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The Digital Director Experience: Video Editing Fundamentals

Where have all the amateurs gone?

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Perhaps I'm imagining it, but I'm sure amateur videographers used to be more, well, amateur. It seems everyone's a filmmaker these days. Take a visit to one of the many DSLR forums and you'll find a talking shop of DoPs and guerrilla filmmakers. Where have all the amateurs gone?

Technology has changed dramatically in the ten years I've run this site. It's not just that cameras are more affordable, or that software is easier to use. it's all the other social interaction changes. Hobbyists frequently rub virtual shoulders with leading lights in film that would be unimaginable 10 years ago. People have become filmmakers by association.

But let's not kid ourselves. Most of us are still hobbyists. And I'm proud of that. I love filming and editing my little videos. I never plan to film a short or enter a film festival. And I don't care what camera is going to perform best in darkened cave. I just want to have fun filming, edit my little videos and share them with my friends and family. I can do that with an iPhone.

So, to all those hobbyists out there, be proud of what you do. Get out, film and share your masterpieces. Leave the talk of lenses, camera reviews and comparisons to the techies. If you really want to be a filmmaker, get out and film. Just like us hobbyists.

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Updated 04-27-2013 at 06:22 AM by Marc Peters

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  1. TimStannard's Avatar
    I think this has been increasingly the case since it became possible for everyone and anyone to make and publish videos. 10 years ago you had to devote a certain amount of time to producing a video that someone can watch (on a DVD or CD). So anyone who did so was by nature a hobbyist or enthiusiast. Now anyone can point their phone at something and upload it to YouTube/FaceBook. Everyone is an amateur videographer. So those who devote a bit more time to producing a more watchable product wish to distingish themselves from the "point, shoot and uploader"s and the vloggers so call themselves filmmakers and use the jargon. There's quite a stigma associated with "amateur" and even "hobbyist". I've fought against this for a couple of years on the IAC forum ("Institute of AMATEUR cinematographers") but have grudingly accpted that I'm not going to change the world and no-one wants to be called amateur any more (although my sig there is still"Proud to be an amateur"
  2. Stripe's Avatar
    The bar has been raised in so many ways.

    Feature films for example, are more special effects than reality now, and people are becoming conditioned to high standards. Produce anything slightly shoddy, and it is dismissed immediately. Accessability has meant a lot of good filming is taking place by the technically gifted, and the media is flooded with good looking photography.

    Funny thing is that it isn't always because of the content, but simply due to the presentation.

    It's making life hard for me personally, I have ideas I want to make quickly, but now I have to also ensure that these standards are met, which just creates extra effort, which is actually unnecessary, because I'm not trying to be George Lucas, I'm just trying to produce my ideas.

    Been through this once with music writing and production, it got to the point where unless my songs were mastered and processed to hell and back, they were not up to scratch. The amount of effort involved in mastering a song is more than the entire creation, recording and mixing process. The result is that I don't bother recording songs anymore.

    The same could happen with my filming, however I now notice artists deliberately recording in analogue, and ditching the digital cleansing. As per usual, the old fashioned way is being repackaged and called retro.

    I wouldn't mind rediscovering my 'amateur', then I could just get on with things, and produce.
  3. Mattlee's Avatar
    Nice little insight. I think the fact that technology is making filmmaking more accessible to more people is a great thing. With video becoming the go-to medium on the web and access to online editing and sharing tools I think we're in the age of the prosumer. it's exciting.
  4. vidmanners's Avatar
    Oh yes there are!
    I've suffered some dreadful creations, trying deserately to find some thing positive, but fortunately more experienced filmmakers have spoken what can only be described a response to a completly different film.

    However, I agree that 99% of "our" films are much better [SIZE=2]than 10yrs ago and in particular [/SIZE]those Analogue days (and we must include sVHS). Before that, "cine" was the preserve of rich gentlemen. . . . 8mm fuzzy footage was possible, yet it was closer to "moving snaps" usually of children looking awkwardly at the camera.
    That is not to forget some brilliant efforts, but they were rare mainly due to the huge effort (and cost) needed to complete. Many have become valuable historical records, possibly unforseen by their creators. (to which the World owes a gt deal of thanks, IMHO.)

    [U]Stripe:[/U] I wonder if you could post some info. on the mastering of audio which has spoiled yr get-up-and-go ?
    ...( If covered prior, a link maybe )...
  5. Stripe's Avatar
    VM I would say my frequencies get messed up due to lack of separation, the more live inputs the worse it gets, naturally. The way to solve that is to analyse those frequencies and manipulate them, or pay someone $75 a song to do it for me, which involves sending stems, which is in itself a lot of effort.

    And to keep to post, the same thing happens now in video, colour grading, lighting, broadcast standards etc.

    This deep and heavy stuff will always sort the men from the boys, for those artists that are solo and that have to be the jack of all trades, even though all they really want to do is get their ideas produced. The ideas and performance part is only 20% of the process, the other 80% is technicalities and learning curves and research and study, which is not an enjoyable return for the creative person.
  6. vidmanners's Avatar
    I wonder if we aren't in danger of using "tech" to overcome the lack of something interesting to say?

    Of course commercial Pop-style videos (and maybe car/product ads in their own quirky way) these should be excluded - since it is money-talking.

    For true Amateurs there is no financial gain, no time limits, no pressure (well maybe leave that off).

    Yet, even Amateurs look to "Tech" to raise their game . . . . . . . . so, I wonder if that creates the [I]same distortion[/I] that I'm suggesting applies to the Commercial Film-makers?
  7. TonyBR's Avatar
    Great post Marc Peters! The motto here among "young cinematographers" is (seems to be!): "Buy a 5D, be a PRO!!!" As if the camera could produce great ideas too! On this documentary course weīre attending, our age is "just" 20 years over the average, so the contact with younger (more digital) people is quite interesting. Itīs a mix of passion and arrogance that I canīt describe in less than 12 hours with my poor english... Maybe they MUST set a mark on the competitive world they were born on, maybe itīs too much crapp TV.... On the other hand, I canīt see a problem on trying to evolve. Many of us started with a camcorder to film our children. Then comes the editing, a better camera one day..... Of course the speech (our speech) still linked to the ground - weīre proud to be amateurs, but not because we give up on getting better and better videos, but because we donīt care about what anyone else will call us.... Pro, amateur, DP, filmmaker, videoaddicted, etc.....
  8. Bodge's Avatar
    I'm an amateur !!! not been doing this for long.
    Loving every minute.
  9. zamiotana's Avatar
    We escaped to Canada