Capturing the perfect image is tough. When your little brother isn’t photobombing your shot, then it is probably the sun (or lack of it) washing out the colors in your scene. Final Cut Pro offers built-in tools to help both new and experienced editors easily control color in their films.

In this How-To, you’ll discover the basics of color correction using waveforms and other professional techniques.

What You’ll Learn in this Video:

  • How to correct color in video using Final Cut Pro
  • How to use the Inspector
  • How to read wave forms
  • How to manually adjust color levels
  • How to manually adjust exposure
  • How to map individual samples to keyboard commands

Lights, Camera, Action!
Want to #CreateTheNext heart-pounding edit? Come to Digital Media Academy this summer and learn how to make movies working as part of a real film production team in DMA Studios or learn how to create Hollywood special effects using the same professional editing and special-effects techniques used in blockbuster films.

Filmmaking courses at Digital Media Academy places students in production teams simulating a real-world production environment. Using cutting-edge Canon cameras and top of the line Apple computers, students become independent filmmakers as they  plan, shoot and edit a film of their own.

Visit Digital Media Academy’s YouTube Channel for more How-To’s and helpful advice.

Considering a job in the music industry? Aside from being an artist, possibly the most important role in the music business is that of a music producer. It’s true: you don’t have to be a musician to get into the business; the people that sit behind the mixing board can be equally important. Depending on the project, a music producer can wear many hats:

1) The Idea Guy
A music producer can help gather ideas for a recording project. The truth is, artists actually hire music producers to help pull songs together. The production of an album is essentially a CD of 12 to 15 “ideas.” Take, for example, The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. This concept album was made while working with producer George Martin. The Beatles changed music.

2) The Sound Guy
When the idea of the album is agreed upon, the music producer gets ready to listen. The producer will be responsible for making the decisions of song and musician selection and working with the band to bring the sound together.

The Music Producer often oversees the music and band from the mixing board.

Lots of times a band will go into the studio with the general idea of an album and a notebook full of songs. The producer’s job in that situation is to help select the best songs and determine which songs best support the overall concept and idea of the album.

To bring an artist’s vision to life and the songs to their full potential, additional musicians may be needed. Maybe the chorus of a song would benefit from a horn section…but none of the band members play any horn instruments. Or maybe a band member needs to be replaced. It’s the producer that’s responsible for making these tough decisions, which can ultimately make or break the album.

3) The Advice Guy
Once the musicians and songs are selected, the producer then becomes the coach in the studio. The producer is now responsible for getting the musicians to come together and create their ideas. A producer might help a drummer find his “groove” or help a guitarist find a different approach for his solo. A producer may also provide spiritual support, giving a vocalist the confidence they need to give their best vocal performance.

4) The Scheduling Guy
It’s the producer’s job to keep the production on schedule not just in terms of finances and release date, but also in terms of morale and fatigue. Getting a record released on time doesn’t matter if your vocalist was worked to death and didn’t provide his or her best performance.

Artists have their work cut out for them in the studio, while the producer oversees the process and makes sure the absolute best work is recorded.

5) The Follow-Up Guy
Once the production is completed, the musical artists get to go home, or back on tour. But the record itself is far from being finished. The producer oversees the final mixing and mastering process. The mix brings all the audio elements together, while mastering gives each individual track the same overall sonic quality. This is all the responsibility of the music producer. A producer may also work with a record company to determine upcoming track releases and tour appearances.


No matter the genre…be it Hip-Hop, Pop, Rock or Electronica…there are many incredible jobs in the music business. A music producer brings everything together and makes it sound great. If you want to learn more about making music, explore DMA’s Music Production camps.

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!

Written By Ben Waggoner

Wow, the year just keeps skipping past; this post has been on my to-do list for a month now. And my video compression classes are approaching at a rapid pace, with signups for Digital Media Academy @ Stanford University already open!

These classes are among the highlights of my year. I never learn faster than when I’m teaching, particularly when I get the great students that attend the sessions. Skill levels vary widely, and the course is designed to accommodate that. But everyone’s got something unique they’re trying to do, whether it’s a supervisor of a high-volume compression department getting up to speed on new formats, or an educator incorporating videos of marine animals into the classroom. And it’s those real-world projects where the rubber meets the road. The focus of the classes is on hands-on art, science, and craft of video compression. It’s all about how to get the best results out of real-world content with real-world workflows, within all the real-world constraints we have to operate under.

” When Microsoft was recruiting me back in 2005, one of my top requirements was that I keep on teaching these classes, with full freedom to cover the formats and technologies that matter, even if competitive with our own. It was an easy sell – they understand the value of me understanding everything. And of course, now that VC-1 is a SMPTE standard and Silverlight is getting H.264 support, the era of proprietary media formats is over anyway. So while we’ll certainly spend time with VC-1, WMV, and Silverlight, we’ll also cover MPEG-2, MPEG-4, Flash, DVD, Blu-ray, Ogg Theora, and other formats and players based on class interest.

