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The Digital Director Experience: Video Editing Fundamentals

What's the going rate for viditing talent?

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How much is your hobby worth? Or more importantly, how much can you justify spending? It's all to easy to spend a small fortune on video editing, but is that expense really justified and what does it really add?

As a self confessed gadget freak, I'm guilty of a gadget for gadget's sake. Do I really need a PS3 and a Wii? Does my 5.1 surround sound and 40" TV enchance my viewing pleasure? Does my heart rate monitor increase my training capacity? I hardly need these items, and some border on frivalous. So where do you draw the line between what you need as a video editing amateur and what you'd like.

For some, that line is clear. It's the bottom line. If they can't afford Adobe Premiere CS4, they buy Premiere Elements (we'll put to one side the piracy option). For others, it's an obsession with the latest and greatest. Some may be techies after the best possible quality. And finally we have the arty types that just want to create. So our four groups are:
  1. The money saver
  2. The gadget freak
  3. The techie
  4. The artisan
As with all theories, it doesn't really work in practice, but I bet you can sit yourself in one or two of those categories. Which one(s) are you?

But our original question was: how much is your hobby worth and can you justify the expense? For the money saver, this is easy. He can quite legimately say he's got good value for money. He spends the minimum and gets a great return. He may even have some talent and produce stunning results on a budget. The art house of the video editing amateur.

At the other end of the scale is the techie. These probably know their software inside out. The kind of person that could strip a gun bare, blindfolded, but couldn't possibly shoot a rabbit. They're probably not very artistic, but want the best so spend the most. Their returns are small in terms of the end result. The Matrix 3 of the video editing world.

The bottom line is that the latest and greatest video camera is no substitute for talent. You can easily create a fantastic video on a tiny budget. So the next time you think about upgrading your software or investing in a new camera, think about why you're buying it. Will it really make a difference, or do you just want a new toy?

Me? I'm the greatest victim of them all. I bought a new camera last year and already want a new one. No, in fact I need a new one. After all, the recent ones are getting such rave reviews. But how different are they really? Can I justify the expense, or should I concentrate on improving technique. We all know the answer...

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Updated 09-08-2009 at 05:59 PM by Marc Peters

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  1. Shrimpfarmer's Avatar
    I certainly have passed through phases of money saver and gadget freak and I am currently sitting between them.

    I remember the days when I had no money but wanted everything. I have bought so much kit over the years but to be fair I generally get good value out of it.

    Now I am much older and within reason I can afford any gadget or piece of software I want. Thing is I want so little these days. In the past I could have written a wish list a mile long but today I would struggle to think of anything I want or need.

    I watched that film Benjamin Button the other day, its about a guy who ages backwards. He has all his wealth at the prime of his life when he can enjoy it to the max.

    I do still love gadgets though, I like you have several consoles, and I have a new helicopter coming in the post. Long live gadgets, we all need temptation.
  2. TimStannard's Avatar
    I think you've missed out a category, Marc. Or maybe a sub-category. When I saw "techie" I imagined the type who really knows his (and it is nearly always a "he") stuff, but makes it his aim in life to do it for free.
    You know the sort of guy - see's some effect done in After Effects maybe with a bit of Boris thrown in and managed to create it using freebies such as WMM, VirtualDub, Audacity, Blender etc etc.
    These guys are a great benefit to the rest of us because they often do all the hard work work and and then share the tips and tricks with the rest of us for free. Oftenm packaging them up into simple executables.

    As for me I sit firmly in the wannabe gadget camp. Fortunately financial handcuffs prevent me actually buying anything and a fairly high moral stance on intellectual property rights prevents me pirating anything.
  3. IanA's Avatar
    I think you've missed one fairly significant group out, the ATGANI tribe!
    They don't need to visit forums such as these, as there is no way they would lower themselves to ask a question or admit that they didn't know what they were doing in public!

    Of course, they have the best equipment, and I do mean the best where the chiefs of the tribe are concerned. Money is no object. And they carry it around like jewelery. The followers of the tribe get the best they can manage and do likewise.

    And this tribe is considerably larger than you might think. After all, it's the Atgani tribe. [B]A[/B]ll [B]t[/B]he [B]g[/B]ear [B]a[/B]nd [B]n[/B]o [B]i[/B]dea!
  4. TFV's Avatar
    Does value for money include buying gadgets that will last. I am definately a "quality" freek and whilst being a HGV mechanic I always brought the best. Beleive you get what you pay for. After 20 years the top quality spanners are still in my toolbox. When it comes to gadgets then too definately tempted. The last toy I brought was an endiscope from snap on tools ( camera on a long extension) it is for engine internal intrusive inspections. Doctors use them too apparently. Waste of money at 400 but it comes in useful now and then. Now I am getting into video production I want the best for reliability sake rather than the fact its a gadget however our finances are limited at the moment so perhaps in the long run its good just to want for wanting sake???
  5. Paddle Productions's Avatar
    [COLOR=#494C4C]"The kind of person that could strip a gun bare, blindfolded, but couldn't possibly shoot a rabbit."
    Hahaha, right!

    And I couldn't agree more. Tools are just tools to make the process easier and faster, but it doesn't make a piece great. Hardwork, skill, and talent will. :)

    [URL=""]Videographer NYC[/URL][/COLOR]