Summer camp is an experience that only gets better when you bring family and friends along. Take, for example, these two brothers who attended Digital Media Academy’s tech camp at UCLA in 2012.
Koa and Kaipo both spent a week at a brand new kids camp based around science and engineering. DMA’s tech camps support STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) skill sets, and that’s great news to parents since the Department of Labor estimates there will be 1.2 million STEM jobs available in the next 5 years.
What isn’t such great news is that there aren’t enough skilled graduates to fill those jobs!
This is where DMA comes in. We help provide kids and teens the tools to make STEM subjects not only interesting but a possible career path. For kids like Koa and Kaipo, they get the real-world experience—and get to show off what they’ve learned to friends and family at the end of the week. We caught up these two aspiring engineers after their DMA summer:
What do you want to be?
Koa: “When I grow up, I might be a drummer, an architect or a designer.”
Kaipo: “Someday I want to be a scientist because I want to create something useful.”
What did you learn at DMA and what did you enjoy about the Adventures in Science & Engineering camp?
Koa: “I learned how circuits work, Bernoulli’s Principle of Flight, and Programming. You know, science and stuff. I also learned cartooning, like how comics are set up and how to create basic animation. Another thing I learned was architecture, where I did stuff like make a bridge out of popsicle sticks and design my dream house on a website.”
Kaipo: “My favorite part was solar energy because we got to learn about how sun beams power solar panels.”
How did DMA inspire you?
Koa: I play with LEGOs (at home) and build on Minecraft®. I got inspired by designing my dream house. I want to be an architect some day.”
Kaipo: “DMA inspired me to be a scientist because I did a lot of fun stuff in science and engineering.”
What was your most memorable camp moment?
Koa: “My favorite moment was when we built solar-powered cars and we learned about solar energy. It was really fun and I especially enjoyed racing the solar cars!”
Kaipo: “My favorite time was when we built water rockets. It was fun to make them and shoot them.”
Are you interested in attending DMA camp this coming summer?
Kaipo: “We want to come back to UCLA.”
What DMA program will you take this time?
Koa: “I want to take the Adventures in Science & Engineering program again.”
Kaipo: “3D Video Game Creation.”
We’re excited that Koa and Kaipo are returning to DMA. Concepts like solar-powered cars and engineering don’t have to be out of reach to kids. In fact, they’re more accessible than ever. DMA offers a variety of STEM-related camps and courses that will inspire the future engineer in your home.
News from HQ by Phill Powell
Time flies when you’re having fun…especially when you’re teaching young people about the latest technologies and how to use them to follow their creative passion or start a career. It’s been ten years since Digital Arts Academy launched its first summer computer camp program on the Palo Alto campus of Stanford University.
The location of that first 2002 camp was no accident, since DMA’s founder and president, Phil Gibson, was himself a Stanford Academic Technology manager. It was his dynamic vision of an immersive summer camp experience—taught by professionals with proven records of industry success, and conducted on the nation’s most celebrated college campuses—that has led DMA to its tenth anniversary.
Partnered with Prestigious Universities
Gibson’s vision was wholeheartedly embraced and due to the success of its Stanford program, DMA was able to branch out, and that expansion continues to this day.
Now DMA offers its program on many of America’s most beloved campuses: a Harvard University tech camp, UCLA tech camp, George Washington University tech camp, Swarthmore College tech camp, Drexel University tech camp, UC San Diego tech camp, and the University of British Columbia tech camp in Vancouver, Canada. DMA’s home campus is the Stanford University tech camp.
With DMA’s corporate headquarters located in the heart of Silicon Valley, the company has the pulse on the area’s technological innovation. Silicon Valley technologies were driving Phil Gibson during the 1990s, when he served Stanford’s Academic Computing Department and led efforts to integrate new media technologies. As part of that work, Gibson developed a video-streaming service and a UNIX-based authentication system that he pioneered in Apple-based public computer labs on the Stanford campus. He first experimented with the DMA model of computer camp during 1999, and within three years Gibson left Stanford to devote his energies full-time to the concept.
With hands-on learning provided by industry professional or world-class technology educators, it’s no wonder DMA was ranked the World’s Best Tech Camp in 2011 by Worth.com. “What inspires me,” says Gibson, “is building an organization that makes a difference in people’s lives—young and old.” Unfortunately, there’s not much time to celebrate the ten-year milestone, as the entire DMA staff are busily preparing for the Summer 2012 camp season.
Kids love technology and Digital Media Academy gives them an opportunity to get hands-on experience with it every summer. Kids aged 6-12 or teens aged 12-18 can make a movie using professional grade HD videocameras or make video games using the same tools as award-winning game creators currently working in the games industry.
