DMA Central


The Hologram Freddie Mercury Performance

Freddie Mercury – like Tupac – will rise from the grave and make a technology-assisted appearance at a live concert. You heard that right; welcome the age of the virtual performer.

Mercury (far left) kicks it with his band, Queen. 

Queen guitarist Brian May told the BBC about the virtual Freddie Mercury, which will appear during a special tenth anniversary performance of the Queen musical “We Will Rock You,” in London’s West End. The performance will be similar to the hologram Tupac that rose from the stage at Coachella.

“[That technique] is something we’ve looked at ourselves but I think probably for a show that runs eight shows a week it’s not really quite practical,” May went on to say. “It’s a little unfortunate they did that thing with Tupac as we’ve been trying to make Freddie appear on the stage for quite a while.” Supposedly Mercury – who died in 1991 – will appear as an “optical illusion,” not as a hologram.

The anniversary performance, which takes place Monday night (May 14th), is being staged at London’s Dominion Theatre and is being co-produced by actor Robert De Niro.

Rocking in The Free World
Performers like John Lennon and Elvis may be gone, but they’re not forgotten. If you think licensing the image of a celebrity for a T-shirt is big business, think about concerts that might feature a deceased entertainer like Frank Sinatra or Tupac – all brought back to life using technology.


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posted by DMA Jordan in Digital Music Production,News Blog and have No Comments

Greatest Music Videos of All Time

Using music and video together as a medium to tell a story can be a very powerful tool for communicating a message. Today filmmakers and musicians add Hollywood visual effects and other fancy tricks to make music videos have impact, but the pioneers of the format used their imaginations to push music videos to all new heights:

Artist: Bob Dylan
Song: “Subterranean Homesick Blues” (1965/1967)

Bob Dylan, the Voice of His Generation, trying not to look bored in the groundbreaking music video for “Subterranean Homesick Blues.” (The bearded guy to the left is poet Allen Ginsberg, author of the Beat classic “Howl.”)

How It Changed Music Videos: It was the first modern music video built around an artistic concept. The primitive black-and-white film was made to promote the song – the video was initially created for the 1967 D.A. Pennebaker documentary “Don’t Look Back,” which shadowed Dylan as he toured England during 1965.

It’s a pretty simple idea really, but one that has struck a chord with several generations of rock audiences. A guy stands in an alley holding a stack of cue cards. The audio from a rambunctious folk rock song starts to blast, each line of which is a non-stop barrage of hipster verbiage (example: “Johnny’s in the basement mixing up the medicine/I’m on the pavement thinking about the government”).

As the video progresses, the guy in it, rock poet Bob Dylan, drops each cue card after its corresponding piece of lyric has been sung in the audio. Dylan does not sing or perform the song. In fact, he shows no particular emotion, except mild irritation and boredom. When he runs out of cue cards, he just walks out of the camera frame, leaving puzzled audiences to try and figure out what it all meant.

Artist: Michael Jackson
Song: “Thriller” (1984)

With Quincy Jones-produced rhythms and Michael Jackson as a zombie, “Thriller” proved to be a genuine media event.

How It Changed Music Videos: By 1984, MTV had taken over control of the music industry; at this point, a new album or single had to have a top-notch video. Michael Jackson took the challenge and ran with it, making this first single song video epic from what would become the decade’s biggest album.

Jackson brought on film director John Landis to oversee the project. Landis was already a Hollywood power-player, having directed “National Lampoon’s Animal House,” “Trading Places,” “The Blues Brothers,” and “An American Werewolf in London” before tackling “Thriller.” For the video he was given a half-million dollar budget.

Jackson made multiple music videos to promote several tracks, but the “Thriller” music video was more than just a regular video, adding eight minutes of additional narrative to the song’s six-minute length. Thematically, “Thriller” was a G-rated creep show with a disco beat and which featured a vocal cameo by Hollywood horror legend Vincent Price.

