We had a district conference at our church today. On more than one occasion, someone asked me, “Are you familiar with (insert software package in question here)?” Most times I was. The next question was, “Where can I get training on that?”

To be sure, there are many excellent sources of training available. Total Training, VASST and others have created some excellent DVD training sessions for popular editing and sound programs. I’ve used some of them and found them quite helpful. They can be pricey, however. And the DVD format means I have to stop what I’m doing, dig out the DVDs find the section I want and launch the DVD player to learn something. About 8 months ago, a friend of mine told me about a web site I’ve found immensely helpful and affordable.

The site is Lynda.com. There you will find literally thousands of hours of training on hundreds of software packages. Everything from Office 2003 to Maya (a high-end 3-D package) is in their archives. It’s all QuickTime-based training, and each training package will include “chapters” of short movies. The beauty is, if you are trying to figure out how to use the Match Hue effect in Final Cut Pro, you can probably find a short 5-8 minute video on how to do it. Even though a training module may have 6-8 hours of material, you can skip around an learn just what you need to. Because it’s web-based, I just switch over to my browser (which is always open anyway), and find what I need.

It should be noted that I am in no way compensated by Lynda for anything. I have been using the site for about 6 months and love it. It’s also affordable – $25 a month or $250 a year. If your church signs up for it, you can train people on everything from After Effects Pro to Quickbooks.

I personally have made a commitment to continously upgrade my skill set with all the software tools at my disposal. I view it as good stewardship—if my church spent nearly $2,000 equipping me with a highly capable editing system, I should do all I can to make the most of it.

Anyway, Lynda.com – check it out.