At DMA’s technology camp (which is held on the campus of prestigious universities like Harvard, UCLA or the University of Toronto), students learn what it takes to make professional grade digital media.
In the Digital Audio, Music & Beat Production program, teens explore the process of making music. Everything from making bass lines to modifying sounds and using those sounds to create catchy melodies is covered. Starting with the basics of recording and editing, students learn the concepts of songwriting and arrangement.
Tyler Winick is an instructor for DMA, in the off season, he’s also a producer for the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus and has worked with music artists like Will.i.am and the Black Eyed Peas. “I love working with major artists, but I love working with kids at DMA too.
Kids imaginations and their outlook on this world is so refreshing in comparison to the box most adults put their brains in.”
This summer Tyler is teaching Digital Audio, Music & Beat Production at DMA’s Stanford University location. “I enjoy the fact that this course shakes your brain to think of everything from producing music to writing lyrics. I think the campers are going to have a ball and come up with some really creative projects.”
What can you expect from a Digital Media Academy Instructor?
What are the summer camps like?
As a regular instructor for several companies around the San Francisco Bay Area, I believe it is important to ensure that every class I teach is different from the last. Even if I teach 5 consecutive classes on CSS, each class has a completely different set of students, each with different skill levels and interests. In many training centers, often classes really do end up exactly the same. Many instructors I have worked with simply plod along, following the curriculum word by word, line by line. No deviations, and no excitement. Of course, as a student you can ask questions and take advantage of their expertise in the field. But that experience doesn’t make for an interesting class. You may learn the topic, but it’s not fun. Read more
By Lisa Ratner, Lead Instructor
As I prepare for Summer 2011 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.
“Ready!” pipes a lion-dressed “salesman”
A kid from the web design class sneaks in to watch the 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!
By Ben Jaffe, Digital Media Academy Instructor
It seems like every year, all the major software companies come out with new versions of their software. Usually the companies tout the new revolutionary features in the latest version, and though the features seem useful and exciting, it is often tempting to ignore those companies and choose not upgrade. After all, it means spending money on the upgrade, and devoting your time to learn the new features. Several non-upgrades later, many people suddenly find themselves way behind the curve. Their skill set becomes more and more outdated, and the learning curve on the latest and greatest version is steeper than ever before. This happens all the time to people who have been in their industry for years.
Although buying every single software upgrade may break the bank, it is definitely important to at least be aware of new features and workflows as they are introduced. Especially in technological fields, it’s important to remain informed; technological fields are unique in how rapidly they change. Just as skipping the latest upgrade is tempting for you because of money and time concerns, it is often even more tempting for training centers to skip. In fact, some training centers still train on Flash and Dreamweaver MX 2004! Those versions were released when Macromedia still owned Flash, many, many years ago! Those centers haven’t paid for new software in years, but their training is becoming more outdated and useless to the students with every new version. Ultimately, if your training center is not up to date, you can’t be either.
As an instructor, I have always been impressed by Digital Media Academy’s policy on software. They definitely understand the importance of developing their courses around the latest versions. For example, back when Final Cut Studio 2 was announced only two months before Digital Media Academy’s summer camp started, Digital Media Academy coordinated with Apple to get versions of the new software in time for their summer Adult, Teen, and Adventures camps. Everyone who took DMA’s video courses that summer got trained on software that most video editing houses didn’t even have yet! With Digital Media Academy, you can be sure you are getting up-to-date training on the latest versions of the software. In fact, having the latest version ensures that the instructors are up-to-date as well. Digital Media Academy only hires proficient instructors with real-world experience for their courses. This definitely raises the bar above other camps, and keeps the bar raised high from year to year.
From an instructors viewpoint, it is impressive and reassuring that Digital Media Academy has such a reliable and responsible outlook on software upgrades. Even if you don’t personally upgrade to each new version, spending a week or two at Digital Media Academy with the latest versions of the software will certainly keep your brain up-to-date and help you excel.
Heading off to training? Check out Digital Media Academy’s Training Centers for Adults
Digital Media Academy offers training for adults at Stanford University, University of Texas at Austin, University of California San Diego, and Harvard University, as well as the Silicone Valley training location. Current training opportunities include Final Cut Pro 100, Final Cut Pro 101, Final Cut Pro 300 Advanced Editing, Documentary Filmmaking, Flash 11, Certification Programs, and more. As a Certified Apple Pro Aps Training Center, Digital Media Academy offers the training you need to suceed.
What about kids summer camp? Read more here: Summer Camps
Augmented Reality- Kids Have a Blast at 3D Summer Camp!
I’d like to share with you my experiences from Digital Media Academy summer camp for kids. Last summer, I had the pleasure of teaching kids one of the game-oriented teen Maya courses (similar to this year’s Introduction to 3D Art, Modeling and Animation for Game Design). We created our own environments and built our own characters, and then loaded them into the game engine. We waited patiently to see if they would actually work.
