To start your career as a film editor, you will need to understand the basics of film editing and get plenty of hands on editing videos using any of the reputed editing software’s and slowly transition yourself into the film editing field with a proper course, try getting contacts with some film personalities or work as a junior technician if need be. With an artful eye and technical skill, the editor painstakingly pores over hours of footage to select the best takes and links them together.
This post will try as much as possible to provide you with a guideline in achieving your dream of becoming an editor.
A GOOD COMPUTER FOR VIDEO EDITING
These days even your smart phone can do some video editing, for serious movie making, you’re going to need to step it up a notch. You need a computer that can handle and process all that gobs of information. You don’t want your computer crashing every few minutes or sitting there locked in the spinning wheel of death every time you make an edit, do you?
The most important things to consider when buying a computer for video editing is the processing power, storage space and screen size.
Here are some basic features to look out when purchasing a computer for video editing.
Here are your basic specs to look for when buying a computer for video editing:
- 8-16 GB RAM memory or as much as you can afford
- 3.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Processor or better
- At least 256 GB hard drive, 7200 RPM.. buy as much as you can afford, you can always add external hard drives
- Graphics card – 512-1GB nVidia Quatro or a Geforce graphics card – For Apple — ATI Radeon HD 5670 graphics with 256-512MB memory (you only really need 512 if gaming)
- Sound card – ASUS motherboard
- Nice size screen – 19-21 inch minimum
- Windows 7, 64bit edition
- 8x SuperDrive (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
- Firewire or Thunderbolt Port
INTERN/ UNDERSTUDY A FILM EDITOR
Unless you have film experience already, you’ll likely have to start at the bottom of the ladder as a PA (Production Assistant), but if you’re a reliably good worker, are willing to pay your dues, and show interest, you can learn a lot on the job and move up fairly quickly. Look for intern ship opportunities at a post production/editing house or a production company. There are a lot of Assistant Editors and Editors who will mentor and advise you and help you advance your career. Just be humble, interested and willing to learn, and you’ll get the dream job you have always wanted.
PRACTICE PRACTICE & MORE PRACTICE!!!
You need to put the knowledge you are acquiring to good use through constant practising. Ways that you might be able to start quickly is offering to edit family videos from birthdays, weddings, anniversary, etc… There may also be interest from small local business, non-profits, speaking engagements.
In your spare time google up videos, download documents, watch movies to broaden your scope and get a better understanding of how film-editing works. Watch movies, study the masters. Look at the list of Award nominees for Best Editing and watch those movies to see why they were nominated. Pay particular attention to the recurring names (Editors as well as directors) and see if you recognize their style.
Online video tutorials & training which are either free or inexpensive compared to a classroom. Software is relatively cheap these days, so there’s no excuse to at least get a trial and dedicate 30 days to learning the program. The artistic aspect comes from watching movies and reading books on film-making: “In the blink of an eye” and “The Conversations” (Walter Murch), Making Movies (Sydney Lumet), and a host of others easily found on Google.
JOIN THE UNION/ EDITORS GUILD OF NIGERIA.
Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) is one of the recognised association of editors in Nigeria. You get to meet other editors, gain from their experience, share challenges, get recommendation and also fight for the common good of the union. It’s a great way to network and foster advancing of your career as an Editor.
PROMOTE YOUR WORK
Advertise your availability to short film-makers. Cut lots of their films for free. Make a show reel of your work (examples of your editing – could be from your own projects, your friends movies, indie flicks that hired you, etc). Pitch to edit pop promos and corporate videos. You’ll get offered money on one of these gigs. It’s also worth mentioning that most feature film jobs are obtained through networking and word-of-mouth.
This job is best suited to someone who doesn’t mind working in solitary confinement. Most of the editor’s day is spent in a small, dark room. The hours are long and toiling over months of footage can be a tedious process—but the reward of seeing your finished product on the screen is worth it.
Once you’ve got your skills to a point that you’re fairly happy with, getting a job / starting to do it professionally is where the fun (and the challenge) begins.
On this front, I’d suggest talking with the people doing it today. This is a good way to get the ‘insider’ insights that will help you organize your attack plan.