Video CameraI’ve had the unique experience of dealing with quite a bit of video lately. I’ve always done short little videos here on Home Studio Corner, but those were rudimentary at best.

Now I’m creating weekly content for the HSC Production Club members, and I’ve become heavily immersed in creating videos. In addition, I’ve had the opportunity in the last few months to record several live bands, capturing both multi-track audio and multi-camera video footage – all while still putting on a live concert.

I have a new respect for video guys. There is so much involved with video that goes way over my head, but I’m grasping it more and more, and I plan to continue to grow my video expertise.


Why not just focus on the audio? Why concern myself with video? I have a few reasons.

HD Video is Everywhere

Unless you live in a cave, you’ve probably noticed that the entire world is obsessed with HD video.

  • YouTube offers videos in HD (all of my tutorial videos on YouTube are in HD, and they look quite nice).
  • Flat-screen high-definition TV’s are a hot item.
  • Every cable company has a super-duper HD package that costs an arm and a leg, but it looks amazing.
  • All the major networks are competing to have the best and most show in HD.
  • BlueRay discs are gaining popularity.
  • The XBox360 and PS3 are setting the standard for HD video and gaming.

What do you not see here? I’ll tell you. You don’t see people obsessing over high-definition audio.

The people who rushed out last Friday (Black Friday) at 5am to grab up those $600 Sony HD TVs at Sears are the same people who listened to mp3s on their iPods in the car on the way to and from the store.

People simply don’t care about SACDs and 1-bit High Definition recorders. They don’t really care if the mp3 codec used to encode their mp3s adds lots of artifacts.

Most people can see the difference between standard definition video and HD video much more easily than they can hear the difference between a crappy mp3 and a 24-bit wave file.

My point? The world has voted for HD video. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put any effort into your music. A bad mix will still be a bad mix on a 64-kbps mp3. A good mix will still have people bobbing their heads, whether the quality of the actual file itself has been degraded.

What this does mean is that you should seriously consider adding video to your portfolio.

Video Experience = More Jobs

Whether you do audio as your full-time job or just a side gig, you will have more job/project opportunities if you can do video.

If I’m the hiring director at a marketing company, and I need an audio guy to come in and record commercials, etc., I’m much more likely to hire the guy who has audio and video experience over the guy who just does audio.

Likewise, if I’m a band looking to record my next record, I would be much more drawn to the guy who could record and mix the album, but also produce a music video for one of the songs.

The list goes on and on.

Be a Complete Media Package

Being an amazing audio engineer is a wonderful thing. You should always be expanding your skills and becoming a better one.

However, the industry is changing, and if you want more creative opportunities, you need to expand your creative portfolio. If you can become a one-stop shop for anything media-related – audio, video, even web design – you will have an amazing leg up on the competition.

Steps to Take

  • Get a subscription to They provide tutorials on everything under the sun, but you’ll want to focus specifically on things like FinalCut and PhotoShop.
  • Buy FinalCut (and even PhotoShop) – You can get FinalCut Express for $200 at Sweetwater. You can always upgrade to the full $1,000 version down the road.
  • Pay attention to the video market, and start thinking about how you can, over time, incorporate more and more video services into your current projects.

9 Responses to “Why Audio Engineers Need to Know Video”

  1. Adam Cole

    Gotta love abit of video editing…though you spend forever putting it in sync and then youtube knocks it out when you upload it!

    Heres a little music vid I made quite a while ago…

  2. Sydney

    Great article. I think the points you make about being versatile apply to a much greater degree to individuals getting started in the industry and building their careers. Over time though, without at least some degree of specialization, individuals might find themselves having trouble advancing, attaining bigger clients and truly maturing in their career because they’re constantly trying to maintain a basic to mediocre ability in too many fields, while never really becoming skillful or cultivating real talent in any of them.

    • Joe Gilder

      Good point, Sydney. However, I don’t think it’s necessarily true that diversifying your skills causes each skill to suffer. There is definitely the potential to be spread too thin, but I think it’s very possible to become an “expert” in several different areas, rather than just being an audio guy and never venturing into any other form of media.

  3. Brandon Morgan

    I fully agree with this. About a year ago, one of the guys in my training class for my current job was a commercial photographer taking up a second job temporarily while the market was slow… we had a lot of conversations about this. He does audio and video work as well because he realized a while back, he can’t just be a photographer. Its no longer an audio, video, or photo field… its a digital multimedia field. You have to understand how to use all different aspects of digital multimedia including web design, graphic design, user interaction on top of audio, video, and photo.

    These are definitely things I’m taking into my portfolio as I seek out work and clients. Being the complete package is much more appealing to them than finding 3-5 different people for each task.

  4. Sam Sterk

    I’ve read (for the life of me I can’t remember where) “people are more likely to sit through bad video footage with good audio than good video footage with bad audio.” So I’m not sure if it’s safe to say no one cares about audio.

    With the advent of streaming video, audio suffers. However, there are a few of us, both audio engineers and audiophiles, that do obsess quite a bit for the next-gen loss-less surround sound audio formats, DTS-HD and Dolby TrueHD, packaged on Blu-Ray discs. Unfortunately, there is a high cost to experiencing this…

  5. Jon

    one thing I hate about “HD” is it’s a term not a defined standard.

    HD is different everywhere you find it.


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