DMA Central

THE OFFICIAL COMMUNITY FOR DIGITAL MEDIA ACADEMY

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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posted by DMA Jordan in News Blog and have No Comments

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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posted by DMA Jordan in News Blog and have No Comments

Learning Apple Final Cut Pro, Logic and Motion : How do I remember?

Written by Seamus Harte of the John Lennon Bus

A lot of the time when I’m out and about on the streets of these United States curious folks come up to me and ask, “Hey Seamus, remember this past December when you stayed at a bed and breakfast in San Francisco and trained with DMA instructors for 3 weeks to get your certifications up to date with all the Apple Pro Applications you use on board the Lennon Bus?”, and I say, “Yes! How could I forget the best month of my life!!” and they say “Yes, how could you!!” and I say, “I don’t know, that’s what I just said” and they say “Right!!”, and then they go on with, “so I was wondering…How did you possibly manage to stuff all that information in your head in such a short period of time?” so that is when I tell them this…  I used gFlash Pro.

gFlash Pro is an iPhone Application that allows you to create and review digital flash cards so you can study and quiz yourself wherever you are. It’s rockin’ a stellar 4 star rating on the iTunes App Store. It allows you to create a Google Spreadsheet using Google Documents and then access that information on your iPhone through gFlash Pro in the format of a flash card.

So this is how I personally put that process to work.

I created separate Google Spreadsheets for each of the courses we took during the 3 week period:

FCP 300: Advanced Techniques in Final Cut Pro 6
Logic 101: An Introduction to Logic Pro
Logic 301: Advanced Techniques in Logic Pro
Motion 101: A Comprehensive Study of Motion 3

Within the individual spreadsheets I input all of the review questions for each course. I input the question in column A and the answer in column B. I repeated this process until I had input all of the review questions for each course. I then shared the document with all gWhiz Mobile Users allowing it to be used by anyone that has access to gFlash Pro to brush up their knowledge of the programs.

The instructors that worked with us from DMA (Digital Media Academy) were amazing. They took us deep into the programs and really showed us how to utilize the tools to their fullest potential. Having the ability to review all of these lessons in the palm of my hand is an amazing feature of the iPhone. I constantly quiz myself while I’m on the bus and moving from place to place to make sure I am always at the top of my Pro Applications game.

I’ve made my set of flash cards available for everyone to use on gFlash Pro. You can get gFlash on your iPhone by visiting the iTunes store and downloading the application. Once you have the application on your phone simply touch the icon “Download”. Once this is selected you will be prompted to select the source you wish to download from. I have made my flash cards available from the gWhiz Catalog so select “Download” on that option.

You can then select over hundreds of different card sets to study from. I have listed mine as below:

DMA/LENNON BUS: Logic Pro Level 2
DMA/LENNON BUS: FCP 300
DMA/LENNON BUS: Motion 101

I hope this helps some of you brush up on your Pro Application user skills. Remember if you are getting ready to take a certification test these suckers will be your new best friend.

Thanks for checkin’ it out.

- uncle seamus jr.

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posted by DMA Jordan in News Blog and have No Comments

Make Music Videos like the Pros

Written by Tyler Winick of the John Lennon Tour Bus

If you know anything about the John Lennon bus you’ll know that we travel the country 10 months out of the year making music and video projects with students around the country. We’ve recently teamed up with the Digital Media Academy to bring week long, hands on music video production courses to campuses across the nation this summer. The course is called “Come Together” and will offer in depth instruction on the creation of music videos all the way from droppin’ beats like a clumsy farmer to editing like Spielberg, that’s Mr. Spielberg to you buddy.

I’ll be co-instructing the Music Video course with an experienced member of the DMA team, Travis Schlaffman, who has led teen summer camps from DMA now for six years and has a lot to teach and some pretty cool tattoos!! I’m looking forward to it and It should be a great collision of Bus style projects fused with DMA’s critical hands on learning. For more info visit:digitalmediaacademy.org. See you this summer!

View the Music Video Course page here.

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posted by DMA Jordan in News Blog and have Comment (1)

DIGITAL MEDIA ACADEMY JUMPS ON BOARD AS A SPONSOR OF THE JOHN LENNON EDUCATIONAL TOUR BUS

lennon-bus

Phil Gibson, founder of Digital Media Academy, and Brian Rothschild, Executive Director of the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus, announced a strategic partnership for 2009. The Lennon Bus, a non-profit state-of-the-art mobile audio and multimedia studio, will host Digital Media Academy’s instructors at industry events, schools and other venues, where previews of the classes taught in their curriculum will be conducted. Audio and video recorded on the Bus will be used in many of the Academy’s classes, while DMA and the Lennon Bus will jointly develop additional courses such as COME TOGETHER: Music and Video Production, to be offered for the first time in DMA’s 2009 Teen Summer Camp program.

The two educational programs share the goal to inspire interest in the arts, to make technology accessible across socioeconomic boundaries and to create hands-on opportunities in music and video production for students, using the latest technological advances, gear and equipment. Brian Rothschild says, “So many visitors to the Bus ask us how they can stay involved and learn more about creating digital media content. “Where do we go from here” is a constant refrain heard onboard, and DMA’s courses provide the answer we’ve been looking for.”

The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus http://www.lennonbus.org travels year-round to schools across the U.S. and Canada introducing young people to the complete studio set-up on board the Bus, including Apple computers, Sony cameras, Roland keyboards and drums, Godin Guitars, Mackie mixers, and much more, providing creative inspiration. Students write an original composition, record it and create a broadcast quality music video of their song which they take home on a Maxell DVD – all in one day!

The Digital Media Academy (http://www.digitalmediaacademy.org) is affiliated with prestigious colleges and universities across the country where they conduct 5-day courses for kids and teenagers that can be taken individually or combined for multi-week certifications. Students participate as either commuters or residential campers, introducing them not only to the most up-to-date programs and techniques, but also providing a pre-college experience. Adult courses, taught by award-winning professionals, are offered at these same campus locations. There is something for everyone! Campus locations include Stanford University (San Francisco area), Harvard (Boston), George Washington U. (Washington, D.C.), University of Chicago, Brown University (Providence, RI), Dartmouth (Hanover, NH), and several others from the east coast to the west coast and Canada. The Digital Media Academy also offers courses on cruise ships and provides onsite training to companies and schools throughout the year.

Separate courses are offered for kids (age 7-13), teenagers and adults. Course topics include digital filmmaking, 3D game design with Maya 2009 and 3ds max, video editing with Final Cut Pro, music production with Logic Pro 8, visual effects with Adobe After Effects CS4 and Web Design with Adobe CS4, just to name a few.

Visitors to the Lennon Bus at the Macworld and the NAMM shows in January 2009 will
be provided with introductory insights into the Digital Media Academy curricula, where their instructors will present short hands-on courses featuring footage produced by the Lennon Bus crew.

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posted by DMA Jordan in News Blog and have No Comments