The video was so popular that MTV was eventually airing the 14-minute video twice per hour. Jackson was hailed as a creative genius for his own remarkable dancing, as well as arranging the zombie choreography.

The video helped propel sales of the “Thriller” album to 110 million units worldwide, making it the best-selling album of all time. Never again would either Jackson or the music video be so big.

Artist: Nirvana
Song: “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (1991)

Grunge started here…with deliberately low production standards.

How It Changed Music Videos: As the 80s progressed, video production techniques improved. Inspired by the massive success of “Thriller,” the trend toward lavishly produced videos continued. But not every musical act wanted to create an ultra-slick music video. Enter Seattle’s Nirvana in the early 90s, with a Punk-like desire to avoid seeming to be “corporate.”

So when the first Grunge band of note got ready to produce a music video for the breakout hit from its powerhouse album Nevermind, it had definite ideas about what it wanted. For its director, the band selected first-timer Samuel Bayer…specifically because he didn’t have much experience. Kurt Cobain (accurately) assumed Bayer would be technically inept and the resulting footage would have a raw, undisciplined quality.

The song became a major Alternative anthem and the music video a smashing success. Nirvana won numerous MTV Music Awards in 1992 and the Guinness Book of Records considers the video the most played music video on MTV Europe. In 2001, VH1 named it the fourth-greatest music video of all time.

Artist: Beastie Boys
Song: “Sabotage” (1994)

“Sabotage,” a loud and abrasive triumph of threat-screaming rage, was paired with the hilarious visual concept of the opening credits of a (fake) 70s police show.

How It Changed Music Videos: Part cop-show homage, part rock/rap blaster, the Beastie Boys’ greatest video was 100 percent pure fun.

The Beastie Boys were always highly creative when it came to making music videos. But the group’s signature music-video moment was directed by genius director Spike Jonze, who took a one-chord shouter from the “Ill Communication” album and turned it into music-video gold.

An instant classic upon release, the “Sabotage” music video was nominated in five different categories at the 1994 MTV Music Awards, yet took home no awards. However, fifteen years later, when the new category of “Best Video (That Should Have Won a Moonman)” was introduced, the very first recipient was “Sabotage.”

Artist: Johnny Cash
Song: “Hurt” (2003)

“Hurt” is a song about reaching conclusions and sifting through all of what has come before.

How It Changed Music Videos: Plenty of “serious” music videos have attempted to make a statement, but none more powerful than this stark goodbye from the Man in Black. Nobody expected the most powerful music video of its year to feature the great Johnny Cash, then working in his sixth decade as a recording artist. But then, nobody had expected Cash to make one of the biggest musical comebacks of all time during the 90s, suddenly becoming wildly popular with fans young enough to be his grandchildren.

For the music video, director Mark Romanek used extensive footage and photographs from throughout Cash’s life, which were contrasted with footage of the 71-year-old man. Cash was weak and facing a range of health problems at the time.

The combination of music and visual images made the “Hurt” video one of the most powerful music-video experiences ever. The video received the 2004 Grammy for Best Short Form Music Video and was listed as CMT’s top video for 2003 as well as the Number One greatest country music video for the following year.

In July 2011 New Music Express named it the best video of all time. Sadly, Cash himself didn’t get to see the video’s massive success; the Man in Black passed away seven months after the video was produced.

Make Your Own Landmark Videos
Music videos represent a perfect intersection between two wonderful art forms – but bringing the two together requires talent to create a quality video. It takes training, too, and learning how to make a music video is the perfect place to start. If you want to learn music & video production you need hands-on training in digital audio, music and beat production, and filmmaking skills, too. Once you have a good grasp of those things, you can take your idea and turn it into an award-winning and groundbreaking music video.


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posted by DMA Jordan in Digital Music Production,Music Production,News Blog and have No Comments

Bootsy Collins Live Online Concert, Celebrating 15 Years of The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus

He’s probably the most famous bass player alive. A funk legend since the ripe old age of sixteen (when James Brown personally selected him for his back-up band, The J.B.’s), William Earl Collins has been famous since the early 1970s.

