Blackmagic, which will be announcing both a Pocket Cinema Camera and this, its Production Camera 4K. We’re fairly sure that this will sit above its Cinema Camera, offering a bigger Super 35 sensor, global shutter and Thunderbolt connector alongside the SSD recorder, touchscreen LCD and EF lens mount we found on last year’s model. The camera is expected to be available for $3,995 — low enough to make even the most ardent of DSLR fans think twice.
Canon releases the EOS Rebel T5i with a new kit lens featuring stepping motor technology. First questions first, will you be crossgrading from Nikon for this camera? Probably not, Might you update your EOS Rebel T4i? Only if you like the insignia to advance one digit, however, if you are looking for a new DSLR with exceptional quality and functionality from a trusted manufacturer, the EOS Rebel T5i is an excellent choice.
During my talk at iConnect iLearn 2011, I promised a list of open source tools for 3D Animation and Game Design. The tools listed below are not all technically open source (more on that later), but are free to use in a non-commercial environment, such as your classroom.
I once again stuck with tools that I knew worked, and worked well. There are many image manipulation and game design programs, but these are the best in their class, rivaling programs that cost thousands of dollars per seat!
If you have any questions about these pieces of software, or have any to add, please feel free to comment here or hit me up on Twitter (@mfa_josh)!
* Neither Unity 3D or the Unreal Development Kit are what we would think of as being open source, though they are both available for free for non-commercial use. If a student releases a project commercially, they simply have to get the proper license to cover the project. Though a project can be built in the environment with no license being obtained, allowing students the ability to work on a game that may never be released, but allowing them to release it in the future in they choose to do so.
con·sume verb \kən-ˈsüm\: to utilize as a customer
cre·ate verb \krē-ˈāt\: to produce through imaginative skill
Technology is weaving it’s way into our educational environments little by little. As a whole, I see this as a positive thing. Today’s society is connected to technology in a way that no one could have imagined. It only makes sense to bring these technologies into the classroom, engaging students in (what is hopefully) a meaningful conversation. But, what are our students doing with these new technologies?
Are they simply consuming? Are they only reading blogs, tweets and status updates, watching videos and playing games? Or, are we connecting them in a way that we tap into the creative potential in each of them? Are we making sure they are creating as much as they consume?
I’m calling this “the new 1:1 ratio.” No longer can we be satisfied that our students each have a laptop or iPad all their own (we can’t allow these new technologies to turn into simple “digital textbooks”). Our students need to utilize these tools to create! Building their own blogs, interacting on Twitter and updating a class Facebook page are a start…
Now let’s take that a step further… What if we let them create a new video for every one they watch (i.e. creating video responses to those posted by students at other schools), or produce new levels to video games they love?
Will we challenge our students to create the video games of the future, write and record the next great symphony, produce the next hit film?
The potential to learn while in the process of creating is endless. Not only will we teach them to think creatively, but we will teach them to dig deeper and engage in the larger conversation.
In my opinion, this the only way to approach education for this new generation of students. We can help shape the future by equipping our students with the skills to innovate in this new digital culture… It’s time for a creative revolution!
This is the first in a series of posts I’m planning on this topic. Please comment here or on Twitter (@mfa_josh).
As you well know, high-end technology and limited budgets don’t usually go hand-in-hand. But, for those of us that are advocates for integrating technology into educational environments, we run into tight (non-existent) budgets. Couple that with high expectations from students and we’re stuck trying to figure out how to deliver the software needed for meaningful content creation, without a pile of cash on hand.
As an Avid Certified Instructor, and advocate for Pro Tools software in general, I want to at least be fair and say that their pricing structure is one of the best I’ve seen. For $295 a student can purchase Pro Tools 9, with no software limitations, and has access to free updates for four years!
On the other hand, for schools that want a 1 to 1 ratio for their students, $295 per seat can get expensive fast!
The wonderful thing about this current technological age, is the sheer volume of open source software. This software is free to use and many times offers the same quality experience as the products we pay so much for! I’ve come up with a list of four pieces of software that I have used (and enjoy using). These have not replaced Pro Tools for me, but they do a great job in teaching the concepts and allowing students to have the same software at home without them illegally downloading a cracked version.
