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Video post-production: a 2011 top career that is dying

The research analysts have spoken so it must be true

By Scott Simmons | March 29, 2011

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If you were wandering around the Twitter world this morning you might have seen discussion of a Wall Street Journal story that listed "video post production services" as one of the top 10 dying industries! But don't be too sad fellow editors, this Business Week article lists editors as one of the Top 10 Careers of 2011! We're damned if we do, damned if we don't.

The WSJ article actually comes from an IBIS World industry report. The entire PDF can be read here. The actual quote about the post-production industry isn't actually all that startling and is really something many of us have seen for a while now:

Video Postproduction is the second notable information industry that is exhibiting steep declines. Technological advances, particularly involving the widespread adoption of digital media have adversely affected the industry's range of services, from editing and animation to archiving and format transfer. While the use of this technology is becoming widespread, it is undercutting the industry's services since production companies can now do much of the work in-house.


Here's the graphic:

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Contrast that with the Businessweek article that names Film & Video Editor as one of the "Top 10 Careers for 2011." I have to take this one with a grain of salt since they actually use the term FILM in the title but here's what this article says:

With YouTube now hosting more searches per day than any site save Google, the need for film and video editors is clear. The California Labor Dept. expects the field to grow in 2011, as agencies, media firms, corporations, and institutions look to spread their messages via video-so don't limit your search to one sector. This field requires specialized training, of course. It makes a great choice for creative types who want to expand their horizons or for photographers and filmmakers looking to boost their earning potential.


So there it is. Both sides of the coin. The WSJ comments are a particular interesting read for the discussion on all the industries named. Take it for what it's worth and if someone ever tells you that no matter what the research analysts say a monkey could edit these days due to the cheap and easy availability of post-production software ... tell them they're full of shit:


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Comments

Benjamin Rowland: | March, 30, 2011

As I understand it, the traditional post house is on the decline, but there is an even greater demand for these services but at a more affordable rate that only a freelancer, likely working from home, can provide.

wsmith: | March, 30, 2011

Thanks for bringing these reports to my attention.

Seems to me that editing is indeed going through the same thing that desktop publishing did, and, after that, what simpler aspects of web design went through. They’ve gotten cheaper and and easier, allowing them to go in-house.

These things are really the new corporate languages that new college grads, and many a high school grad, is expected to be conversant in.

Many, many schools are churning out kids who probably cannot withstand the rigors of the math and physics required for engineering degrees but who can easily withstand the lesser rigors of the far more “glamorous” video media languages. 

However, most of those same students will be at an utter loss when it comes to starting a viable, competitive business using those skill sets.

But they won’t have to suffer the vagaries of the economy and competitive market; there will be expanding job opportunities for them in-house.

MichaelSanders: | March, 30, 2011

Really?  Again?

Yes some post houses are having a hard time, other’s are booming.  More and more producers I meet are going back to post houses as (especially with 3d and HD) they’ve discovered what a ball ache dealing with all the data is.

Mike Curtis: | March, 30, 2011

The NUMBER of video files out there is definitely rocketing up, but the AMOUNT PAID is plummeting for a given task.

To claim that there’s more YouTube videos out there and therefore there’s more demand? SO F-ING WRONG! That is the worst logic I’ve heard in a long time - I’d bet 99+% of YouTube videos were edited for free-  no money was paid to anyone to put them together.

Argh - the wrongness!

The video/film post production industry is doing what audio did before it, and print before that - the Big Heavy Iron gives way to desktop systems, which eventually migrates home to sole proprietors doing specific tasks. VFX has been doing this for years - you’d be amazed at how many shots are farmed out to individuals doing it from home on home systems for self contained tasks.

The biggest need for facilities these days? Storage. Not even decks as much as it used to be, just fast, abundant, NETWORKABLE storage.

OH - and know-how.

-mike

MichaelSanders: | March, 31, 2011

Depends on where you are in the chain Mike.  Sky TV over here in the UK are using HDCAM SR as a deliverable as you can have loads (12) audio tracks which covers all the various mixes they need.  The BBC still need delivery on tape and a grader friend of mine worked on an HBO series last year that required 80, yes 80, different tape version of each programme!

On the flip side, I was talking to another friend who manages a busy sound studio in London who reckon’s he hasn’t used his Digi Beta deck in well over a year!

Mark Raudonis: | April, 01, 2011

Mr. Sanders,

The Japan earthquake tragedy may very well mean the death knell for the HDCAMsr format.  Even if this is only a temporary interruption in supply, ALL of the networks that I deal with are accelerating their plans to accept digital delivery of longform programming.  Archiving will be LTO5 in lieu of videotape.

It’s happening.

Mark

jastinben: | June, 21, 2011

Seems to me that editing is indeed going through the same thing that desktop publishing did, and, after that, what simpler aspects of web design went through. They’ve gotten cheaper and and easier, allowing them to go in-house.

Self Storage Brisbane: | June, 21, 2011

“The biggest need for facilities these days? Storage. Not even decks as much as it used to be, just fast, abundant, NETWORKABLE storage.”
-I totally agree. :(

reckybond: | June, 25, 2011

Fabulous video clip about actual chimpanzee! Could you share about WSJ article? Thanks for once more and fine luck smile

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