“Multimedia has become an important 21st-century vernacular that must be understood and embraced. In the media landscape of today’s world, multimedia as a primary means of communication is simply a reality.” Those are the sentiments expressed by George Lucas in 2006 in connection to the $175 million donation his foundation made to USC Film School. His philanthropy was due in part to USC allowing him to discover his passion for film as well as to endow the USC Institute for Multimedia Literacy which seeks to expand the definition of literacy to include a mastery of moving image and sound as well as text.
What does that mean? Literacy no longer applies to just reading and writing. To effectively communicate in a world that's increasingly gravitating towards the visual medium, one has to be able to speak a visual language. In order to tell a compelling story, words simply aren’t enough anymore. That means video editing skills are increasingly in high-demand and are 100% worth obtaining.
In a time when every company is a media company, being able to produce compelling media content quickly and efficiently is a critical skill. According to a study by ComScore, 89 million people in the United States watch 1.2 billion online videos each day. That number is expected to reach 1.5 billion by 2016. According to a study by Invodo, online video now accounts for 50 percent of all mobile traffic, and 92 percent of mobile video viewers share videos with others.
As the rate at which we consume video has risen in prominence so have our standards. Tolerance is low for poor-quality video content that’s strewn together haphazardly. While video represents a major opportunity to connect with a large audience on a viral level, it also represents a major risk to the standard of your brand. Investing time and effort to learn the art of video-editing insures your video content won’t be getting passed from peer to peer for the wrong reasons.
Video editing skills are valuable on a number of levels. Any professional editor will name a number of skills (besides speed) that make them effective in their jobs which can be applied universally. Persistence, attention to detail, and complex problem solving are all part in parcel of an experienced video-editor’s skill-set. As are patience, collaboration and the ability to defend choices and handle criticism. Learning video editing is a valuable skill in of itself, but even if you only have to use it every so often, the experience will prove to be valuable in a variety of contexts.
Editing is an art-form. It takes years of honing your craft to master. No one wins a pulitzer prize the first time they pick up a pen, but an entire world becomes accessible when you learn to read and write. According to a 2005 study conducted by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, more than one-half of all American teens—and 57 percent of teens who use the Internet—could be considered media creators (someone who created a blog or webpage, posted original artwork, photography, stories or videos online or remixed online content into their own new creations).
As technology continues to make it easier and easier to create digital media content, a participation gap is forming, however, a number of institutions are seeking to close that gap. Online learning websites like Video CoPilot or Lynda.com, industry forum sites like CreativeCow, and one-off how-to articles have plenty of knowledge to glean. You can also watch interviews with top-industry editors to learn directly from the very best.
At the end of the day, experience is the best teacher. Taking on a project in iMovie is a great place to get your feet wet, but Adobe Premiere only costs $20/month. Find a project and start your journey up the learning curve. Not only will you gain literacy in a new medium, you’ll gain skills you can apply anywhere.
Have you learned to edit video on your own? Where and how did it go? Let us know in the comments section below!