Latest post Tue, May 4 2010 7:16 PM by dltarr. 31 replies.
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  • Thu, Apr 8 2010 1:49 AM

    • dltarr
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    How did you learn the DS?

    I heard a few good stories awhile back, about how some DS'ers learned to use the DS, but I'm curious how the rest of you did.  Were you born with the complete knowledge of all things DS (Tone;)?  Did you sit down and read the manual from cover to cover?  Did someone take you under their wing?  Did you stay up all night and on weekends?  

    Let me know, I want to hear your stories!


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  • Thu, Apr 8 2010 2:11 AM In reply to

    • mrmikster
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    • Los Angeleez
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    Re: How did you learn the DS?

    Back in 1997, I started learning the DS. I was given a Beta Manual and Beta machine. I basically sat in a closet and re-wrote the manual from cover to cover in longhand (seems that's the only way I can get things to stick), then I went through the manual again, with the machine turned on. Finally, I went up to Montreal to get certified, and taught from the manual. So all in, I spent about a month with the Manual stuck to my fingers. Then, since there were so few DS systems in L.A. at that time, I pulled in every job I could and built it on the DS. Plus teaching the classes was a huge benefit to learning the system.

    "There are no rules for the brave". Albert Einstein

  • Thu, Apr 8 2010 3:01 AM In reply to

    • dermot
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    Re: How did you learn the DS?

    I was the designated test pilot at Mainframe, a large facility, and part of my job was to eval systems, so i had beta's of the first Smoke, and the First DS, but went with a proven system... the  fairly bullet proof for the day Jaleo... and got an IMAX ride film done in it at 4K, and this was circa 1998....  on a Octane that kept blowing power supplies.

    I came back to DS on v2, when i built Sextant i bought 2 x DSv2 along with an Inferno, 2 x Flames, 10 x Combustion seats it was not a hard step to drive DS, just getting used to buttons in different places & having more buttons to push.

    Just before Jaleo i had Matador & Advance on an Indigo, and an Axial2020/loaded A84+/6 x A66's/ 8 x Profile/ 2 x A57... so i had been at it for a while already ;-)

    I have never taken a class, when i bought DS's i gave the training tickets to the editor's who were new, so in all the DS's i have bought over the years (at least 10) that came with training tickets i have yet to redeem one...

    Note to self; gotta take DS101 someday




    8600 - 3700 - AJA 2Ke - u320 array - Dream Color [view my complete system specs]
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  • Thu, Apr 8 2010 3:16 AM In reply to

    • sqitaos
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    Re: How did you learn the DS?

    I was editing at BVI in Miami in the late 90's when one year management came back from NAB with a DS.  Soon after, we hired Lee Konen, now a FCP evangelist, who had roughly six months' head start on us up in a place in Tampa.  I got some after hours and weekend tutelage from him, then spent my own time during evenings and weekends teaching myself.  I convinced management I was ready to take on sessions and sweat through a huge Ford campaign.  From that point on, I became one of three editors taking on sessions on DS.  After about a year or so, I told the higher-ups that there was nothing else I could learn teaching myself and the only way to take that next step was to be sent to formal training.  So BVI sent myself and Scott Roy to Nashville, TN where DS training was available at the Renaissance Center.  Eddie Hales was the teacher and pretty much filled in the blanks.  Shortly after training, through recommendations from Eddie, I started getting calls from places all over the country asking if I freelanced and finally bit the bullet and went off on my own.  I've been freelancing ever since primarily on DS while forming my own company, purchasing my first DS and built around that.

    Sean S.

  • Thu, Apr 8 2010 3:18 AM In reply to

    • hensil
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    Re: How did you learn the DS?

    Our company bought 5 DS ver2 in the year 2000 and I was forced to work on it. Before that I was working on MC for 3 years. I had only 101 then. The following year all the DS were upgraded to ver3 and after a year our company did not renew the support contract for unkown reason. I worked and tried to learn DS v3 for next 8 years on my own without any support from any body. The other editors left DS or the company. In fact non of them liked to work on DS due to lack of support or proper training.  There were only 2 DS left last year and were upgraded to ver 8.5 and now the lastest. v10.3. Now, I am the only editor in my company that can work on DS. The other DS is used for Symphony that too as a MC for only edits.

    I am still learning DS and feel I'll be learning all my life due to lack of support. My company does not believe in training eidtors so I have only the manuals/help guide to refer to. The help guide is very cryptic. Type one question and you get 10 answers related with MC and non of DS.

    Recetenly I joined this forum and it is my only hope of learning DS. I also read DS Wiki.


    DS 10.3.1/Symphony Nitris, HP8400, Dual Link, 8MB RAM [view my complete system specs]
  • Thu, Apr 8 2010 3:52 AM In reply to

    • Tommyp
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    Re: How did you learn the DS?

    I spent 5 years learning to edit in linear rooms (a beta SP suite and a D2 suite with a big ol' switcher) There were some patient producers and great Senior Editors willing to mentor me. The company also had an Avid MC, so I got to learn that doing a high school football season review, for free, at night. The next job was a 3 screen show, a little trial by fire. At the same time I got hold of After Effects v1. 

