Demand for Media Production Skills on the Rise

As an increasing number of private and public organizations seek to promote their work digitally, more talented Cambodians are needed to fill the skills gap.
Journalism students from Newsroom Cambodia visit Voice of America's office in Phnom Penh, ‎Tuesday, ‎November ‎9, ‎2021. Picture: Sam
Journalism students from Newsroom Cambodia visit Voice of America's office in Phnom Penh, ‎Tuesday, ‎November ‎9, ‎2021. Picture: Sam

Like father, like son. Growing up in a household where his father worked as a photographer in a production house, Chea Darapech was inspired to follow in his father’s footsteps, spawning his ultimate dream – to showcase his documentary on international stages.

Darapech, originally from Phnom Penh, is a Year Four student majoring in Arts and Media Management at the Department of Media and Communication (DMC) of the Royal University of Phnom Penh.

Chea Darapech
Chea Darapech

[ Cambodia ICT Camp Aims to Elevate Digital Security and Data Journalism ]

[ Calls for Cambodia to Invest More in Digital Education ]

The 22-year-old started taking this path when he was in Grade 11 as a volunteer photographer for his school media team. ‘’During that time, I won the first prize in a photo competition held by the Japanese embassy in Cambodia,” said Darapech.

‘’To me personally, I love something a bit abstract. I like to use photographs to express my feelings and who I am when I cannot say it directly.”

In 2018, after graduating from high school, he decided to pursue his dream of higher education at DMC, aiming to grow professionally and explore his passion in the real world. ‘’I am now working as a freelance video editor and producer for school projects and private companies,” he said.

‘’In these last four to five years, demand for this profession has risen dramatically as the majority of businesses have turned operations to digital-based. At the same time, it is also more competitive because human resources in this field are increasing.”

Speaking about his future career path, Darapech said he is considering working for local production houses to gain more practical experience and to understand better the actual workplace. ‘’After this, if possible, I want to start my production specializing in producing a documentary as I would like to take those documentaries to showcase on international stages. This is my biggest dream,” he said.

DMC students at shooting work as part of the school assignment
DMC students at shooting work as part of the school assignment

Working in this emerging profession, Darapech said he has faced some challenges, including the misunderstood conceptions of surrounding people. He explained they have yet to understand what he is doing, and he has also been asked why choosing this career as the profession is not largely valued by society.

‘’This is what had happened to me, but at the same time, there are also many people who encourage and inspire me to do what I love. So, there is not a big problem to go on,” he said.

Ung Bun Y, Head of DMC, told Kiripost that given media creation such as video, photo, film, and other audiovisual pieces have become one of the possible instruments in storytelling, there is significant growth in demand for media production abilities in the employment market.

‘’In the Cambodian context, I think audiovisual content can reach the audience more effectively as many people tend to consume more audiovisual materials,” he said.

‘’Many institutions have started to use photos, video, film, or other audiovisual materials to promote their brands, convey their core value, boost sales, and even communicate with their customers. Since the rise of social media and other digital platforms, audiovisual content has also become popular among users.’’

Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, he believes there was significant demand for digital information, particularly audiovisual content as individuals stayed at home and spent even more time with their digital gadgets.

‘’I think we do not have enough professionals to meet demand yet. Recently, there is an increase in the number of production people, however, many of them are amateur, self-trained, or learning on the job,” he said.

Bun Y said more well-trained human resources are required in this industry to meet demand in terms of both quantity and quality. As a result, additional specialized training institutions in this industry are needed to educate more production specialists to fulfill the country's growing needs as well as compete in the regional market. A training center alone will not be sufficient to address this issue.

DMC students at shooting work as part of the school assignment
DMC students at shooting work as part of the school assignment

‘’I think we also need more support and investment from the government, private sector, and other relevant stakeholders including the audience,” he said.

Tha Piseth, the Co-Founder of Studio4 C0, Ltd also agrees that the demand for professions in video production is increasing.

He said both public and private sectors are starting to use digital tools to promote their products and services to their target audiences. ‘’They all need to create the content just so they can communicate with their audiences. It is enviable in this digitization,” he said.