My name is Matthew Levie, and I’ll be teaching Documentary Filmmaking again this summer. I’m a professional editor, and feel free to browse my web site to see what I do.

Last year’s Documentary Filmmaking class was a fantastic experience for me as a teacher. The students included:

• a businesswoman from Boston,
• a sociologist from Japan,
• a teenager from France,
• a flight attendant from Miami,
• a scientist from Texas,
• and a teacher from South Carolina

Imagine what you could learn from a group like that!

Here’s a small snippet from the course. Since I’m an editor I can’t resist an example of phenomenal documentary editing. Have a look at the following clip, from the documentary Carrier, about the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz.

So first, one of the pilots introduces the idea that everybody on the carrier needs to do their job correctly, at the right time, for the carrier to function properly. And that sets off this montage of flight deck operations, set to—wait, can it be?—the “March of the Wooden Soldiers” from Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker.”

Notice how similar motions are grouped together—there’s a beautiful series of circular motions, for instance. And at the end, somebody declares “it’s like a ballet.” Which makes perfect sense, since the filmmakers have already make that perfectly clear from a visual standpoint! But then they extend the metaphor to other areas of the ship, particularly the people feeding the ship and cleaning it up.

This is actually an important priority of the filmmakers: making the viewers understand that an aircraft carrier isn’t all about the planes and the flight deck, but that there are people greasing the cables and cleaning the toilets as well. And they’ve done a great job of conveying that visually at every opportunity.

Want more? Well, you’ll have to come to Stanford. Not a lot of people regret spending a week in Northern California, and I’m sure you’ll learn a tremendous amount and enjoy yourself as well!

Browse the Documentary Film class syllabus here.

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 (www.bettermurals.com) 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 : www.redefinedesign.com. 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

Mark Spencer is a Bay Area video editor who literally wrote the book on Motion. He is the author of several works on the subject, such as Apple Pro Training Series: Motion Graphics and Effects in Final Cut Studio 2 and Apple Pro Training Series: Motion 3. “I am a big Motion fan,” he says. “And use it extensively for text treatments, animated elements and DVD menus.”

Putting Motion into Action
Mark is also an instructor at Digital Media Academy, where he teaches Motion training courses. Mark has also taught Final Cut Pro tech camps while at DMA.  

Mark’s website is an amazing resource for tips and inspiration in using Final Cut Studio.  

Mark 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 John Lennon Education Tour Bus, and covers the topic “How to Use Motion to Create Background Elements.” Mark tackles the following topics:

  • Using the content library
  • Replicating shapes and images
  • Adding animation to pre-built shapes and images
  • Using the Transform tool on images
  • Setting the key frame
  •  

    Put Your Future into Motion
    This summer kids and teens will discover the world of video production at Digital Media Academy’s tech camp locations in US and Canada. DMA offers programs for all age levels and interest areas:

    For kids ages 8 to 12, DMA’s Adventures in Filmmaking & Special Effects camp gives them a great first taste of the moviemaking process. Students cover a wide range of topics, including post-production editing with Final Cut Pro®.

    Teens ages 13 to 17 will be thrilled with the cool FX they get to create in DMA’s Visual Effects for Filmmaking camp. This intro to visual effects covers both in-camera special effects, as well as green-screen techniques, layering, basic compositing, keyframing and more.

    And for the teen who can’t get enough film production, DMA’s Academy for Hollywood Visual Effects is packed with two weeks of digital filmmaking that touch upon all technical aspects of the production process.

    If you’re interested in studying film production this summer, DMA tech camps are the perfect place to watch your creativity soar.

    Learn more about DMA instructor Mark Spencer.

    Written by Seamus Harte of the John Lennon Bus

    Curious folks come up to me from time to time and ask, “Hey Seamus, remember when you stayed at a bed and breakfast in San Francisco and trained with DMA instructors for three weeks to get your certifications up to date with all the Apple Pro applications you use on board the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus?”, and I say, “Yes! How could I forget the best month of my life?” Then they ask, “So I was wondering…How did you possibly manage to stuff all that information in your head in such a short period of time?” And that is when I tell them…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 rocking a stellar four-star rating on the iTunes App Store. gFlash Pro 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 three-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 to study hundreds of different card sets. 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 Apple Pro application user skills. Remember if you are getting ready to take a certification test these suckers will be your new best friend.

    There I am standing in front of the most beautiful high definition audio and visual setup money can buy. I have completely lost reality of where I am. I have totally forgotten what I am doing inside an electronics store. I am surrounded with the televisions, computers, cameras, gadgets and only the latest technology (at the best prices I’m told), but none of that matters to me now. I have completely lost touch with reality. I am completely transfixed with the 60″+ flat screen, crisp surround sound system with the super 1200 watt subwoofer, and the high definition blu-ray player in front of me. It seems nothing can suck me out of this odd technology trance I have been sucked into.

    High Definition Experience

    For a moment I feel as though I am a real pirate in the Caribbean on board with Captain Jack and the crew. I get kind of grossed out with Davy Jones squirming tentacles. Ewww. I never noticed his mouth moved like that when he talked! I have to turn away, but my eyes become glued to another 65″ flat plasma screen. Then I am suddenly on the back of a funny looking dragon flying down into a huge canyon. As silly as it sounds, I was momentarily scared. Then I stop and realize the 3d dragon looks…. fake. Lame. I turn to another huge LCD flat-screen to get pulled into an amazing live concert. Now this is great! The crowd is screaming. The music is pumping out of the awesome surround sound speakers, the lights are flashing. I feel like I am inside a Rock Band video game. I feel like I am on the front row at the concert…. and all of a sudden I realize how scratched and ugly Sting’s guitar is. Actually, the whole group looks really old. Look how much he is sweating. OK. That’s enough.

    Then, all of a sudden I am pulled out of my technology trance and out of the home video and audio department. I need to go find the Apple computers. Do they have those new 17″ MacBook Pro laptops yet?

    As I stroll back down the large aisles I begin to think about how quickly technology is moving. Can designers, digital artists, 3d animators, filmmakers, audio technicians, and creative programmers keep up? You better bring your best 3d models and animated characters if your viewers are going to be critiquing them on a ginormous flat screen TV with the highest of high definition disc players.

    Think about it. I was snapped out of the movie by thinking about how fake the 3d character looked in the movie. If the the movie had been on a low resolution, old-school setup, I might have been able to pass over the poorly rendered and animated polygons. I wouldn’t have noticed. I’m just saying…. 

    It’s time to flex your creative muscle at Digital Media Academy. Get in some of the computer courses this summer at any of the prestigious summer locations.

    Visit DMA in the North-Hall at Booth – 4528

    The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus is non profit multimedia studio dedicated to providing free opportunities to create original music, video and still photo projects. Short 45 minute courses will integrate Lennon Tour Bus produced content with hands-on learning experiences provided by Digital Media Academy. Topics to include Apple Final Cut Studio, Logic, Adobe After Effects, and more.

    The DMA courses will be offered throughout the expo January 6 – 9, 2009. Click here for the full course schedule.