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PRODUCTION: Who Wants To Be. . . An AVID Editor?

PRODUCTION: Who Wants To Be. . . An AVID Editor?

PRODUCTION: Who Wants To Be. . . An AVID Editor?

by Maya Churi

So, you want to be an editor.

Anyone can be an editor nowadays; all you need is a a fast enough
computer and some moderately expensive software. Filmmakers all over
the world are taking the post-production job of editing into their own
hands and becoming one man/woman mini-studios. Get your Canon XL1, your
Final Cut Pro, and a website, and you’re a regular MGM. Okay, let’s not
get too carried away. But don’t underestimate the necessity of having
a good editor (or being one) who can make a bad project good or a good
project better.

With the influx of cable television, independent film, and now digital
filmmaking, editors are a wanted commodity and if you have what it takes
people will pay top dollar for your services — you just gotta learn the
technology (and have a little talent). Not only can an editor make a
good career out of their skills, but independent producers, directors,
and writers can also supplement their income by capitalizing on the
quick money earned by editing trailers, commercials and industrials.

The AVID, currently the most widely used non-linear editing system, is a good place to start when forging ahead in the field of editing.
Once you’ve learned this system, you can quickly assimilate to most
other digital editing software that’s out there. Here in New York, and
other places around the country, various organizations and private
companies are teaching classes in AVID editing. indieWIRE decided to
explore some of the options.

For those seeking a one-on-one tutorial of the system, Chelsea Loft
Editing Suites
is an ideal place to learn the AVID. These training
sessions, offered by documentary editor Douglas Rossini, are two and
three day courses, specifically designed to get film and video
professionals up and running on the AVID with hands-on experience. The
sessions are always single-student classes and are tailored to the
individual’s needs and computer skill level. The good thing about the
one-on-one class is that Doug will make you work on the AVID until
you’ve got it right. All students will complete a practice edit using
footage from “Catwalk” (a feature documentary about fashion models). The
two day course cost $550 and the three day course is $750. The two day
course is ideal for those, like me, who dabbled with the AVID in
college, but couldn’t seem to remember much besides trim and overwrite.
For those of you who don’t even know what that means, I suggest the
three day course. (For more information, contact Chelsea Loft Editing at
212.366.0588 or E-mail:

Film & Video Arts is a low-budget, indie friendly organization that
offers editing classes for the beginning to the advanced editor. “Avid:
Media Composer Introduction” classes last 3 days in which time you will
cover almost everything you need to know about how to use the AVID and
become an editor (except for how to actually get jobs). This class
consists of 4 students and one teacher and costs $550. Generally, the
classes are suggested for those who understand basic concepts of editing
or who are editors already, but want to learn the technology to make
themselves more marketable. People who have never edited anything in
their lives should not take this class — you will get lost. Their
clientele includes professional editors (CNN sends its editors there to
learn the system), film school graduates, assistant editors, and those
wanting to re-visit an old stomping ground.

Other classes offered are “Techiniques For Assistant Editors,” $275 for
a one-day course; “Titling and Effects,” $525 for two-days; and
“Advanced Avid,” $550 for two-days (this class deals with third party
graphics, Photoshop and Adobe AfterEffects). They also offer an
“Advanced Master Class” for $1,100 which runs for six days and covers
all the material from the Introduction Workshop, the Titling and Effects
Workshop as well as customizing the desktop using advanced key functions
and key commands. Each class is limited to four students. (For more
information call FVA’s Education Department at 212.673.9361 ext. 14)

Another option in Manhattan is Downtown Community Television, a
non-profit media arts center devoted to expanding public access to
electronic media. They offer a series of classes including an
Introduction to AVID Media Composer. This very basic class consists of
two evening classes (3 hours each) or one condensed class (6 hours) that
provide the theoretical basics and hands-on experience needed to get
started on the AVID. Students learn how to prepare and start-up the
AVID, digitize material and learn to perform basic edits with
transitions and generate a digital cut. The class size varies from 6-8
students and costs $120. Their Advanced AVID class goes on to the
fundamentals of decomposing and batch-digitizing a time-coded sequence.
It also includes additional editing techniques and using the main AVID
tools including Title Tool and Audio Tool. This workshop consists of 6
students and is offered as a one-day class for 7 hours at a cost of
$150. Additional AVID classes offered include: Advanced Avid Media
Effects and Titling and Finishing for Broadcast in Avid Media Composer.
(For more information call DCTV at 212.966-4510 or visist their website

If you don’t live in New York and are interested in learning the AVID, I
suggest you call your local independent film association or film
commision to see if someone offers classes in your neck of the woods.
For those living in some of the bigger cities, here are some of your

BOSTON: The Boston Film and Video Association offers a series of courses
for those interested in computer-based editing, and three specifically
about Avid editing: AVID Media Composer 8000 Intensive, this AVID class
lasts for two days (12 hours total) and costs $455. AVID Media Composer
8000, comprehensive: four days (18 hours total), cost: $490. AVID
Essentials: A primer for Aspiring Editors: 2 days (6 hours total), cost:
$230. For more info call 617.536.1540 or e-mail:

SEATTLE: 911 Media Arts Center offers classes in AVID, Final Cut Pro,
Premiere, After Effects and A/B Roll on-line editing. They offer one
class, AVID: Beginning Media Composer Editing. This class runs for four
sessions (12 hours total), cost: $600. The course provides an intro to
basic editing with the goals of preparing students for editing their
next project on the Avid. For more info visit their website at

AUSTIN: There are no AVID classes offered here but the Austin FilmWorks
offers a Digital Editing Workshop which focuses exclusively on digital
post-production and basic digital techonology such as Mactinsoh
platform, Quicktime 4.0, Firewire, Adobe Premiere and Final Cut Pro.
This class will be taking place January 19-22 (14.5 hours), cost: $375.
For more info call 512.467.0731, e-mail: or visit
their website at

SAN FRANCISCO: Here you have two choices 1) Bay Area Video Coalition
offers four classes, AVID: Media Composer Editing: this class runs for 3
sessions (24 hours total), Cost: $740; Intro to Media Composer Effects:
one session, cost: $400; Beginning Avid Boot Camp: 10 sessions, cost:
$2,165; and Advanced Avid Boot Camp: 5 sessions (40hrs. total), cost:
$1,480. For more info visit their site at

Your second option is the Film Arts Foundation which offers a course in
Beginning AVID where participants are encouraged to bring five to ten
minutes of their own video material on Beta-SP to learn to edit on the
system. The class runs for two sessions (10 hours total), cost: $370.
For more info, call 415.552.8760 or visit their website at

AVID FILM CAMP: Located in Portland, Oregon, this six week intensive
AVID training camp immerses it’s students in learning the system.
People come from all over the country to take part in these courses that
cover basics, AVID overview, advanced editing, higher functions,
settings, shortcuts, troubleshooting and the in-depth workings of the
system. Tuition is $4,995 and does not include food and lodging. For
more info, visit their website at:

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