Long before I even started University, I knew I wanted to be a video editor. I used to spend large amounts of my time editing together my own YouTube videos (In fact, I still do- occasionally) My name is Connor Eves, and I’m now just a few months away from attempting to enter the post-production realm at a professional level, a thought that is on my mind near enough everyday.
Back then, before University, all I knew regarding video-editing was self-taught; and on Adobe Premiere Pro. Being self-taught is a dangerous position to be in. While it is great for fuelling self-initiative and creativity, it can also lend itself to gaps in knowledge and picking up some less than ideal editing habits. This is something I discovered first-hand once I joined the BSc Television and Broadcasting course at the University of Portsmouth, which introduced to the beautiful aggravation that is Avid Media Composer. To say I ‘hated’ Avid when I first got started wouldn’t be strictly true, but it is safe to say that unlike it’s more friendly editing counterparts, Avid is not a friendly beast to tame, and is even harder to truly master (not that I’m implying I’ve mastered it, oh how incredibly naive that would be!)
A large part of my professional journey at university has consisted of letting go of my stubborn biases towards Adobe Premiere Pro and pushing myself to adapt, grow, and improve my craft using the industry standard Avid. In the early days of my course, I would continuously ask myself ‘Why? Why is Avid seen as the industry standard when Premiere is so obviously the easier and more intuitive NLE system?’ Frankly, that question highlighted my issue. I was mistaking ease-of-use as a quality that defined, well, quality.
I’ve seen students discouraged from ever wanting to try their hand at video-editing because Avid was just too overwhelming for them. They saw it as less intuitive and friendly compared to its Adobe counterpart, and I don’t think they were wrong to think that. The thing is, easy isn’t always better. A steeper learning spike will always push you to learn things that may have otherwise been hidden behind ease-of-use or simplified workflows. Avid can seem unfriendly at first, but that’s just because what you see is what you get. Put the time in, and I believe you will come out on the other side with a broader set of skills, which are easily transferable to any of the other NLE’s. I know I did.
This isn’t to say there is no place for Adobe Premiere, or other edit systems such as Final Cut Pro. I spent last year on an industry placement at ‘The Walt Disney Company’s’ Post-Facility in Chiswick. I offered technical support to all of the video editors and producers working on promo material for their channels, and every edit suite there, online or otherwise, ran off Premiere. (Unless you include the Audio Suites, they were Avid through and through!) But you know what else? Every editor I spoke to there had learnt and developed their editing fundamentals from Avid Media Composer. Some of them may have preferred Premiere, but they owed their skills to the time spent working with Avid!
I found the time last month to visit one of my connections in the industry, the managing director for one of the largest post-production rental companies in the UK. He affirmed to me that Avid was likely to continue as the industry standard NLE for the foreseeable future;
“It’s 90% of the industry...it’s what everybody knows...we do some Adobe stuff…but young people hit a wall where they need to learn Avid to get into the industry...I don’t think there are enough jobs in the industry for Adobe at the moment for it to become a real contender”
If you learn to use Avid, you’ll be able to use any editing software, because frankly Avid is Vanilla Ice Cream (Bare with me on this, OK?) Vanilla is the original, it’s the baseline default of Ice cream, it may not be everyone’s favourite, (although who doesn’t like a good Mr. Whippy?) but it’s reliable, and dependable. All the other Ice cream flavours built off what vanilla had already perfected. Strawberry, chocolate, Adobe, Final Cut. I'm hoping I've made my point here, or maybe I just like Ice Cream too much? People can argue that one is better than the other until the cows come home. However, all these other flavours are, in a way, just modifications of vanilla. Adobe Premiere, Final Cut Pro, Windows Movie Maker? they’re all somebody's favourite Ice Cream, but if you learn to love vanilla Ice Cream, it will pay off in the long run. Damn, I really ground that metaphor into the dirt, didn’t I…?
I will always be grateful that I started out early on with Adobe Premiere Pro, as a first step into the editing world it allowed me to grasp basic editing fundamentals in a more friendly environment. However, I will be equally grateful for my time at University pushing me to adapt and develop with Avid. Growing my skills with the software so that I can enter the potentially scary world of professional employment in a few months’ time - not just optimistic, but prepared, and dare I say - ready?