Photo Credit: (Mito)
Becoming an editor
For a lot of video editors getting into making montages comes from different places. Some start in film and media production and approach it from a more “professional” place while many start out as “montage kids” making CS:GO and Call of Duty Fragmovies/montages for their YouTube channels. Not every montage kid gets to their dream job of working for one of the biggest esports brands like FaZe Clan or OpTic Gaming, but the communities that form around montagers makes it all worth it.
What first got you into editing?
Snipetality - When I was a little kid I was really into taking photos. I would grab my parent's digital camera and go all around the house taking pictures of miscellaneous things and take random candid photos when my friends came over (my dad actually saved every photo I ever took!). I eventually started using the video function on the camera and would make a variety of "funny" (what we thought was funny) videos with my friends which I would enjoy editing together. In 2007, Halo 3 came out. I had been a huge fan of Halo ever since Halo 1's release in 2001. Halo 3 had a new feature called Theater mode where you could watch anyone's recent games and play them back, along with getting cinematic shots of the players and the maps, etc. What better way to combine my passion for Halo with my passion for making videos? That's when I got into editing montages and truly fell in love with editing. At the time, montages were still a pretty new thing, so it's pretty cool to have been a part of that from (almost) the beginning. In high school, I edited a lot of videos for my school's sports teams (football, soccer, basketball) creating highlight reels, hype videos, etc. Once I got into film school, I started doing freelance work for known companies such as MLG, 343 Industries, Machinima, and ASTRO Gaming. Now, I work full-time for 1UP Studios in Los Angeles, CA.
Barker - Back in late 2009/early 2010 me and my friends were really into sniping on MW2, we'd watch sniping montages on YouTube such as OpTic HECZ MW2 Sniper montage, and be super impressed by the creative editing and cool music, for me I was especially impressed by the way the editor would sync some of the shots to the beat of the music, this led me to try to learn how to do that and make my own montages - and it just progressed from there.
— FaZe Barker (@FaZeBarker) September 25, 2017
Mixable – I started editing in high school, about 6years ago, during a professional video production course which taught basically an introduction to all different parts of video production. In my 2nd year of the class, and my senior year of high school, I ended up liking editing and was better at it than most of my classmates so I just kind of ended up sticking with it. Because of that class I got an internship as an assistant editor in college which only furthered my editing career.
Mito – I started editing all the way back in 2010,when I was about to get kicked from my small clan I was in back in the Modern warfare 2 days. I was told to make the leader an episode or else I would be removed from the team- that edit turned out to be the best one on the channel and I was officially announced as an editor instead of a player on the team.
Do you feel editing is an escape or a job?
Snipetality – For the most part, I view editing as an escape, hence why I started doing it in the first place. I'm lucky to have discovered this passion at such a young age. I can edit for hours and hours and feel like just a few minutes went by. Time flies when you're having fun, right? It's like being in a completely different world, as cheesy as that might sound. I'm a pretty optimistic person, but if I am stressed about anything in life, sitting down and editing a video can completely block that stress out.
Now there is the whole aspect of it also being my full-time job now, whereas before it was only freelance work I did when I had extra time outside of school. There come times where I am required to edit videos I don't particularly want to edit. Though, I feel it's necessary to have a good balance between videos I want to edit and videos I don't want to edit. How do you get better at anything? By doing it. So I try and view videos I don't want to edit as more of a learning experience, rather than something I'm doing just to get a paycheck. Plus, having to edit projects I don't want to do just makes projects I do want to do so much better!
Barker - It started as an escape and still is to an extent, but it's now progressed into a job as well which is awesome because I love doing it.
Mixable – A little of both? Sometimes it can feel like a job, especially when you're doing something as tedious as footage organization, but it's a vital part to editing so it's gotta get done. However, the freedom of editing and being able to create a story from the footage you're giving is cool, and that's when it feels more like an escape.
Mito - I would say most editors think of editing as a way of escaping reality and creating something in a format where it would be beautiful in their eyes. The best thing about editing is that it can range from being abstract to extremely mainstream and there always be someone who will enjoy one's work because of how many layers there really are to editing. Some editors look at editing as jobs and they finish work for others to create a source of income while only putting in a little bit of creativity- making their “escape” not really an escape and instead just simply work. I like to see editing as a hobby I can get paid from to keep myself happy and also build a community around it where everyone is appreciating other people's work.
How would you describe your editing style?
Snipetality – Keep it simple. I've learned this concept the most throughout my time editing montages through the years. When I first got into editing montages, I thought the best way to get views and gain fans was to have more flashy visual effects than the other editors. I was living by this idea so much that I was practically forcing different effects into my videos every second I had an opportunity. Well, I've now found out that's not an ideal way to go. By putting in all these crazy flashy effects into my videos, it made it harder for my viewers to watch what they came for - the game play. My job as an editor is to create the best story I can with the content I am provided with. And that's true with anything I create, not just montages. With that said, I need to determine what is too much - whether that's in reference to visual effects, audio effects, or even text graphics. Keeping it simple is one of the biggest concepts I've come to learn in my 7+ years of editing. And I know that as I continue editing videos for the next 20+ years of my life, I'll continue to learn and improve on more concepts to improve my own editing style.
