An article on workingfreelancing in the indusry

10 replies [Last post]
Joined: Nov 15 2000

It seems more than clear from reading these pages that most of the readers of the magazine (or at least forum users) are professionals or semi-professional, making some money out of this business. And lets face it when your forking out a few grand on a computer and camera then its likely to be more than just a hobby!

So could we have some more industry related articles, "how to make money from your editing" or "useful directories for freelancers/jobs" e.t.c. I am really curious to know how and if its possible make living out of DV editing. Can someone please point me in the right direction.

The magazine has always leant heavily on the technical aspects of Comp Video, but how about a small focus towards the industry.

After all, in the medium term, over the next say 3 to 5 years all this highly technical cutting edge technical stuff we do will become so mainstream that every home MMedia £1000 PC will sell with firewire as standard and maybe a free video camera to boot. My point here is that as the technology improves the technical dificulties will become increasingly rarified and trivial, and then what will CV write about.

Tell us about the industry too.

chris thomas
Joined: Apr 23 1999

Yes, I too would be interested in more 'industry' and 'career' type stuff (note, that doesn't mean I want 'less' of the current magazine content, and yes I'm aware that there's only so much space). I'm trying to research the pros and cons of setting up a business - at first just legal side of earning money for myself from editing and production, but with a view to expanding the business and employing people and such like.


Chris Thomas. - over 30 minutes of streaming video to bore yourself with!

foxvideo's picture
Joined: Sep 9 1999

Now there's a good idea Bob!

There's no doubt a good percentage of readers (and forum members) are 'in the trade' and their knowledge and experience could be a real 'eye opener' to others (for a contributors fee of course!)

I've seen too many posts on this board and I get many personal emails and phone calls weekly saying "I've bought a digital video camera like the BBC use and now I want to make videos for TV, how do I go about it?"

Over the 14 years we've been in the video business, we've known personally of several people who've invested retirement money, 'golden handshakes' or life savings into a video business or to work as a freelance, only to fail and lose it all, the main reasons being, they had no knowledge of the industry and they were sold expensive kit by eager to please salespeople before taking advice on kit, finding out if the work for it existed or obtaining the work beforehand to use it. As for editing it would seem that everyone (and their mothers) can offer DV editing today and think they could work as an editor, but very few of these people have any idea of what is actually involved in editing and what is required by those who employ editors, (ask them what a 'J' cut is and watch the blank stare!), They seem to think that providing they can offer 600 effects or transitions in realtime makes them video editors.

To break into the market today is very difficult, until recently 'Media studies' was the course to take in further education, this has led to the market being oversaturated with applicants who have paper qualifications but not the industry knowledge for the very few jobs that do exist, and bear in mind most of those jobs today are on a freelance or short term contract basis.

To start up on your own can be fraught with problems, we know we've been there - Bad payers, clients who think they know better, 36 hour days with no sleep, "How much!" when you put a bill in, technology that's obsolete the minute you've paid for it, the list goes on....

Would we change it? - No, this business has bought us into contact with many people who we now regard as friends, It has given us a chance to meet people and go places we would never have had otherwise and provides a reasonable income, although it can fluctuate to the point you often wonder where the next money is going to come from!

I think 'Andvrovski' is right, the emphasis will shift away from the technology side as DV becomes more commonplace, We're seeing this in the requests for our training courses in camerawork and editing from users who have the technology but not the 'know how'.

More articles in CV on 'the business' of video, interviews with those working in broadcast, promoting a video business or how to obtain work in the media industry would seem like a good idea - I'm still keen to learn!

Dave Farrants
Fox Video Productions

Dave Farrants Fox Video Editing


Couldn't have put it better myself Dave, well put.

I'm not convinced about Androvski's remarks about most of the forum users being professional or semi-professional. From the questions I see on here 95% of the folk on here are simply keen hobyists.

To me a professional is one who is earning a good living at video production (and I'm not talking wedding guys on £14,000 per year if their lucky either, though don't get me wrong, I am aware that there are some very professional and competant wedding videographers out there).

Like Dave says, it's all too easy to pop down to Curry's and spend £2200 on a VX2000 and another £1600 on a PC with Premiere and then offer your services to local firms and young couples getting marraid.

It isn't that easy, proberbly 999% of folk that do this fail miserably, same goes for the fold Dave mentioned, the retirement funds etc. This business takes great skill, imagination, artistic talent, people skills, a shit-load of very expensive gear, creativity, and having the ability to spend a year putting a project together only to find out at the end that it is a looser.

Thats only the beggining, it takes years to aquire the skills that folk like Mr & Mrs Farrents have, and if you ask either of them they will proberbly tell you that the learning curve is life-long, technology is always changing, peoples requirements are always changing etc, etc.