    So with a solid base of editing, I sent out my reel and got a few hits. One was a place in MI that had DS and wanted another DS Artist. They hired me and sent me to training. Same as Sean, Eddie Hales at the Renaissance Center in Tenn. Fantastic place to learn. I wish they still taught DS. That was ver3. We were part of the HD beta, I think our HDDS was #4. Lots of crashes, good times.

    I left there to start my own place with some others and we ran with DS as our main system. As a small shop, it was the best choice. We could offline, online and create great composites and looks all in the same system. Incredible cost and time savings.

    I've now been on it for 10 years and still learn the most from reading the lists. I just got my DS ACSR certification, but I still know there's more to learn.


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  • Thu, Apr 8 2010 6:49 AM In reply to

    • dermot
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    Re: How did you learn the DS?


    We were part of the HD beta, I think our HDDS was #4. Lots of crashes, good times.


    I had # 0000006 in Shanghai at around the same time, i still have that Zpro chugging away as a server... it will never die


    8600 - 3700 - AJA 2Ke - u320 array - Dream Color [view my complete system specs]
  • Thu, Apr 8 2010 7:28 AM In reply to

    Re: How did you learn the DS?

    I didn't know better so I sat down and read the manuals. I wish someone told me what sections to skip because, to be honest, there are dead ends in DS that have not been developed in years. I am glad that they are there just in an odd case you need them but it's good to know where to accelerate when reading a War and Peace of a manual.

    Since my head only holds so much information I never retained some simple essentials and always express amazement when Tone and other guys demonstrate that what I do in 10 keystrokes they can do in two.

    I have learned tons of boxes and applications over the years. Some small liike Elastic Reality and some big like Domino or Henry but DS was the hardest one to learn. I am not saying this to discourage anyone from learning it. Just budget your time wisely because there is some clutter in there.

    Igor Ridanovic

  • Thu, Apr 8 2010 7:36 AM In reply to

    • ManChicken
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    Re: How did you learn the DS?

    Like a lot of people replying, I just got on the box and "had at it."  I'd been whacking away on Editbox for years prior and really never touched MC besides digitizing a little at night.  Never took the DS courses.

    Honestly I think DS functions fairly intuitively on the whole.  Every system has its idiosyncrasies, but a half-day crash course to explain the fundamental differences in how DS thinks should be enough for a Symphony editor to be able to pick it up and be off to the races on their own.

  • Thu, Apr 8 2010 9:15 AM In reply to

    • tonyjover
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    Re: How did you learn the DS?

    I'd been running a 7 machine 1" and Beta SP linear suite and was fed up with saying "Er, no, I can't do that" to clients with higher and higher expectations.  We looked at what was available at the time and nearly went ahead with a puchase of an Editbox (most of our work was shortform).  Symphony was out of the question - it did little more than our offline MC and I've never considered it a proper 'finishing' tool. We also looked at Jaleo but didn't like the GUI (too many floating windows and features that didn't really appear fully thought out). 

    I knew Steve from his Abekas days (we originally had an A53 s/no 12) and we became very interested in this new box that he kept demoing for Softimage at IBC.  Eventually we went down to London to see an alpha version of Digital Studio which ran on two full racks of hardware and crashed at every conceivable opportunity.  Nevertheless I saw the potential in a box that could finally "do anything".  We waited, and kept talking to the guys, and eventually purchased a v2 box that very quickly became a v2.1 box (Studio Z anyone?).  As an aside, an experienced MC editor who came down to the original London demo with me and my bosses commented "It will never be a working product".  That guy took over from me when I left that job and he's been editing on DS for the past 6 years.

    There was no formal training available at the time when we bought our first DS, but our dealers Tyrell sent up a very experienced guy called Richard Hingley.  Many of you will know him from his DS demos at trade events - he's worked on and off for Avid for years.  He spent two days with us showing us the basics of capturing, editing etc.  I was doing my first paid job on it two days later although I certainly struggled here and there. 

    I then spent every conceivable moment exploring all the dark corners and hidden cupboards in the app.  I started early, and worked late, and I'm still learning :)

    I've been beta testing since v3.

    Oh, and I had formal training on MC too - v1!  That was when we decided to buy MC for offline instead of Lightworks.

    I recall that one of my first edits on DS involved blurring the last 5 secs of a commercial in order to super some text.  That 5" blur took 35 minutes to process!  Blur is real time now.

    Ahh, the good old days...


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  • Thu, Apr 8 2010 3:11 PM In reply to

    • dmax
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    Re: How did you learn the DS?

    Barley touched the manual but had time and the tutorial guide. Best way to learn; hand held through a project. That was was VERY easy. I came from a linear suite and MC job. Down the line I did the 101 - 301 courses which kind of confirmed what I knew andlocked it in place. I agree with above. DS is a very intuitive system.