Famed bass-master Bootsy Collins will stream the funk via a live web event later this week. 

Of course, you may know him better by his trademark star-shaped sunglasses and platform shoes, or his nickname – which is explained by the title of his 1977 funk masterpiece “Ah…The Name is Bootsy, Baby!” And now Bootsy Collins, the musical legend who pioneered the slapping funk bass sound that we all now take for granted, is joining forces with the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus.

The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus is celebrating its 15th year on tour. To mark the event, on Friday, January 20th between 6 and 7:30 pm Pacific Time, Bootsy Collins will jam LIVE from the bus! You can catch the FREE CONCERT online – thanks to NewTek, TodoCast and of course the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus! The live streaming event features Bootsy Collins with special guests Verdine White and ace session player Bernie Worrell.

For more details or to watch the event, visit the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus online.

Watch a live concert from Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame inductee Bootsy Collins, Friday, January 20th, 2012.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Famer
Anyone that wants to learn how to make music that sounds like your favorite artists should know who Bootsy Collins is – a 1997 inductee into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame (as part of George Clinton’s Parliament-Funkadelic), Bootsy has played with everyone from Madonna to The Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards to Snoop Dogg. His own musical projects (such as his group, Bootsy’s Rubber Band) have stretched the limits of both funk and bass playing too.

Get Hands-on Digital Music Experience
Do you want to learn how to become a music producer or professional musician? Why not spend your summer at music camp learning from the professionals? The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus will again be partnered with Digital Media Academy for The Academy of Music and Video Production. This two-week academy is held at prestigious university locations like Harvard, Stanford and UCLA. During the camp you’ll get hands-on training and learn from music professionals while using the latest cutting-edge music and video production hardware – like Apple’s Logic Pro. Once you’ve learned the techniques, you can create the music, just like Bootsy! Who knows maybe someday you might even be inducted in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame.


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posted by DMA Jordan in News Blog and have No Comments

The Beatles and The Birth of The Music Video

Today’s instant pop phenomenon world makes it difficult to comprehend just how incredibly popular The Beatles really were.

But no musical act of any kind has ever been bigger, had such a lasting and far-reaching impact – and nobody has since generated the incredible excitement that The Beatles did during 1964, when they exploded onto the American scene. The group’s stranglehold on American musical tastes was powerful and immediate; at one point during 1964, the band charted four of the Top Ten singles being played on the radio. The Beatles were everywhere.

Innovative director Richard Lester brought “The Fab Four” to the big screen in 1964.

Music and Film
The Beatles were not only omnipresent in every form of media of the day, but they were also re-inventing every form of media – like no other artist before them. It was inevitable that The Beatles would star in a feature film. The band’s first movie, A Hard Day’s Night, was the group’s best. It was also a ground-breaking mixture of music and film and what many consider to be one of the inspirations for modern music videos. A Hard Day’s Night remains a cinematic treasure – not only because it was an inside look at early Beatlemania, but it brought music and pop star images together in an entirely unique way. This was all presented as a superb comedy loaded with fresh cinematic ideas all courtesy of director, Richard Lester.

The Beatles were huge celebrities when filming began. The crowd chasing The Beatles at the railway station at the beginning is made up of real fans actually chasing the Fab Four. The scene was recently recreated for the opening of The Beatles Rock Band videogame.

Paul McCartney greets a fan during the filming of Hard Day’s Night.

A Hard Day’s Night took the film world by surprise. No one had any idea it would be that good. Critics were stunned, and reviews almost completely positive. Critic Roger Ebert noted the film’s long-standing influence. “Today when we watch TV,” he wrote, “And see quick cutting, hand-held cameras, interviews conducted on the run with moving targets, quickly intercut snatches of dialogue, music under documentary action and all the other trademarks of the modern style, we are looking at the children of A Hard Day’s Night.” Suffice it to say that anyone interested in learning how to make music videos really must see this film.

