While video production may involve location-specific elements where you need to go out to capture visuals and sounds, you can still make it a career where you can work anywhere you want.
Is video production the career for you?
Video Production Careers
In video production, some stick to just one task, while others do several things, or even do all the jobs to take a video from start to finish. Here are a few video-related jobs:
Producer: Video businesses vary in the area of production based on the type of videos they create and the topics they cover. Producers may specialize in one or several different types of video. The title “producer” has many meanings, but a producer often oversees the entire video production process.
Post-production: Folks in post-production work with existing video to enhance it, edit it and add to it. These tasks could involve animation, audio, voice-overs, DVD menus, music and graphics.
Editor: Editors compile audio and video to create the final product that meets project requirements. “The editor is much like a cook. We take raw ingredients and combine them artfully into a video that meets the clients’ goals,” says Ed McNichol of EDcetera.
How to Qualify
Video producers and editors are a diverse lot when it comes to how they first entered the video business and gained experience. Tim Clark started on Ken Burns’ documentaries in the editing room. Jack Dever, director of post production at PACSAT, literally started on the bottom floor by sweeping in a studio before and after shoots. After that, he climbed to assistant video editor, editor, producer, director and supervisor. Many folks in video started at the bottom and worked into jobs in the field.
Kim Brame, executive producer with creative illusions Productions, took every job available to her after college to build a network and learn the craft. Her coworkers have degrees and training in audio engineering, programming, graphic design and animation.
Steve Mann, owner of MannMade Digital Video, lost his job in the dot-com bust. “Over 50 and no higher degree made me virtually invisible in the collapsed high-tech job market. Since my passion was always photography and more recently videography, doing what I enjoy seemed like the best career move,” Mann says.
Vicky Poole didn’t start at the bottom. Rather, she started in a different job as a secretary working for a post-production company. Her boss gave her opportunities to work with equipment and on smaller projects.
A handful of folks say they received a college degree in mass communications, media, film production or something similar. But these same people say that job experience is what really matters. In terms of gaining skills, many say they just learned how to use the software and practice often. No matter where you are in your video career, everyone has benefited from attending seminars and trade shows. Jeff Davis of JD Savage Productions says, “Do what you love, and never stop learning new stuff.”
“There is a balance of technical aptitude and creativity,” says Tom Hinchey of HincheyStudios LLC. Not only do video producers need to know the technical side of things, but also how to create the message the video must communicate.
A person who knows how to use all the video production equipment and tools doesn’t always have the knowledge and skills to be a full-fledged video producer. “You need to first know how to be a storyteller. This is one of the key components that people don’t understand with video,” says David Spark of Spark Media Solutions.
Video Production Tools
Video production involves a long list of tools. After all, you can’t capture sound and visuals without cameras and microsphones, or put all the footage together to tell a good story without apps.
The following popular tools are a smattering of what the professionals use: Final Cut Pro, Photoshop, HD cameras (especially Sony and Canon), AVID, Adobe Creative Suite, Affect Effects and Premiere. Some also use mics, lighting, DVD authoring and scripting tools. Of course, many use a Mac computer to do their work. They often post their videos on web-based video services like YouTube and Vimeo.
Word-of-mouth and happy current clients rule the roost as the best way to get business. Networking both in person and on social network sites works well. Some do formal marketing or post on craigslist. Video producers create a portfolio for their web sites. “Gone are the days of DVD reels. If a client wants instant access to your portfolio, your website can help you lock in that client instantly,” says Kico Velarde.
Crystal Pyramid Productions’ Patty Mooney not only uses a web site and networks, but also finds clients through the Chamber of Commerce, search engine optimization (SEO) and advertising in online and print directories. Another way to break in the field is to volunteer to get experience and build your portfolio.
Thomas Hoebbel took the old fashioned approach by connecting with organizations that could benefit from his work, and they hired him. Some people like Clint Till of Parc Entertainment, Inc. hand out demo reels on DVD and make cold calls.
Would you consider a video production career?