The past few years have been busy for film editor Vinnie Hobbs. After editing the Kendrick Lamar “Alright” music video, which was the most nominated music video in the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards, he’s continued on an impressive trajectory. His videography to date is a who’s who of the music industry, including Fergie, Pitbull, Skrillex, Big Sean, KYLE, and many others. When he’s not immersed in an artist’s latest release, he’s expanding his skillset working on both short and feature-length films.
Continuing to learn and grow is important to Hobbs, so he’s spent time working with different creative teams to broaden his experience. “By working with different directors, you gain a better understanding of different mindsets and approaches to videos. You learn the language they use and how they execute their visions,” says Hobbs. “In some cases, I’ve had to adapt quickly, but in the end it’s really good to know that I can use Adobe Premiere Pro and all the techniques I’ve learned to support their work.”
Hobbs recognizes the importance of the relationship between directors and editors, and he takes the time to get to know the people he works with and understand each director’s vision. From experienced directors with tried-and-true methods to up-and-coming directors with entirely new perspectives on projects, Hobbs appreciates how each person and project offers an opportunity to grow.
“I just worked with Dave Meyers on a video called ‘I Got You’ by a new artist named Bebe Rexha that chalked up 100 million views in two months,” says Hobbs. “It was a different workflow, style, and approach, which was refreshing. I’ve been able to integrate some of that in new edits that I’m doing now.”
With so much content being created in short, consumable chunks, Hobbs finds that knowing how to create content that is fresh, cool, and keeps the attention of audiences is relevant for both short and long-form editing. Techniques such as camera movement, lighting, and frame rates impact what he can accomplish during the edit.
“Shooting in 48, 60, or even 120 frames per second is probably the most helpful thing because it gives an editor so much more room to play,” he explains. “If someone is off sync you can adjust it perfectly without any lag. The opportunities are endless when you have more frames to work with.”
Even when working on something as popular as a segment of the ScHoolboy Q “THat Part” video featuring Kanye West, Hobbs took advantage of the frame rate to add a little something extra. “There was just one take of Kanye walking through the house rapping,” he says. “Of course Kanye is cool, but I knew I could do more with the clip. I used speed ramps in Premiere Pro to slow him down until the world just stopped for a second, and then I sped him back up to catch his next lyric. It really enhanced the edit.”
Rhythm, style, and storytelling are elements of music videos that Hobbs is able to apply to other projects. In fact, he was recently hired to edit a full-length documentary because the producers wanted it to have a musical flavor. It’s opportunities like these that Hobbs doesn’t think he’d have without his music video editing background.
Simple things like meeting deadlines as well as more significant challenges like figuring out how to make something new and unexpected, have also helped Hobbs grow professionally. “Directors hire you for a reason, so I always want to bring something new to the table,” he says. “When you’re working with different directors, you always want to surprise them.”
Most of all, Hobbs is thankful for the consistent work that comes his way, and makes a point to give every edit his all. As someone who watches movies every week, his dream would be to edit a major feature film and see his name on the big screen. “I love to escape and I love the art of storytelling,” he says. “Movies are something I have a deep passion for and would love to be a part of as an editor. It’s hard to get into that game, but it’s something I’m so ready for.”
Of course, his passion for music videos will never die. So whose music video does he still want to edit? Hobbs answers, “Beyonce is mecca – If you edit for Beyonce, you’re the man!”
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