Director Richard Lester is one “old school” director who would have probably felt right at home in today’s fast-paced cinema. His work on A Hard Day’s Night suggests he would have loved the flexibility and freedom that Final Cut Pro X offers. Many of today’s most respected filmmakers, such as the Coen brothers (True Grit) and Francis Ford Coppola (Godfather), have spent time learning how to use Final Cut Pro. Apple’s Final Cut software is both flexible and easy to use.

The Beatles have always been at the cutting edge of media, if they were still making films and videos today they’d be most likely making music videos and producing them using state-of the-art editing software like Final Cut.


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posted by DMA Jordan in Digital Music Production,News Blog and have No Comments

“Pulling a Kanye” at the Oscars?

I like watching the Academy Awards as well as anybody. There’s the glamour of the Red Carpet, the Oscar predictions about “Who Should” and “Who Will” win, and the wild unpredictability of live television. This year’s telecast did not disappoint.

When Music by Prudence won the Oscar for Documentary Short Film, a woman “pulled a Kanye” – rushing onstage, grabbing the microphone from Director Roger Ross Williams and launching into a speech of her own.

I was horrified. This was the only Oscar award I actually cared about. I had heard Prudence sing last January when DMA helped bring the band Liyana to Stanford University. In 2009, through its partnership with The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus, the Digital Media Academy hosted and sponsored a Liyana concert at the Stanford Bookstore.  I found both their music and their story uplifting. I hoped this Oscar nomination would draw attention to Liyana and the plight of the disabled in developing countries. Instead, Liyana’s 45 seconds in the spotlight was hijacked by an unidentified woman in purple.

Liyana is a musical group from Zimbabwe that started as a class project. Each member of the band faces extreme physical challenges. They met at the King George VI School & Center for Children with Disabilities in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. King George is a haven for disabled youth in a country where disability is misunderstood and despised. The school’s life-changing work is funded largely by donations from abroad.

The HBO documentary chose to focus on lead singer, Prudence, the only female band member. But each member of the band – Marvelous, Tapiwa, Farai, Energy, Honest, Vusani, and Goodwell – has an inspiring story. Each has overcome discrimination. Each testifies to the beauty of the human spirit. Each proves that giftedness defies disability.

Liyana means “it’s raining.” According to Williams, in Zimbabwe, rain is considered a gift from God. When the band is on stage, they’re “raining,” sharing that gift with the world.

By now, much has been written about the woman who stormed the stage. No doubt there are two sides to every story, and this story is a colorful one. Elinor Burkett is the film’s co-producer. She says she came across Liyana in Zimbabwe and introduced Director Roger Williams to the project. They later had a falling out over creative direction of the film.

She takes umbrage at the reference to Kanye West, saying her name was called as an Oscar recipient, and she felt entitled to speak. She claimed the director’s mother tried to impede her progress to the stage with her cane. Burkett has adamantly defended her actions, explaining that she only stepped in when the director failed to properly acknowledge the subjects of the film.

Ironically, it was her rudeness, rather than her speech, that has drawn attention to the band. This unfortunate producer-squabble-gone-public has become a blessing in disguise.

Roger Ross Williams was given a chance to repeat his acceptance speech on Larry King Live. Exposure for the film has increased exponentially. Many more people will now tune in to the May 12 debut of Music by Prudence debut on HBO2.

So here’s to Academy Awards show drama. Bring on the cane-blocking and microphone-grabbing antics. May the hubbub draw greater attention to Liyana and bring an outpouring of support for the King George VI School in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.

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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

Music & Video Production at UCLA

mvpro_classAmong the many new Digital Media Academy courses featured this summer is Music and Video Production, taught in partnership with the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus. This course provides teens with an experience in the entire music video production process – from mixing music with Apple’s Logic Studio, to writing lyrics, to editing video footage with Apple’s Final Cut Pro.

