DMA Central

THE OFFICIAL COMMUNITY FOR DIGITAL MEDIA ACADEMY

Reflections on CUE Palm Springs

CUE 2009On Saturday evening, we wrapped up CUE 2009, where the Digital Media Academy provided hour long hands-on sessions that were attended by over 350 teachers, educators and administrators. Course topics included iLife Bootcamp Featuring iMovie & iDVD, Video Editing with Final Cut Pro, Web Production with Dreamweaver and Flash CS4 and Photoshop CS4 for Photographers. Attendees were taught by DMA’s professional instructors, including Tom Wolsky, Beth Corwin, Sandy Novak and Tom Tuttle, all regarded as gurus in their respective areas of expertise.

The following is one attendee’s reflections on her experience attending three DMA hands-on sessions. Linda Muhlhauser is the Digital Media & Computer Concepts Teacher and Webmaster for Murrieta Mesa High School in Murrieta, California on the southwestern edge of Riverside County.

Attending the CUE conference is like being immersed in a swarm of technology bees. The rush of energy and enthusiasm is contagious and exciting! After four years of attending the CUE conference, I have learned to come with streamlined goals of what I and my students would benefit from when I return on Monday. This year, ideas for the infusion of my new interactive writing pad into my curriculum were foremost. Using Wiki’s as a collaborative project will benefit my students in many ways; learning Internet etiquette, researching and reporting from primary resources and collaborating on a website project will be new for most of them. At CUE, the opportunity to learn about many technology tools is available but where is the training and support for all of this beyond CUE? The only one that I saw in the exhibit hall was Digital Media Academy.

Looking towards the future, as Department Chair of Technology at a new 21st Century high school with new monies to spend, I will be choosing hardware and software for our Digital Media programs. CS4 is on the list (the latest version I have is CS no number!), and my anxiety level toward learning the new suite of tools was definitely on the rise. The CUE schedule showed that Digital Media Academy (DMA) was providing mini workshops on Flash, Dreamweaver, CS4 and more. Dedicated to standing in line to get my admission ticket early, I was able to attend three of DMA’s workshops. Through clear step-by-step instructions given by the teachers in these workshops, my fears toward CS4 have been lessened. Obvious to me by the third DMA session, DMA’s CS4 “boot camp” training available in the summer would be exactly what I needed to be an effective teacher in the fall. DMA has caught my eye at past CUE conferences and this summer it will finally become a reality. Thank you DMA for the opportunity to learn!

Linda Muhlhauser
Digital Media & Computer Concepts Teacher/Webmaster
Murrieta Mesa High School
www.mesarams.com (new HS opening in August, 2009)
951-288-7845

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Film Camp for Kids. Cool stop motion video made between film projects at summer camp!

Kids learn how to make a movie at summer camp!

This is a project the Digital Media Adventures film class (movie making and special effects) made in between movie projects this past summer at DMA summer camp in Michigan. Somehow they managed to shoot these hundreds of photos and stitch them together in Final Cut Pro as a fun project in between the two other short films they made in one week!  This is truly a great film camp experience for kids.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Lo8BW0MMPc

Learn more about DMA’s Film and Computer Camps for Kids

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Film Camp. Watch a Stop Motion Movie made at DMA Summer Camp with Skittles!

See what teens made at Digital Media Academy film camp this summer in Chicago!

This video was made by shooting hundreds of individual JPEG photos and piecing/editing them together in Final Cut Pro. This was made during DMA Film Camp in Chicago this past summer in the Teen Film Editing and  Filmmaking Course. Learn how to make a movie like this at a DMA course this summer!

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BIBGjBQZzeQ

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Final Cut Studio Integration: Post Production Immersion

Final Cut Studio 2

Every summer for the past several years, I have taught the Final Cut Studio Integration course for Digital Media Academy on the Stanford University campus. It is always an incredible week, and I’m already looking forward to this summer’s class.

It is a 5-day class in which we touch upon all the major applications in Final Cut Studio, and there for all the major aspects of post-production: Final Cut Pro for editing; Color for color correction; Soundtrack Pro for audio sweetening, sound design, and creating music; Motion for creating motion graphics and effects; DVD Studio Pro for designing and authoring DVDs; and finally Compressor for delivery video for broadcast, web, DVD, and phones.

The class is designed for students who already have a working knowledge of Final Cut Pro, and now want to extend their craft by learning the rest of the applications in Final Cut Studio. In the class every student creates their own project which they move through the post production pipeline: color correcting their edited video, enhancing the audio, adding titling and effects, and finally creating a professional DVD menu to showcase their work.

If you have been using Final Cut Pro – or plan to be learning it soon in another class – and you want to learn how to leverage the full power of Final Cut Studio – check out this class. It’s a challenging, demanding class – but it’s also a great deal of fun and very rewarding.

Check it out here.

