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Cheap Video/TV course

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Andrea Angelini
Cheap Video/TV course
on Jul 17, 2010 at 7:01:50 am

Hey Guys,
I'm looking for a course or a certificate (possibly in LA) which includes video and tv training. I'm currently completing my bachelor degree here in Italy about video/audio production, but it's a bit too theoretical and I would like to do some more hands-on training in the US, especially about shooting in video/tv environment.

As an international student I can't really afford the university fees, so I have to choose a community college or a private short course.

I'm undecided between LACC, Fullerton College and Orange Coast College. Anyone went there?
I saw also the Academy of Radio and TV broadcasting, but it's more expensive and the opinions are not great on the internet.
Do you know other good 6 month/1 year course around 6000/7000$ (not necessary in LA, another important city is fine as well)?


PS: I'm sorry about the language, be patient I need to improve it.


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Emre Tufekci S.O.A.
Re: Cheap Video/TV course
on Jul 17, 2010 at 4:22:02 pm

I dont know what the cost is but check out Maine workshops or the newly formed college:

I have attended their master workshops and were very pleased with the classes.

Emre Tufekci

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Mark Suszko
Re: Cheap Video/TV course
on Jul 19, 2010 at 2:13:09 pm

Sony used to have a workshop, like the Rockport Maine workshops. Of course it was specifically for Sony gear.

Andrea, you need to specify a little bit about what you're trying to accomplish, as the path differs a bit depending on the goals. If you want to be a film maker, start making films. Now. If you want to be a cinematographer, then apprentice yourself to one. To give you better advice, we need to get some sense of what you want to ultimately do/be.

Andrea, maybe your best "cheap" schooling would be to come volunteer at a community cable outfit's Access channel. You will get hands-on experience in every phase of production with the gear they own, you will make your own shows, and learn how to work with a crew by doing all the jobs in the crew. You'll also network with a new bunch of friends all in the same field.

If you need to learn an editing system, you can get an academic discount on several of them, and there are self-teaching DVD courses out there that will give you a good start, or you can go to one of the quick-tutoring mills, where they run you thru what button does what. Though I'm skeptical that they can teach you anything about aesthetics at their pace and price.

If you can't find cheap production workshops in LA on your own, you're not trying very hard. After you get your degree, many of the folks here will tell you to just get out there and start making stuff, any way you can. Build a reel.

How would you go about that? Well, it's easier to do it with a couple of friends.

Pool your resources, plan on what projects you will do, then go out and do them, using whatever resources come to hand. Documentaries are one good way to start. Also, making PSA's and promos to be used on the web, maybe for a charity or cause you believe in. Commit to shooting, editing, and posting to the web one project a week, no matter what. Keep them short and work on a goal of improving the audio, lighting, and shot composition on each attempt.

Don't buy an expensive camera yet. Do get a modest editing system, since being able to edit on your own time is cheaper than renting time at someone's shop. Find two pals and pool your money for the editing system, a good used tripod, used light kits, used lav and stick and shotgun mics, whatever "evergreen" items your production is going to need, that are cheaper to own than to constantly rent. Get all your stuff off of ebay and Craig's list, don't buy anything brand new.

DO not spend all your money just on a high end camera that will spend most of the time sitting on the shelf depreciating. Rent the camera, just for the time you will actually USE it, if you can; in LA that should be easy. But if you insist that you want to own the camera, you can start out with something cheap, maybe not even a conventional camera at all, but perhaps an iphone 3 or 4, if you are shooting short pieces. They make lovely images, for the price... if you know what you're doing.

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Andrea Angelini
Re: Cheap Video/TV course
on Jul 19, 2010 at 10:10:04 pm

Thank you very much for your help, guys.

I think I prefer the camera department, but I would like to do some training in both TV studio and outside. This is mainly because if I can't find something in the US and I have to come back to Italy there is no way to find a job in the cinema industry, seeing that there isn't a significant production in Italy. So I would have to try television or video production.

I did some research but it's not so easy to find a comprehensive cinema/tv course at affordable costs. If you mean short workshops I agree that it'is easier, but in that case there is a big problem with the visa.

Actually I thought about it and I read a lot of opinions on the internet and I'm not so sure that a course would be the best solution: you pay plenty of money and you are never certain if it's worth for your career.

On the other side I did an internship in London, I'm a bit disappointed about it because it was in a very small corporate videos company with not a lot to do.
It was still useful, but I would like to find a better internship somewhere in the US, maybe in a network or in a big video production company.
The networks often ask you to use the internship as a college credit, and that's could be an issue for me.

Mark, thanks for your tip regarding community cables, it could be a possibility, i'm having a look.

