Adobe make some great applications, but they’re not exactly the easiest to learn…especially for newcomers…so it’s lucky that help is at hand in the shape of Total Training’s ‘Digital Video Collection Professional Plus Bundle’. Designed to accompany Adobe Video Collection Professional 2.5, it contains a massive 30 DVDs, with an even more massive total running time of 102 hours….yes…102 hours…and having watched all 102 hours…during one lunchtime (I was hungry)…I think I can say with some authority, buy them! Whatever your level of experience, you’ll be glad you did!
Included in the bundle are 5 sets of DVDs, each of which tackles a different application and each of which is presented by a different expert…and as one look at their CVs will tell you, unlike the presenters of some lesser tutorial DVDs, these really are experts in their fields.
Jacob Rosenberg is the presenter of the three volume ‘Total Training For Adobe Premiere Pro 1.5’. In addition to directing music videos by Gorillaz and Del the Funky Homosapien (whose almost as funky as Rebbe da Funkee Jew…but not nearly as Jewish…), for the least nine years he’s been working with Adobe, who published his book about Premiere, so it’s not surprising that in the space of just one disc he makes learning the Premiere interface easy. After moving onto the ins and outs of working with DV, he then, in Volume two, moves beyond the basics, introducing stills, titles, the effects control window, motion, effects and audio. V3 ‘Adobe Premiere in The Real World’, covers workflow (from recording a voice over to exporting your finished project), finishing up with advanced stuff such as multi camera shoots, the colour corrector and 5.1 mixing.
As he points out at the start of the first DVD, this set was originally put together for (the broadly similar) Premiere Pro V1.0, which is why an additional CD ‘What’s new in Adobe Premiere Pro 1.5’, which he also hosts, is included. The set is rounded off with ‘Adobe Premiere Pro Tips and Tricks,’ a bonus DVD in which he shares his favourite…tips and tricks, which can be used to help give your productions a more professional edge. At times his delivery is slightly fast…frenetic even…slow down guy…you’re not in synagogue…but nevertheless, the content is excellent.
Next up in the bundle is ‘Total Training for Adobe Encore DVD 1.5’, which is hosted by Adobe evangelist, Daniel Brown. It opens with a sequence in which he moves translucent interface panels around…in thin air…with his hands…while selecting menus and functions with his fingers…if only… Graphically, it’s the slickest of the DVDs in the bundle…but frankly it needs to be, because as far as I’m concerned, Encore DVD is the weakest link in Adobe’s video chain…and I doubt that even a Linda Evangelista…much less an Adobe evangelist…could persuade me otherwise…though, if she’s reading this (…which is likely…) Linda Evangelista is welcome to try… If you are determined to use Encore…which kinda makes sense if you’re using Premiere and After Effects, this DVD set will teach you everything you need to know, from the interface, through working with timelines, creating subtitles and building menus, to the joys of transcoding (NB, for all the Americans reading this, I’m being sarcastic about the joys of transcoding).
Like all of the sets in the bundle, the project files and source material used in the tutorials are included for you to copy to your hard disk, enabling you to either follow along with lessons in real time, or to watch an entire lesson and then recreate it afterwards. There’s also a quick reference card with each tutorial set, allowing you to quickly find lessons by DVD chapter number.
Jason Levine, who hosts ‘Total Training For Adobe Audition 1.5’, is another Adobe evangelist (they’re everywhere…). As Music Director for Syntrillium Software, he was ‘acquired’ by Adobe when they purchased that company in order to turn ‘Cool Edit Pro’ into ‘Audition’. As well as working in various musical capacities everywhere from Nashville to San Francisco (sounds like the itinerary of the tour I did last year with Jackie Mason), he is also responsible for having created many of the 5000 loops in Audition…and if that’s not credentials enough for you, he also has the hair to prove that he’s a real muso. Starting with the Audition interface, he takes you through the software so comprehensively, that by the end of this 6 hour DVD set, you won’t just know how to use his loops to create music…you’ll actually be creating your own loops…as well as mixing, editing, mastering restoring and batch processing audio in stereo and surround.
‘Total Training for Adobe Photoshop CS2’ is hosted by Deke McClelland, who, as anyone who has ever seen a Photoshop Bible will know, is the absolute guru when it comes to Photoshop. Because this DVD set is also a major part of Total Training’s ‘Creative Suite 2 Standard Plus Bundle’, a review of which will be appearing here soon, I won’t go into detail about it in this review. Instead I’ll just say he da man!
Which brings us to the last and by far the most massive set in this bundle… ‘Total Training for Adobe After Effects 6.5’. Consisting of four sets of DVDs, plus a fifth ‘What’s new in Adobe After Effects 6.5’ set (yes…the first four sets were originally made for After Effects 6.0), it’s so massive that it needs two presenters. They are Brian Maffitt, the co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of Total Training, whose award winning plug-in ‘Evolution’ is included with every copy of After Effects and Steve Holmes…the token Brit…as opposed to the token Jew… who originally started his training at a college in Ware…where?…No…Ware…though presumably that’s not where (or Ware) he learned to refer to a full stop as a “period” and pronounce the letter ‘Z’ as “Zee”…
Unlike the other DVDs in the bundle, the After Effects series starts with a ‘grand tour’, which, by showing you a project in the making, introduces you to some of the program’s functionality in just 30 minutes. While this is a good idea in theory, having what is effectively a fairly complex tutorial project right at the start of a training, might be a little overwhelming to those who are new to After Effects, as they may mistakenly conclude that they are being thrown in at the deep end and that these DVDs are going to be hard work (which they are not at all). So either I would have placed this perfectly good tutorial later in the series and started lesson one with an intro to the interface (which is what follows), or I would have opened with a different 30 minute ‘grand tour’ that offers more of an overview of exactly what After Effects is and can achieve and what you will learn in forthcoming lessons, in order to excite and reassure beginners (but that’s probably because in addition to being an expert in everything, I’m also an expert on how to achieve optimal neurochemical states for learning…sic…as well as how to achieve all sorts of other neurochemical states…). Still, that’s my only real criticism of what is otherwise a truly excellent set which, after introducing you to the interface, brings you up to speed on motion and compositions, then moves onto animation and effects, 3D (including understanding 3D space, cameras, lights and materials), expressions, text, basic and advanced text animation, painting and design, keying, rotoscoping, motion tracking, compositing and Pro Effects.
As with the other sets in this bundle, the presenters are engaging and succeed in making even the most complex of tasks simple to understand and even though Brain M does have a tendency to overdo the number and frequency of keyboard shortcuts he throws at you, since, in true MC Rebbe style, he also manages to compare the After Effects ‘playhead’/timeline marker to a Dreidel (reeeespect), all is forgiven (I’m so easy to please…as Linda Evangelista will tell you…)!
Wrapping (as opposed to rapping) things up nicely is a 2 disc set entitled “Adobe Video Collection From Edit to Output.” Presented by Steve Holmes, it does exactly what it says on the tin, putting the various applications into the context of workflow with a set of 13 lessons that take you from concept all the way through to DVD master creation.
Whether you’re a complete beginner or a seasoned pro you’re sure to learn some valuable lessons from these DVDs, so chuck out your manuals and check out Total Training’s ‘Digital Video Collection Professional Plus Bundle’, as the Jews are definitely in da house.
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