Continuing Education At Category-5
January 23, 2012

Continuing Education At Category-5

NEW YORK — The role of the video editor in post is evolving. While at one time an editor could specialize exclusively on their craft, these days they are required to be more of a jack of all trades/master of all. In addition to editing, they are expected to do effects, sound design, color correction, motion graphics, video compression and more.
With 30 years of experience in broadcast television and entertainment, Mitch Jacobson has seen the changes firsthand, and his advice to professionals just starting out is simple: “Take courses, learn everything you can, and hone your new skills with side projects.”

A producer/director and digital video editor, Jacobson is the owner of Category-5 Studios at DuArt ( in New York City. His credentials as a multicamera specialist are extensive, including contributions to concert films such as the U2 360º Tour; network talk shows for Montel Williams, Rachael Ray and Isaac Mizrahi; and a number of pro sports programs. 

Jacobson has shared his knowledge with industry pros through his book “Mastering Multicamera Techniques: From Preproduction to Editing and Deliverables” (Focal Press), and by presenting “Multicamera Madness” workshops for industry trade groups and conferences. Despite his success and expertise, however, Jacobson is not immune to the increasing demands on video editors. 

To step up his game in the studio he continues to expand his capabilities and learn new skills. And he often does this through courses and conferences from Future Media Concepts (FMC). “As an established editor, I have to look forward to previsualize the next set of skills needed while looking over my shoulder towards the techniques that new editors use,” he says. “Although the basic aspects of storytelling have not changed much since the cavemen days, the technical skills we need to edit are in constant flux. I’m basically self-taught so, that’s why it is so important for me to stay on top of my game with continuing education. The tools we use evolve, so I take classes, go to workshops and summer programs to stay current.”

With centers in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, Orlando, Chicago and Dubai — in addition to online courses — FMC offers authorized training from companies such as Apple, Adobe, Avid and others.

In addition to attending many of FMC’s conferences and expositions, including the NAB Post Production World Conference in Las Vegas, FMC’s annual Editors Retreat is something Jacobson regularly participates in.

At one of the NAB conferences he took FMC’s Final Cut Pro Advanced Editing Course, which he followed up on by taking and passing the Final Cut Pro certification exam. He later took another course in FMC’s New York training center, this time branching outside his skill-set with training for Apple’s Motion for motion graphics design.


“In the past, I’ve taken college classes for editing and to expand my capabilities in other areas, but they don’t offer anything like the expertise you gain with FMC,” says Jacobson. “FMC nails the training experience with manufacturer-authorized instructors who know the topics they cover inside and out, and really focus in on exactly what you need to know to get the most out of the software. The course schedule is also very flexible, which is an important factor for busy professionals. 

“To branch out and do more in the editing room, I’m planning on taking another class or two from FMC every year,” adds Jacobson. “And unless it’s for certification, I’m going to be taking the courses in unfamiliar aspects of post. For example, I have plenty of experience in video editing, but not at motion graphics design, which is why I took the Motion course. Following this approach, I can expand my capabilities every year to meet the increasing demands on editors in the studio, while enjoying the excitement of learning something new. I have also been back to the Editors Retreat and attend the NAB conference every year. The retreat and training are unique in the insights they offer, and are invaluable to any video editor in taking their game to the next level.”

Will FMC’s new FCP X course be one of those Jacobson will be taking? Not likely, at least not now. “I have mixed feeling about FCP X so, I’m in a holding pattern for classes and approaching it cautiously. I bought it and I’m cutting a personal project with mixed codecs to test it out. I have no plans on using it professionally until I see a firm commitment and significant upgrades from Apple. There are some real advantages to the metadata infrastructure but the lack of features that I need have soured my opinion of it for now.”

In the meantime the learning and teaching continue. At NAB this year, Jacobson started a new, live talk show called Cutting it Close to engage editors and trainers to have open dialogue via video Skype on (http://livestream. com/cat5tv). 

A recent show had an all-star cast of educators, including Norman Hollyn, Larry Jordan, Gary Adcock and Philip Hodgetts discussing the pros and cons of the new Apple Final Cut X.