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What it takes to become a digital image technician


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#1 Daniel J. Ashley-Smith

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Posted 13 July 2005 - 12:11 PM

At the moment I'm interested in all aspects of film making (apart from being a P.A...)

So, what exactly does it take to get a job doing digital editing?

I mean, David Cox, what exactly would it take me to get a job at Baraka Studios?
Oh and btw, a little personal question, do you know another post-production company on Greek street called "Pandora" or something? I have a friend doing work experience there at the moment, at first I thought it was Baraka when she said on Greek Street.

Thing is, I do a little digital editing, mainly to photographs, and err.. I now realise that being a good DIT isn't about prettying the picture it's putting the directors vision into it.

Tnx for any suggestions. Just really want a job in the film industry, and working for a company means it's a secure job and plus I have experience in that field anyway.

Tnx,
Dan.
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#2 drew_town

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Posted 13 July 2005 - 12:50 PM

To be versitle in the editing world you need to be well versed in both Avid and Final Cut Pro. And it's not enough to just be able to edit. There needs to be some creativity, functionality, and problem solving ability in your editing. It's been my experience that it's a lot easier to get a job as an editor than say a videographer. There's just more of a demand it seems for editors (in the US at least). Just as most positions in this industry, you start low and work your way up. If you're going to work with movies you might get away with just knowing and editing program like Final Cut or Avid, but if you're working under contract you need many more software solutions: After Effects, Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash, Director, Motion, Shake, and sometimes even a 3D program like Lightwave or 3D Studio Max. I use most of these at my current job which is still near the bottom of the totem pole. Good luck.
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#3 Michael Most

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Posted 13 July 2005 - 01:13 PM

Tnx for any suggestions. Just really want a job in the film industry, and working for a company means it's a secure job and plus I have experience in that field anyway.


There is no such thing as a secure job, especially in the film industry. Working for a company usually means that you're doing a slightly longer freelance gig.

If it's security you're after in your life, the film industry is probably the worst industry on the planet to aspire to, especially the production end.
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#4 Keith Mottram

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Posted 13 July 2005 - 02:06 PM

At the moment I'm interested in all aspects of film making (apart from being a P.A...)

So, what exactly does it take to get a job doing digital editing?

I mean, David Cox, what exactly would it take me to get a job at Baraka Studios?
Oh and btw, a little personal question, do you know another post-production company on Greek street called "Pandora" or something? I have a friend doing work experience there at the moment, at first I thought it was Baraka when she said on Greek Street.

Thing is, I do a little digital editing, mainly to photographs, and err.. I now realise that being a good DIT isn't about prettying the picture it's putting the directors vision into it.

Tnx for any suggestions. Just really want a job in the film industry, and working for a company means it's a secure job and plus I have experience in that field anyway.

Tnx,
Dan.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


When you say digital editor what do you exactly mean? You talk about editing photographs so I assume you mean retouching- in which case the closest film 'job' is compositing. If this is the case you'll need to either start at the bottom as a runner in a post house, or do a gazillion freebees on bad projects and build up a reel, or consider going to college. There are a number of good courses at the moment ( I believe Bournmouth does a computer graphics course, NFTS has short causes, check out all the major art schools) and they can be quite usefull in giving you a leg up. Oh and by the way Greek street and the surounding area (SOHO) have hundreds of production companies and post production fascilitys.

Keith
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#5 Tim J Durham

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Posted 13 July 2005 - 03:31 PM

At the moment I'm interested in all aspects of film making (apart from being a P.A...)

So, what exactly does it take to get a job doing digital editing?

Tnx,
Dan.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

"Digital Image Tech" and "Editor" are two entirely different lines of work. The former being the person who tweaks video cameras in the field while the latter is someone who...edits.
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#6 Daniel J. Ashley-Smith

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Posted 13 July 2005 - 03:43 PM

  There's just more of a demand it seems for editors

Precisely why I want to be one, becoming a DP or videographer just seems, out of my reach. And besides.. who wants to be an.. "editor".. ?? Theres no glory. But me, I'm not interested in the glory, just making films.