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DMA Returns to CUE March 5-7 with the John Lennon Bus

Every year since 2002, DMA has presented hands-on sessions at the annual Computer Using Educators Conference in Palm Springs. The thing I appreciate most about this conference is the reception we get. Every year, hundreds of teachers from across California visit our 60-minute hands-on sessions, getting a taste of our 5-day immersion courses. While there is only so much you can learn in 60 minutes, I am always amazed at how much content our instructors cover, and how much people take away. This year, we will be doing sessions Thursday through Saturday in topics including Final Cut Pro, Dreamweaver, Flash, Photoshop and iLife. And, for the first time, we will be joined by our new partner, the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus.

dmamacworld21

The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus is a non-profit 501(c)(3) mobile audio and HD video recording and production facility. Since 1998, the Bus has provided free hands-on programs to hundreds of high schools, colleges, Boys and Girls Clubs, music festivals, concerts, conventions and community organizations. Working together with some of the biggest names in music, the Lennon Bus encourages students to play music, write songs, engineer recording sessions and produce video projects using the latest audio, video, and live sound equipment. As a partner and sponsor of the Bus, DMA trains and supports the Lennon Bus staff, ensuring they are up-to-date on the latest digital media applications. In the summer, we co-teach (in collaboration with Lennon Bus staff) a summer computer camp course for teens called Music & Video Production at seven prestigious universities across the country. We also exhibit alongside the Lennon Bus at various national conferences like MacWorld and NAB.

At CUE, (in addition to the 60 minute hands-on session) DMA will offer short software demos, followed by Q & A, in an area adjacent to the Lennon Bus in the Exhibit Hall. It is a great opportunity for teachers to interact with our distinguished DMA teaching staff in a more intimate setting. We will be utilizing content created on the Bus in the demos.

If you are attending CUE this year, there will be lots of surprises, including an “special” invitation to attend DMA this summer at a discount. Hope to see you there!

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Using Training Courses for Art, Web, Film, Print, Marketing : Improving my business!

Written by Artist / Designer Robert S. Lindsey : DMA Alumnus

WOW! I had an amazing and intense learning experience at DMA! From the moment that I stepped onto the Stanford campus I new that this event would change my life forever. Digital Media Academy gave me the ability to create my own website (www.bettermurals.com) and portfolio. After returning for multiple years I have been able to design all my new art on my iMac that I bought through DMA for an amazing discounted price.I don’t wast any time or supplies when I am working on my art due to my expertise with Photoshop and Flash

Last summer I spent a week invested in learning Final Cut Pro and mastering my HD camera so that I can introduce streaming video onto my site with time-laps promos of my murals. This video technique has been a feature that my clients love. Clients can now see how I work, and my company has the professional, impressive edge that I need in this economy.

I actually spend most of my time in front of my Mac. If I am not designing… I am designing. I am also a partner in the very successful marketing and  design firm : www.redefinedesign.com. We specialize in building and maintaing company identities and ongoing branding through various medias: web, print, interactive, promo, etc… Our ground breaking relationship plan is specifically designed and tailored to each client. I am signed up for After Effects courses this summer and we are sending a few of our designers to get some training with DMA’s Pro courses.

Robert Lindsey : Art and Design

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Hands-On Digital Filmmaking: Collaboration is Key! Film Camp

By Katy Scoggin – Lead Instructor Hands On Digital Filmmaking for Teens

Last August, I taught Hands On Digital Filmmaking for Teens at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. The class was a really successful exercise in collaboration and one of the highlights of my summer. I think everybody realized during that week that what you can accomplish as a group is a lot bigger than what you can create on your own.

It took me a lot of years to realize the value of teamwork. As a high school student, I loathed group projects because they always meant the same thing: I would end up doing all the work for several people. What a drag.

Since becoming a filmmaker, though, I’ve learned that teamwork is not about a bunch of slackers and the over-achievers who pick up after them. Real teamwork is about getting a bunch of creative minds together, bouncing ideas off one another, distributing work evenly and according to different folks’ strengths, and eventually coming up with a project that is bigger—and far cooler—than what any member of the group could have created alone.

That’s what my Philly students did last summer in the film camp course. They began by working individually on script ideas, which they later pitched to the class. Everybody got really excited about one student’s thriller idea. The story is about a girl who reveals the identity of a serial killer by posting a video of his latest murder on YouTube. After developing the script to suit everyone’s taste, we cast the project with some of our more performative members and broke the script down according to location.

Everyone who was interested in shooting—including the actors—had the opportunity to get behind the camera. Other students learned how to slate each take as camera assistants; lock the set down and watch for oncoming pedestrians as production assistants; and hold the boom pole as sound recordists. Everybody always had a job to do. And if each individual hadn’t held his or her own weight, we would not have completed the movie in such a short time span.

They say each movie is made three times: First you write it. Then you shoot it. Then you edit. After our two-day production period was over, we hunkered down and started to put the movie together. If you’ve ever written a paper, you understand that editing is basically rewriting. It’s the same in the cutting room: once you put the images you’ve captured into order, you can reorder them in a thousand different ways. Finding the best way to tell a visual story is one of the most challenging and, ultimately, most gratifying aspects of filmmaking.

In our digital film class, we decided to keep things collaborative through to the end: Each student picked one scene to edit, after which we cut the entire story together. At the end of the week, when we screened our short film for parents, I think everybody was happily surprised to see how much they’d been able to accomplish as a group in just one short week. The experience was a great one, and I look forward to having more like it this summer!