When they did, there were squeals of delight as our custom characters showed up in our custom maps. We enjoyed several rounds of networked gameplay, simultaneously battling and congratulating each other on this or that excellent feature of the current map. The kids found it more thrilling than a normal game because they had made it.
As the summer camp instructor, I was really entertained and encouraged to see my students losing themselves in their own work. But I also wanted the kids to understand that even though the summer camp class had ended, they had been equipped with some pretty useful skills, and not just for games. In fact, I tried to get my students to forget about games.
Well, not all games, and not forever, but at least for the moment. I pointed out how games are just a form of what are called “real-time” graphics. In other words, these are not fixed images that have been burned to disc or rendered on film (like television or movies). Rather, they are images that are created on-the-fly by a computer in response to some sort of interaction with a user.
The most commonly understood use of this technology is indeed games. But there’s a whole world of uses for real-time 3D graphics, and my students in my DMA courses could use some of the same things they learned towards these ends. For instance, my own experience with this technology has been in the creation of museum exhibits. In particular, my most recently finished project involved creating animations for an exhibit on the human brain for the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago;.
This particular use of real-time 3D graphics is called “Augmented Reality,” and it’s becoming a very popular form of interaction. In its most basic form, it’s the virtual markers appearing on the field of a televised football game or on the olympic ski slopes. But it can be used for much more sophisticated applications. One very popular recent example is the “We Are Autobots” site that was launched in conjunction with the release of Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen. As you can see from the following youtube video, it can be combined with facial tracking to create a pretty cool interactive experience.
Augmented Reality- Kids Have a Blast at 3D Summer Camp!
The 3D models and animation in this interactive were created with the same tools and and followed the same recipe as the characters and environments that kids in the Digital Media Academy summer camp classes learn. When I said this, I think it surprised and encouraged my students (and their parents). They could take what they learned about 3D modeling in the course at Digital Media Academy and apply it to something beyond the first-person shooter that we were playing.
While talking with them about their experience, many kids expressed a hope that they would be able to pursue this beyond summer camp – professionally as adults. Some kids wanted to create character animation for films. Some kids were intrigued by the artistic possibilities of creating 3D worlds. And some kids dreamt of making the next great game. What was great about the course is that they really could go in any of those directions. It really was just the tip of the iceberg.
What plans do your kids have for summer camp? Check out all the great kids summer camp courses!
You’ll enjoy reading more!
Digital Media Academy hires the best technology teachers around. Industry professionals, technology educators, award-winning media creators, instructors like Lee Manansala. They share real-world experience with campers and help the maker generation create the future.
We caught up with Manansala who was working on his thesis film project at NYU, to talk about DMA and the art of filmmaking.
What’s it like teaching film summer camp for teens?
Digital Media Academy’s week-long teen film summer camp courses really rejuvenate and inspire me, and it has less to do with the professional satisfaction a teacher feels after a day of work, but more to do with being around immensely creative, eager, and talented young filmmakers. Every one of my students has come to class with ideas, sometimes more ideas than they know what to do with. It’s my job to help them organize those ideas, turn them into a story.
What can teens expect at Digital Media Academy film summer camp?
At Digital Media Academy I emphasize a sound, three act story structure, which to my mind is the difference between kids having fun with a camera and Digital Media Academy Teen Filmmaking Summer Campers setting out to make a short film. And instead of burying and intimidating my students with technical stuff (something that happened to me when I first became serious about cameras and editing software), I give them the essentials. We use sophisticated cameras and very powerful editing and authoring software, but it’s more important to know how to utilize them for our specific needs. When the technical aspects of digital filmmaking are more approachable, a young filmmaker is more likely to return to it and cultivate his or her love for it.
Do teens need any special preparation for Digital Media Academy’s teen summer film camp?
Ultimately, what my students bring to class is joy. It’s the joy of being around and working with other young people with a similar passion for film and creativity. It’s the joy of having an idea for a movie and seeing it through until it is, in fact, a movie. I’m only too happy to help and watch it unfold before me, because I, selfishly, get as much from the experience as my students do. The digital filmmaking teen summer camps courses at Digital Media Academy are an incredible opportunity (one I wish I had when I was teenager) to immerse yourself in a creative medium that is challenging, rewarding and fun.
All the creative bits—the sound design, the effects, the varied shot selection—are all the products of the students’ imaginations. The courses culminate with a screening of all of the work; I was incredibly proud to watch the final film, and was gratified by the smiles on my students’ faces as they enjoyed the result of all of their hard work. The teens deserve all of the credit, but I like to think that my instruction pointed them in the right direction.
What’s next for your filmmaking work Lee?
