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Old May 1st, 2005, 04:03 PM   #1
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If I wanted to become a professional editor...

Hey guys,

If I wanted to become a professional editor what program would I have to learn and become certified in? Right now it sounds like AVID but at the same time it seems like Avid is slowly going out the door because of it's lack to cater to the everyman (mind you FCP doesn't exactly do that but it seems much more attainable to users that want to move up the ladder than Avid (but that might just be my personal observation))

I ask this because right now I'm a first year university student looking at getting heavy into editing, and I want whatever I invest the time to learn to be something a can grow with and become certified in so that way one day I can do it for money. I'm afriad of buying Avid and then having it overthrown by some other NLE leaving me with no work because they don't give a damn if I used the old standard. I need to learn something that will ensure me jobs in the future and the praise between Vegas, Priemeir, Avid, and Final Cut Pro seems so close in contest. I'm not asking about personal opinion over what is better here I need to know what to learn to get JOBS in the future.

Also the platform I'm using is irrelevant too because I'm planning on buying a new computer soon anyways and will buy whatever I need to based on the program.

One last thing, once the program I should learn has been determined can someone tell me what level to learn(because they're all available in so many different versions)? And where I can go to get certifiation or trainning?

Please help me out guys.

Note: I asked this in both forums to get the views of both mac and pc users.
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Old May 1st, 2005, 04:23 PM   #2
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I suppose the main question is, what will you edit? If you are doing broadcast stuff, using Avid would be the smart choice. If you plan on film, FCP is a good choice. If you are only editing your own stuff, weddings or events, use whatever you want... it don't matter.

As much as it really pains me to say this, you might want to go Mac... *gag* It can handle either program. Platform will also play a big part in your final decision.
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Old May 1st, 2005, 06:16 PM   #3
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Avid is the industry standard for film and broadcast. More than 90% of films and TV shows are cut on Avid.

Final Cut Pro is fast supplanting avid in the 'indy' world of add agencies and boutique shops. IT gives great bang for the buck. But it will NOT supplant Avid in the next five years. I doubt it's market share will even reach 50% of Films and Television suites.

Having said that... There are more 'independent' jobs, than industry jobs. It's not what you cut on, it's how well you cut.

The more you CAN do, the more you will do. Learn both. Get 'certified' in both, and get as much experience as you can in both. Buy whatever you can afford and cut everything you can.

When you master one NLE, it's a matter of learning where the buttons are on the other one.
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Old May 1st, 2005, 07:59 PM   #4
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As has already been said, if you want to edit for TV or films, AVID is your best bet. Despite FCP's popularity, AVID is still the industry standard.
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Old May 1st, 2005, 08:29 PM   #5
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I got my job because I know Final Cut. My employer had just switched from a Premier/Digisuite setup to a Final Cut setup. He has a heavy broadcast background as well.

I also agree that once you learn to edit well, it's just a matter of learning the interface and tricks unique to any given NLE.

One more thing, since we have become a Mac shop, we don't have to worry about the hardware any more. OS X is solid and Mac hardware is well built.
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Old May 1st, 2005, 11:21 PM   #6
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All of the really hot edit gurus that I know, made their reputations on what they cut, not on being gearheads. Most have worked on Discreet Logic, Avid, FCP, and a few other systems at some point in their career. If your a super good editor in one, cross training into another is pretty much figuring out how to make the new, unfamiliar one do what you want it to do. I hardly hear ever hear one bragging up a particular system. Usually (not always) when someone is all about the equipment, and bases there marketability on such, it means they don't have much to show. If I was looking to hire you as an editor, the first question is pretty much "What have you done lately, and can I see it?" not " Uh hey, are you certified to run a Jujingsto Blastocut?"
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Old May 2nd, 2005, 12:09 AM   #7
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From what I've gathered talking to people:

A- Traditionally, the way to get a full-time job editing is to work your way up from entry-level positions. Intern at a editing / post production shop, make friends with the people there (because they'll be more likely to teach you stuff), and while working there you'll pick up experience about what happens. In the off-hours, it's a good idea to practice on their machines (with permission of course).

I don't think all that much has changed, except there's a flood of people with Final Cut Pro who think they can edit. If they make a living off it I suppose they are professional.