Learn more about DMA Teen Film Courses and Summer Computer Camps

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Extreme Sports Filmmaking Courses : Film Camps

There are a couple reasons why one of my first blogs is about DMA’s Action Sports & Media Combination Courses (Skate Boarding & Filmmaking / Surfing & Filmmaking). The first reason is that this is where I got my start with filmmaking. Upon Graduating from the UCSC film school, my first completed film was a 30 min snowboard and skateboarding film. I traveled to Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Colorado to premiere the film. It was such an incredible feeling to have my work up on the big screen and evaluated by my peers. The second reason why I write about these courses is because that is what I am working on right now. In fact I my house is covered with snow and I have been getting some amazing footage.

The idea came up for these courses when Dave Livingston – DMA’s Director of Instruction – asked me if there were any filmmaking courses that I wish I could have taken in college that weren’t available. Immediately, I thought it would be so cool to have taken a video production class with curriculum that taught actions sports cinematography and editing techniques. The classes were born and they have been a huge success. In these classes we teach students how to plan, shoot, edit, and produce their own action sports videos. At the end of each course the students even get the chance to premiere their film on the “big screen”, in front of classmates, family, and friends. It is really just awesome what they accomplish in 5 days while having so much fun!

Check out a couple of videos that one talented student Evan created while taking one of our DMA’s Action Sports & Media Combination Courses.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YgJV5YPnVew
httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EMOaIKhz6lg
Until next time,

Travis Schlafmann

DMA Instructor/ Cinematographer & Editor

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Apple Motion Special Effects Tip with Instructor Mark Spencer

 Mark teaches Motion Training Courses (FCS 101) at Digital Media Academy,  is a Bay Area editor, and has written several books on Motion. Mark has also taught the Final Cut Studio Integration course at DMA.  Mark’s website is an amazing resource for tips and inspiration in using Final Cut Studio.  

Mark Spencer gave us a Motion tip at the Macworld Expo in San Francisco where DMA teamed up with the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus to offer hands-on computer workshops. This video was shot on the bus. Check it out!

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Video Compression for Producers and Editors : How Big is It?

Written by Jeff Sobel of the John Lennon Bus

A video producer often needs to be able to estimate the size of a video file before that video has been recorded, imported or exported.  Do you need a magic crystal ball to predict how large a video file will be before you hit that Export button?  Nope.  You just need a 5th grader’s grasp of basic math.  Here’s how:

Let’s take the example of exporting a video using Apple’s Compressor which comes standard with Final Cut Studio 2.
The first thing you should know is that digital video is encoded at a certain datarate, commonly called the bitrate.  Higher bitrates generally produce better quality video (less “pixelation” or graininess) but will create larger files.  You need to be sure that you choose a bitrate that’s high enough to achieve satisfactory quality but not so high that the video can’t be streamed on the web, downloaded in a reasonable amount of time, emailed, or however you intend to get it to your audience.  Compressor has presets which are great starting points for making this decision.

The screenshot below shows Compressor’s stock presets for iPodiPhone, and AppleTV:

You’ll see that there are two different presets for iPod/iPhone.  The 1st is “h.264 video @ 600kbps” and the 2nd is “h.264 video @ 1500kbps”.  Now, it’s safe to assume that the 2nd preset will produce better quality video, but how big will the files be?  Let say we have a 2min long video and we’re hoping to compress it to a small enough filesize to be able to email it.  Will the 600kbps setting do that for us?  Let’s figure it out.

The 1st thing you need to know is that “600kbps” stands for “600 kilobits per second”.  Now, we’re all pretty used to hearing about kilobytes, megabytes, even terabytes.  But what’s a kilobit?  A bit is the smallest piece of data there is.  We represent bit with a lowercase b and byte with an uppercase B.  All you need to know is:
There are 8 bits in a byte.  
There are 1024 bits in a kilobit.  
There are 1024 kilobits in a kilobyte. 
There are 1024 kilobytes in a megabyte.

It’s not nearly as complicated as it might seem at first.  It’s just like measurements you make in a kitchen.  You know, 16oz in a pint, 2 pints in a quart, 4 quarts in a gallon, etc…

So let’s figure out how big our 2min video is going to be after we compress it using the 600kbps preset in Compressor:
600kbps / 8 = 75 kilobytes per second
75KB/s * 60 = 4500 kilobytes per minute
4500KB/m / 1024 = 4.4 megabytes per minute

Our 2min video is going to be about 9megabytes when exported with this preset.  Small enough that you might be able to email it.

Now what if we compressed it using the AppleTV preset?  That’s a 5mbps bitrate (5 megabits per second) so:
5mbps * 1024 = 5120 kilobits per second
5120kbps / 8 = 640 kilobytes per second
640KB/s * 60 = 38,400KB per minute
38,400KB / 1024 = 37.5 megabytes per minute

At this setting our 2min video will be about 75 megabytes.  Much larger.  But it’s going to look much better as well, even on an HD TV.

In our next installment we’ll talk about how you can estimate how much disk space you’ll need before capturing or importing your footage from a video camera.

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