As much as I love to work on video projects related to the outdoors or hanging from a fixed line to capture stills of climbing, I enjoy diving into a video edit and flexing my post-production skillset to craft a good story. It also gives me a break from long shoots where I’m on the road for a week or more. I really enjoy traveling but I also appreciate spending time working from home on my laptop. I wanted to share some background on the video editing projects I’ve been working on, but also provide insight into what it’s like to be a contract video editor.
A big client of mine is the University of Michigan. They became a client many years ago, when I still lived in the Ann Arbor area. Each year I’ll see anywhere from five to as many as 30 projects from them! Most of the time these are short form promotional or documentary-style videos, where a handful of people have been interviewed, and I’ve got a few folders of b-roll video and stills to add. Here are two examples:
Every so often there will be video projects that are either for events or displays, so those edits can be a bit unique. here are a few examples of that kind of project:
Most recently I’ve been keeping busy working on a series for social media called, “This is Michigan.” Even thought social media videos may be seen as having a short life span and low-impact, a lot of work goes into these! U-M shoots a bunch of 4k video material, has a scriptwriter craft the framework of the story, then I build graphics and cut the video assets together. Multiple formats are needed, versions with captions, and different lengths. I end up providing about seven different versions of the final edit, so it takes quite a bit of time and work to get these cranked out.
So what is it like managing these kinds of projects? Well besides being a decent editor, the two most important skills to have for these edit jobs are patience and flexibility. I often have 2-3 edit jobs going on at one time, and I’ll spend anywhere from 6-15 hours on each job. But it’s never in a single push! Flexibility is important because I squeeze in a few hours here, a couple hours there, in between my shoot schedule and personal agenda, while still getting rough cuts out to clients in a reasonable time. Patience is the next part, because there is a lot of waiting for feedback, or getting more rounds of revisions just when I thought the edit was all done.
It’s been very convenient to have this kind of work, as it’s easy enough to work on them from anywhere with a laptop and decent wifi. It’s not uncommon for me to be at a cabin, laundromat, or coffeeshop in some remote location while on a climbing trip or video shoot, and work on edits in the evenings.