Five tips on how to launch your career in video production

Tips to help people interested in a career in video production.

All successful video production teams combine technical proficiency with artistic vision and have several roles in different disciplines. This means that if you have an eye for design, are savvy with digital technology or simply have a passion for film, there could be a role in video production for you. Here are our five tips on how to kickstart a career in video production:

Develop your passion and nurture your skills

The rapid growth of video hosting websites and the abundance of inexpensive digital editing tools means trying your hand at video production has become easier than ever before. If you’re seeking a job in video production it is well worth getting used to the hardware and software used in the industry.

Editing software such as Avid Media Composer or Adobe After Effects can be downloaded as free trial versions allowing you to play around with them until you have a basic understanding of how they work. It’s also worth considering hiring out a professional camera to help you get to grips with technical equipment. Understanding the settings, shutter speed, ISO and frame rates are all skills that will be looked upon favourably.

Having self-taught skills on your CV will put you ahead of other candidates when applying for university and will also demonstrate your determination and commitment to potential employers in the future.

Attain a video production degree to access career opportunities

A video production degree will equip you with the hands-on experience plus the foundation in history, theory and critical analysis to develop and lead your own creative projects from concept to post-production. Degrees in media, communication, film, photography, multimedia or broadcasting will also equip you with some of the skills necessary to succeed in video production.

Video is continuously expanding its reach across various industries meaning production graduates are no longer limited to working in cinema or film. Today’s graduates can access careers in fields as varied as their own interests.

Entering the video production industry without a degree is possible, although most professionals in the sector are educated to degree level. For information on relevant training courses, visit the BBC Academy and British Film Institute websites.

Gaining a degree in video production or a related subject can significantly enhance your career.

Gain first hand experience to improve your employability

Experience is key if you want to break into the video production industry. It’s important to decide which specialism you want to take and gain relevant experience in that discipline. For instance if you are interested in the production side of the business, a solid understanding of figures and the ability to network is necessary.

Any opportunities to network should be exploited. Volunteer at some of the annual television and film festivals held throughout the UK or get involved with free projects in your local area. A great resource for finding jobs on low budget films is Shooting People.

While production companies are always on the lookout for new talent, it’s often a case of who you know rather than what you know. For instance, if you happen to be volunteering as camera assistant on a free shoot and do a great job, there is a good chance you’ll be asked to come back.

Build a portfolio and get your work out there

It’s a great idea to build a showreel containing the best work you’ve done. It can be uploaded to Vimeo or YouTube and linked on application emails you send to employers. Corporate video production companies will be most impressed with 90 second showreels.

Alternatively, a portfolio website such as Behance is a great place to showcase your work. Your online portfolio URL can be added into email signatures when sending letters of application. Having a website will give potential employers a better understanding of who you are, which area of the industry interests you most and what you are capable of.

Build a portfolio or create a website to showcase your work.

Work your way up the video production ladder

Many young professionals in the video production industry begin life as a runner before working their way up to higher positions. Typically a runner’s role is to carry out mundane errands such as making cups of tea, photocopying scripts and buying essential groceries. Runners’ duties are also defined by which area of the industry they work in – from assisting production to working on a studio floor.

Many people try to bypass this stage or earn a promotion as soon as possible but it is something that should be embraced. The role can be very varied and is an integral part of your video production education. It’s a time of learning new skills, shadowing the experienced professionals and making all-important contacts. Having a proactive approach and willingness to start at the bottom will take you far in this fast-changing industry.