B- If you want to work freelance, then a lot of guys get their jobs from people they've worked with before (i.e. while at their salary job they had). Sometimes you get jobs through sending people your demo reel and a producer likes your reel (out of a huge bunch of reels).

If you want to work salary, then at most places you work your way up from (intern --> ) assistant editor --> editor.

C- Credentials and a degree may help you land an entry-level position.
Certain certifications may be good if the employer values them. i.e. credentials showing you can do tech support for avid/final cut would be good as it shows you would be a good candidate for an assistant editor job.

Avid/Final Cut experience would definitely be an asset for landing an assistant editor job. Which system depends on what they use. It's like 75% Avid, 25% Final Cut, 1% percent everything else (Discreet, Premiere, Media 100, DPS Velocity). Yes I know that doesn't add up.

D- If you find your own clients, then the system you use may not be that important (and the above may not even apply). I'm guessing most people don't know to ask for Avid, or the difference between Avid Xpress and the ones that cost a lot more.


If you want to learn editing (and work for someone else or freelance), in particular order:
A- Try to get an internship if you can. Networking is probably the best way to get one... I would definitely check out users groups for all the NLEs.
B- Learn the button pushing stuff. If you get an internship, learn on their systems because they have decks and scopes and stuff. In a small shop, they may not have that stuff but then you'd probably be more hands-on.
It's usually good to have your own editing system at home though so you can work on your own stuff even if you don't intern anymore.
Avid and Final Cut would probably be the best to learn.
If you want to work for yourself, it may not matter that much which system you use. Like if you do weddings, no one will care.
C- Also learn Photoshop and compositing (after effects, combustion, or built-in features). If you look at the infomercials on TV, you should be able to do most of the easy graphics stuff. Because nowadays, the editor will probably be doing most of that graphics stuff (if you work doing infomercials). Like-wise in commercials, look at the graphics work in them and be sure you can do the easy stuff. The hard stuff gets outsourced.
D- Like-wise, it's a good idea to learn audio. For industrial videos, you'll likely be handling the audio. Jay Rose's book Audio Postproduction for Digital Video contains good information on this (possibly more than you need to know about this stuff).
E- Learn how to work with people- this can make or break you. Unfortunately most people don't see this as something that can be taught and few educational institutions try to teach this. You are kind of expected to absorb this while interning/working your way up.
Personally I think there are people skills that can be taught. For example, getting people to like you. Go to the library and borrow Robert Cialdini's book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. There are other skills for working with people like not offending people, reading what the client wants, figuring out how much they are willing (or want) to spend (to quote/bill accordingly), increasing your credibility, increasing client satisfaction, reading your client to see if they give you credibility, etc.
F- Learn the art of editing. For commercials, it's learning how to tell a story. This can be more important than the button pushing stuff (learning how to operate an Avid for example).
G- Learn the technical stuff such as making a proper broadcast master, putting in 2-pops if exporting audio for audio post, etc.
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Old May 2nd, 2005, 04:24 AM   #8
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Check out this excellent thread (from the past):

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=738
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Old May 2nd, 2005, 11:38 AM   #9
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Thanks a lot for the info Glen, Rob and everyone else. I'll learn either FCP or avid and then learn how to "be a good editor" in the non technical sense.

Jason Brunner at my age believe it or not what I can cut on would be important at two crucial times:

1. When applying for the internship: Since they're taking interns with no experience or real background being able cut on at least one of the two current standards with certification would definetly put me ahead of other people applying for the same internship.

2. When applying to graduate school: They want a list of skills you have as well as experience and if I'm already firmiliar or completely qualified with their systems and that'll give me a leg up.

Neither of them want to see my experience list say:
"Experience: I use Premeire Elements on my spare time, I'm pretty good at it"

I just wanted to know what to buy for the long haul that's all, now I know to either buy Avid Xpress Pro or Final Cut Pro, now that I know I can work on my technique as a storyteller.
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Old May 2nd, 2005, 12:33 PM   #10
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To be clear, the reason I mentioned AVID is because it is still the industry standard for Film and national television. But, if you're just talking about working as an editor in your market, it would be a good idea to do a little reasearch and try to find out what most of the production houses and television stations in your market are using. In my case (i work as a freelance editor), my NLE has never really been an issue as I don't have to integrate into anyone elses workflow.

