Video editing involves editing parts of motion footage (Evans 2009). It begins with motion picture film editing, which is followed by the addition of special effects and recordings of sound before the full production process is undertaken. This simply means that raw video footage is put together to produce a smooth running and consecutive motion picture. Apparently, this is a complex process and those who follow this career path need to be very meticulous.
It can be tiring having to learn all those complex processes involved in video editing and therefore, one needs to have a strong passion for this career. A variety of computer soft wares is needed for the process. As such, basic computer knowledge is mandatory. Audio files have to match the motion picture for the whole production to make sense. Acquisition of all this knowledge is done through a degree in film production or fine arts. The success that can be realized by pursuing a career in video editing lies with the passion one has for the work (Goodman 2010). This field was previously flooded with male counterparts due to its electronic background. However, it is estimated that currently about 40% of all video editors in the United States of America are women.
The history of video editing dates back to 1956 when the Ampex VR-1000 was the first soft ware used in video tape recording (Goodman 2010). This was as a result of quest for motion pictures brought about by the invention of network television. Through the years, kinescopes were used to record live events. These are the main producers of the stop and go recording. The year 1957 marked notable developments in the video editing industry. A new kinescope was developed and work prints could be produced.
In 1963, video tape recorders were invented and this offered a cleaner way of manipulating pre-recorded motion picture (Dancyger, 2009). In 1973, the Sony Company improved on the video tape recorders. Non-linear digital editing was developed in the 1980’s which underwent a series of improvements in the 1990’s. In fact, the 1990’s are attributed to the era of the development of video editing especially with improvements in computer technology. New and better machines are now evolving making video editing a dynamic field.
Quantitative research focuses on process and outcome. It can begin from a preconceived hypothesis, which is clarified after in depth research. Inquiry into a real world phenomenon is one way of achieving this as data is not manipulated. Such an inquiry contributes to a deeper understanding of the emerging complexities and concepts of a specified issue (Coleman 2010). Research has been one of the ways of gaining both preconceived ideas and surprisingly self discovered ones.
This paper focuses on video editing as a career path and the pre-requisites of one entering into this career. To be able to study this concept more precisely, I prepared and conducted a face to face interview with one of the experts in this field. Open ended questions were used for this interview as they reduce rigidity. The interview was then recorded for further analysis.
Creativity and passion preclude success in the film editing company (Coleman 2010). Passion is the fuel for one pursuing a career while creativity will aid in solving the day to day problems. Any video should be viewed as a distorted, complex, but digestible piece of data. It is the work of the video editor to make this data simple, relevant and easily digestible to the viewer (Yan,Wang and Kankanhailli, 2009, 298).
Required Education Background. A Bachelor’s Degree in film and video production is the least level of education for a qualified video editor. However, it is possible for one to hold minor positions in this field by obtaining certificates in general video editing. This is a degree that takes about three to four years depending on the country and mode of learning. It involves lectures, practices and student projects (Coleman 2010). The history and development of film production is covered during the course. This is then followed by general knowledge on writing, editing and film production. In the final years, more information is provided on the same. The projects include thesis statements which are written in the form of a narrative.
It is possible for one to advance to a masters’ level in film and video production. One can specialize in different fields such as directing or film production. This narrowing of the field gives a student a chance to fully explore their talent and creativity. Another project is part of this stage in knowledge on video editing where a student produces a thesis statement based on his area of specialty. Given the dynamic nature of this industry, new knowledge keeps evolving in this field (Yan,Wang and Kankanhailli, 2009, 298). A lot of practice and reading will keep a versatile video editor on his toes. This is immensely vital for survival in this industry.
Employment and working Practices. Video editors are employed by the many film producing industries, advertising industries, international news companies such as the British Broadcasting Station (BBC) and local radio and television stations. They play almost similar roles in these industries, but in the advertising industry, they work hand in hand with the public relations manager (Goodman, 2010). In film producing industries, much of the editing is provided for by the director who is aware of his goal. This eases the work of the editor. However, this is not the case in the advertising industry as full creativity of the editor is put into practice. It is an immensely difficult job to convince other people.
The work is even tougher and diverse in a broadcasting station. In some cases, the editor is forced to undertake fieldwork with the rest of the crew. The field can be dangerous especially if the area of interest is full of conflict or involves filming nature. In this case, it is up to the editor to decide the final product and mistakes are indispensable. This is where the editor applies his creativity to produce something interesting that the viewer would deem worthy to watch (Yan,Wang and Kankanhailli, 2009, 308). Video editors spend a lot of time on monitors and computers manipulating data to produce something coherent.