    (I did a Flame course but found it way worse in terms of workflow. But I probably just need more time adn a good tutorial :-))

  • Thu, Apr 8 2010 3:20 PM In reply to

    • BLKDOG
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    Re: How did you learn the DS?

    My first DS still said Softimage on the splash screen. I was an ACI for Avid at the time and was asked to learn it so that I could teach it. Got pretty good at Softimage before Avid changed the interface. Since then I've owned two DS systems of my own and have managed facilites with two others. I love to edit on it but, as I became a facilty owner and manager, got away from day to day editing. Came back to DS in v10 and am learning it again.

    Project Manager, Avid Professional Services - Americas [view my complete system specs]

    In agreement, Unity. In Disagreement, Discussion. In all things, Charity.

  • Thu, Apr 8 2010 3:46 PM In reply to

    • GusC
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    Re: How did you learn the DS?

    I started on MC with version 4 (Quadra 950). I had worked at Avid for a couple of years (v5-v7) and during that time, they experimented with Spectrum, which was a never released product that was offered a rudimentary combination of online editing and compositing.  I got myself up to speed on that, and that's what made me realize that an online editor should absolutely have that much control over the project in online.  That set me down the path of looking for that all-in-one system.

    After Avid, I ended up working at a place that bait-and-switched me into working on Media 100 and Linear bays.  I went to see a demo of Softimage Digital Studio and of Symphony V1.  After the Symphony demo and the indifference it generated in me (I think that's when muttered my first 'meh'), I saw the DS demo (V2.1).  Long story short, I ended up leaving the linear/Media 100 gig and asked the reseller if I could use the DS in their demo room to get myself up to speed.  They weren't ever using it since this was back when they all wanted DS gone to focus on the easier Symphony sales (times haven't changed in 10+ years, huh?).  So I started messing with it after an hour or so with their demo person.  From then on, it was all pretty much self-taught via trial and error.  I continued to work on DS and Symphony, but as DS's features progressed more rapidly than  Symphony's (times haven't changed in 10+ years, huh?) I focused more on DS.  The more time that passes, the more I appreciate what the DS offers and what it allows me to do. And so do my clients.

  • Thu, Apr 8 2010 3:53 PM In reply to

    • jpheiser
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    Re: How did you learn the DS?

    Spent the first 14 years of my career in linear world - machine to machine, then aided by CMX and Sony controllers. For two of those years I was a producer of computer graphics packages and did "compositing" in a suite with five one-inch machines, four channels of ADO, and a Grass Valley 300, with an A-62 added in toward the end.

    In the mid-90s the place I worked bought an Avid, and that was a thrill. AVR-26: "near Beta quality." Not. Anyway, that company was mastering to D2 in an analog suite, and I convinced the owner it was time go digital. The choices were a Sony linear suite, Editbox, Smoke, and this new thing called Softimage|DS. It looked very cool and frankly was the only NLE system I could wrap my head around. So at NAB '98, thanks to tremendous support from Bill Hite and the folks at Marshall Graphics Systems, we bought the first DS in Tennessee, a v2.0 system with a promised upgrade to dual-stream v2.1.

    I spent a couple of months watching dissolves render and banging my head on the desk and then went to FMC in New York for training. After that things were better, and improved even more when I discovered the old DS listserv group, an amazing support community and still the best list on the net.

    The companies I've worked for haven't been able to keep up with version upgrades, but even at v7.6, I'm still convinced DS is one of the best tools on the market.


    DSv11 - MC8.4.2 - HP Z800 - AJA - Sonnet Fusion 8TB [view my complete system specs]
  • Thu, Apr 8 2010 4:08 PM In reply to

    • jef
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    Re: How did you learn the DS?

    After an "upbringing" in the multi machine linear world, our facility said, "Choose either a DS or smoke".  Well at that time the DS demo guy was really bad, DS was slow and the smoke demo guy was incredible and smoke was faster.

    We went with smoke.  So I edited on smoke for a bunch of the early years.  Did early Beta on it when discreet listened to all my moaning about lack of offline tools.  (Matchframe???)

    I finally got tired of being the only smoke guy in the facility.  No one to take over killer sessions.  There were now a bunch of DS guys in our sister facility and we were consolidating locations.  I decided to switch to DS to try and regain some personal life (yea, right).  Plus, smoke was not headed in the direction I felt our market was headed.

    So other DS editors at work and a trip to Nashville and training with Reggie (very worthwhile) plus some very forgiving clients got me started.

    This was also just when DS came out with the first Training Software version.  I got that running at home and spent LOTS of weekends and nights redoing sessions on that system.  I can not stress enough how useful that tool was for me.  To be able to sit at home with a beer and fight the day's battle again on my own terms was key.

    Then I got wind of the DS list and a big part of filling in the blanks was solved.


    Avid DS 11.0.2 R.I.P | MC "Well, it depends ..." mostly 8.11.0 but playing w 2018.12.6|OS 10.14.x - iMac 2017 - home system MacPro Dual 2.8 8core... [view my complete system specs]


    Jef Huey

    Senior Editor

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