There is no such thing as a secure job, especially in the film industry. Working for a company usually means that you're doing a slightly longer freelance gig.

If it's security you're after in your life, the film industry is probably the worst industry on the planet to aspire to, especially the production end.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Well, it's a lot more secure than being a DP. And I couldn't stand a mediocre job. So.. I suppose I'm screwed either way.

When you say digital editor what do you exactly mean? You talk about editing photographs so I assume you mean retouching- in which case the closest film 'job' is compositing. If this is the case you'll need to either start at the bottom as a runner in a post house, or do a gazillion freebees on bad projects and build up a reel, or consider going to college. There are a number of good courses at the moment ( I believe Bournmouth does a computer graphics course, NFTS has short causes, check out all the major art schools) and they can be quite usefull in giving you a leg up. Oh and by the way Greek street and the surounding area (SOHO) have hundreds of production companies and post production fascilitys.

Bascially I've had a bit of experience in photoshop, I've been doing photo restorations for some time now and also editing my own photographs.

Posted Image
Into:
Posted Image

Or, if you're talking about telling a story -
Posted Image
Into:
Posted Image

I think my biggest problem would be knowing how it would come out on different formats, i.e. 35mm. I wouldn't have a CLUE.

Making colour corrections e.t.c. for video productions just seems like a good way of getting work, I mean, I could start out advertising video colour correction services, working just for the showreel and experience for now. I mean, there aren't too many of them hanging around shootingpeople.org! Of course there ARE lots of colour correctors, but only in the professional league, people who expect to be paid. I can work for free for a while. And THEN move up into the pro/paid league. Where as there are THOUSANDS of DP's around, all waiting for work, paid or not.

Edited by Daniel J. Ashley-Smith, 13 July 2005 - 03:48 PM.

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#7 Tim J Durham

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Posted 13 July 2005 - 03:57 PM

Making colour corrections e.t.c. for video productions just seems like a good way of getting work, I mean, I could start out advertising video colour correction services, working just for the showreel and experience for now. I mean, there aren't too many of them hanging around shootingpeople.org! Of course there ARE lots of colour correctors, but only in the professional league, people who expect to be paid. I can work for free for a while. And THEN move up into the pro/paid league. Where as there are THOUSANDS of DP's around, all waiting for work, paid or not.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


You should ask Phil Rhodes about becoming a colorist. Heh heh.
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#8 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 13 July 2005 - 04:10 PM

Well, I don't want to rain on your parade, but color correcting is probably the one job in the biz where experience counts the most. It takes years and years to become even a decent grader.

It's not something you do on the side just for fun. Then again, nothing is.

What I look for in collaborators is dedication and specialization. I don't want to employ an editor/DP/color grader/actor/director/whatever. I want someone who's zeroed in on what he wants, who's passionate and dedicated to become the absolute best within his field. In fact, I'd be very suspicios of anybody who had more than two jobs in the film biz.

It's a common mistake many people make. Even production companies that do more than, say, two things are suspicious to me. As a producer I'd never give a commercial to production company that does SFX, Editing, Multimedia, TV-production, Live Event, Shorts, Music Videos, Commercials and Features. Yet you see websites like that all the time. Jack of all trades, master of none.

Specialization is important. Dedication is important.
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#9 Tim J Durham

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Posted 13 July 2005 - 04:27 PM

Well, I don't want to rain on your parade, but color correcting is probably the one job in the biz where experience counts the most. It takes years and years to become even a decent grader.

It's not something you do on the side just for fun. Then again, nothing is.

What I look for in collaborators is dedication and specialization. I don't want to employ an editor/DP/color grader/actor/director/whatever. I want someone who's zeroed in on what he wants, who's passionate and dedicated to become the absolute best within his field. In fact, I'd be very suspicios of anybody who had more than two jobs in the film biz.