Video editors did not hold any special status in the employment industry. In fact, they were previously seen as entertainers akin to puppeteers of the earlier years. Their importance came to be fully recognized with the development of the television. Schools started training in video editing as recent as the eighteenth century despite this field emanating earlier. Recently, film production is an undergraduate degree found in almost all institutions of higher learning. About 60% of universities in United States of America offer to train students in film production (Goodman, 2010).
The impetus of this increase can be attributed to a renewed passion for films as a source of entertainment. There is also the need for video editors in broadcasting companies where the production of competitive shows will ensure advantage over competitors. Competition in the manufacturing and consumer industries has equally contributed to the increasing need for video editors in advertising companies (Dancyger, 2009).
Technology, its development and availability are some of the fueling factors that have also contributed to the growth of video editing. As such, there is an increase in the enrollment of young minds into this field. About 9.75% of all students in chief universities in the United States of America are pursuing a course in the film industry.
The working practices of a video editor are not static. As expected in any industry that deals with electronics, emerging knowledge is a part of this industry. Statistics and research have shown that in most developed countries, video editors comprise 13% of the work force. There is also an 11% increase in the demand for video editors in Britain and Germany. Experience and training determine the pay of such editors. A well trained and well experienced editor employed in a medium sized film industry earns about $42,939 per year. This is for a video editor in United States with an undergraduate degree and about four years experience. The same editor in the same country employed in a big film industry can earn up to twice that amount. In other countries like Germany, the pay is a much less, but has innumerable benefits.
The role played by a video editor is to combine raw footage together into a whole. The whole footage is supposed to communicate a clear and unequivocal message to the viewer without distorting the message. Virtually all footage requires editing including some live shows. The process occurs in levels which can be summarized as follows; the first step is to copy the footage in a tape or disk depending on the nature of the machinery being used. This footage is what provides raw data (Evans, 2009).
The raw data is then organized in an alphabetical or numerical manner. One of the main roles of a video editor is to assemble the raw footage, which is the next step. The editor and the director meet to discuss the composition of the final work. The editor arranges the raw footage into a coherent story as per the discussion with the editor. The editor’s story will be much longer than the required time. There will be a second meeting with the director to reduce the final work to the desired length and this is part of the post production process. The footage is then said to be completely trans-coded that it can communicate a complete story. The final work can then be archived or distributed. A junior editor is responsible for some of these activities under the supervision of a senior editor (Evans, 2009).
Nevertheless, it is noteworthy to point out that different types of editing do exist and this will determine the time taken for the editing to be finalized. The invention of the computer led to the development of offline editing which has overtaken the previous style of editing known as online editing (Evans, 2009). Offline editing can be done without the interference of film stock and online editing is done after offline editing. It ensures that the film meets its time limit.
Previously, raw footage was collected, selected arranged and modified using some predetermined sequence. These were used in stop and go motion pictures and are known as linear video editing (Wells, 2009, 79). Manual application was paramount for this nature of editing. The editor knew what he expected and unified all his efforts to achieve his goals. Currently, with the invention of computers has allowed the use of non-linear editing system. In fact, the whole process is done by a computer using random methods. Raw footage is fed into the computer which then sorts all the information and arranges it in a logical sequence. Specific soft wares are required for this process.
Being an industry that was initially dedicated to film production, various film industries are the main supporting organizations of video editing. In fact, some of the organizations even go to the extent of offering scholarships in degrees in the same course. Since video editing was not an expansive field, it came a time when video editors were in such demand that film industries started sponsoring such programs in universities. A typical example of this is the Grand Canyon University whose bachelor program in film production was first initiated by a major film industry (Wells, 2009).
Grants and loans are also offered by banks to universities aiming to develop a faculty in film production. Even though this may not be stated specifically, it is an indirect support to this cause. Through their charity programs, some advertising companies have helped in the development of this industry. Such companies offer employment and internship programs which are important for the growth of video editing (Yan, Wang, and Kankanhailli, 2009, 276).
The lifestyle of a video editor depends on the level of experience and training (Dancyger 2009). The higher the training and experience, a video editor acquires the higher the pay hence a lavish the lifestyle. Some of the editors are promoted very quickly to the position of directors and they are able to live a better lifestyle. Comparing video editing and other professions reveal that video editors live a better life that those in professions like teaching and architecture (Wells, 2009, 79). This is only in the United States of America, but the situation is different in countries like Nigeria where the film industry is now evolving. A video editor may not be able to live a better life than those in other established professions such as teaching.