DMA Central

THE OFFICIAL COMMUNITY FOR DIGITAL MEDIA ACADEMY

Film & Video Production: A Constant State of “ACTION!”

Course: Film & Video Production

DMA Instructor: Neal Dhand

Education: The University of Chicago (Major: Interdisciplinary Studies, combining Film Theory and English Literature). Master of Fine Arts degree: Rochester Institute of Technology; Rochester, NY (Major: Film and Video Production)

Professional Portrait: Filmmaker Neal Dhand has six short films and several music videos under his belt (like his video for the band SPiN, which aired on the Fuse Network). But now the writer/director’s credits also include “Second-Story Man,” his first full-length feature film. Since March, it’s been playing the festival circuit throughout the U.S., scoring good reviews and being chosen as an Official Selection at the Indie Spirit, Cinequest and 360-365 film festivals – and prompting discussions of a distribution deal. Neal demonstrated his versatility by helming “Second-Story Man” as the film’s director, co-producer, co-writer and co-editor. He also has impressive teaching credentials, having served as an adjunct lecturer at Ithaca College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and the University of Rochester. A dedicated student of cinema’s past who’s working hard to become part of its future, DMA Instructor Neal Dhand is definitely someone who’s going places.

DMA Courses: Video Production, Final Cut Pro and After Effects

DMA Campus Locations: Harvard, Drexel and Swarthmore

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Filmmaking has never been bigger, more complex or more thrilling. And if you ever wanted to learn film production, you’ve never had a better time to do so. DMA Instructor Neal Dhand can tell you all about the excitement that accompanies making a movie, because he just directed a full-length feature film that’s now getting lots of notice on the festival circuit. After that, who knows? Perhaps his movie, “Second-Story Man,” will be coming soon to a theater, DVD or a video-stream near you. (Visit www.secondstorymanmovie.com for info.)


Film director and DMA Instructor Neal Dhand makes a point while shooting his new feature film, “Second-Story Man.” The tense crime drama involves would-be bank robbers, and was shot on location in upstate New York.

As he has in past summers, Neal will again be teaching DMA courses in Video Production, Final Cut Pro and After Effects. Each course involves a whirlwind of activity, and that suits the filmmaker fine. “I like the DMA’s energy,” he says, “And the energy the students bring to it. It’s a great combination of fun and technical know-how. In past years, some of my favorite parts have been when we’ve gotten really creative and experimental with film techniques.”

Neal’s formal training in film (including a Master’s degree in Film Production) makes him the perfect instructor for DMA’s digital filmmaking courses. He understands the key components of filmmaking that make movies work, which he lists as “great acting, interesting camera moves, tight editing, and beautiful sound and music.”

His DMA courses are hardly dry “Film Theory” classes, either. Students enrolled in Neal’s courses receive hands-on instruction in actually holding and operating a movie camera. In addition to shooting film, students learn how to cut and assemble footage using Final Cut, the industry standard in editing software. Young Spielbergs-in-training also get instruction in directing – including directing short scenes as well as directing scenes for use with special effects. Because, let’s face it – no modern course in film production would be complete without training in the creation and use of special effects. In Neal’s classes, students use After Effects to explore green-screen/compositing techniques – the same special effects that allow movie stars to do the impossible and appear to be posed against any kind of background you can possibly imagine.


Shooting any kind of modern studio-quality film requires state-of-the-art equipment and professional personnel. DMA’s Film Production programs show you the ropes and help get you started creatively.

As Neal explains, imagining’s the easy part. “A ‘green screen,’ is used for many shots. Using software like Final Cut Pro and After Effects, our goal is to take away the green background and replace it with something else. We want to make it look like our characters are somewhere else entirely. This isn’t as easy as it might sound. We need to pay careful attention to things like costuming and lighting. Then, once we have everything set up, we go in and ‘key’ the shot to get rid of that green background.”

It’s tricky technology, but green screens and After Effects can give directors an infinite number of possibilities when shooting. “The fun things about shooting and trying effects like this are all the possibilities,” Neal says. “If we want, we can place the characters anywhere, as long as we can either find that place ourselves, or find an image of it somewhere.”


