When I finished my NAB 2009 Post Pit presentation I was approached by a gentlemen who operated a website called New Media Webinars. We discussed possibly doing a webinar similar to what my Post Pit presentation about cutting a Canon 5D multi-camera concert. After a lengthy discussion upon returning from NAB we decided on the topic of DSLR Filmmaking Post Workflows. This was my first presentation for NewMediaWebinars.com. New Media Webinars would end up with four DSLR focused webinars (thus far) on production, post, color grading and audio techniques.
Later in the year we decided to do another webinar, a topic that would focus on Useful Applications for Digital Filmmakers. This was a fun webinar about useful software tools for the Macintosh that can help with preproduction, production or postproduction. But one thing I have not done was to actually sit through any other presenter’s webinars. In speaking with Marcelo Lewin, the creator and CEO of New Media Webinars, I mentioned was going to buy a couple of the presentations to view over the Christmas holidays. I was very happy when he informed me that one of the fringe benefits of being a presenter was that he would pass along a few of them to me free of charge. As I’m always wanting to try and expand my knowledge I quickly took him up on the offer and ended up with three complete webinar packages.
The way the site works is simple: You can sign up for the free live webinar and watch on your screen via GoToMeeting. The live event usually consists of the hour long presentation, a question and answer session with the presenter afterwards and usually a prize giveaway depending on what was supplied by sponsors. But the real advantage comes when you purchase the On Demand version of the webinar that is posted awhile after the live event. The On Demand versions are packed with great educational media. You get the full 90 minute presentation screencast as a downloadable movie file (man would it be nice if they are all iPad compatible right out of the gate as it’s such a great device for this type of viewing). There’s often another screencast that is recorded separately from the live presentation to expand upon the topic at hand. Actual media might be supplied so the purchaser can then put what they learn from the webinar into practice. Depending on what the topic is this could be QuickTime files or graphics or maybe an application project file. A PDF or something similar is often supplied that includes links or images or just more overall detail about the webinar topic. And the On Demand webinars are available for only $25. That’s a lot of educational material for the price.
So far I’ve reviewed three webinars other than my own.
Video Compression Recipes
The first was Video Compression Recipes presented by Andy Beach. That was one that I thought I could pick up a few good tips since video compression is sort of a trial and error type of thing to get right. It takes a lot of experience to know that proper balancing of image quality and file size and how exactly to twirl the knobs to get it just right. We all do a lot of compressing for the web, be it You Tube, Vimeo or just clients approvals, so IMHO any new info on proper compression is a good thing. Andy takes the viewer through a number of different recipe ideas for setting things like frame size and bit rate as well as walking through a number of different encoding applications. There’s some 1920×1080 ProRes footage provided as well for practicing.
RED Camera to NLE Workflows
I also sampled the RED Camera to NLE Workflows by Scott Carrey. RED camera post is something I consider myself quite knowledgeable about as I’ve been working with it since early in the RED camera’s life but it’s the kind of format that it seems like one can never really know everything. Even when you think you do someone else will have yet another tip or trick that can come in handy. This webinar will be most beneficial to the RED newbie who’s coming into the native R3D workflow for the first time. It gives a good overview of the RED technology itself as well as getting it into an edit friendly format. That includes discussion of both Final Cut Pro and Avid Media Composer. As an added bonus there’s a link to 8 gigs of native RED media so if you need files to practice with this is a good to get your hands on some.
VFX Techniques with Mocha Pro
VFX Techniques with Mocha Pro presented by Ben Brownlee is a recently completed webinar and is a bit more advanced than some of them as it focuses on a very powerful and very complex piece of software, the tracking and rotoscoping software Mocha Pro. There was quite a bit covered in this webinar that dug into this new version of Mocha but it also detailed a lot of good tracking and rotoscoping techniques. As I’m far from a VFX expert and/or a Mocha Pro pro I’ll be going back and watching this one a few more times. It’s also full of bonus materials including two Mocha projects as well as footage.
If you’re a dedicated post-production professional there’s quite a few over there that step outside of the specific software packages including Branding Your Post House by Philip Hodgetts, Building The Edit Room: Mac Edition by Ned Soltz and what should be required viewing for new editors: Editing Bootcamp: Get Organized! by Norman Hollyn.
After reviewing some of the presentations and working with the extras the purchaser gets with the downloads I’m convinced these On-Demand webinars are one of the better bargains out there for specific types of new media training. Obviously as a presenter I’m a bit biased toward New Media Webinars but there’s certainly a lot of places on the Internet where someone in our field of work can train and learn. Studio Daily has regular webinar presentations and Final Cut Pro guru Larry Jordan is doing tons of webinars these days. Plus a lot of companies are doing their own webinars such as the recent Avid / RED Digital Cinema presentation.
But I think the value of the New Media Webinars presentation and materials might be a bit unique in our profession. Of course I want people to download, use and learn from the two webinars I’ve presented thus far but it’s definitely worth browsing the back catalog of On Demand webinars to see what’s available that you might learn something from.
And while I was very happy when Marcelo offered some of the On Demand webinars for free I felt bad to keep asking him for others since this is his primary business … so I went back and bought a few others.