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Video Symphony TV/Film School Student Achieves Digidesign Pro Tools Expert Certification

David Hernandez has become the world's 14th Post-Production Certified Expert. (November 19, 2008)

David Hernandez, an international student at Video Symphony TV & Film School in Burbank, California, has just become the world's 14th Certified Digidesign Pro Tools Expert for post-production sound editing.

For sound editors, passing Digidesign's Pro Tools Expert Level Certification exams for music or post-production editing is a significant achievement. Hernandez is the second Video Symphony student to conquer the demanding test.

Digidesign, a division of Avid Technology, developed the Oscar-winning digital sound editing technology more than two decades ago. Today, ProTools HD systems are relied upon throughout Hollywood's feature film industry and the world of television production.

Digidesign's Operator and Expert certifications are listed in Digidesign's web-based roster of qualified sound editors as a valuable reference for potential employers. The Expert Level certification is like a gold-plated badge of "superior performance."

Hernandez, from the Dominican Republic, came to Video Symphony with the goal of becoming a Certified Expert. His story is a tale of determination and dedication: "I was really into music before I was 16," Hernandez says, "playing in local bands, recording and mixing homemade albums. That's how I became fascinated with the art of sound editing."


After high school, Hernandez left his home island for Argentina, where he studied audio recording and engineering. "I recorded bands there too, and did some short films, but I wanted more."

Back in the Dominican Republic, Hernandez worked on independent films, doing location sound recording, sound effects, dialogue editing and audio engineering. However, despite his early success in the Caribbean, he had his sights set on California.

"Nearly every other kid in the Dominican wants to become a major league baseball star, but my 'major league dream' is to be a sound editor for Hollywood movies," he says, laughing, "but I'll be happy to start in the minors anywhere as an assistant and work my way up!"

Hernandez recognized that he needed more sophisticated training. "Then I discovered Video Symphony," he says. "They had the classes I needed, and they're right in the middle of the Hollywood industry, where the feature films and TV programs I admire come from."

"David contacted us more than two years ago," says Sally O'Steen, Director of International Services at Video Symphony. "I could see that he would be an exceptional student. I helped with visa matters and arranged for a specialized Pro Tools Career Program that focused on his particular needs."

Finally, in June, 2008, Hernandez, now 28, landed at LAX, and stepped into Video Symphony's Pro Tools classrooms. "As far as I know, no other school in the world covers sound editing in such detail, like for sound effects, Foley, dialog and even background sound. You learn to create effects that work with a specific image; you learn to match whatever they are trying to express with the music."

Hernandez took Pro Tools post-production classes, practiced mixing and editing techniques, and practically memorized the course-books. "One instructor even took me to the Warner studio here, and I sat in on a mixing session. The editors explained everything they were doing. It was really great!"

Joel Krantz, Video Symphony's lead Pro Tools instructor and a certified Post Expert himself, says of Hernandez: "David was a superb student who worked very hard, and demonstrated a high degree of integrity and professionalism. He also has a good sense of humor and is a pleasant person to work with."

The Pro Tools Expert Certification exam requires precise knowledge of the Pro Tools HD system, and the ability to solve complex challenges quickly and accurately. "Setup, mixes, laybacks, you have to do it all in a very short time, and you have to do it right," Hernandez says. "It was very intense, and the examiner was watching all the time, for six hours."

Although most international students who attend Video Symphony return to their home countries with assets that benefit their nations' film and television industries, some resourceful students do obtain sponsors and work visas, and join the many hundreds of post-production workers from other countries who have been accepted into the Hollywood entertainment community.

David Hernandez is now a certified Pro Tools Expert, ready to "do his thing" in Hollywood, mixing sound and music for audiences around the world.

About Video Symphony:

Video Symphony TV & Film School provides professional training in digital media production with a focus on post production. As an authorized Digidesign Pro School, Video Symphony teaches all levels of official Digidesign coursework necessary to qualify for Pro Tools Operator or Expert exams for both music and post-production. For more info about digital media programs, contact 818.557.7200 or [email protected]

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