A Commentary on the Importance of Training

Posted on by Larry

[ This article was first published in the January, 2010, issue of Larry’s Final Cut Pro Newsletter. Click here to subscribe. ]


Ben Balser, an Apple-Certified Trainer for Digital Media, sent me the following commentary on investing the time to get trained. By way of background, Ben is a long-time educator and trainer. (I’ve edited his remarks a bit to reduce size.)

The problem [begins] when folks claim they don’t have time to take a class, or do the Apple Pro Training Series (APTS) books, and claim they “have to rely on forums, trial and error” because of their limited time. Oh my goodness, let’s set the record straight, shall we?

Simple fact of life; you can waste time figuring out problems on the fly, or take an hour or so a day, do a chapter in the APTS book, and by the end of your big video project, you’re up to speed, and have spent a fraction of the time doing the book that you would otherwise have spent figuring out problems. You’re choice how you spend your time; less time with the book, more time on forums and bashing your head against brick walls….

I have found many who go the “forums and experimenting” route spend a full hour plus a day in troubleshooting a common issue, or trying to figure out how to get an effect, or how to get some process to work. Had they spent that hour plus time with an APTS book doing the chapter that covers that issue, they’d not only have the issue settled, but they’d know much more about how the apps work, and will be more prepared to work faster, easier, and reach that deadline faster.

And the books are really easy to do, you can get through them pretty quickly. My personal recommendation is to take one hour or so every day after work, and do one chapter of an APTS book. In two weeks you’re done, and you’re working faster, easier, more productively, and more creatively. Even experienced editors who are self taught, discover after the class is done that they’re editing time just got cut in half and are very surprised how much they did NOT know about FCP.

The excuse that “I learn better from watching a video” or “I can only learn from an actual teacher”, is plain out laziness. Yes, I said “laziness”! Anyone can do the APTS book just fine, if you take the time to do it, and doing training in a book like that will help you retain the knowledge faster and longer. This type of hands on, and self motivated, is the best quality education. Do the book, take a class, or spend much more time and money trying to figure it out on your own.

Larry replies: Ben, thanks for writing. While I believe that folks learn in different ways, including video, I also agree with you that taking a formal course – whether by book, online video, or classroom, can make a world of difference in editing speed and quality.

That’s one of the reasons I enjoy teaching.


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