Digistor provides training for custom workflows, we take a look at how this works in an excerpt from an article by Adriene Hurst originally published on www.digitalmedia-world.com.

Digistor TrainingCurrently, the software applications that Digistor finds people are seeking training for tend to fall into workflows for acquisition, encoding/transcoding, editing, finishing, colour correction, animation, graphics, playout and distribution, backup, archive and media asset management for all material at every step. Digistor may conduct training for any portion of the workflow. As Mark Richards explains, “An example could be round-tripping from Final Cut to Da Vinci Resolve for colour correction and back to Final Cut including the XML transfer, optimising the process, traps and pitfalls and how to colour correct in Resolve.

“We might also integrate specialist tools for real-time motion tracking, for example, or editing live event material in real-time as it’s being captured. One customer needed to capture video with caption data, strip out the captions, edit, encode and upload for YouTube and re-insert the caption data for Google searching. Each pipeline and set of products - hardware and software - will be different and require different training and services.”

In a typical scenario Digistor meets with a customer to discuss their production goals, including business goals. From there, they develop a solution and propose a specific scope of works to achieve these goals that ordinarily includes support and training services customised to the solution. Training can take place at the Training Centre in Artarmon or, as Annette Rays describes above, at their own facility. An advantage of the Training Centre is that it removes the staff from work distractions and helps focus on the training, and can accommodate groups of up to six people attending one class.

Meet the Trainer

Once Digistor is familiar enough with the customer, their staff and their workflow they can identify the best trainer to deploy. The trainer will also discuss with them their specific environment, tools, workflow, experience and desired results. By looking at what the trainees require in terms of skills and knowledge to be productive in the shortest possible time, the trainer can develop and propose the training.

Digistor trainer Cathy Vogan’s very wide-ranging industry experience has led her to work with numerous types of software, hardware and workflows. She has been making films since 1984 and also moved into broadcast in 1991, ran her own post production facility in Paris, and later worked at larger networks as an editor, grader, DVD author and compositor. Working over the years with so many different clients, artists and students, has also meant working within many different workflows involving Final Cut Studio - old and new - Avid Media Composer and Adobe Creative Suite, including Photoshop and After Effects since their beginnings.

“As an employee I always found it useful to understand how different teams’ software works. Up until about 2006,” Cathy reflected, “the specialised ‘expert’ on one or another application or device was the preferred employee, but since that time companies have started looking for all-rounders – technical artists who are expected to have pipeline knowledge as well as expertise.

Learning to Collaborate

cathy vogan 300X371“In that respect, short courses can be a mixed blessing. A professional can learn a lot over a couple of days, but there may not be much time to think about workflows. A longer course demands a time and money investment but you can come out at the end with a wider understanding of production. Meanwhile most people spend time on self-training as well.”

Examples Cathy described from her professional experience include working at the ABC, where the editorial, online and graphics departments each had to ensure that their files were compatible with their colleagues’ software. If the graphic artists used the animation codec from After Effects to export alpha channels in files for keying later on, the editors would sometimes encounter playback problems.

Camera compression formats can create other challenges. “H.264 was meant to be an all-purpose compression format for HD, DVD and mobile devices but still was not universally compatible,” she said. “Also, while AVCHD was useful for storing data on camera cards, it was not so useful for editors because it encodes footage in frame groups. Most NLEs, except FCP X, have required transcoding to allow fluid editing to single frames.”

Pipeline Design

When it comes to pipeline design, it’s important to remember that the goal is efficiency and better quality. Because After Effects and Photoshop are elements of most pipelines, Cathy teaches skills such as writing and using Expressions and ExtendScript to make them work more effectively with other applications and to avoid repetitive tasks that slow teams down.

She said, “Using round trips between Apple and Adobe software and the dynamic links between the Adobe CC programs is possible and very useful – but you have to learn. It’s another reason why training through a course that looks outside a single application is beneficial. I encourage artists not to be exclusive about tools – simpler or older software may provide a valid means of getting a job done. I can explain how to take advantage of the different strengths in various programs.”

Cathy feels this more open approach is evident in the development of tools like Avid, which remained a fairly closed system for many years but has more recently emphasised compatibility with new camera formats and software. Interplay is now available, and third party plug-ins have been developed for Avid, which Avid editors have to learn how to use. Similarly, Adobe Anywhere was also developed for teams of different kinds of artists who need to work together.

You can find the latest information on Digistor training here.