DMA Central

THE OFFICIAL COMMUNITY FOR DIGITAL MEDIA ACADEMY

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: TextEdit Creative Tricks in Apple OS X

In this movie, I’ll be showing you some features in TextEdit that can increase your productivity.

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

Cmd-T: Fonts Window

Cmd-Shift-W: Wrap to Page

Cmd-Shift-T: Toggle Plain/Rich Text

Cmd-R: Toggle Ruler Bar

Hold Option to Select Rectangular Blocks of Text

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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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Maya Training + Video Special Effects Courses at DMA

Do you know about the Maya training courses and video special effects courses that are being taught at Digital Media Academy? Learn 3d video game design, animation, character modeling, and more at DMA’s summer computer training sessions at prestigious universities and schools around the United States and Canada. DMA offers separate programs, summer computer camps, and digital art & technology camps for adult professionals, teens, and kids.

The video below talks about some of the exciting tech concepts students learn at DMA (wait until the end!)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9L0NzptikOQ

Check out some of the 3d, video game, animation, modeling, and special effects courses taught at DMA:

 

3d Game Design Courses and Summer Camp Experiences for Teens:
 

  • 3D Video Game Creation I - Level Design with Maya
  • 3D Video Game Creation II – Character Design with Maya
  • 3D Video Game Creation I - Level Design with 3ds max
  • 3D Video Game Creation II – Character Design with 3ds max
  • Advanced Video Game Creation with 3ds max, Maya and ZBrush
  •  

    Professional Level 3d Game Design Computer Training:
     

  • 3D Game Art and Design with 3ds max
  • Also, check out the Maya Training Courses: 

  • Maya I – Introduction to 3D Modeling 
  • Maya II - Introduction to 3D Character Animation
  • Maya III - Advanced 3D Character Animation
  • Maya IV - Creating an Animated Movie
  •  

    3d Game Design Computer Camps for Kids:
     

  • Adventures in 2D & 3D Game Creation : Ages 9 – 13
  • Adventures in Advanced Game Creation : Ages 9 – 13       

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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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    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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    Skate + Film Camp : Make a Skateboard Movie at DMA!

    Make a skateboarding film at DMA teen summer computer and technology camps! This is a great way to learn how to make a skateboard video. Watch the experiences of actual students that filmed and editing video of professional skateboarders during the Skate and Filmmaking class at Digital Media Academy. This same course is offered this summer at many prestigious university locations in the United States and Canada.

    Learn more about the Skate & Film Camp on the course page. Watch the video below to see actual students’ experiences at the DMA’s summer camp programs…

    httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sNYvLX1DGBc

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    California Computer Camp Locations for Kids and Teens!

    Computer Camps and Technology Training Courses in California!

    Digital Media Academy offers summer computer camp experiences for kids and teens at locations across the United States and in Canada. DMA offers six great locations to choose from in California alone. DMA has a lot of history in California. DMA was originally founded at Stanford University in Palo Alto as an adult only technology training program. Technology courses for adults and teens are accredited by Stanford Continuing Studies. The high standard and excellence in training has continued through to DMA’s summer programs for kids and teens. 

    California Computer Camp Locations and Technology Training

    Digital Media Academy offers day tech camps and overnight tech camps for kids and teens on the West Coast at any of the following university locations:

     

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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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