Do you have an eye for editing video? The editor often wields the power and ability to breathe life into a piece of motion work, or to kill it off. But where do you go to learn how to edit? Inside The Edit recently launched the world’s first end-to-end online program, and while it’s not without it’s considerations, it represents a giant leap forward for anyone who wants to get hands-on experience in the world of motion storytelling.
So what does a video editor actually do? The guys put this brilliant video together than breaks it down perfectly.
The best sign of an editor their work goes unnoticed. You should get lost in whatever it was that the director has for the piece, and forget about the editing. Seamless narrative storytelling is the aim, whether it’s a wedding, a graduation, a BTS, a documentary or a motion picture, the idea is not to jar the audience out of their engagement with the piece.
How Can You Learn How To Edit?
I’ve been editing “properly” for a little over a decade and have completed all sorts of projects, including fashion editorial, commercial lifestyle, action sports, photo education, interviews and documentaries. While I kick started my editing career through a 4 day course years ago in Final Cut Pro that my employer at the time paid for, there are far more resources online than when I started.
But there is a gap in what you can learn online, unless you’re happy to trawl YouTube endlessly looking for the video that might help you on whatever subject area you might be trying to progress.
Enter Paddy Bird and his team. Paddy is a veteran professional editor, with over 15 years of experience in political, science and historical documentary, and TV editing for channels like the BBC, ITV (UK), Channel 4 (UK) Discovery, National Geographic, The Smithsonian Channel, ABC and NBC. This is a guy who definitely knows his craft – an essential requirement if thinking about undertaking what the course has to offer. Not only that, but he’s been teaching editing for a couple of years, so his background is well suited to helping others along their own path and building a curriculum for them to meet their needs.
How Is it Different To What Else Is Available?
It’s unique for a number of reasons.
First, it’s online. For many of is, this is now not only the most desirable way to learn, but the only way to learn. We simply don’t have the time, means or resources to go to night class, dedicated seminars, film school or any physically located venue.
Secondly, from what I’ve seen so far, it’s extremely comprehensive. There is are an extensive number of tutorials they’ve put together here, from introducing key terminology and jargon, all the way through to basically allowing you to take almost 500GB of raw footage they provide, and giving you’re the means to produce a full documentary edit from it by the end of the course
The course goes way beyond basic editing theory. There are dozens of structural, journalistic and narrative techniques taught through the tutorials from basics to advanced.
Finally, they package all the assets together on drive and ship it to you. All the raw video and Universal music and sound is there for you to create an end to end documentary. I really like the idea of a course that takes you through the stages of creating a portfolio piece for you to look back on – and pass around as evidence of your work – when you complete the course.
UPDATED JAN 2015: Inside the Edit are now offering a monthly subscription style package (see footnote)
The cost isn’t cheap, coming in at around $6000 for the year (early bird savings right now put it closer to $5000). Comparatively, private college course, night classes, or private multi day training sessions aren't too far off this mark, I would imagine.
It's worth remembering that what you’re really paying for isn’t a Creative Live-style 3 day class, it's far more involved - and that might not be for everyone. If you're going to sign up, you need to be committed to get the most out of the course.
What Do You Get
The provide a nicely packaged 500GB Lacie drive with all the content you need, plus a small notepad to take notes.
While this is packaged nicely, and it’s useful to have a drive packed full of content for you to create your own documentary piece, it would be nice to have a slightly larger drive for use after the course material is used. These days, shooting simple 1080 out of a 5D on a couple of cameras will fill hundreds of gigs of data pretty quickly.
When you look at 4K, you can forget about it, half a terabyte won’t cut it. While that might seem advanced, this course gives you the ability to edit short and long form narrative, so it’s entirely conceivable a student on the course now could be editing 4K footage on something shot on a couple of cameras when they finish in a year or 18 months time.
The Tutorials And Learning Structure
This is by far and away the most important element of the course and it’s really what you’re paying for.
So how is it?
First and foremost, this has been designed very well. While the full course program is not available in it’s entirety yet (approximately 50% is online as of writing this review), new chapters are coming on line every few weeks, with the roll out carefully structured around the fastest beta testers. What is currently available is extremely well structured and laid out. At no point is it overwhelming, and it flows well.
The nicely designed, clear infographic-style motion slides are really nice. They help remind you of the key succinct points, and provide a good check list at the end of each chapter.
Be clear however – the onus on getting through this course is entirely down to you. You will want to make sure you have the time, energy and motivation to get the most out of the course, and there is no official accreditation, if that is important to you (honestly, it matters little in this field, but some people still care about that).
No one will be standing over you to make sure you’ve done the course work, or grading you on progress - this is all on you, so make sure you fully committed to the program before signing up.
The video files and Universal music files that come packaged with the course are very useful in helping provide both the material and a clear associated learning guide for the tutorials. I had a quick scan through the material, and it’s a really nice set of scenes and material that’s been captured – more than enough for anyone wanting to construct their first full fledged documentary or narrative piece.
If you're interested in how the tutorials are delivered, here is a look at the very first one in the course materials:
Who Is The Course For?
This course is about taking a complete beginner to a standard where you are probably capable to be earning money from paid clients for editing work.
It’s aimed at those who wish to gain a full and comprehensive understanding of editing, and Paddy is an adept teacher.
I noticed plenty of more structured discussion and training around things I’ve picked up over the years through experience, and wish I’d had someone instruct me on a little when I was starting out.
Section 5, for instance, talks about topics that still to this day take up valuable deliberation and consideration time. How long should a shot be, how does camera movement add (or subtract) to the story and how do the visuals play to the overall tempo of the scene? These are topics that can be applied to any edit, and are actively discussed and broken down, which is great.
The Inside The Edit team have done a really good job of quantifying what is so often (at least for me) a very instinctive process. This is not easy, and it feels like they’ve really nailed it.
So is it worth the cost?
As ever, it’s going to come down to your own individual need. If I was just starting out, and had more than a passing interest in motion and wanted to really get into a position where I could earn money from editing either my own, or the work of clients, I would strongly consider signing up.
Additionally, if I had the backing of a company I worked for, or was a student, I would almost certainly jump on this in a heartbeat. While the initial cost of the course is comparative to other learning methods not over priced, it’s still a chunk of change to eat up when starting out. The student discount in particular is brilliant, and will hopefully encourage many younger people to get adept at cutting video work.
If you’re looking to jump into the world of editing, or have some basic skills that you really want to develop further and push to the next level, and if you’re motivated enough to put yourself to work, Inside The Edit might just be exactly what you’re looking for. It's well laid out, packed full of extremely practically useful info, a great learning and teaching style thanks to Paddy and flows really well. Just be sure you're the self motivated type, because to get through the full extent of what's on offer and make the most of your membership, you'll need to be.
UPDATED JAN 2015:
New monthly subscription is £39.95 (approx $50) per month or £399 per year. The new pricing model becomes available on the 20th January.
- Weekly release of tutorials
- Launching a blog including essays on editing as well as interviews with Film / TV editors /Exec Producers & Agents.
- Launching their first annual editing competition in association with Avid and Universal Production Music
- Launching a Raw Footage Store where clients can purchase footage to practice cutting on and build up their show reel.