Hi to all of you Discreet users. I am an editor with 9 years experience ranging from Digibeta Online Linear to Avid MC and Pinnacle Liquid Blue (also Photoshop, After Effects, etc). I've always wanted to move up to the next level (ie Discreet products). I noticed that Discreet offers training on Smoke. The website lists a 2 day intro as well as a 5 day class. Is this a good way to start making the move? Are these classes worth it? How much can actually be learned in 2 Days?
Much thanks for any advice/opinions!
Well as someone with 10+ Years in editing.... When we got our Smoke we had a weeks training.. and even then it wasn't enough. You really need to be on the box before/after the training to really understand it.
Discreet systems (smoke) is still very old school when it comes to video manipulation. The editing portion of Smoke is easy.. most non-linear editors look and feel the same and if you have run one you can un them all to do a cut/dissolve and audio. It's the fancy stuff that really takes some time... 3D DVE, Paint, Sparks, Soft Effects, Text, Tracking, CC.
It's not that it is all that hard... it just takes an open mind and an acceptance of how to do things the Discreet way. Which is probably diffrent from Avid, and AE, and anything else.
If you have the time and money.. get your feet wet, or find a house that has one, or if you are at a facility, get a demo. Everyone learns differently, so only you really know the best answer.
Thanks for your response. I don't really understand what you mean when you say that Discreet products are "old School" when it comes to video manipulation? I was under the impression that Discreet was at the forefront of video editing technology?
By "old school" I mean that, as opposed to After Effects when it's all just a plugin and sometimes you just "turn it on" Discreet still works in "linear-like" fashion. DVE composites are Front/Back/Matte... repeat. Sparks effects(plugins) almost always use Mattes/Masks for results. If you need to key it, via the TL or in the DVE... more than likely you will need a Hi-Con matte. Very "old school" to say AE or something we you can play with layers, and add plugins at will... Smoke takes a little pre-thought so that you have all the parts you need to get what you want. Almost everything is possible...
BKM, is there any advantage to this way of video manipulation as opposed to more "new school" ie: after effects? Or is it just that they haven't updated to the newer way?
The power of Discreet is in their tools set and the intergrity of their video. The Master Keyer is awesome for ChromaKeys. As an editor, the tolls are all their and are fast to edit on-the-fly. Color Correction also excells. And it's not all about effects. However, if anyone ever got AE to run on high powered hardware like SGI, and had excellent interactivity with multiple layers... then Ae would be the best compositor on the planet. But there is still a reason that people use Discreet.. part of it is the name and with that name came a history of quality and power with video.
But technology moves pretty fast and in some areas Discreet has been over taken.. but they still hold strong and I think are getting back into the advancement of the art and science of video.
When i say they do things the old way, it's not a bad thing... there is a reason that those ways work.. and it's how it all started. Knowledge I have from my old GVG days help me even today.
I went from 10 years in a Sony 9000 linear room to Discreet edit in my transition to non-linear editing. 3 months later I went to fire/smoke. Editing tools in smoke are very thorough and well integrated. That's why they cost a lot. I had 3 days on-site training after working thru the tutorial and learning for 3 months on my own. The training clarified the things I had learned and moved me to a mid-level. It took me about 1.5 years to get really comfortable with the tools. I did several documentaries in HD the first year I got on fire (and several since then, both HD and SD, as well as motion graphics stuff and compositing). 1.5 years even later I am having fun. At the FXGuide edit session at NAB this year I was surprised that I knew as much as I did. smoke has 2 or 3 ways of doing things so you can pick the one that fits your style.
If you've been editing for 9 years with several different tool sets learning smoke won't be too much of a stretch. The Fundamentals course (5 day) would be a must to start but you need to have a relationship with a house that would let you use smoke every day (or night) after that. Having projects that force you to use the modules (dve, text, etc.) is helpful to bring yourself along. Once you begin to use smoke there are resources available that will continually help you improve.
Best of luck.
Thanks for the thorough response. Would it be helpful for me to get a copy of Discreet Edit -- would that help me get up to speed on the Discreet interface -- or is that not really that helpful?
Working with discreet Edit won't be helpfull. For starters it's dead and the interface is quite different from FFISF. If you would like to get to know some of the tools, combustion is a better way to go. Working with the Keyer, Paint, and Tracker and the node based compositing options would give you a better insight in to what it's like to use the advanced systems. Even with that, the advanced systems still have differences in how you work to acheive your final result.
I do training for the discreet systems here in Mexico, and i would say that your safest bet would be to go for the 5 day training. Like Del said i can tell you that even with the 5 day training the most important thing is to keep practicing, depending on the amount of work and practice the sooner you'll get the hang of the software.
From what i've seen, the hardest thing (sometimes), if you come from mainly an editing background, to understand, is getting used to the whole gestural philosophy of the interface, and the compositing toolset that Smoke has. I would go with what Peter suggested and try Combustion since the keyer, the colour correct, and tracker are pretty much the same, so it would be a good way to start.
Editing is like on any other editor, you just have to learn where the hotkeys are. The plus about Smoke is the complete toolset it has, and again that interface, that sometimes is a bit overwhelming at first.
Im not sure about the 3 day training (the 3 day one is mostly used for update training, or for users with some background), if im correct it's a 2 day training (Smoke experience) that basically what it does is it runs you through a practical example so that you get the sense of what you can do with the software. You'll do some capture of material using EDLs, editing, and also some composites.
There are some modular classes too if you are seeking to understand a specific module.
If you have any other question please let me know.
Digital Logic -- Mexico
Demo, Support & Training
Just to clarify a few points: I went to edit* because smoke and fire weren't completely installed and we had programs to do. As Peter said, it's dead (altho we still use it for offline) as a discreet product. Point #2: I had 3 day training because our reseller hooked us up with a freelance trainer who did a great job. He now works for a major post house in Dallas but I could give you details off the Cow. My email address is active.
As Arturo said, the five day course would be great or an on-site custom training session would work, too. Go for it.
really, the 5-day course doesn't even do it. I had similar experience to yours, and took the class. It was nice, really, Montreal is a nice town, but only doing the tutorials, reading the manual and good old project work on the box will get you familiar with it. Working in an environment with other smoke editors who are knowledgeable is very valuable. I have had this luxury.