FilmFest premieres student films Under the Stars

[This week the Learning Studio’s Nathan Driskell contributed a story featured on ACU News that we wanted to share.]

In an ordinary year, the Paramount Theatre in downtown Abilene would roll out the red carpet for ACU’s FilmFest Gala, the university’s annual student film competition, now in its 17th year. But this year was, of course, no ordinary one, and so the festival moved outside for ACU’s first-ever FilmFest: Under the Stars.

Last Friday night as the sun set behind the Tower of Light, students and faculty watched this year’s films in the Beauchamp Amphitheatre and cheered award winners in 13 categories for excellence in filmmaking.

Read the full story on ACU News.

Student Highlights this Spring

We’ve put the spotlight on faculty creativity this week but didn’t want to miss the chance to share some strong projects from some of our graduates this spring. Whether they were spending hours in the Media Lab perfecting an illustration or they were attending advanced media training in Stage 1, students of all majors this semester took advantage of the tools, spaces, and training on offer in the Learning Studio to produce work that they could be truly proud of.

“All ACU students should take advantage of the Learning Studio regardless of their major. Learning how to create and share ideas has made me a better social worker, but it has also made me a more effective communicator. The AT&T Learning Studio is a prime example of ACU’s commitment to innovative learning.”  – Hannah Sims

The Learning Studio helped these graduating seniors and grad students leave campus with the skills to share stories with the world that matter. We can’t wait to see what these creators do next!

Student Projects

Year-Round short film
John Greer (senior, Multimedia)

We were excited to have 13 student films premiere at FilmFest this year, but one film caught our eye. For his 4th consecutive FilmFest, John Greer wrote and directed Year-Round. He also shot his film on one of our Canon 6D DSLR cameras with carefully composed shots that won the Best Cinematography award this year. You can find more winners from this year or John’s previous films on the FilmFest blog.

Wichita Mountains photos
Nicholas Cromwell (senior, Accounting)

In short afternoon training or weekend workshops, students are developing more confidence with their cameras. Nick has been doing the important work of any photographer–shooting as much as possible–and taking pictures wherever and whenever he is is paying off. Over spring break he kept shooting with friends on some hikes in the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma, and this last year his portfolio landed him a job shooting for The Optimist

Fostering Brighter Futures video
Hannah Sims (grad student, Social Work)

This spring Hannah worked with the Texas Council of Child Welfare Boards on a video project to improve perceptions around foster parenting. She filmed the spots in the One Button Studio and finished them with skills she picked up in Social Work classes producing media assignments. It’s exciting to see how skills developed for one project build the confidence to try the next one. Read more about Hannah’s project on the ACU Today blog.

ARAMARK Employee Appreciation video
Abbie Hamilton (senior, Marketing)

Lots of the projects we see are connected to media projects in classes, so it was fun to see Abbie’s music video produced with the staff of the World Famous Bean. The playful look of the project hides just how much work went into the editing, sound, and on-screen titles. Great way to end of the semester!

Outer Space infographic
Christi Lim (senior, Graphic Design)

As they approach graduation, graphic designers take a portfolio class where they get ready to share their best work with future employers. Christi spent hours in Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop this semester polishing work like her infographics on the solar system and Frank Lloyd Wright for Ryan Feerer’s Information Graphics class. See the final product in more detail.

Dead Day Karaoke

We love rock ’n’roll, and what better way to celebrate the final countdown before you beat it than by showing the campus your true colors.

This Dead Day, we’ll host 1980s video karaoke upstairs in the Learning Studio, filmed in glorious Standard Definition. All you need is a USB thumb drive and a favorite song from any decade (air guitar and backup dancers optional).

We’ll kick things off with some rock star professors who are bringing big vocals and big hair back into fashion, so stay tuned.

We know it’s a manic Monday, but we’ll be rocking upstairs in the library, with or without you.
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Don’t Adjust Your Set

For the week we’ve upgraded the High Definition video you expect from the One Button Studio in Stage 1 with an old-school VHS camcorder to capture all your 1980s moves in glorious Standard Definition (that’s SD instead of HD). So if the recordings we’re sharing this week look a little funny, just pop in a videocassette mixtape of your favorite MTV music videos and sing along.

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Faculty Highlights

ACU at home in Germany

This week ACU opens a new home base for students studying in Leipzig, Germany. You’ll hear more about the exciting history and location of this property in the future, but we wanted to give you a first look. The following 360 photos and video were taken during a digital storytelling workshop with Study Abroad students last spring, so the facility has already changed a lot but this will give you a virtual visit to the new ACU villa.

Germany is an exciting place to study right now, with dynamic modern cities like Berlin and Leipzig, and historical centers like the city of Wittenberg, where Martin Luther published his 95 Theses 500 years ago this month. The ACU in Germany 360 video gave us a chance to explore a little more of what immersive experiences can do.

The videos are best viewed in a Chrome browser or using the Vimeo app on a smartphone or tablet. All video was shot on a Nikon Keymission 360 4K camera that uses two fish-eye lenses pointing opposite directions and then stitches the two together. Come see us in the Learning Studio if you’re interested in shooting some 360 video of your own!

 

 

Golden Light Workshop

In April, Asia Eidson worked with a group of student photographers interested in mastering golden light.

Friday afternoon, she walked them through working with subjects for couples’ portraits and then that evening took them on a shoot with models to experience the challenge of getting informal pictures as the light disappears at the end of the day.

Saturday after she took a second group through a typical early-morning shoot, Asia introduced students to strategies for editing portraits in Adobe Lightroom. As Adobe Creative Cloud continues to be available to the campus for free, we see a growing number of students tapping the power of tools like Lightroom.

If you’d like to hear about future student workshops, email us at learningstudio@acu.edu to get on our mailing list.

Web Portfolio
http://www.photobyjoy.com

Image Credits:  Alex Gabriele, Brittney Johnson