LEARNING STUDIO BLOG
Last week, ACU’s 12th Annual FilmFest gave students the opportunity to screen original films at a red-carpet gala at the Paramount Theatre. This year also provided students unprecedented access to training and feedback from filmmakers on campus and around the country. Production teams began work in the fall developing story ideas and technical skills through workshops led by Nathan Driskell and Mathew Bardwell in the Learning Studio.
For the first time this fall and spring, students had the opportunity to meet one-on-one with returning judges to develop their films. In November, Randy Brewer, class of 1993 and founder of Revolution Pictures, came to campus to work with production teams as they began to refine story ideas.
Then in March, Brent McCorkle, whose recent work includes editing the 2015 feature Woodlawn, spent the day with directors and editors to talk about rough cuts of their films, leaving several weeks for them to fine-tune and in some cases rewrite and reshoot portions of their films before the April 1 premiere.
Again this year, the FilmFest weekend concluded with critique sessions on Saturday morning, allowing each production team to hear from judges about everything from basic story structure to the technical aspects of their finished films.
We’re grateful to the remarkable panel of filmmakers and writers who joined us in Abilene this year—including Will Bakke (director, Believe Me ), Randy Brewer (Revolution Pictures), Al Haley (writer in residence, ACU), Brent McCorkle (director, Unconditional ), Adrian Patenaude (writer), and Kyle Smith (writer).
If you missed FilmFest, you can see this year’s student films and a list of winners at the FilmFest Blog.
This weekend the Learning Studio brought in Asia Eidson to lead two workshops in portrait photography. Asia is an ACU grad and LS alum now running a wedding photography business in Dallas. This was our first advanced photography workshop focused on portraiture, and we had talented groups of faculty and students who worked with student models to gain experience shooting their own natural-light outdoor portraits.
Powered by Adobe Lightroom CC
One powerful part of both workshops was getting to hear a professional walk through her workflow for bringing hundreds of photos into Adobe Lightroom to organize, edit, and export high quality images for print and web. Many who picked up Adobe’s advanced image editing software for the first time were producing striking images by the end of the workshop.
If you’re looking for a way to jump-start your own image-making this spring and can’t wait for our next workshop, check out Lightroom CC Essentials on Lynda.com.
Special thanks to the ACU student models and to Rachel and Chris Riley for a great couple days of location shooting.
This last week the Art & Design department brought Andy Pratt back to campus to lead a workshop on Interactive Design. He led the workshop with ACU alum Paige Baumgartner who met Andy on a trip to New York City in 2013 led by Mike Wiggins and Ryan Feerer where students visited a number of agencies. We were glad to have both of them back on campus and sharing their work in the main studio.
Andy has fifteen years of experience creating award-winning interactive media. He is an Executive Creative Director for Favorite Medium, a global design and technology agency with offices in Seoul and Singapore. Prior to this, he worked as a creative director at Funny Garbage, an interactive agency in New York City. This position afforded him the opportunity to work with some of the largest brands in the world, including the Smithsonian Institution, Cartoon Network, Noggin, Lego and Turner Broadcasting. His vision and strategy is showcased in apps, websites and on air content for these powerhouses, among many others.
Emmy Award Winner, Global Media Award Nominee (x2), Webby Award Winner (x4), Webby Award People’s Voice Winner (x2), Webby Award Honoree, Webby Award Nominee (x10), Times Magazine Top 50 Sites, 21st Annual Mark Award Gold (x2), 21st Annual Mark Award Silver, Creativity 34 Winner, Interactive Media Award (x3), Print Regional Design Annual, Communicator Award, W3 Award (x3), HOW Interactive Design Award (x3), Spark Award Nominee
Thanks to the ACU faculty and students who joined us in the Learning Studio last week to audition for Star Wars: The Final Exam.
The #EpisodeXmas event went well and we wanted to share a quick trailer before you head to the theatre to see the actual film. The students brought great energy, costumes, and some mad jedi skills to the event.
In case you’re looking to create your own Star Wars trailer over the holidays, here were a couple blog posts on adding some Adobe CC magic to your next project.
Special thanks to faculty who joined us on the day (hoping not to leave anyone out): Cole Bennett, Dena Counts, Brad Crisp, Cherisse Flanagan Houston Heflin, David Kneip, Andy Little, Steven Moore, Jason Morris, Laura and Mark Phillips, Brent Reeves, Tracy Shilcutt, Jessica Smith, and Jeanine Varner.
This semester Al Haley and Kyle Dickson taught Introduction to Film for the first time and students were asked to produce a major project that demonstrated their mastery of core concepts of the course. Learning Studio staff spent several class days introducing students to camera movement, audio, and editing before they produced their projects in Camtasia and Adobe Premiere Pro.
Here are a few of the final projects.
- Film Analysis Digital Essay – Working individually or with a partner, produce a short 3-5 minute analysis of a film from our semester that accounts for the technical aspects of its production within the context of the director’s work or genre. Your digital essay seeks to highlight an informed point of view with carefully chosen stills/clips from your film(s) synced to your audio commentary. (For examples of this type of video essay, see Tony Zhou’s Every Frame a Painting).
- Short Narrative Film – Working individually or with a partner, write, direct, and produce a short film, following ACU FilmFest guidelines, that builds on your working knowledge of story structure, character development, and genre this semester. The short film should demonstrate mastery of the fundamentals of camera movement, shot composition, lighting, audio, and editing, all of which we’ll introduce in workshops in the Learning Studio this semester. (For inspiration, see past projects on the FilmFest Archive).
For several years students in Dr. Kyle Dickson’s Eighteenth-Century British Literature have produced research projects as a way to share key texts from the Enlightenment with a broader audience. It’s easy to complete academic research for an audience of one–the professor–so this assignment has attempted to ask students to communicate research from an upper-level course to general audience.
Jonathan Swift and Ireland – Victoria Stowe
Episode Xmas is TODAY! Take a study break at a galaxy far far away hosted by the Learning Studio. Prove your Jedi skills by taking the 2 minute Star Wars Final Exam for a chance to win prizes. And sign up to challenge your friends/faculty to a lightsaber duel on green screen.
May the Force be with you!
Also, be sure to take a selfie with Han & Leia and share on Twitter (@learningstudio) or Facebook (aculearningstudio) with #episodexmas
In preparation for the next chapter in the Star Wars saga, we’re thinking about ways to combine the power of Adobe Creative Cloud with some Jedi mojo to awaken your creative force.
The visual effects behind the first Star Wars films were a galaxy far, far away from the digital tools available on any laptop or phone today. But the effects wizards at Lucasfilm have been using green/blue screen effects from the beginning.
You probably know we’ve been checking out portable green screens for some time (LS Unboxed video https://vimeo.com/60284641 ), but this spring trained students and faculty will now have access to the full green-screen studio upstairs in the Learning Studio. Take some time over the break to learn how easy it is to use the built-in green screen tools available in Premiere Pro CC by following the link below.
Also, be sure to follow us on Twitter (@learningstudio) or Facebook (aculearningstudio) and share your best Star Wars Christmas puns to #episodexmas for a chance to win a Jedi prize!
“Luke, I am your Proctor”
Star Wars Practice Exams are here & at the Learning Studio front desk to help you prepare for the Star Wars Final Exam on Monday for the Episode Xmas Grand Prize Win!!!!