So you've decided that video content is the best way for your company to improve your marketing strategy. That's great! As you're racking your brain, trying desperately to think of some viable ways to shave off a few dollars from the budget, the thought occurs to you:
Maybe I can just edit this myself!
Sounds pretty simple, right? After all, your computer came with iMovie. That means you've got what you need to get the job done professionally, right?
Here are 5 reasons why you're wrong.
#1 Editing Requires Professional Skill
A long time ago, in a bygone era in which computers took up the size of rooms instead of your pocket, the only way to edit a video or a film professionally was to rent out a very expensive postproduction studio and then hire a professional team, made up of editors, assistants, and technicians.
These people were important because not only could they work all of the specialized equipment without setting your film negative on fire, but they also spent a considerable amount of their professional lives perfecting and honing their craft.
It was common sense to hire professionals instead of recruiting your nephew and telling him to "figure it out" because the editing process required a level of skill that can only be gained through a lot of professional experience.
It's easy to lose sight of this nowadays since you can share a video of your kitten waking up straight from your iPhone. But just because the technology has become much more accessible to the public and far less expensive, you still need experienced professionals to help you achieve a professional product.
#2 Inexperience Breeds Inefficiency
Here's a simple question: How valuable is your time?
If you are like most people, your time is incredibly valuable and also frustratingly limited.
If you are even considering editing your own content because you think it will somehow be faster and save you time, I promise you the opposite is true.
It would be like me trying to fix something major on my car (i.e. anything beyond an oil change). I could theoretically read all of the manuals and watch all of the YouTube videos - the information is technically out there for me to be able to fix my car on my own. But it would also take half a century because I don't know anything about cars.
A professional mechanic holds a comparative advantage over me in this area, which will save me a lot of time. The same is true with a professional video editor as it pertains to you and your video content.
#3 You Need Fresh Eyes
This is something people don't often realize, but science has told us definitively that we cannot completely trust our eyes. As much as we like to think that what we observe is true, objective reality, the simple fact is our perception is distorted by a million little things: our mood, atmospheric lightning, recent memories, or how badly we may need to visit the restroom.
This is one reason why you shouldn't trust eyewitness testimony as much as you feel like you should. We all add our own perspectives to things and our personalities and experiences color our view of the world.
You are destined to lose some perspective and objectivity during the Content-Creation process.
This is one of the huge values of an editor - someone who can view your project with fresh eyes, free of biases created throughout the process.
#4 Steep Technology Curve
A popular misconception is that learning the editing software is the easy part. After all, didn't we just talk about how far we've come from those giant production facilities? While you might very well be able to carry all of the digital tools with you to Starbucks on a laptop, you're certainly not going to be able to learn all of those tools in just a couple hours browsing on YouTube.
Chances are, you'll also need some visual effects elements like lower thirds or specialized graphics. It will take you at least 9 & 1/2 hours to get the very basics on After Effects. Ditto the 5 hours and nearly 6 hours required to learn the color correction and sound mixing programs respectively. And then to wrap it all up, the specialty encoding and exporting program Media Encoder requires another 3 hours of your time.
After all of that, you're still a beginner.
Sure you know more than the average person on the street, but unfortunately it's still a very rudimentary skill level compared with professional editors who have spent years dedicated to their craft.
#5 Really Good Editors Are Really Creative
There is a common perception, especially from those not working in the trenches on a project, that the editor is little more than a pair of hands banging away at a keyboard to create a finished product that was essentially inevitable in its final form. This couldn't be further from the truth.
I could write a whole series of blog posts about famous films that were a complete mess after shooting but were completely reinvented in the editorial department. But even for normal projects, professional editors are constantly fixing things that you didn't even know were broken.
There is a reason that some of the most famous collaborations in film history have been between the director and the editor. Brilliant directors recognize how creatively important their editor can be and how much they must rely on them, for both technical expertise and creative insight.
The simple truth is, there are many tasks in life which benefit from the do-it-yourself approach, but there are just as many other tasks that turn out much better if handled by a professional. Being able to tell the difference is what often sets successful individuals and businesses apart from everyone else.