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You’ll Find the Most Current Software at Digital Media Academy Summer Camps

By Ben Jaffe, Digital Media Academy Instructor

It seems like every year, all the major software companies come out with new versions of their software.  Usually the companies tout the new revolutionary features in the latest version, and though the features seem useful and exciting, it is often tempting to ignore those companies and choose not upgrade.  After all, it means spending money on the upgrade, and devoting your time to learn the new features.  Several non-upgrades later, many people suddenly find themselves way behind the curve.  Their skill set becomes more and more outdated, and the learning curve on the latest and greatest version is steeper than ever before.  This happens all the time to people who have been in their industry for years. 

Although buying every single software upgrade may break the bank, it is definitely important to at least be aware of new features and workflows as they are introduced.  Especially in technological fields, it’s important to remain informed; technological fields are unique in how rapidly they change.   Just as skipping the latest upgrade is tempting for you because of money and time concerns, it is often even more tempting for training centers to skip.  In fact, some training centers still train on Flash and Dreamweaver MX 2004!  Those versions were released when Macromedia still owned Flash, many, many years ago!   Those centers haven’t paid for new software in years, but their training is becoming more outdated and useless to the students with every new version.  Ultimately, if your training center is not up to date, you can’t be either. 

 As an instructor, I have always been impressed by Digital Media Academy’s policy on software.  They definitely understand the importance of developing their courses around the latest versions.  For example, back when Final Cut Studio 2 was announced only two months before Digital Media Academy’s summer camp started, Digital Media Academy coordinated with Apple to get versions of the new software in time for their summer Adult, Teen, and Adventures camps.  Everyone who took DMA’s video courses that summer got trained on software that most video editing houses didn’t even have yet!  With Digital Media Academy, you can be sure you are getting up-to-date training on the latest versions of the software. In fact, having the latest version ensures that the instructors are up-to-date as well. Digital Media Academy only hires proficient instructors with real-world experience for their courses.  This definitely raises the bar above other camps, and keeps the bar raised high from year to year. 

 From an instructors viewpoint, it is impressive and reassuring that Digital Media Academy has such a reliable and responsible outlook on software upgrades.  Even if you don’t personally upgrade to each new version, spending a week or two at Digital Media Academy with the latest versions of the software will certainly keep your brain up-to-date and help you excel.

Heading off to training?  Check out Digital Media Academy’s Training Centers for Adults

Digital Media Academy offers training for adults at Stanford University, University of Texas at Austin, University of California San Diego, and Harvard University, as well as the Silicone Valley training location.  Current training opportunities include Final Cut Pro 100, Final Cut Pro 101, Final Cut Pro 300 Advanced Editing, Documentary Filmmaking, Flash 11, Certification Programs, and more.  As a Certified Apple Pro Aps Training Center, Digital Media Academy offers the training you need to suceed. 

What about kids summer camp?  Read more here:  Summer Camps

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posted by DMA Jordan in News Blog and have No Comments

Stanford University Summer Camp From a Teaching Assistant's Perspective

Stanford University Summer Camp – A Teaching Assistant’s Perspective

Written by Kenneth Chan

Last summer I had the pleasure of being the Teaching Assistant for four amazing classes at the Digital Media Academy at Stanford University summer camp: Final Cut Pro (300) with Tom Wolsky, Final Cut Studio Integration with Mark Spencer, After Effects CS4 Studio-Advanced Techniques with Betsy Kopmar, and Advanced Web Design Techniques with Sandy Novak. I had my troubleshooting skills tested in these four challenging and fun-filled classes, learned from four awesome and dedicated instructors, and helped four diverse sets of motivated and talented students.

What I love about being a TA are the truly thrilling challenges and learning opportunities that present themselves when troubleshooting student projects. I see my primary role at summer camp as this — to do everything possible to keep kids on track with the teacher’s instruction. When everything in class is going smoothly, I learn a lot by following along with what the instructor is teaching and reinforcing my own knowledge. But where it gets really interesting for me is when a student stumbles into a way to “break” the program or get stuck during a complex project. And if a class has fifteen students, they will often find fifteen different ways to get stuck somewhere along the way. That’s when I get to play the detective and figure out what’s wrong and how to get them back on track. Seeing the smile break out and the sigh of relief from a student who can now continue moving forward in the project is pretty rewarding. Further, I love the partnership I have with the instructor — the more efficient I am at proactively keeping our students on track, the more effectively the instructor can present their lesson material without getting slowed down by unexpected problems on an individual machine. Everybody wins when these goals are achieved.