Barker – It depends on the game and the music i'm using, however, in general, i'd describe it as a clean style, where the game play is clearly visible and flows well with the music - to me that's the most important thing in a montage.
Mixable – As shitty as an answer as this might sound, I'm not sure I've really found my style yet. I'm not a montage editor like CJ so I can't say that. What I'm good it is more of the formulaic stuff, because in college I assisted on a lot of commercials, and that stuff is usually more rigid and goes along with a script. So I'm good at converting a script into an edit. I would like to work on bettering my free-form documentary style edits so I try and do as many as those as I can.
Mito – My editing style is very generic- the “go-to” editing style that everyone can appreciate and not get to upset about because it wasn’t ‘creative or original’. I like to keep it extremely simple while executing a stylistic editing form that is enjoyable to watch. Back in the day I used to make my edits ‘edgy and dark’ to fulfill some sort of esthetic however soon after the age of 16 I realized that I wasn’t very good at being dark and edgy. Simplicity is the key.
Proud to announce I'll be filming & editing FaZe's very first Fragmovie documentary during ESL One: New York 2017. Super excited. #FaZeUp
— FaZe Mito (@FaZeMito) September 6, 2017
Transitioning to esports
The industry of esports is new and few professional/creative types have stable positions. While much has improved, there still remains organizations that prey on young and upcoming talent and it is not always possible to turn esports into a full time career. Often times you will read stories of players/organizational staff working a full-time job and doing a full-time esports gig and just to read it is exhausting.
How are you involved in esports?
Snipetality - A few months ago I started working at 1UP Studios, which creates all of Team Liquid's media content (we do work for other clients, but Team Liquid is essentially our biggest client). We create a wide range of videos across all of Liquid's teams including but not limited to League of Legends, Dota 2, CSGO, Super Smash Bros, Halo, and PUBG. These videos range from highlight/recap videos, documentary style videos, funny/improv style videos, and more. We release the content on a wide variety of media including, but not limited to, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 1UP has or currently does, work for other clients such as Razer, HyperX, Brisk Mate, Rocket League, and Evil Geniuses.
Intro animation I created for @TeamLiquid's "America's Team"
— Logan Dodson (@LoganDodson) July 29, 2017
Barker – I'm a video editor for FaZe Clan.
Mixable – I am a video editor for Team Envy.
Mito - I’m involved in eSports by creating content that is enjoyable to watch for the average viewer that likes to indulge themselves into eSports content. For example- I don’t need to impress some high-end person that is going to be judging every single frame of my edit, instead I’m targeting the audience that is very broad that watches eSports and eSport personalities. My editing style has become known across platforms such as the FaZe Channel, Fragmovies and more.
What has esports brought into video editing content wise?
Barker - I'd say it's brought the opportunity for edits to tell a story rather than just be about the clips/frags. For example, through an edit I can portray a certain rivalry between FaZe and another team or one of our players and a player from another team, also if there's a huge comeback, that can be shown through editing as well, which adds a new level of excitement that isn't there in regular montages. I can also include caster audio from events which adds a lot to a video, as well as real life footage of the players or the reactions of the crowd.
Mixable - I'm not sure if esports has brought anything in particular to the editing field. What it has done, is allow for editors who are into esports to have a really cool outlet to express their creativity. Meaning that docustyle videos (think our "Legacy" series, TSM Legends and stuff like that) can be created and uploaded to YouTube where lots of fans will watch it and enjoy for a relatively low budget compared to making documentaries and stuff about major sports or just straight up documentary films.
Mito - Esports has brought in more career opportunities through the video editing scene, especially for people who just want to get their hands on media creation.
What type of content do you produce for esports?
Snipetality - One way I am involved in esports is that I edit gaming montages for many professional gamers. Although the majority of my time is spent in the Halo community, I have done work in other scenes such as Call of Duty, Destiny, CSGO, and more.
Barker - Mainly frag movies or highlight videos from events.
Mixable - Personally I work on a variety of different types of videos for Team Envy. I work on our weekly news show "The Blueprint" as well as whatever other video needs to get done. On the channel we try and focus on docustyle recaps to showcase events and fun content like Taimou making meatballs :). So if I had to classify the type of content it would informative and entertaining videos for fans of Team Envy and esports as a whole.
Mito - I produce Fragmovie videos for FaZe Clan, Fragmovie videos for clienteles, Vlogs for eSport personalities- and Twitch streams that are based around eSports editing.