These days, film directors have to be as comfortable working in front of a computer as behind a camera. As shown in this production still, director Neal Dhand checks a shot via a laptop.

Digital Media Academy students get to experience the possibilities first hand when they take the creative ride of their lives in DMA’s filmmaking summer camps and two-week filmmaking academies. As DMA Instructor Neal Dhand puts it, “The film industry is dominated by people who know both ends of filmmaking: behind the camera, in front of a computer…and everywhere in between! We’ll be experiencing some of all of that, this summer.”

Tailor-made for young talents who have a love of movies and are eager to master actual production techniques now, DMA’s programs vary by age and prior training. But no matter your level of interest and experience, there’s something for every type of aspiring filmmaker at Digital Media Academy.

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posted by Phill Powell in Digital Filmmaking,News Blog and have No Comments

How To: Make an Animated Blockbuster

Pixar have been turning out blockbusters for years, but how do they do it? How do they manage to make every film a hit? When the people of Pixar sit down to plan their next film, it’s an incredibly creative process that involves several steps. Not unlike how Digital Media Academy’s students plan a film project, Pixar’s process includes brainstorming, developing a script and then actually shooting the action.

This summer the studio released Toy Story 3. To bring the film to life it took hundreds of creators and even more ideas, in addition to the countless hours of hard work. Recently Wired magazine visited Pixar and provided an incredible look behind the scenes at the magic.

We’re can’t wait for Toy Story 3! How about you? What’s your favorite Disney/Pixar film? What did you think of the Wired magazine article?

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posted by Vince Matthews in News Blog and have No Comments

The 10 Best Academic Programs for Documentary Filmmakers

By Seamus Harte

The 10 Best Academic Programs for Documentary Filmmakers. That is the title of the article I stumbled upon surfing the web for a graduate program that provided a Master’s Degree in Documentary Filmmaking. That is also where I found Digital Media Academy’s Documentary Filmmaking Camp. It was sitting in between Stanford University’s Documentary Film Department and UC  Berkeley’s School of Journalism (two schools you may have heard of). Of course Duke, University of Florida, NYU, and George Washington were some other schools tossed in the mix.

Now, we aren’t offering a Master’s Degree to attend our filmmaking camps, but we are offering top notch instruction. The article highlighted Digital Media Academy’s ability to provide a “quick but comprehensive taste of the craft.”

Maybe you graduated high school and you’re thinking about attending a 4 year college to pursue a career of movie making, perhaps you should check out this camp and get a head start on making your passion your career.

Perhaps you are looking to change careers but nervous about diving right into a school.

Or maybe you are a filmmaker and you are just looking to sharpen your tools.

Why spend your time and money with big schools and uncertainty when you can attend a Digital Media Academy camp and discover what new path you want to head down.

Check out the rest of the article here:

Check out the Digital Media Academy Documentary Filmmaking Camp here:

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posted by Seamus Harte in News Blog and have No Comments

Boost Your Job Career with DMA Certification! Get Certified in Video Production, Game Design, Maya, Film, Web Design

Are you ready to give your job career a boost?

Come to DMA this summer and get certified. You can earn a certification in Video ProductionWeb Design and ProductionMaya, Digital Filmmaking(Teen Only), or 3d Video Game Design(Teen Only)! You can jump start your current career with a DMA Certification. Or, you can switch to a new career path and become a Maya Modeler, Maya Animator, Special Effects Coordinator, Film maker, Video Producer, Video Editor, Web Designer, Graphic Designer, 3d Video Game Designer, and more! The choice is yours!

You can choose to take the hands-on computer training courses at any of Digital Media Academy’s beautiful locations including: Stanford University in Palo Alto, UC San Diego, University of Texas at Austin, University of Chicago in Illinois, University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Johns Hopkins, George Washington University in Washington D.C., Harvard University in Boston, St. Johns in New York, University of California, Los Angeles, Case Western in Ohio, and more. Register for training courses today.

Get a Certification from DMA: Game Design, Maya, Film, Web Design

Digital Media Academy = Apple Authorized Training Center

You can also earn an Apple Certification through DMA’s courses.
Learn more about being Apple Certified at DMA.


http://www.digitalmediaacademy.org

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posted by Philip Harding in News Blog and have No Comments