I am set to teach the digital filmmaking courses for teens at Digital Media Academy teen summer filmmaking Harvard Summer Camps and Brown University Summer Camps.
I like watching the Academy Awards as well as anybody. There’s the glamour of the Red Carpet, the Oscar predictions about “Who Should” and “Who Will” win, and the wild unpredictability of live television. This year’s telecast did not disappoint.
When Music by Prudence won the Oscar for Documentary Short Film, a woman “pulled a Kanye” – rushing onstage, grabbing the microphone from Director Roger Ross Williams and launching into a speech of her own.
I was horrified. This was the only Oscar award I actually cared about. I had heard Prudence sing last January when DMA helped bring the band Liyana to Stanford University. In 2009, through its partnership with The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus, the Digital Media Academy hosted and sponsored a Liyana concert at the Stanford Bookstore. I found both their music and their story uplifting. I hoped this Oscar nomination would draw attention to Liyana and the plight of the disabled in developing countries. Instead, Liyana’s 45 seconds in the spotlight was hijacked by an unidentified woman in purple.
Liyana is a musical group from Zimbabwe that started as a class project. Each member of the band faces extreme physical challenges. They met at the King George VI School & Center for Children with Disabilities in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. King George is a haven for disabled youth in a country where disability is misunderstood and despised. The school’s life-changing work is funded largely by donations from abroad.
The HBO documentary chose to focus on lead singer, Prudence, the only female band member. But each member of the band – Marvelous, Tapiwa, Farai, Energy, Honest, Vusani, and Goodwell – has an inspiring story. Each has overcome discrimination. Each testifies to the beauty of the human spirit. Each proves that giftedness defies disability.
Liyana means “it’s raining.” According to Williams, in Zimbabwe, rain is considered a gift from God. When the band is on stage, they’re “raining,” sharing that gift with the world.
By now, much has been written about the woman who stormed the stage. No doubt there are two sides to every story, and this story is a colorful one. Elinor Burkett is the film’s co-producer. She says she came across Liyana in Zimbabwe and introduced Director Roger Williams to the project. They later had a falling out over creative direction of the film.
She takes umbrage at the reference to Kanye West, saying her name was called as an Oscar recipient, and she felt entitled to speak. She claimed the director’s mother tried to impede her progress to the stage with her cane. Burkett has adamantly defended her actions, explaining that she only stepped in when the director failed to properly acknowledge the subjects of the film.
Ironically, it was her rudeness, rather than her speech, that has drawn attention to the band. This unfortunate producer-squabble-gone-public has become a blessing in disguise.
Roger Ross Williams was given a chance to repeat his acceptance speech on Larry King Live. Exposure for the film has increased exponentially. Many more people will now tune in to the May 12 debut of Music by Prudence debut on HBO2.
So here’s to Academy Awards show drama. Bring on the cane-blocking and microphone-grabbing antics. May the hubbub draw greater attention to Liyana and bring an outpouring of support for the King George VI School in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.
DMA’s Maya Certification program centers on its series of 3d modeling and animation courses. These courses are broad and deep and tackle some of the most complex problems and powerful tools in Maya, Autodesk’s industry standard software for 3D modeling, animation, rendering, and visual effects. From a beginning of how to create basic shapes in Maya I, to a finalized piece with finished facial animations, body rigging, and narrative based story – the Digital Media Academy series of courses provides an intense submersion into the Maya toolkit and workflow.
Paul Randall and Karen Laszkiewicz – who attended DMA at Stanford University as part of a partnership with NOVA this past summer – in collaboration with other students at animation summer camp created the sample project displayed below. Both Paul and Karen were among the Digital Media Academy attendees who tackled all four courses back to back. The amount of technical information was huge. The requirements to process and apply the information were quick. And the necessity to work as a team came as an extra spice to the mix. Paul and Karen were integral parts of a diverse team that included participants of varying ages, abilities, gender, and nationality. They both kept learning, kept producing and working with the team through the deadline to create the final piece seen here.
This project is based on a story from a children’s book and due to time constraints does not have voice over or final render. That said, in this format you can see the scripted words (for voice over) and the skeleton (rigged, model) and other directional tools. The important thing to remember is that Paul and Karen started with no experience in 3d or Maya and after 20 days of class were able to produce this. Digital Media Academy will get you started on your new career path! The skills they departed with will enable them to pursue the field of 3d art, modeling and animation as a viable career path. What are you interested in learning with Maya? Is it time to learn new skills to be competitive in today’s employment marketplace? Why not learn new skills and have fun too at Digital Media Academy’s Maya summer camp? Please join the conversation, and leave a comment below!
Looking for more information on Maya Certification? Please click here: Maya Certification Which Digital Media Academy location will work best for you? Take a look! Please click here: Digital Media Academy Adult Training Locations.