Future of esports content
While esports content has created its own niche, it has definitely borrowed from other traditional media experiences. The future of content creation/consumption is something that is constantly being pushed by companies like Microsoft/Apple with their mixed reality proposals, while the vast majority of consumers have yet to switch to full 4k content viewing. While viewing events has some room to grow, the surrounding ancillary content has so much more potential to be truly special.
What kind of content do you see being produced in the future?
Snipetality - I think documentary style content will be the main type of content in the esports world going forward, especially considering the fact that the amount of photographers/videographers in the eSports world has increased drastically over the last 10+ years. Just as people become fans of normal sports teams (like football, basketball, etc.), esports teams are gradually gaining more and more fans as the years go on. With documentary style content, fans of these teams/players have the opportunity to learn more about these teams and get a behind the scenes look at what goes on outside of the game. Additionally, you can mix in game highlights into these videos to get the perfect blend of in-game and out-of-game content to tell the best story. For now, the majority of this content gets/will get hosted on the web (YouTube), but I can definitely see esports content getting regularly broadcasted on TV one day.
Barker - Hopefully content that has an increased focus on storylines and the players themselves, as we send more people to events with the sole purpose of recording footage and getting interviews with the players directly before/after a game and seeing their reactions first hand, of course, mixed in with the in game highlights of the team.
Mixable - I think in the future content for esports is going to continue somewhat how it is now with these documentary style videos. At least in the near future. The main reason being that fans of teams like to watch what teams do outside of practice and playing. But a lot what the future of content honestly depends on the future of esports. If esports leans towards a more traditional sports model, then that will change the type of content as well. But for now I would definitely say it's kind of hit a plateau at the docustyle being the main style of content.
Mito - When it comes to content, I feel like it’s either going to go two ways- we’re going to continue the generic and safe editing style when it comes to mainstream editing styles for mainstream media uploading such as Fragmovies on team channels- or there is going to be a more abstract take of it and people will start enjoying more of the “art” aspect when it comes to editing. Just like in the past when a new artist comes in, produces something that’s different- some will hate, but others will come to enjoy the work.
Where does your organization look to be doing in producing content?
Snipetality - Working in a film studio that essentially is a full-time esports content studio is a pretty new concept. There aren't too many companies out there that focus so much on this type of content (compared to studios that focus more on feature films, TV shows, and commercials). With that being said, we have the opportunity to help drive and shape the esports content scene. This is especially true considering the fact that 1UP Studios is one of the more known and successful esports studios in the business. We are always trying and will try, new types of content.
Barker - I think a mix of both esports and content from individual members, as well as probably bringing in more content from the FaZe house.
Mixable - Kind of similar to what I said above. Just kind of produce more content of the stuff that's working, docustyle and fun videos, and continue to grow our channel that way.
Mito - FaZe is easily the top team when it comes to producing content, we have only the biggest plans when it comes to this upcoming year and I’m certain we will be monopolizing all of the eSports content creation easily. (glhf other teams)
What does the (Team Liquid, FaZe Clan, Team Envy) Brand bring to content that differs from other organizations?
Snipetality - Team Liquid and 1UP Studios are always trying to discover new ideas and concepts to push us ahead of other organizations when it comes to content. We are sure to produce content for ALL of Liquid's teams. With 1UP Studios essentially being Liquid's in-house studio, we are able to create content quickly and on the fly. As soon as a new player/team has been signed, we are there to create an announcement video. As soon as a match ends at an event, we are ready to release updates. In fact, it's pretty common that we have at least 1 videographer from 1UP Studios at an event that Liquid is attending. 1UP Studios recently went to Seattle, WA to create content for Liquid's Dota 2 team (who won the whole event). We constantly had a few guys filming content, while a separate editor was putting together match highlights and creating content to put out on social media (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc). With esports being such a fast industry, it's important to have content creators readily available to create the necessary content. That's something Liquid has to offer that many other organizations do not.
Barker - In terms of esports content we try to always release professional projects that aren't rushed or low effort, you'll pretty much always see a video recapping the events we attend unless the team performed really poorly which I think isn't really the case with some other organizations.
Mixable - I think it's the slightly different perspective that our media team's background brings to the org. What I mean by that is there are a lot of talented content creators in esports right now, but three people on our team come from traditional media background, so we can apply some of the concepts, ideas, and methods from that background to the content we create in esports which I think is fairly unique (though I'm not claiming we're the only ones that do this.
Mito - The FaZe brand is easily the ‘coolest’ brand and is just high class when it comes to comparing with other brands. We incorporate our team colors into most graphical media and soon are going to be doing this for video content as well.
Thanks so much for reading this look into the lives of the content creators! If you liked what you read make sure to follow Snipetality, Barker, Mixable, or Mito on Twitter and be sure to comment below how you feel about esports content creation in the comment section below.!