Getting back to Androvski's original question. There is already a publication on the shelves at WHSmiths (or wherever) called "Broadcast" that deals with the industry on a professional level. I get this all the time, it is tops for what really goes on at the BEEB etc and has lots of well paid jobs in the back, though you have to be very expereinced and very qualified, don't be under any illusions that you can get a job advertising £65,000 per anum just because you know your way around an AVID, you will need to be about as creative as Mr Spielberg to land that job, and have a track record just as impresive.

I don't want to put anyone off trying for their goals and dreams, I'm just warning you thats all, it falls into the same ball park as wanting to be an actor or pop star, only they are cheaper options as you don't need loads of expensive gear, all you need is £25,000 tuition fees for the first three years, then Equity membership at £80 per year.

Good luck to you in your quest. If you want something a little bit more inspiring than this post, then read the book "Rebel without a crew" by Robert Rodriguez. isbn:0-571-17891-x
Another great one is:"What they don't teach you at film school" 161 strategies for making your own movie no matter what. isbn:0-7868-8477-o

Joined: Nov 15 2000

Thanks for the book reccomendations, I'll look out for them. Still I can't help disagreeing about Broadcast, I too get it regularly and unless you are already well established, and have experience then it's largely irrelevant. I think that CV's readership has a unique niche in that there are probably a lot of semi-professionals, or wannabe-professionals that read it and they arent lookig for the sort fo stroies Broadcast carries.

Its also worth thinking about readership retention, I'm sure there are a lot of readers that buy the Mag when they are just getting into the equipement and need a few helpfull pointers and reviews, but then once their system is up and running they probably don't see the need to buy it any more. Articles about what to do with your editing suite once you've built it and how to make it work for you (rather than just how to make it work) would be a good way of keeping readers buying.

Joined: Apr 1 1999

A couple of further points:
1) Providing you have some basic skills and willingness to learn, making video programmes alone is fairly painless. You just have to communicate with your client who is probably wants a 'corporate' with 30 minutes of information, 2 product photographs and a deadline of yesterday! The budget is non existant and is probably being stolen from the works Christmas party fund!
2) Providing Editing facilities to a producer client is more interesting. This will require infinite patience, much biting of lips and sitting on hands! It will also require much from your kit since nothing is guaranteed to cause problems more than a flustered producer staring at blank screens whilst computers reboot or at least render away.
3) Location, location, location is never truer than being in the video facility business! If I was going to start from scratch tomorrow, I would definitely go with a 100% portable edit kit that could be taken to the client's premises.


The books can be had from "Off Stage" Chalk Farm Road, North London, they will mail them out to you the same day.

Androwvski, what you said about "Reader Retention" I coudn't agree with you more. You have hit the nail on the head there, I didn't figure it out until just now, this is the main reason I don't buy the magazine all that often (twice a year perhaps) like you said, once you have a NLE set up, you don't want to spend the rest of your life reading about how other people should set up their new gear.

Though CV has to cover this as technology is always changing and there are always new bits of gear that need reviewing. I think CV should definately concentrate on retaining readers with articles on the business side of things.

I just popped downstairs to dig out my big stack of CV magazines and I found that the last time a bought a copy was the May, June & July 2001 issues and this was simply because of the articles written by Ben Frain on Short Films, (great articles Ben, I just read them all again).

I always flick through CV whilst I'm in WHSmiths and I usually only buy it if there is either an article on a piece of Apple software or hardware or an article like the one Ben Frain wrote last year.

Then I buy it as you can't exactly stand in Smiths for 30 minutes whilst you read an article.

Maybe CV should have a competition where Bob sets us a topic and brief synopsis for a short film of say no more than 5 minutes (this way people can't just dig out something they already have archived)with a decent prize like the Sony DSR11 (I bought that issue for the review on DSR11, great).

Think of all those lovely blank (not returnable) DV tapes Bob. I know £1200 or so will have to come out of CV's petty cash, but it would be worth it and could be the start of something. Just an idea.

Joined: Jun 12 1999

Have a look at the Institute of Videographers web site

Also why not go to their annual show up at the NEC in a couple of weeks, there are plenty of trade stands and seminars on a variety of topics.


Joined: Mar 31 1999

As well as the technical aspects of running a small business, there are also the personal aspects. Does the lifestyle suit you? (working all hours, complete self-reliance because there's no-one to back you up, making all your own decisions). Are you fit enough? (you can't be ill, you must be fit enough to carry heavyish equipment, you dare not (even if you wanted to) indulge in drinking or anything else that would put your driving licence at risk). And so on.

Ray Liffen

Eddie Edwardes
Joined: Feb 10 2002

Dave, spot on as usual, couldn't agree more but let's not forget that after you've mastered all the technicalities you still need an element of creativity!

Ron Spicer
Joined: Jul 22 2001

And after this little lot - I`ve broached the subject of possibly having a tutorial on FCP - above........