About the equipment I was thinking about a Canon 550d or Lumix GH1 (not a lot more expensive than an Iphone here in Italy), they are not really easy to use as work cameras (audio, jelly and rigs issues) but it would be good to experiment with a more cinematic image than the flat look of amateur or entry-level pro cameras.

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Mark Suszko
Re: Cheap Video/TV course
on Jul 20, 2010 at 3:05:58 pm

I don't know where it went, but I posted a reply to Andrea asking how she felt about doing news in Italy. I'll re-state it. ENG work is very good training as it forces you to make crerative decisions quickly about shot composition, lighting, sound, and narrative flow.

The general trend, acellerated by the bad economy, means networks are dropping international correspondents and full-time bureaus, though the news keeps on happening.

This is potentially a lucrative environment for a "stringer", a thrifty, affordable for-hire local person on location who can shoot news or feature material and upload it to stations or nets across the world. I think where this would work particularly well for someone like you, Andrea, is if you could offer packages that had some immediate news value but also didn't get stale for a few days to a week. That means feeding packages about culture, fashion, design, sports, architecture, travel, food, that sort of thing. News shows as well as cable travel and entertainment shows are always needing stock footage of this or that, and to be able to call up a stringer and request something semi-custom, without the bother of staffing a permanenet foreign bureau, makes financial sense. I know fast internet is a bit rare in Italy, but if you can arrange a high-speed FTP link somewhere, as well as DVD's via air express, you can feed the world your interviews and b-roll packages. Get paid just for being where you live.

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Andrea Angelini
Re: Cheap Video/TV course
on Jul 20, 2010 at 5:06:29 pm

Thanks Mark for your suggestions, I appreciate.

What you explained could be a very interesting job, but if I can I would like to do another work experience abroad before facing the work market.
I would like to live for a period (4/6 months)in the US working in TV or video production, to improve my CV, my language skills and my knowledge.
After that I'll try to find my way in this difficult industry, somewhere.

I'm a bit concerned about finding an internship for the next spring, I need some time to get the documents and the visa ready, but it looks like the companies don't want to make planning in advance, maybe because of the unstable situation.

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Mark Suszko
Re: Cheap Video/TV course
on Jul 20, 2010 at 9:27:04 pm

Cable access channels never have that problem, far as I know. That work doesn't pay anything, but is roughly equal to some internship programs in terms of skills learned. Colleges and universities have an inside track to internships, at least, they did in my day.

They say when you can't find a job you like, create one instead.

If you could create a documentary project in this country as the basis of your visa, would that help? One topic that pops into my head, just as an example, would be a documentary comparing American Catholics to Italian Catholics, the dichotomy between the one church divided by the Old World and The New World, how they don't worship the same, and what those tensions are doing to the church overall. Will it drive the church in Rome to make changes, accomodations? Or will a growing schism signal an overall inevitable decline? Is the church weakening, even in Italy, as population numbers decrease and attendance by each successive generation declines locally? You could do multiple Ph.D. Thesis projects on just that question, interviewing clerics and lay people and academics, on camera. Raise money from sponsors, or find grant money to pay for the project, now you come over here on a temporary work visa, with a budget, to execute the project, and get hands-on experience with real crews and equipment. And you end up with an actual work product.

I'm not saying you should do that project specifically, that was just an off the top of my head example of the kind of thing that perhaps makes use of your present background to leverage you into a meaningful production experience that would be worthy of granting a visa to do the work. It could be anything, really, I just point to news and documentary projects over more commercial things, because I think it's nice to be able to combine a social education value in a project with obtaining the main goal.

But hey, it could be anything: it could be a fully commercial venture, coming over here to do a promo piece on high-end racing bikes, on the influence of Milanese design on American clothing or furniture, follow the return of Fiat to the USA car market, from behind the scenes... whatever your creativity can come up with. Or maybe you want to go for something like an actual theatrical release, maybe you have an idea for a great script. I think that's the least likely to succeed initially, just due to all the competition, but really it's all up to you and your dreams, and the will to do what it takes to achieve them. Film making is deal making, money-making, finding someone to bankroll your project, and selling them on your ideas and dreams.

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Andrea Angelini
Re: Cheap Video/TV course
on Jul 20, 2010 at 10:44:46 pm

The thing is that I don't feel ready for a big project, I made a short documentary on a dam for the university past year (if you like you can have a look here

It was exiting asking the questions and shoot around the county but I felt I needed more experience before doing something more important by myself.
The result as you will see is quite amateurish.

I would like to work some more time in a professional environment,in London as I said it was useful but more or less always the same.
I was an assistant but I didn't learn that much how to shoot, when we were on a shoot I was carrying, packing and unpacking stuff all the time, and anyway corporate shoots can't be really creative. Also often I didn't follow the cutaways because I was packing the lights.

So some more practise, in the US if I can, or even in Italy in the worse case, could be useful to gain some knowledge.

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