For Members

Photo courtesy ASMP member Andy Batt

Video Tutorial: Getting Started

Where does one go to learn solid technical motion/video production skills? Editing? Workflow?

Traditional film schools, colleges


Self taught:

Working with a mentor — start by networking with other ASMP members

Assisting on video shoots

Get involved with and volunteer at your local public access TV station

“Where you should go depends greatly on your own learning style, how fast you need to learn the material and what level of financial resources you’re able to put to the task.”

Walt Jones

“I would suggest a workshop type school that has an open environment that can cover the basics and give the broadest overview of the technical aspects of gear use. The workshop type schools are good to get the basics without a full college type commitment. Typically the classes are broken down into editing, workflow, camera operating, and sound techniques. I have heard that The Maine Workshops, in Camden, Maine has a varied curriculum and can be attended during the summer. In a few weeks you should be fairly knowledgeable about all facets of production.”

John Sturdy

Is there a steep learning curve?

  • YES
  • New skill set needed for thinking, shooting and telling “the story” with motion and sound.
  • Learning how to capture good audio – audio is everything in video
  • Huge time investment in learning editing software
  • Some skills are transferred over from stills such as lighting and composition

“The short answer is yes. That being said, on a base level … Almost any competent shooter can make halfway decent video and and produce it with the cameras and software tools available today. The trick is being able to produce it to specification for clients on a deadline and within budget. Then it gets more tricky”

Mark Green

“Lighting and composition transfer to videography quite nicely. Learning to be a steady shot while hand holding a camera will require practice. Audio requires instruction and/or study, but if you listen to what you’re doing, you have a chance to catch your mistakes. Video editing, graphics creation and DVD authoring are done using sophisticated software which can require a lot of time to learn. On large budget productions, these are highly specialized positions.”

John Freeland

“Whether it’s obvious or not, the paradigm is different — it’s like speaking a slightly different language, even though many of the words sound the same.”

Walt Jones

How did you learn motion/video or get started?

  • Purchasing camera and editing software and learning by doing own projects
  • Film school
  • Networking with others
  • Workshops

“I started adding video to my business model with the advent of digital video in 2000. Since then it has become an integral part of by work, and has helped buffer me from too much down-time. In addition it has provided me with new marketing opportunities, both for new business and with existing clients. Video has also allowed me to market a different segment of the market as well — I call it the ‘high end of the low end.’ My still-photo work is more at the ‘high end of the high end’ when it comes to corporate work, so this allows me to capture some areas of the markets that were previously closed to me due to my brand positioning.

“While I continue to regard Still Photography as my ‘core business,’ I feel that Video is my ‘growth business.’”

Mark Green

“I started learning video by playing with a D90 and editing by playing with iMovie. From there I got a feel for what needs to be done. Then I can grow into a P2 and edit on Final Cut Pro.”

Aaron Ansarov

“I partnered with people who have those skills.”

Richard Freeda

“I actually did get my start doing stuff for community access television, long before I had much interest in doing that kind of thing professionally. With the cable access station, the cost of failure was absolutely zero since the resource was free to begin with and if my resulting projects were crap, no one who mattered would ever see them.”

Walt Jones

“There are traditional film schools available, but many, including myself, have acquired experience while working in this field and keep the self teaching process.”

Jorge Parra

How do you build a motion/video production team? What resources are available in finding a production team — organizations, unions, agencies, directories?

  • AICP — American Independent Commercial Producers
  • Crew needs (international resource)
  • Call ad agencies in area and get recommendation for a good line broadcast producer. A good line producer will pull all the pieces together, including the crew and on-site job needs.
  • Networking, social networking, attending Meet Ups like Final Cut User Group meetings, going to product demos given by distributors.
  • Many cities and states have production guides and directories — do a search for city or state film commissions.

“There are a number of production directories on the web. These list freelancers and companies that offer their services in a wide range of specialties. Freelancers are a great networking source as they will know others in the market who handle virtually all services.”

John Freeland