I recently sat down with students taking Music Video Production at DMA’s UCLA location. Several of these students came from outside of California to participate in this very unique course. When asked what they enjoyed most about this course, I got a variety of enthusiastic responses. Christian Cox, from Monroe, Georgia, commented, “Teachers are young and can relate to any music style.” He explained that their class had divided into two groups, one writing a reggae song about nature and another writing a hip-hop song about having attention deficit disorder. Whatever genre of music they wanted, their instructors were talented enough to adapt!

mvpro_instrumentsMany of these students had never done anything like this before and were amazed at how much they were learning in a short amount of time. As Stephen Herandez from La Canada, CA explained, “You can go into this course without any knowledge and by the end of the week, you’ll think you can anything with Logic and Final Cut Pro!” Another student explained to me that she didn’t have any prior experience playing a musical instrument, but had learned a few simple guitar chords that week – enough to make a song! In addition to working with industry standard software and several musical instruments, students worked with high end Sony cameras to capture video footage around campus.

mvpro_instructorsIt was obvious as I talked with these kids that they had learned to work closely together. Many were also staying together in DMA’s residential UCLA program. “We have fun meeting new people and working together as a team to make videos and share memories, “ said Ron Magana from Canoga Park, CA.

To see an example video produced by the UCLA Music and Video Production class, click below:

DMA at UCLA: Trees and Leaves

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Computer Training: A Great Learning Experience at Digital Media Academy

Written by Tyler Winick of the John Lennon Bus

The Digital Media Academy (DMA) is a nationally-recognized organization offering hands-on learning experiences in a broad range of digital media technologies. DMA offers summer camps for kids and teens and “Pro-Series” courses for adult-learners. Founded in 2002 by a group from Stanford University, DMA is best known for its premier summer programs hosted at 18 prestigious destination campuses, such as Stanford University, Harvard University and the University of Chicago – just to name a few. In addition to its summer programs, DMA provides on-site training to schools and companies and offers workshops throughout the year at its training facility in Campbell, CA.

I had a great learning experience with DMA!

I had the pleasure of taking some DMA courses last winter and can honestly say that it was an amazing and valuable experience. I learned so much so quickly and was able to immediately apply my knowledge in the classroom and in the field with the John Lennon Bus. For more information you can visit


john lennon educational tour bus

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Make a Music Video at Film Camp this Summer! John Lennon Bus

Written by Brian Rothschild of the John Lennon Bus 

Experience the ultimate music video summer camp.  Bring your imagination, and leave with the skills you need to create professional music and video projects with ease, from start to finish. The Lennon Bus has teamed up with the Digital Media Academy to provide a new course based on the techniques taught daily on The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus. Using the latest audio, video and music gear, you’ll work with a diverse group of talented students and professionals to edit and create original music and videos. Make beats, write a song, record audio, shoot video, edit like the pros and author your own DVD. No experience needed; this course is for anyone interested in learning the basics of music and video creation.

Making a Music Video

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Get Creative with a Music Video! Learn How at This Film Camp

Make a creative music video that will make you famous!

Come take film courses this summer at DMA! Be sure you are learning from the best! DMA has also teamed up with The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus to offer a Music Video Production course! You will learn the skills you need to make the perfect music video. As I always say… the only limit is your creativity! Here are a few famous music videos to get your creativity flowing….

….Ever heard of Ok Go?

How can anyone forget this famous music video from the band Ok Go – “Here We Go Again”? This music video went viral and took the internet by storm. The band didn’t include the normal drums, guitar and bass you’d expect. Instead, the rock band turned in their instruments for treadmills. With over 45,321,935 views on YouTube, you know this music video made this band famous.  httpvh://

….The White Stripes get creative in their music videos!

The White Stripes always seem to stretch the creative boundaries in their music videos. This is such a creative example of combining technical filming and editing skills with a truly original idea. The video becomes more complex and interesting with each beat! httpvh://
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Here is another amazing White Stripes music video made with Legos! This is crazy creative. How much time do you think this could possibly take? Find out this summer!  httpvh://


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



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