In the past 5 years I've lost 1 job because I don't cut on FCP.
On the flip side, I got 1 job because I use AVID.

Granted, I never would have gotten either job if I didn't know how to edit (and I'm talking craft here, not program familiarity). In fact I'm seriously considering switching over to FCP sometime this year, only because a few of my friends who I work on projects with sometimes are all on FCP, and it would make integration on those projects easier.

So, the NLE is not that big of an issue if you're talking about staying in your local market and trying to do freelance work. Most of my work starts and ends with me, so my clients could care less what I cut on as long as the final project is good. Now if you plan on working as a subcontractor for other post houses, it would be good to find out what they use. Odds are most of the post houses in your area are either using AVID or FCP.

As far as certification goes, I don't know that it's all that important.
I've never been 'certified' on any NLE, and no client has ever asked me if I have any certification. Generally you reel with show someone what you are capable of.
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Old May 2nd, 2005, 12:49 PM   #11
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Just to echo Luis' response. "Certification" is nice, but the reel is more important. And again, the more you CAN do, the more you will do. I know plenty of AVID editors, who round out their training with FCP, so they can do 'small' jobs on the side. I own and cut on an Xpress pro system, went and took "authorized Avid training" at BAVC, (which was vey good and very thoruough, and very expensive,) but I doubt Ill bother to jump through the certification hoops. And I do plan on taking a course in FCP, because it's good to be 'fluent' in more than one language.

Good luck.
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Old May 3rd, 2005, 11:13 PM   #12
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Evan,
I think you may have taken what I wrote a little bit the wrong way, so I apoligise for not clear.

All of the advice in this thread is good, relevant information. I was simply trying to communicate that as a professional editor, a reel and credit list is criterea that is the most valuable. I was not considering graduate school, internships, etc.

So anyway, best of luck, and let us know what you choose, and how it works out for you.
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Old May 4th, 2005, 06:29 AM   #13
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There are hundreds of editing jobs posted every week at Mandy.com. Go there, and see what they want. A reel is as important as skill. If you don't have both, you won't have a job.
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Old May 4th, 2005, 06:20 PM   #14
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I've found a place that will give me a good student price on avid xpress pro so it looks like I'll be going with that. That way when I get a new computer in a couple of weeks I can go with either pc or mac depending on what I feel like getting. Thanks a lot guys, once I get xpress pro I'll concentrate on the art of editing.
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Old May 20th, 2005, 09:16 PM   #15
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A wise man once said "A chisel is a tool, the scultpure is the art". That said...I am a little surprised to see Premiere Pro held is such lowly regard. I am currently editing a feature length film (a B Horror from the producer of Vamps 1 & 2) shot in 24p with the XL2, full production crew..the works. When I met with some of the ADs and told them i edit with Premiere...there was a collective smirk. Me, not being afraid to assert myself....basically fronted them out on why they think Avid or FCP would be a better choice. The only answers I got were derogatory towards Adobe(and completely baseless) I got answers ranging from "Can Premiere handle 24p?" to "It renders too slow and there is no color correction or any other high-end features." When asked the last time they saw or used Premiere..the most recent was 5 years ago!!! All features they thought Premiere didnt have are currently included(in most cases always were, they are just ignorant). Color correction? Hah..realtime baby...no rendering(with a Matrox card that was cheaper than Final Cut Pro and was bundled with the full Adobe Premiere Suite including DVD Encore and Audition). Also...HD is now available with the newest free update. Premiere has all the scopes, output options, 3rd party support, and will pretty much run on any PC...but not Mac(not past 6.5). I believe it is much more intuitive, and allows for more creative expression than any other NLE. I produced an entire season of a TV show on UPN(local), and a collegue is oin his 115th show, covered the Puff Daddy tour, and edited his first feature length film...and he uses Premiere 6.5!!!
Avid is very linear...chock full of nested menus, and very a spartan interface. Vegas is good, a bit over simplified, but feature rich with excellent output and audio capabilities. Edius and Liquid are both feature rich...but are geared towards niche markets with proprietary
So what does this mean for a student? I say use them all, at least once...one will grab you...go with that one..and forget the nay sayers. Art is within you..not in a bundle of code running in a box of expensive pieces.
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