Market too saturated for video editing?

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    • #43299

      Hey Everyone,

      This is my first post, but I’ve been reading through the other threads and I appreciate all the info here. I’ve been doing video editing for a while now and I’ve been wanting to go to the next level (so to speak) and turn it into something that will generate some sort of income.

      I do everything from wedding edits, to home video edits, to music videos, to…well, you guys edit and do the same thing, so you know what I’m talking about. My question is this, which way is the video editing market going? Is it becoming less of a business opportunity because so many more people are uploading videos and doing their own thing (more so than even 5 years ago), or is it becoming more lucrative because more people are shooting video today than ever before?

      I still have a lot of research to do, but I wanted to get a feel from you guys on how you saw the market of a video editing business that specializes in the type of small jobs that I have listed above.

      Thank you and I look forward to talking to you guys further!

    • #181600

      Hi DMC

      Yes agreed. I only do amateur stuff, but the editing sofware is so user friendly now, that young kids are editing now. My son aged 13 does full edits for school projects.

      I think the big difference is that you very quickly see the difference between a good editor and a novice.



    • #181601

      In my opinion, not many people are looking for a video editor anymore. They are looking for a Producer/Shooter/Video Editor/Motion Graphics Artist/DVD Author/Web Encoder/Problem Solver.

      It won’t be long before Colorist, Audio Editor, and 3D Modeler are added to that list.

      The days of doing little and getting paid a lot are over. Fortunately, it isn’t doing a lot to get paid a little. You can still get paid a lot.

    • #181602

      The work exists, but you’d have to be good, fast and affordable to get much of it. To make the REAL money you’d have to be part of the group that gets called in by the big production houses when they have a project startup going. You might, over time and with much effort, be able to get something going with a group of select shooters/producers who have honed their business model into a fine production machine and do maintain the practice of a modular operation where each of the talents and abilities pointed out by Rob are separate, but that situation, as he noted, is dwindling.

      It’s not so much, however, that the market is “saturated” with editors, but that technology has shrunk the market IMHO.

      In my operation, for example, I do not have the volume nor sustain the rates, and have too high of an overhead, to be able to hire outside editing or other skills. I am that multitasking individual to whom Rob refers. This isn’t ALL the time, I do occasionally job out the shooting, the editing, or have to build a team for a major project with seriously tight deadlines that I simply cannot physically hold up to those 24/7 production workathons.

      So, yes, on occasion I hire an editor, for example. I have plenty to pick from and have found some favorites, and get contacts on a weekly basis from shooters or editors seeking work or employment. The BIGGEST problem I run into when outsourcing is lack of experience, lack of quality, overpricing for the service quality or production I DO get …

      I cannot get ANY editor to LISTEN to me, follow my dictates or do what I request without often giving me misery over the project, arguing with me, trying to make points about I “ought to do this, or that” when I KNOW what I want and have agreed to pay a specific price for it. That kind of attitude doesn’t work for me. So, I don’t GO THERE unless I KNOW I have someone not only affordable (reasonable rates, I don’t expect the best for grocery sacker rates) experienced and capable, but also someone who realizes I’m not looking for someone to create a masterpiece for me, only to accomplish what I’ve assigned and listen to and adhere to my guidelines for doing it.

      IMHO, and I’ve tried it during lean times, editing for independents is a tough market and largely grossly underpaid and under appreciated. But there’s two sides to the equation and I simply don’t see it working in the arena of the independent producer or the general service-oriented consumer community.

    • #181603

      Great perspective Earl.

      I outsource the editing and graphics part of my projects quite frequently so here’s a quick tutorial on what it takes to be successful working for a guy like me.

      1. The editor must be willing to work for an average of $30 to $35 per hour. I don’t pay by the hour, only by the project but that is what the per hour usually works out to be.

      2. The editor must have all the same software I do so I can pick up where they left off with future re-edits, etc. and so that I have masters and project files for everything.

      3. The editor must have a good high-speed internet connection so they can upload/download huge video files without wasting half a day due to bandwidth restrictions. If a client needs a last minute change made to a project, the editor has to be able to make the change and upload it to me in as little as an hour or two. Speed is key.

      4. The editor must be responsive at all times. Deadlines can be intense and if I need to speak with you at 8am to discuss strategies for getting a project completed on time, I don’t want to chase you all morning just to have that conversation. Answer your phone or email immediately so I can handle that piece of business, then move on to other things. I like to have conversations early in the morning then leave you to work all day. Then, I’ll check back in around 4pm to see if there is anything you need from me before I quit for the day. It’s frustrating when you work as long and as hard as I do to get a phone call at 10pm on a week day from an editor who wasn’t available to talk during normal business hours.

      5. The editor must be able to read the instructions I give in an EDL (edit decision list) and be able to add their own touch to my notes.

      6. The editor must realize at all times that this is my project, my client and my risk. If the project fails, I fail. What I say goes. I’ll entertain ideas but when I say “let’s just execute the plan” it’s best to just execute the plan instead of wasting time brainstorming creative concepts. Time is money and I don’t have a lot of patience for conversations that don’t move projects forward.

      Even though it seems like I’d be hard to work for, I’m not. Many of my editors say that I’m the most organized producer they’ve worked with. My scripts are tight, the EDLs are color coded with what elements are video/photos, graphics, music, interview bytes, etc. so it makes the editing process very efficient. Plus, in most cases, I pay well before 30 days after the project is complete. I once was a freelance editor myself so I understand how important it is to get that cash moving quickly!

      With all that being said, yes the market for freelance editing has shrunk. However, I believe that if you market yourself better than others, you will get your share of the projects. I’d start by forming relationships with other local production companies and producers. Get a feel for what their needs are and find ways to make their projects better, more profitable, etc. Explain how by hiring you to handle their edits, they can have an additional 20 hours a week to get out and promote their business, etc.

      If they charge $100 an hour and pay you $30 an hour to do the work, they are making $70 an hour off of your efforts and they now have plenty of time to generate more business. You want them to generate more business because it offers more editing work for you. It’s really a win/win. It costs money to run a business, pay for marketing, etc. so don’t feel like the producer is getting rich off you. Odds are good that when it’s all said and done, they are only making the same per hour on that project as you are. They are just able to manage a lot of projects at the same time because people like you are making it possible.

      Good luck!


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