It's a common mistake many people make. Even production companies that do more than, say, two things are suspicious to me. As a producer I'd never give a commercial to production company that does SFX, Editing, Multimedia, TV-production, Live Event, Shorts, Music Videos, Commercials and Features. Yet you see websites like that all the time. Jack of all trades, master of none.

Specialization is important. Dedication is important.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


That might be the most valuable bit of info I've seen written on these boards. Nice post.
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#10 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 13 July 2005 - 04:32 PM

At the moment I'm interested in all aspects of film making (apart from being a P.A...)

Tnx,
Dan.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Ironically, P.A. is probably the best position for you right now. You'll learn about all of the different jobs and be able to narrow down which one you really want to do. You're not just going to be able to "start" as a D.P., colorist, editor, or DIT. You have to work your way up. You can't just decide one day that you're one of these.....you have to work for years with the intention of BECOMING one. I learned more during my time as a P.A. than I have in any other position, because I learned about every job on set, and that has helped my understanding of what's going on at all times on a set. It was an extremely important part of my career, and one of the most fun. If you want a career in this business it's a great way to start.
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#11 Daniel J. Ashley-Smith

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Posted 13 July 2005 - 07:21 PM

Specialization is important. Dedication is important.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Oh right ok, it makes sense I suppose. Sure you might be able to do lot's of things, but you can't actually do one of those things REALLY well. Well.. might be able to but.. I doubt it.

ULTIMATELLY, I want to direct. But, there are WAY too many people who want to do that. So, I doubt I've got much chance.

Anyway tnx for that.

Ironically, P.A. is probably the best position for you right now. You'll learn about all of the different jobs and be able to narrow down which one you really want to do. You're not just going to be able to "start" as a D.P., colorist, editor, or DIT. You have to work your way up. You can't just decide one day that you're one of these.....you have to work for years with the intention of BECOMING one. I learned more during my time as a P.A. than I have in any other position, because I learned about every job on set, and that has helped my understanding of what's going on at all times on a set. It was an extremely important part of my career, and one of the most fun. If you want a career in this business it's a great way to start.

Thing is I've actually P.A'd a few projects already, and have already moved onto DP. But the thing is, I'm wondering if this is ACTUALLY going to go anywhere. Maybe I'd be better off on the computing side of things.

Thing is, admittedly I'm a bit of computer nerd and I usually find that doing ANYTHING on computer comes naturally to me. For instance, a lot of people would take a course in Photoshop or Premiere or whatever, I choose just to play around with it, get to know it, and start exploring all the different functions by just messing. I never took any courses on Photoshop, I just spent ages messing around with pictures trying out different things.

I'm not saying I'm past the "P.A" level, far from it, if I was offered a chance to be a P.A on set I'd go for it. But.. It?s not exactly what I want to do. So I'm trying to get work more directly in the fields that I want to someday work professionally in.
I might try getting more work as a P.A if I can. But, work as DP has priority.
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#12 Filip Plesha

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Posted 13 July 2005 - 07:31 PM

figure out a way to make a progressive video frame (or any "hardcore" digital image) look like film frame, and you will be favorite among young filmmakers who can't affoard to shoot film :D
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#13 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 13 July 2005 - 07:50 PM

Hi,

> There's just more of a demand it seems for editors

Not here. I've often looked into doing an Avid course but the number of unemployed Avid editors is really depressing.

Daniel, forget it. All the advice here is bent to the states, where getting into film is a career choice. Here it's at best poorly-paid art; more usually something you do for free. All jobs are hard to get into; none are in demand to even the slightest degree.

Phil
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#14 Tim J Durham

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Posted 13 July 2005 - 08:12 PM

Daniel, forget it. All the advice here is bent to the states, where getting into film is a career choice. Here it's at best poorly-paid art; more usually something you do for free. All jobs are hard to get into; none are in demand to even the slightest degree.

