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Introducing: Video School with Dean Arnett

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Self-shoot producer, Dean Arnett, worked for the BBC for 23 years as a producer/director and video journalist. During this time he was increasingly roped in, to delivering training courses for BBC staff.

Now independent, he stills splits his time between making documentaries, corporate videos and delivering professional media training for broadcasters all around the world. But as the workload increased he struggled to meet the demand so decided to put his training courses online.

Now you too can access professional film making training courses that have been designed for, and are still delivered to, broadcast networks and newsrooms all around the world. We caught up with Dean and asked to tell us about what’s in the courses.

The courses are based on the structure and content designed for BBC broadcast staff and interns wanting to move into video journalism, DSLR filmmaking and documentary making. The original content is then improved and augmented with independent, ‘real-world’ knowledge. What makes them special is that they mix technical skills with key editorial, story-telling and hands on filmmaking skills. It’s this mix of skills and how they combine and feed each other that makes students become unbeatable video journalists and filmmakers.

The courses are comprehensive. I didn’t want anyone to complete any of them and then say, “oh we never got shown how to do this or that”. So for that reason, many of them are over seven hours long and contain over 70 separate modules. In each case I wanted to produce the definitive online training course in that subject.

I think online training is the future. I deliver face-to-face training all over the world. And whilst that person-to-person interactivity is fantastic, it has its problems too, many of which can be solved in an online environment.

Often one student can dominate a room, to the detriment of other students. Sometimes the questions or discussions can drag the class way off syllabus and time is always at a premium. Most often, one or two students will turn up late, or collectively the class will take an extra long lunch break (as training days are often seen as ‘down days’).

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Online training gives full accountability of what each student has completed and ensuring that the full syllabus was followed, without the constraints of real-world time. Each student can focus on the content without distractions and the forums built into the course give the student the interactivity of being able to ask questions and get answers from me directly.

It’s also quite liberating knowing that as I work my way through the course I know I don’t have to watch the clock, summarising key details that may be unclear or especially important to someone. With online training I found myself really exploring every aspect of the course in proper detail.

This led me to break up the course into sections, making it easier to digest and then each section up into units, making the course easier to work through and structure. That also allowed me to look back and work out if I’d missed anything and then add units retrospectively. It also means I can keep the courses up to date without having to redo the whole course – after all, we are operating in an industry which is changing very quickly.

So what are the courses like and what’s in them?

Well they are all video module based, replicating the face-to-face training experience. In many cases I have filmed example sequences, demonstrating aspects of the scenarios I’m talking through ‘on location’. In some cases I have used 3D animation to demonstrate some points. In all cases I have taken professional training content and augmented it with real world experience.

Next: How the course works