P|PW Challenges Pros to ‘Remain Relevant’

It may be the only no-gamble proposition in all of Las Vegas — an attraction that guarantees you’ll take home plenty today, and squirrel away a nest egg for the future, too.

The attraction is Post|Production World (P|PW), and thanks to some aggressive program tweaks for 2016, there’s a something- for-everyone flavor to the annual confab. Produced in partnership with Future Media Concepts, P|PW spreads a broad range of classroom experiences, certification courses and special events. P|PW is sponsored by Blackmagic Design, Dell, Intel and Digital Vision.

New course tracks include several tightly- focused clusters for specific audiences. A track entitled, “NAB Show Now! The Technology Impacting You Today” hits new topics where experience with traditional technologies typically can’t help, ranging from 4K, camera raw and HDR workflows to cloud systems and new storage methods. And “The Future” boasts a range of emerging topics, including 360-degree VR video, augmented reality and the ACES color management system.

The P|PW curriculum designers have addressed another long-standing deficit, too — the problem of getting entry-level staff up to speed on pro-level skill sets. A course track entitled, “PPW University: Essential Skills for Students and Recent Graduates” seeks to bridge the knowledge gap between the theoretical and the practical, with offerings on freelancing, budgeting and even “on-set etiquette” and “chain of command.” Other sessions offer career guidance, including “What Editors Want Their Assistants to Know” and “So You Want to Be a Colorist.”

P|PW’s mission, however, hasn’t changed much in the years since it became a core feature of NAB Show. According to Ben Kozuch, co-founder of Future Media Concepts, “The need for quality training has never been more evident. Constant changes in editing and motion graphics software challenge professionals who wish to remain relevant,” he said. “Training on the best and latest techniques and practices makes their work more effective and creative.”

One popular staple has been multiple sets of “boot camp” courses. Immersive and intensive, these series explore the core applications and technologies used throughout the industry, and help to strengthen and extend users’ skills.

This year an interesting twist has been added: “Cross Train Boot Camp” sessions, which help users with advanced skills in one area, such as video editing, add desirable skills in a related area, such as Adobe After Effects or Photoshop.

Another longstanding course track has been certification-level sessions in software packages like Apple’s FinalCut Pro X and Adobe Premiere Pro, some of which continue through Tuesday. These are supplemented with advanced sub-topics explored in tracks entitled “Mastering the Timeline” and “Hands-On Training.”

The bulk of the P|PW course offerings, however, are clustered around post-production, motion graphics and production, with sessions ranging from 75 minutes to a half-day in length. Parallel course tracks in digital distribution and in mobile journalism round-out the main curricula.

Last weekend’s P|PW offerings included offsite “Field Workshops” ranging from night sky time-lapse photography to multiple aerial photography sessions. And P|PW events stretch the schedule grid in other directions, too: on Monday and Tuesday, three sets of late-afternoon sessions provide the perfect way to wind down a production-focused day. Both afternoons feature multiple segments entitled “The Creativity Collective: Power Tips from Top Experts,” targeting popular editing apps; and two “Creative Business” discussions address sensitive industry topics as well. Both days also offer panel discussions moderated by the Society of Cinematographers called “How I Got the Shot,” in which prominent DPs deconstruct complex scenes.

The Post|Production World Conference runs through Wednesday afternoon.