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Re: Getting Started

>[...] Can the members provide me with some suggestions on
>what I might be able to do to begin a career in post production?  I
>any and all answers.

Hi Derrick,

You may be interested to know that while most people holding responsible
positions in post production are college educated, it's frequently the case
that their degrees have little to do with what they are doing now.  Most
good careers in post are not directly obtainable on the strength of a
degree.  While it will get you in the door somewhere, you'd better expect
lots of long hours at low pay as some prima donna's assistant before they
let you touch anything yourself.  And when they do, you'd better treat it as
the best break anybody ever gave you even if it's just dailies and dubs on
the graveyard shift.  Or the facility is so far down on the food chain that
little old ladies don't even stop by with their 8mm home movies.

Once you put some time in actually doing the job, you must work your way up
to bigger and better projects with modern equipment.  This is a tightrope
act: video is a small world, and pushy, agressive types are long
remembered--particularly if they only have mediocre talent.  Finally, after
you've got enough feathers in your cap, you'll be able to say you've

In college, somebody interested in being a colorist might consider the

1. Film courses.  Not that you'll be called on to direct or run the camera
(you'll be seeing the material after somebody else has done all that), but
you should know what goes on at a shoot and be able to converse with DPs and
cinematographers about such things as lighting and exposure, and film
stocks.  A smattering of film editing is helpful as well.  You should
understand composition, particularly in regards to how images shot for a big
theater screen are translated to a smaller video screen.  Anything having to
do with lab technique should be carefully noted, as you will be called upon
to discuss the inevitable problems that arise with lab representatives.

2. Video courses.  You should understand the strengths and weaknesses of the
common analog and digital tape formats.  Although you won't be expected to
set up or maintain facilities (unless you become an engineer), you should
understand how audio and video signals are measured and handled in a
facility.  Everything you can possibly learn about time code, edit decision
lists, and audio syncing will come in handy.
Don't spend too much time trying to learn the subtle details of every piece
of equipment they have in school; that stuff is often ten years out of date
and since no two facilities are ever exactly alike, they will give you a
chance to familiarize yourself with the specifics of what you'll work with.

3. Communications.  You need to be able to speak as effectively and
tactfully as a master statesman, otherwise you won't get very far in this
business no matter how good your other skills are!

Finally, if there is any possibility of getting an internship, jump on it.

Best regards,
Christopher Bacon

Thanks to Time Logic and Jim Lindelien for support in 1998.
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