end equipment usage, which is no-doubt valuable. However, the editing training itself is often very much neglected — sometimes to such an extent that all the hard work put into the pre-production and production phase of a student film can be ruined when the final piece is cut together in a sub-par, amateur way.
Video editing is an important skill that deserves to be thoroughly taught — and for far less than $131,000.
As we work to bring quality video editing training to you guys, we’d like to know what topics most interest you. Are there certain video editing techniques you’d like to learn more about? Was your film school education missing anything?
Let us know in the comments below!
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