Ardour – ardour.org (OSX, Linux)
Audacity – audacity.sourceforge.net (OSX, Linux, Windows)
Linux Multimedia Studio – lmms.sourceforge.net (OSX, Linux, Windows)
MuseScore – musescore.org (OSX, Linux, Windows)
What other open source music software are you using?
Where else are you using open source software?
Yesterday, Mark, Colby and I took a quick one day trip to visit Turning Point Learning Center in Emporia, KS. TPLC is a K – 8 charter school with a 5th – 8th grade Face to Face program along with an online virtual school. The school also has 1:1 MacBooks for their students (which automatically makes it cooler than 99% of the schools I’ve been too)! The mission of TPLC is as follows:
The mission of Turning Point Learning Center is to create a community environment that recognizes all learners as individuals and as members of the greater community. Staff and students are viewed as continuous learners; each is challenged to grow within not only the academic, but also the social spheres of our expanding, 21st century global society.
The school was wonderful to visit, and the staff and kids were very welcoming and nice enough to let us sit in on classes and even snap a few pictures.
One thing that stuck out at me during the visit was the way these students interacted with one another. The kids were working in groups in the classes that I visited and each sat at tables with a MacBook and took the time to write up a contract when starting a new project. I overheard students divvying up the roles in the project, setting up their expectations and generally working better together than many adults I know!
After observing in the morning we were able to chat with the kids about what we’re doing at Mindfire and doing a Q&A session about our industries. These kids had tons of questions, and were digging deeper into the processes of 3D Animation and Recording Arts than many high schoolers I talk to!
Okay, so enough about how great this school is (though it is really, really great), if you’re interested in what TPLC is doing check out their website!
Until next time,
The Mindfire Crew
Well, it’s all over. Colby and I are heading home tomorrow with enough swag and crap printed on paper to fill another two pieces of luggage… but we’ve managed to make it all fit. Colby spent more time on the expo floor today checking out any of the tools we might have missed and picking up as many pens as possible (they disappear in the office). I split my time between the expo and a few talks.
Up first was Damian Kastbauer’s (Freelance) talk “Footsteps: An Informal Sound Study.” This talk was only tweny-five minutes, but Damian was able to pack a lot into his presentation. He first went over a few examples of classic footsteps in games such as Dig Dug, Double Dragon and other Atari and NES titles, the video then proceeded through the introduction of the Playstation through today’s high-end consoles with games like Prince of Persia, Assassin’s Creed and the Wii Fit running simulator. During the talk Damian reminded us to remember the aural expectation of classic sounds and to remember what choices we have when implementing footsteps into our games. He also took time to remind us to blaze new paths, something we should all be doing regardless of our job’s in the media/entertainment industry!
Next up was Brian Min (DoubleFine Productions) and his talk “Auto-Tuning Chopin in Stacking Audio Design.” Now, the title may be funny, but he wasn’t really kidding. Brian had his work cut out for him when he was faced with two hours of cut scenes along with the in-game audio for DoubleFine’s new PSN/XBLA title Stacking1. The music budget for stacking was limited so Brain proposed licensing pre-recorded classical music. When fitting the music into the game he used our typical studio tools in innovative ways to make it seem as if the pieces were written exclusively for the title. He did a great job and his talk was not only funny, but inspiring!
The final talk I attended at GDC 2011 was Francois Thibault’s (AudioKinetic) “Adding Realism to Environmental Reverberation Using Convolution: Are We There Yet?” The talk was great, although all of the mathematics behind the convolution engine used is way above my pay-grade, the real world examples of how new ways of thinking about convolution and the power of new systems is allowing audio designers to implement wonderful real sounding spaces in games were not only interesting, but invaluable!
All in all, the future of game audio is bright. I learned so much this year and I have a lot to put down on paper as I work on some brand new curriculum. If you have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate to ask here or hit us up at facebook.com/mindfireacademy.
Until next time,
The Mindfire Crew
1Go buy this title, it is insanely awesome. That is all.