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Thread: Are college courses worth the investment?

  1. #1
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    Default Are college courses worth the investment?

    Hi Everyone! I'm keen to broaden my knowledge and skills with both filming and editing and have considered taking a short course/evening class. Although I don't expect to be fully qualified as all filming and editing i do is 'out of office hours' I feel I would benefit from a steer, possibly cutting down the time by self-teaching.

    Has anyone else done the same / found taking courses useful? Again, it's only to give me focus and to learn a bit more about filming technique etc.

    thanks for any comments

  2. #2
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    All learning is useful, providing the teacher is up to the task.

    The best way to learn is from someone else, so being self-taught means you learnt from someone who didn't know any more than you!

    With subjects based on a practical skill (like anything to do with media) have a look at the teacher's experience. There is a lot of truth in the saying "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach." Look at the teacher's CV. Have they worked for someone else in the capacity they're teaching? Be wary of someone who only worked as a freelance or self-employed and avoid those who have an academic background. There are some courses being taught by people who have never worked on a professional production in their lives. Blind leading the blind.

    Ask to see examples of the teacher's work. What have they had broadcast? Do they have examples online? Don't be seduced by a posh website, look at the actual examples.

    So, yes. A bit of theory is always good but only if the ability of the teacher is greater than that of the pupil.

  3. #3

    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by Rembrandt Rob View Post
    being self-taught means you learnt from someone who didn't know any more than you!

    .
    nice one

  4. #4
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    Thanks Rembrant Rob! The course I'm looking at is at a college in Edinburgh (may have missed enrolment :( ) in Video Production; but it's like you say, I'm at a stage where I'm thinking; 'is this just going to be covering old ground I've already covered?!' I'll see what info I can find out about them though I expect they would have an online resume on the college website. Would like to think they'd have some 'real life' experience, as the theoretical/academic issue had crossed my mind!

  5. #5
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    [QUOTE=paulears;168342]If you are talking about Stevenson College - and the course is the 10 week production course with a college certificate, then it's a leisure course, and the first week might get as far as pointing out where the battery goes and the on-off switch is!

    That's the EXACT course I was looking into! Oh my!! at 225, think I'll give it a miss and buy a decent tripod haha! thanks so much for the info, I hope to one day return this valuable favour!

  6. #6
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    When you first start filming during playback the first thing you will notice is an excessive use of zoom (+/-), fast panning (left/right) and camera shake. As you film on, sometimes you will run out of tape or battery life. As the day progresses and light fades, you will damn yourself for not bringing a video light with you. If you film for yourself and for your family then you don1 need a course. Your family will love everything that you show them. Once you start playing for friends and public you will find yourself being critisized. If the critics hurt you, then your ego will tell you that you need a professional course. This happened to me! The course was expensive but worth every penny.

  7. #7

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    My ego told me my work was **** and that I needed to improve.

    A so called "professional" course needs to be taken with a pinch of salt, Don't trust their website.
    I can say I am a professional chef/circus clown/rapper but I need the experience and the reputation to back that up. Make sure the tutors tick these boxes and don't be afraid to challenge them, YOU are their customer.

  8. #8
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    Always, always demand to see something the tutor has shot. Not something he worked on, or was part of but something where he actually set up the camera and shot it.

    If it's not better than you can do, demand your money back and walk out.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by paulears View Post
    I'm not saying don't check their abilities, but do it gently.
    Of course, I'm not saying waltz in like the king of England and say

    "YE PEASANT, GRANT ME YOUR SHOW-REEL!"

    But "Bob" demonstrated he actually had a clue about what he was doing, Where as other tutors will simply have a shiny website and a shiny brochure with no real world experience, asking for the show-reel often makes their house of cards come crumbling down! Don't settle for a second best tutor, Find the "Bobs" of video production and sign up with them!

  10. #10
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    No experienced tutor will have a problem if you ask to see what they've done. If they get funny, then they've got something to hide.

    If the tutor gets stroppy, don't forget you're the customer. You've paid money and are entitled to a refund. Contact the college or school and let them know what's happened.

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