Class time is roughly split between lectures/demos and hands-on time doing projects. Each student gets their own workstation loaded with the latest and greatest compression software and related tools.

And I really encourage students to bring along some of their own content and projects, particularly one’s they’ve been having trouble with. Nothing beats that kind of variety of real projects to teach the tips and tricks of our craft.

DMA computer training classes offer Stanford Continuing Studies academic credit, and so are generally covered by corporate education benefits.

Stanford University: August 10-14

Mastering Video Compression

This is the one that started it all; 2009 makes it a full decade since the very first 2-day class I did for the Stanford library science department on authoring QuickTime for education . We’ve been doing the current week-long format for eight years now. The program that ran that class evolved into the Digital Media Academy, which now runs a very wide variety of classes. My 9 year old son came along last year to take a great LEGO Robotics course the same week. He and James Clarke (who took the class) really hit it off; the three of us can deliver quite a whirlwind of nerdish intensity.

Since it’s a one week intensive, it works as a destination class; we get people flying in from around the world. On-campus dorm rooms are available (and quite nice; I stay in one), with other lodging options available, and a meal plan.

DMA offers fun and creative learning for the whole family!

Have you ever wished that you could attend a summer camp just like your children? Well, now you can. This summer, Digital Media Academy’s adult, teen, and kids summer programs will allow both you and your children to learn the latest in creative technology. And while you’re busy producing digital movies, creating web sites, or designing games, you’ll also get to share in your child’s learning experience-first hand. Imagine what dinner conversations will be like instead of the typical, “So, what did you do today?”

Digital Media Academy: Creative Technology Immersion

Digital Media Academy provides adult learners, including teens and kids, college students, K-20 educators, and industry professionals with a weeklong learning experience in a summer retreat or camp environment. In addition, participants can earn 4 quarter units of Stanford Continuing Studies credit. Courses include 3D Animation, Web Design, Strategies of Game Design, and Digital Video. Digital Media Academy attracts award-winning instructors such as Ben Waggoner (“world’s greatest compressionist”), New York School of Visual Arts’ Steve Adler, and veteran ABC producer and best-selling Final Cut Pro author, Tom Wolsky among others.

Learning for the whole family! DMA Summer Camps and Learning Courses

Summer Courses for Adults

Computer Camp for Teens

Computer Camp for Kids

Summer 2014 is in full swing at Digital Media Academy! Now here’s a look back at some earlier days at DMA…

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.), 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 6-12, 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 12-17 are offered at beginning to advanced levels with an optional residential pre-college experience. DMA is partnered with the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus ( 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? Contact DMA online for more details or call DMA Guest Services at (866) 656-3342 to register for classes now!

Have you ever wanted to know how to make a music video like professionals in the music industry?

Digital Media Academy is offering a week-long Music Video Production training course at many prestigious universities across the U.S. Get involved with the multi-billion dollar music industry. Get a jump start in your career! Mix beats, record samples, and create a sweet video production in just one week. This 5 day class will teach you the techniques of making music and making videos – then mixing the two skills together.

Learn the skills to make music videos like you’ll see on MTV and VH1. Work on the latest computer equipment, video equipment, audio recording equipment, production software and cameras. The only limit is your creativity at DMA summer camps!

Check out the Music and Video Production Course.

Learning how to make a music video

Digital Media Academy offers teen film camp experiences, film camps for kids, and professional level video production and digital filmmaking courses for adults.

Computer Camp for Teens

Computer Camp for Kids

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 ( 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 : 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

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

Travis Schlafmann is one of DMA’s lead filmmaking instructors. Travis who graduated from the UCSC film school, has been spending his summer’s at DMA teaching future filmmakers the craft of movie-making.

Travis Schlafmann takes a moment to explain a shot to students in DMA’s film camp.

Schlafmann’s first film was a 30 minute snowboard and skateboarding film. “I traveled to Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Colorado to premiere the film.” said Schlafmann, “It was such an incredible feeling to have my work up on the big screen and evaluated by my peers.” A filmmaker with years of real-world experience, Travis has worked in a variety of production settings, with both live-action and extreme sports.

Courses You Can’t Find in College
Speaking of extreme sports action, DMA’s action sports filmmaking camps were developed specifically for teens. Schlafmann explains, “The idea for these courses came out of a conversation I had with DMA’s Director of Curriculum, Dave Livingston. He asked me if there were any filmmaking courses that I wish I could have taken in college that weren’t available.”

While there are college courses that teach film theory and production, Schlafmann explains there aren’t many that include actions sports cinematography and editing techniques. “I thought it would be so cool to have taken a video production class with curriculum that taught these techniques. The classes were born out of that and they’ve been a huge success.”

In these film camps, students learn how to plan, shoot and edit an action sports film, to produce their own action sports videos. At the end of the week at the student showcase, filmmakers get the chance to premiere their film on the “big screen”, in front of classmates, family, and friends. Students accomplish so much in just 5 days while having so much fun!

Check out a couple of videos created by a camper named Evan in the Skateboarding & Filmmaking camp back in 2008: