Digistor, a broadcast, production and post production solutions supplier located in Sydney and Melbourne, is running a line-up of industry training courses with a special emphasis on pipelines, workflows and collaboration. They are designed for professionals who want to strengthen their existing skills or gain new ones, in order to function better when working in a team, with other teams or within a particular area of expertise.

Group Marketing Manager Mark Richards explained that when Digistor supplies a solution, it rarely incorporates a single product such as Avid Media Composer, for example. It nearly always involves multiple applications configured with hardware and other peripheral software to deliver specific content or production outcomes. “Our experience has shown that customers often need training to learn how to integrate these products into their workflow,” he said.

“This is also true of organisations that aren’t necessarily Digistor customers, who want to attract new clients or be able to extend their services by using their existing systems and equipment more effectively. Consequently, our trainers are workflow specialists with experience in real production environments: operating, training and providing support to users. They have been there - so they can bring this experience to the training sessions.”

Training Beyond the Book

Employees in a production environment often specialise in a particular piece of software. This specialization fits within a particular part of the workflow - editing rushes, compositing, rigging and colour correcting, for example – and their skill can lead to higher productivity. “However, whenever the environment, pipeline or personnel changes, the workflow has to change as well. Training placed within that context can help a company bridge any gaps more quickly,” said Mark.

“If new versions of software are released, teams need to be brought up to speed. New projects come in requiring a new integration of the tools and workflow, or a production might ramp up requiring new staff who may have the creative skills and portfolio but not the expertise in the tools on site. Sometimes a whole new studio is installed with new systems, techniques and staff mixes developed to work in that situation. In these scenarios, sending staff to a generic course to learn a particular piece of software ‘from the book’ is not enough.

“We do provide regular structured classroom training as well, which is still a good way to get new operators up to speed on Adobe Creative Cloud, for example. But often we are training small groups from individual companies, or one-on-one single users, after consultation between the trainer and the customer regarding specific outcomes.”

Integrating New Services

One of Digistor’s trainers Dave Campbell travelled to Port Macquarie, NSW, to help Derek Collins at Collins W Collins architectural services integrate 3ds Max into the company’s workflow. He spent three days working with Derek and a staff member on skills and systems to meet specific project requirements. They had mainly been working with Autodesk Revit for drafting and design, and wanted to learn to use 3ds Max for montages, presentation work and rendering. Up until then, Derek had been outsourcing this type of work, often sending it overseas, but now wanted to offer it as an in-house client service.

They had tried conventional 3ds Max courses but found they were wasting time on software basics. Once they decided to work with Dave through Digistor, however, they could send him a detailed brief of what they wanted to achieve. Derek said, “We showed him a sample project we were working on at that time and were able to continue working on it as our course project. He showed us how to export the drafting and design from Revit to 3ds Max for the montage and rendering, only outsourcing the graphics. We completed the project by the end of the training. Afterwards, it took another three or four weeks or so of practice before we were completely independent.”


Skills Plus Flexibility

For Brains Design creative agency in Sydney, the situation was different. They have booked multiple training days in different applications for employees with varied levels of skill and backgrounds. The courses included CINEMA 4D and Da Vinci Resolve plus a range of customised After Effects courses to suit different groups, from their managing director through to new and advanced users.

Nigel Allen is a 3D artist at Brains Design, and undertook some of the After Effects training with a colleague who had been working mainly in games until then. Motivated by several clients who wanted to incorporate animation into their projects, they wanted to broaden their skills from using Photoshop and Illustrator to animating in After Effects. “Animation has become an attractive option since companies started promoting themselves via Vimeo and YouTube and wanted an animated presence online,” Nigel said.

“Before starting the training, we shared some sample files with the trainer and identified some specific tasks we wanted to accomplish. One of these was the animated spectrum for Telstra, a major client at Brains, which we learned could be best achieved by using a plug-in. Now, we are not only more confident about looking for specialized plug-ins for the software but can offer After Effects as a part of our services to clients.”