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Make Videos Not War

By — One of many Reviews blogs on

Lately, my life has taken some weird turns and I’ve been doing that introspective reflection thing a lot. In the past month, my typical intake of soda and energy drinks has been replaced with coffee and water (and maybe a little vodka). Two fantastic friends of mine are thousands of miles away in Belize, where I thought I would be too, but instead am stuck in the sub-zero climate of Grand Rapids. This past week, instead of working a secular job, my focus has shifted to studying and face-melting amounts of exercise. Though my time spent laboring for THE SYSTEM is a fraction of what it once was, I’m finding ways to fill my time productively and I’m not only okay with that, I really like it.

One of the ways that I’m being all productive and stuff is chasing after my Adobe Expert certification in Adobe Premiere Pro. My hope is to eventually be certified in After Effects, Photoshop, Audition, and Illustrator as well, and maybe later become an instructor. Instead of signing up for insanely priced college courses or professional live seminars, I’m increasing my learning through video tutorials online. My main learning resources have been,, and

I’m almost certain that this is a better way to go than college. When I was in the DIGITAL MEDIA, AUDIO, AND CINEMATOGRAPHY program at Lansing Community College, I experienced a long drive to Lansing, long hours in classrooms, and homework and projects that could barely be taken seriously. Not only that, but we were given antiquated software and hardware to use while I was wasting my time being taught fundamental principles that I already knew. Hate college, I did.

Why YouTube is better.

The tutorials that can be found on YouTube are hit or miss. Because I have to search out individual videos instead of being in a course layout, the videos can range from crappy, super low-fi to professionally done works of magic. What YouTube is incredibly good at, though, is staying up-to-date. From my perspective, YouTube is a massive crowd-sourced teaching site (among other things); that being the case, the newest ideas and techniques can usually be found there due to the sheer number of users.

The trade-off when watching “one-off” tutorials is that they are usually very narrowly viewed as per the subject matter, which sometimes works to your advantage. If I wanted to learn how to fracture a 3D object in Cinema 4D so I could animate it shattering apart, there is a very concise and to the point tutorial on YouTube on how to do just that. But, if I wanted to learn broad techniques used in Cinema 4D, or have a course that logically gives me an understanding of the program as a whole, YouTube is lacking (though courses like that do exist on YouTube). The biggest benefit that YouTube provides, even better than the vast swath of topics covered, is that it is 100% free.

I am a big advocate of free.

Why Videocopilot is better.

I feel like I wasted an unholy amount of time in college that I will never get back. What would have taken weeks to cover in a classroom, Andrew Kramer teaches in minutes. I’m not even joking right now. Andrew is awesome. He has done graphics work for Star Trek, Fringe, Person of Interest, Super 8, Revolution, and Almost Human. The tutorials that he gives on range from intermediate to quite advanced, but if you missed the After Effects boat and have no idea how to do anything, he also has an “essentials” portion that helps beginners. And, just like YouTube, it’s all absolutely free!

Take a look at these screenshots. They are all taken from tutorials. You can learn some seriously awesome stuff.

Why Lynda is better. is the closest thing to college without the college. I say that because it is a paid-for service, and it’s in a course format. There are a few different membership options, a $25 version, a $37 version, and annual versions of both. The only difference between the two price ranges is that the pricier version includes exercise files. Lynda has a massive library of video tutorials that range from Ableton to Instagram to 3DS Max. Because of the format, and very thorough teaching of the Lynda instructors, the courses are very long. The short ones are around two hours, the longer ones spanning several days.

Lynda is great if you have the time to use it, and if the $25 a month is worth it to you. The caveat though: if you use, or the other learning methods, there aren’t any professional accolades that come with it. But, I challenge that system of thinking. Even if there is no university degree behind your name, if you have the same education and capabilities, does it matter? In the media industry, the better demo reel beats out a degree any day of the week. We aren’t accountants and registered nurses, we’re artists that sell our souls to the machine.

Even if that is true though, a degree will help a job candidate stand out in the market, right?


Like I mentioned earlier, I am studying to become an Adobe Certified Expert for multiple pieces of software. Each test costs $180 to take, but compared with the cost of tuition, it’s a drop in the ocean. 

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