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Making the cut with video editor Gabriel Virata

Having completed a recent course in short filmmaking, the editorial team are still on a high here with our new found love for all things video.

Safeera Sarjoo
15th February 2016
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The editing process in particular was one that we all really bonded over as we watched our footage come together in a dynamic and coherent film. We soon realised just how addictive editing could be as the ideas seemed to thrive every time we casted a fresh eye over our project.

Though we wouldn’t call ourselves seasoned professionals, we were keen to learn more about the world of video editing. Cue Gabriel Virata, the Global Brand Video Editor at BlaBlaCar. As the world’s leading ridesharing service, Gabriel’s role is crucial when it comes to delivering video content to the 22 countries BlaBlaCar serves. He kindly took some time out of his busy schedule to speak to us about the world of video editing and how working in London compares to his native Australia.

 

What prompted your interest in video editing?

I’ve always been interested in film and television from an early age. Ever since my parents bought our first camcorder, I remember going out and playing with it while other kids were playing sport. I’d then put together short videos from on footage that I shot.

 

Tell us about your journey within video editing so far.

I studied a Bachelor of Design in Visual Communications at the University of Technology in Sydney, which gave me valuable skills across a wide range of professions. For the first few years, I worked as a motion graphic designer in television giving me a really good understanding of editing and timing. It was only towards the last few years that I moved towards video editing – working in television, for fashion labels, exhibition launches and now here at BlaBlaCar.

 

How does editing for film differ from editing for television?

The biggest difference between editing for film and television is that film can be quite indulgent; you're working with a longer format and the post production process usually takes a much longer time. Film also allows you to be more experimental – whereas working in television the cuts have to be much quicker and to the point. Also with episode turnarounds, the editing process is a lot quicker.

Interestingly, working in digital/online video editing as I currently am, differs again as the user experience has completely changed thanks to the proliferation of mobile phones and the internet. Rather than having your work displayed on larger format screens, you must be aware that your audience is viewing your videos on much smaller screens now – computers, laptops or mobile phones, which again, employs a different editing style and use of different shots to communicate the story you are trying to tell.

 

What is the most challenging part of your job? 

Working for BlaBlaCar has been an exciting challenge because I am editing and delivering content for 22 countries, including all of Europe, India, Mexico and Brazil to name a few. For each country, I have different time zones and deadlines that I need to cater to, as well as having a full understanding of each different cultural nuances that vary amongst all of them. It’s a challenge because you start to think about your work differently and your work is to understand the cultures of each country, which to be honest is also what I love so much about it!

 

 What qualifications would you say is needed in order to become a video editor?

You would need to study a course relevant to editing – film or video editing, visual communications or media production. Something that will give you the technical expertise to edit. From there, work experience is also very important. Try to do internships during the academic holidays, these will really pay off when you finish your course and you’ll already have some experience on your CV when looking for your first job.

 

How does the industry differ in Australia compared to London?

There is a much wider scope available in London, whereas Australia still feels quite small in comparison. For example, working at BlaBlaCar has allowed me to work with such a wide array of countries and cultures that are all at your doorstep. Working for the French market or Spanish market is an hour’s plane ride away which is nothing by comparison. In Australia, it takes six hours to get out of the country so we’re quite isolated in that way.

 

Which of your previous projects are you most proud of and why? 

At the end of 2015, we launched a ‘happy holidays’ campaign at BlaBlaCar which was viewed and shared by thousands. The campaign involved asking our community from all around the world to record a ‘Happy Holidays’ greeting and send it to us. I then put all these little recordings together to make a huge, global, international ‘Happy Holidays’ video from BlaBlaCar, and the result was really special.

 

What are the benefits of taking formal training compared to on the job learning?

Formal training prepares you with the basic skills set you need to edit – how to do your job. On the job learning prepares you with the pressures that you would not experience otherwise. The combination of the two is very important for video editing, you can spend months putting together a video but realistically, the deadlines you have in this profession are limited to weeks, if not days. If you can’t handle that pressure, this industry can be tough so you need a real mix of the two to really excel at your job.

 

How long does the editing process typically take? 

The editing process varies, depending on the jobs that you are working on. Some videos can take weeks to edit – these would be longer format videos – for example, if we were to be editing an advert  that was scheduled to go on television, the revision process is a lot longer than say a short 15 second video that was going online.

One area of video content that we produce at BlaBlaCar is what we call our “Member Stories”, where we follow a BlaBlaCar member and uncover the story behind how ridesharing has helped change their lives. These videos can take up to a week to edit.


What advice would you give to someone wanting to pursue a career in video editing?

If video editing is something you’re passionate about, pursue it! You never know what opportunities will come your way and where it can lead you. The journey I’ve had so far has been incredible and I feel very lucky to have had the opportunities that have got me to where I am today. If you’re starting out and don’t have the software, tools like iMovie are a great way to start playing around and becoming familiar with how to edit. There is a huge demand for video content today as we’re spending more and more time online and on our phones, so it’s an exciting time to be in this field.

 

 

There’s never been a better time to delve into video editing. Training and Courses lists a number of exciting courses that is perfect to build on existing experience and help you take that next step to a fruitful career within the industry. 

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