It may sound funny, but I particularly love it when students run into a new problem that I’ve never seen before. The more bizarre, the better! There is no way I could, by working solely on my own projects, come up with all of the different “problem” conditions that may arise during normal use of these sophisticated software applications. That’s where the students of each class really do me a big favor when they raise their hand and have something “really weird going on” to show me. Often I can inspect their project and quickly spot the step they missed or the keyboard shortcut they need to input to get back on track, but every once in a while, I really get stumped! And for me, that’s where some serious learning and troubleshooting starts. It drives me crazy if I can’t adequately answer a student’s question in class, so I’ll often find myself trying to reproduce the problem on my own and doing online research until I come up with a satisfactory solution. It’s a thrill to be able to wrestle with a mysterious problem, grow to understand the nature of it, and then come up with a viable workaround for it. My expertise in an application grows each time I encounter and troubleshoot a new problem.

Finally, this entry wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t mention some of the awesome lessons I have learned and the projects I have seen come out of the Digital Media Academy. I’m truly astounded by the personal growth and quality of projects many students have achieved after just one week of instruction at the Digital Media Academy summer camp. Even as a TA at Stanford University summer camp, I love to work on the in-class projects to bolster my experience with the applications, and I thought it would be fun to share a few examples with you here:

This video was created  in the Final Cut Pro 300 class.

This animated DVD menu sequence was designed in the Final Cut Studio Integration class.


Thanks for reading, and hope to see you at a future Digital Media Academy summer camp!

Yours Truly,

Kenneth Chan

Kenneth ChanAbout Me: When I’m not TA’ing for the Digital Media Academy, I manage the Multimedia Studio and Meyer Tech Desk at Stanford University, a drop-in facility equipped for students and faculty to learn to use image, audio, and video editing tools to realize their creative visions for academic and personal projects. I also teach the Multimedia Production class at Stanford University during the Academic Year, which includes the basics of Photoshop, GarageBand, video production, iMovie, Final Cut Pro, and iDVD. You can find me at

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Seamus is Excited for Digital Media Academy Summer 2010!!!

Hello Everyone!

My name is Seamus Harte and I am an instructor for Digital Media Academy. I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself and get you excited for some summer camp courses I will be teaching this summer with Digital Media Academy.

Though it is my first summer as an instructor with Digital Media Academy summer camps,  I am excited to bring my experience of working with students across the nation while on board The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus. I have worked for the Lennon Bus for over 2 years and currently hold the position of Senior Producer with the Lennon Bus. Digital Media Academy is one of the many sponsors of The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus and it is Digital Media Academy that actually trains all of the crewmembers on board. It was through DMA and the Lennon Bus that I was able to so quickly acquire many software certifications in the programs I use everyday. It is with great pleasure that I am now able to give back to students that are hungry for knowledge in music and video production.

In the classes I will be teaching this summer students will be learning to write songs and direct videos while producing their own music videos (Come Together: Music & Video Production). They will learn how to use Garagebands big brother Logic Pro to develop a professional workflow in the production of audio and music (Digital Audio & Music Production). And they will also learn how to recreate engaging visual effects to increase their production value of their videos (Hollywood Visual Effects).

In the weeks to come as we wait for summer I hope to be utilizing this blog to share with you some of the cool tips and tricks I will be teaching this summer in these courses. 

Can you join us this summer at music video summer camp?  Looking for a film camp teaching music video creation? Check out the best music and video summer camp in the US and Canada!

Here’s the info for 2010, and if you’re reading this after the summer of 2010 check back for future camps!

Click here:  Music and Video Digital Media Academy Summer Camp

Here are the 2010 Music and Video Summer Camp locations and dates: 

*  Drexel University Music and Video Summer Camp 2010 June 21 – June 25

*  Harvard University Music and Video Summer Camp 2010 June 28 – July 2

*  Stanford University Music and Video Summer Camp 2010 July 5 – July 9, July 26 – July 30, August 8 – 16

*  University of Texas at Austin Music and Video Summer Camp 2010 July 12 – 16

*  Swarthmore University Music and Video Summer Camp 2010 July 19 – 23

*  University of British Columbia UBC Music and Video Summer Camp 2010 July 26 – 30

*  George Washington University Music and Video Summer Camp 2010 August 2 – August 6

*  University of California UCLA Music and Video Summer Camp 2010 August 12 – 16

Here is a link to the Lennon Bus.

Check it out and be sure to check back here for more entries on Music and Video production!

Register for Summer Camp with Digital Media Academy now!  Click here:  Summer Camp

View all Teen Summer Classes

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posted by DMA Jordan in News Blog and have No Comments