I had the chance to recently speak at length with Christopher Meurer. He is a photography director and…well just check out his site HERE. He’s been doing this for a while. The conversation brought me to many realizations about the world of video creation.
Namely that knowing people is key. Networking and bouncing ideas around are so much better than working alone in a vacuum. Since speaking with Chris I have been networking a lot and asking people with a lot of years under their belt how they got their start…or why they edited a certain scene a certain way.
There is so much specialization out there that it is sort of staggering really. There are a lot of metaphors that I keep coming up with. One that comes to mind is of homeschooling. I was a stay at home, homeschooling father for my two children for many years. But when meeting other “homeschoolers” I would quickly discover that just because they called themselves, what I called myself…did not mean we were doing the same thing. Some schooled at home for religious reasons. Some let their kids swing from the rafters like wild monkeys, while others did “school-at-home”, adhering strictly to a curriculum. Schooling at home develops as unique within each home. No two were the same.
It’s taken me a while to realize how video creating and editing is exactly the same. You can’t just say “I make video” and have it mean that you do the same as another editor. Just like you can’t say “I am a photographer” and expect that your photos will have the same aesthetic as another photographer’s pics.
So basically it’s fascinating as hell out here. I find that what I am good at is storytelling. Taking video and turning it into a visual context that people will enjoy watching is what I love to do. I have seen that someone can be very skilled at how to use the software, and that person can be paid well. Technically speaking…it’s accurate and presentable. But you might fall asleep while watching it.
It’s like academic poetry. I am a poet and have been writing poetry for close to a decade. Yet, I can’t even read academic poetry. The structures that it clings to literally put me to sleep. And the point is that to academics, my poetry will come dangerously close to looking like junk to them.
What I love about video editing is to think from the perspective of the viewer. Is it an aesthetic that they appreciate? Is it what they will want to watch over and over? Can you tell a story that they will want to share with others? Most can edit in a technically accurate fashion…but can their edits express the idea that you need it to express?
Chris has moved on from editing to mastering being a lighting expert. He talked a lot about working in a team. Which is honestly something I had not considered. A guy just for audio? Hmmm…never occurred to me. I think that is because a lot of what I dream of shooting is of footage where spoken audio isn’t a part of the equation. See? Specialization. I don’t know how to capture great audio yet, especially in an outdoor setting, like kayaking. What Chris encouraged me to do was to find an audio guy…and a lighting guy..etc. Again…hmmm…never thought about that. I just imagined getting content sent my way that I’d mostly just sit and edit alone, in my den, while still wearing pj’s. The team approach sounds way more interesting.
Mostly though he impressed upon me how friendly the world of video can be. Find like minded people who do what drives your art and connect with them. So, today I met up with a guy who is making a documentary that is right up my alley. He is seeking a video editor. I don’t know if I’ll be THE guy or just one of the guys, but it is nice to finally be in a place where know I can do the job, artistically speaking.
For the holidays Chris put out this pretty darn funny video, showing off some of his color grading skills and sense of humor. If you ever need a lighting guy or colorist, definitely look this guy up. He knows his biz and he’s a great guy.