Fundamental Flaw in the Profession of Video Editing

There’s a fundamental flaw in the profession of video editing.

When a carpenter goes to work they have their tools – a hammer, a saw, a drill, a screwdriver and a pickup truck filled with a hundred other tools. Each tool has it own job and does it’s own little thing when the carpenter is building something. Every once in awhile a new tool will come around that’ll make things easier for the carpenter. He or she can decide whether or not to learn how to use that tool and whether it should be added to their tool belt.

Editors face a similar situation except that the growth of new tools is out of control. Don’t get me wrong; this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Anything that’ll make our lives easier as editors is awesome. However there’s a point where we physically cannot keep up with the rate of new tools available to us. Then we get docked for not knowing this one random piece of software and might lose out on a job or gig over it.

Let me try to make myself a little clearer. You cannot learn everything about every piece of software, plug-in, codec, camera or anything else you encounter on the job. You can’t. And if you do or think you can, 1) you’re lying and 2) you will have no friends or family left that wants to speak to you when you finally pop your head out of the dark edit bay and when that happens is it really worth it??

Part of what I try to do on this site is to explain the key concepts of video editing and its software in order to get your edits completed faster and better. It’s tough, man. You need someone on your side helping you out and that’s what I’m here to do.

You cannot learn everything about every piece of software, plug-in, codec, camera or anything else you encounter on the job.

I edit using a handful of different applications – Media Composer, After Effects, Photoshop, Camtasia and Squeeze. I can do just about gosh darn anything with those five tools resting in my tool belt. When I miss out on a gig because I like to do my color correction in Media Composer instead of Resolve it upsets me. Color correction is color correction and if I can get the same result why does it matter what tool I use? Something like this happened to me recently which is probably what spurred the idea to write this piece.

We can’t learn everything. I have plans to pick up Premiere in the coming months. It is not because I want to learn it. It’s to make me a more viable candidate for freelance jobs. I don’t need it to be an editor. I’m already an editor. My tool belt doesn’t need any more tools. You and I both have to be conscious that the more tools we try to shove into our belts the less room there is for the tools we already have. And it’s quite possible we won’t use those tools as well anymore. This is a difficult scenario for us editors.

You have to make these tough decisions about what to learn, what to get skilled with and what you want to do with that knowledge. I’ll do my best to bring you the tips and insight on these topics. You just keep growing and becoming a more and more skilled video editor. Deal?

– Josh