DMA Central

THE OFFICIAL COMMUNITY FOR DIGITAL MEDIA ACADEMY

Infomercial Parody

By Lisa Ratner, Lead Instructor

As I prepare for Summer 2010 Stanford Filmmaking Adventures Summer Camp I am reminded of the successes of 2009. The project that always yielded the most creative and witty videos was the “Commercial.” The students’ task was to select a product and sell it to their audience. (An assignment quite familiar to professionals in the media world). Yet at Digital Media Academy the demand to produce high bucks is replaced with the enjoyable pressure to create high laughs at our End of Summer Camp Film-Festival.

First, we reviewed the 4 stages of film-making: Pre-Production, Production, Post-Production, and Exhibition. This enabled the students to really plan all aspects of the project before they filmed — an essential skill. Then the brainstorming began. The costume box was transformed from neat & tidy to the delightful whirlwind of a creative mess. Debates over wide-angle shots versus close-ups competed with the sounds of furious typing at the keyboard so the script would be ready in time for the production phase.

“Camera ready?” the assistant director calls out.

“Ready!” the cinematographer answers.

“Actors Ready?”

“Ready!” pipes a lion-dressed “salesman”

A kid from the web design class sneaks in to watch the action.

“Camera Rolling”

“Action!”

To me, the most fulfilling thing about being a film instructor is seeing the kids come out of their shells. When they perform in front of the camera, even the ones who seem “too cool” or “shy” simply can’t hold back and they shine brilliantly. I can see the surprise on their parents’ faces during the film festival. It is truly exciting.

Since last summer at DMA, I’ve been producing video tours and websites for a real estate company. I’ve been itching to return to DMA to see what kind of parodies these kids can make of video tours! It’s going to be a blast!

Do your kids long to be in film production?  Check out film school with Digital Media Academy this summer!

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Digital Media Academy's Renowned Summer Camp Offers Spring Special : Summer 2009 Classes For Kids Camps, Teen Camps and Adult Courses

 Digital Media Academy is recognized as the premier summer camp for youngsters, teens and adults. The whole family can enjoy learning the latest digital art and media techniques from top instructors in an encouraging project-based environment using state-of-the-art equipment.

Palo Alto, CA  March 1, 2008 — Digital Media Academy is recognized as the premier summer camp for youngsters, teens and adults. The whole family can enjoy learning the latest digital art and media techniques from top instructors in an encouraging project-based environment using state-of-the-art equipment. The 5-day courses for kids and teenagers can be taken individually or combined for multi-week certifications at prestigious college and university campuses that includes University of Chicago, Stanford University (San Francisco area), Harvard (Boston), George Washington U. (Washington, D.C.), U of Pennsylvania – Philadelphia, Brown (Providence, RI), Dartmouth (Hanover, NH), University of California – Los Angeles (UCLA), UC San Diego, UC Berkeley and more. At DMA, your child will be taught how to design and create video games, movies and websites, while developing lifelong passion and skills that translate directly to careers in design, engineering, computer science, and more.

DMA has something for each member of the family with its diverse offering of courses. Digital Media Adventures summer computer camps cater to ages 7-13, with day and residential camps in robotics, game design, web design, filmmaking and cartoon and comic creation, taught by professionals and teachers with a passion and talent for inspiring young minds.

Learning at DMA Summer Computer Camps and Tech Courses

Teen summer tech courses for ages 13-18 are offered at beginning to advanced levels with an optional residential pre-college experience. New for 2009, DMA has partnered with the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus (www.lennonbus.org) to offer a music and video production course that is sure to attract students from around the world. Adults can take professional level courses in film, web design, photography, animation and more.

What better summer experience than channeling your family’s creativity and passion for video games and technology into an exciting educational experience? DMA is offering a Spring special discount off each 2009 course for everyone who registers by March 31, 2009. Visit www.digitalmediaacademy.org for details.

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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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Tips from DMA Pros: Navigation in OS X

In this movie, I’ll be showing you some navigation shortcuts in OS X that can increase your productivity.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RFuWlP36mY8

Here’s a recap of the keyboard shortcuts I cover in this movie.

Exposé:

F9: Display All Open Windows

F10: Display Windows From the Current Application

F11: Show the Desktop

The SwitchBar:

Cmd-Tab: Change Applications

Cmd-tilde (above Tab): Change Windows Within Current Application

Hold Shift to slow down Exposé animations.

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Film Camp Experience for Teens : Summer Technology Camp!

Learn more about Digital Media Academy Film Camps for Teens in this video. See what teen students are saying about DMA summer technology camp programs. DMA summer camp students get the opportunity to act as a producer, screenwriter, actor / actress, director, scout, art director, digital video editor, and more! This is a truly amazing tech learning experience. 

Digital Media Academy also offers similar Film Camps for Kids and Filmmaking Courses for Pro Adults in addition to the Teen Film Camps.

Learn more at http://www.digitalmediaacademy.org

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Digital Filmmaking Bootcamp @ Stanford University

Last summer the Digital Media Academy offered a brand new filmmaking course and I was honored that they had chosen me to teach the class. The course was Digital Filmmaking Bootcamp and it was a huge success. We wanted to create a class where students could come in and learn every aspect of filmmaking in five action packed days. That’s exactly what we did and it resulted in one of the best screenings in any of my closing DMA film festivals.

The typical student that enrolls in Digital Filmmaking Bootcamp comes in with a little or no filmmaking experience, but leaves with a movie that they shot, edited, and compressed for DVD and web. We shoot with professional Sony HD cameras and edit with screaming fast Macs on Final Cut Pro. In fact, at times I found myself jealous that my students have better equipment to learn with, than the equipment I have at my studio to produce content with ;) .

Before teaching the class, I knew it would be a busy 5 days but I had no idea how much fun I would have teaching it. When the screening came we had 20 students with 20 amazing films to watch. It was an incredibly rewarding experience to watch students learn how to plan, shoot, edit, and distribute their films in such a short amount of time. I invite you to watch a couple of the videos that I posted from this class.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5F9xed74Q8

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LRa0F8kkAqk

Both of these videos were created from students that had no experience shooting or editing. They are definitely two different genres but both videos are an amazing success for students with no prior experience.

You can also check out the Teen Filmmaking Bootcamp Courses geared specifically to teens or the Kids Film & Movie Making Courses.

Till next time,
Travis Schlafmann
DMA Instructor/Cinematographer & Editor

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