Phil

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Well, you could always go and throw yourself on the mercy of the Beeb. I would guess that a PA job there would open you to all sorts of opportunity. Don't think they'd ever hire you? They have to hire somebody, but they'll never hire you if they don't know you exist. Don't just send a CV.
Find out the name of someone high up in the department that interests you and call them. Offer to take them to lunch. Cheekiness always gets attention, not always positive but what's the worst
that could happen... a restraining order?

Just don't let them refer you to the Human Resources dept. That's desperation time.
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#15 Richard Boddington

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Posted 13 July 2005 - 08:28 PM

"ULTIMATELLY, I want to direct."

Gee this is rarely heard around Hollywood :D

R,
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#16 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 14 July 2005 - 03:51 AM

I'm not saying I'm past the "P.A" level, far from it, if I was offered a chance to be a P.A on set I'd go for it. But.. It?s not exactly what I want to do. So I'm trying to get work more directly in the fields that I want to someday work professionally in.
I might try getting more work as a P.A if I can. But, work as DP has priority.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


OK, so get a job as a loader. Having shot a bit of video in the past doesn't make you a DP. But you're trying to start at the top, when it appears you don't have the knowledge and experience to do the job. Hey, maybe you do....but from what you've posted here in the past it seems that you don't. Loading and 2nding is a good way to learn and move up. Sure, you can try to grind and shoot super low budget stuff and work your way into being a DP, but that is certainly a very tough way to go about it. Be a little more realistic and you might find yourself where you want to be quicker than you think.
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#17 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 14 July 2005 - 04:12 AM

Hi,

> OK, so get a job as a loader.

In London?

Phil
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#18 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 14 July 2005 - 05:22 AM

If you want to direct there is only one fast track way into it - to write scripts.

That's the best way in. Once you've sold a couple and have some clout, then you can attach yourself to your next script as director. If they want it bad enough they'll let you direct it.

This is how famous writers like David Koepp, John Milius, Francis Ford Coppola, David Mamet, David Goyer and many, many others got their first break.
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#19 Keith Mottram

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Posted 14 July 2005 - 06:28 AM

If ultimately you want to direct then why are you asking about other career options. There is no point in being a 'i'd rather have been' kind of person, you'll be useless to everyone. Now that does not meen that you shouldn't find a second form of work in the industry to pay the bills and keep you involved, but you do need to decide if you want to do something well and give up on your directing goals or if you want to be a director and find a skill that will help you and focus you to that aim. In my opinion editing is the best secondary skill you can have if you want to direct. I dont think you can be a good director without a solid editing knowledge. Editing helps to focus your mind, enables you to address problems on set and forsee problems that are not always apparant. You will never be a great editor unless this is what you want to specialise in, but you can with patience, the right attitude/ contacts and talant make a decent living editing whilst working on getting directing gigs. Finally write write write, filmmaking is storytelling if you cant tell a story on a page then your going to find it hard to translate one (that doesn't mean you cant direct without writing the perfect prose, it is just an important step in getting closer to your goal). Directing is not about flashy visuals (unless you want to make promos or tat). Finally without being rude manipulating colours in photoshop does not stand you out from anyone- think how many people have photoshop in this world.

Keith
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#20 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 14 July 2005 - 11:07 AM

Ultimately, if you want to direct, then direct... and write. Generally people get a shot at directing for no other reason than they own a script that someone thinks has commercial value, and they can't get the script without dragging you along. The property is everything if you're nobody. That and the cast you can attach...

But as for a second technical career, you should persue what you enjoy the most considering the long hours you'll be putting in. Some colorists spend years first as an assistant in the control room, loading tapes into machines, etc. Same with assistant editing. You have to find an entry-level position at some post house and spend some time doing grunt work, plus take courses on your free time.
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