Meet Katie Walters

But what you don’t think of is the person sitting in a dark room for months putting this masterpiece together living on sausage rolls. I know I’m biased.
— Katie Walters, Chief Productions

Ian McLaughlin, Post-Production Director of Chief Productions, nominated Katie Walters as Premiere Gal of the month for her fabulous and detail oriented post-production work at Chief Productions in Manchester, England. He wrote: "Katie is an amazing assistant and editor. She loves Premiere and works above and beyond her job role and even works in her spare time. Katie is musical and creative, and has championed the switch to Premiere over FCP 7 in our department at Chief Productions, Manchester. Katie uses Premiere from Ingest to delivery. She assists on documentaries, cuts commercials and music promos. Her work is excellent. She promises to be one of Chief's best editors and as a young woman in a predominantly male workforce, she deserves some recognition of her talent and for the hard work she has done so early in her career."  

I was able to track Katie down for an interview about her experience in video editing and post production. Have a read, I promise it's riddled with only the best of British humor :)

Gal: So Katie, how did you land a job at Chief as Assistant Editor? 

Katie: In my final year of University I did 2 weeks work experience at Chief. This mostly consisted of making tea for clients and staff. Luckily, I've made my mum thousands of cups of tea in the past, and was prepared for the demand. After I graduated from University I began working as a freelance post runner at Chief. Eventually they took me on as a permanent assistant editor. I'm now getting more and more opportunities to do offline edits. I was quite lucky, and it helps to be in the right place at the right time.

Katie Walters at her editing station.

Katie Walters at her editing station.

Gal: That's awesome you were able to do that work experience while at University. I guess only in England they make you get Tea haha. In the States, it would have been lots of coffee runs! You mentioned that you were the only woman when you started at Chief. Do you feel like more and more women are joining post production in the UK? 

Katie: There are quite a few freelance female editors that come in every so often. What I've found though is that when it comes to Online work, such as grading and visual effects, it's mostly men. I think that if you're a woman going into post production, you may have to work that tiny bit harder to get to where you want to be. But anyone can get to where they want if they work hard enough.  

Gal: Very true. As I always say, no matter who you are, where there is a will, there's a way! When did you find that video editing and video production was your passion?

Katie: When I was 14 I made a terrible video to Avril Lavigne's 'Girlfriend'. I asked my brother if he'd wear a skirt and star in it. He accepted of course and after a few hours of editing in windows movie maker, it was finished. From then on I kept doing personal little edits, even if it was editing my home videos together to music, I just really enjoyed it. I really didn't think I'd be doing this as a career 10 years later.

Gal: Can we PLEASE see that music video? Sounds amazing. So did you go to school for video editing specifically?

Katie: I learnt the basics at college and university, but I learnt most of my technical skills at Chief. I do think you can get into the industry without going to university, but I honestly don't think I'd be here without having gone. 

Gal: What projects are you working on now? Have you learned anything new through working on these projects? 

Katie: I've just finished editing a music video with a lot of green screen in. The ultra key in Premiere was an absolute dream to use. It did a really good job, to the point where people were watching it thinking it was in the online stage. I've also been assisting on a feature length documentary. When the rushes came back there were 3 hour interviews; all with multiple cameras and stop start filming. Having worked in FCP 7 for so long I assumed that Multi-clipping wouldn't be an option due to the stop start nature and the third camera that could only be synced manually. But after researching into the multicam feature in Premiere, I realized you could create multi-cam sequences which you could edit manually in a timeline. This was honestly a revolution, I know how sad that sounds but I'm very easily excited. 

Gal: Yes, the multi-cam feature blew my mind as well! Live saver, right? What project are you most proud of? (can you share a link)

Katie: I would say I'm most proud of this little online video that I made here at Chief, called Magnitone. I'm still building my reel up and this was the first time I got an opportunity to be creative as the brief was so open. 

Katie Walters edited this charmingly odd film for skincare brand Magnitone. The colours, the sets,  and the music all add up to an incredibly charming and whimsical film that is certain to grab your attention.

Gal: Wow, what a fun video to edit. What challenges have you faced in the editing room? How did you overcome them?

Katie: I would say the most challenging thing would be balancing all the different jobs you're working on. I've found that these three things can help you get out of some sticky situations though.

  1.  Have you tried turning it off and on again (that's the most important) 
  2. Always have your autosaves set to 10 minutes or less. 
  3. If in doubt, always ask someone for help. People may get annoyed but trust me, they'll be more annoyed if you waste a week trying to figure it out yourself.

Gal: What is your favorite Premiere Pro tool? What is the tool you use most often over others?

Katie: Being able to export sequences to a render queue is a dream. It's something that, after working in FCP7, is an amazing feature. We are often working against the clock to deliver commercials and music videos on time and every single minute counts. The fact that we can check back for any mistakes whilst it's exporting in the background is just amazing. Simple and underrated.

Gal: Adobe Media Encoder is awesome. I love the queue feature as well mainly cause it saves you heaps of time. Have you heard about the forthcoming Premiere Pro Social Media Publishing Panel? Will Chief be utilizing it? 

Katie: I've not heard about this feature. After reading about it, it seems like it's more directed towards vloggers. But it's something I'll pass on to our post production director as we do want to be more present on our social media. 

What is your favorite genre to edit? 

Katie: Music videos are always exciting to work on. I'm really passionate about music in general. I don't play any instruments but I did used to dance, and I think having that sense of rhythm has helped me a lot in post. 

Gal: Do you have any mentors, heroes/heroines, in your life that you look up to? 

Katie: This is a really hard question! I look up to the people in Chief because they've taught me so much, they're all pretty weird, but in a good way. I really do think the people working in post in general are amazing. These are the people who often figure out how to fix the mistakes that happen during the production process due to time restraints; and are the people that are given the least credit. Think about your favourite films for example, you think about the actors and the director. But what you don't think of is the person sitting in a dark room for months putting this masterpiece together living on sausage rolls. I know I'm biased.

Gal: The person in the dark room is often forgotten, indeed! Where do you see your career going? What are your goals 1, 5, 10 years from now? (I know a big question :) ) 

Katie: In 1 year I hope to be making and developing more personal projects. At University we were making shorts all the time and I really miss that. It's hard work trying to juggle both sides but totally worth it. In 5 years time I'm hoping that I'll be a full time offline editor. In 10 years time I don't know... I'd love to travel and work abroad somewhere. That sounds like a really obvious thing to say but I haven't really travelled much and Manchester gets pretty wet and grey (very). 

Gal:  Those sound like some great goals, Katie. Thanks so much for sharing your passion with us. Cheers and keep up the great work!

You can follow Katie Walters work at Chief Productions.