Monday, November 29, 2010

Food for Fines Has Begun!!

That's right, Food for Fines is officially on for the next month. Have you got Media Services fines for Home Use Collection DVDs that were returned a bit late? Act now! This is the perfect opportunity to take care of your fines as you help others this holiday season.

For the past fifteen years, the AU Library has partnered with the AU community to provide food for those in need, while giving people a break on their library fines. This year the tradition continues with the Capital Area Food Bank’s Kids Cafe.

Learn more about acceptable boxed and canned food items here.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving, from Media Services!!

Here are some Thanksgiving related picks available to take home over the holiday. If you check out a Home Use DVD today, it won't be due back until Monday, November 29!

What's Cooking? - HU DVD 251
What happens when families come together for Thanksgiving? Almost anything! Tale of four very different families, as they cook up some tasty holiday surprises: love, betrayal, and even a few outrageous secrets! And, ultimately, discover the astonishing power love has to reconnect us all.

Miracle on 34th Street - HU DVD 2336
The real Santa is hired by Macy’s to play the department store’s Santa in the Thanksgiving Day parade, but has to prove in court that he is who he says he is.

Simpsons - Complete Second Season Disc 2 - Bart vs Thanksgiving - HU DVD 6585
In "Bart vs. Thanksgiving", Bart runs away from home after being accused by Homer of ruining Thanksgiving.

Ice Storm - HU DVD 4051
Thanksgiving 1973. The climate is changing, both politically and physically. As the Watergate scandal unfolds in the background, the inhabitants of a small Connecticut town begin to slip into an existentialist void. Social taboos are shattered on whims and the line between adult authority and juvenile irresponsibility is practically nonexistent. Focuses on the Hood and Carver families. Chronicles a brief period of rapid moral deterioration. Their actions - including adultery, sexual experimentation, drug use and petty crimes - become increasingly unpredictable and impulsive. Once the ’ice storm’ hits, though, reality sinks in, and the severity of their situation becomes all to apparent.

New Home Use Titles!

Somewhere in Dreamland – HU DVD 172

Red Desert – HU DVD 173

The Tudors: Season 3 – HU DVD 6569 – 6571
The Tudors: The Final Season – HU DVD 6572 - 6574

The Maid – HU DVD 7717

Princess and the Frog – HU DVD 7718

Princess and the Frog – HU BLU RAY DVD 7718
Alice in Wonderland – HU DVD 7719
Alice in Wonderland - HU BLU RAY DVD 7719

Crazy Heart – HU DVD 7727

The Messenger – HU DVD 7728

Zabrinskie Point – HU DVD 7729

My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done – HU DVD 7730

Pedro Costa Collection: Ossos – HU DVD 7731
Pedro Costa Collection: In Vanda's Room – HU DVD 7732

Pedro Costa Collection: Colossal Youth – HU DVD 7733

Pedro Costa Collection: Supplements – HU DVD 7734

Chocolat - HU DVD 7736
World According to Garp - HU DVD 7737
Eyes Wide Open - HU DVD 7738
The Good the Bad the Weird - HU DVD 7739

Friday, November 19, 2010

DMS Help - Extra Cool Websites for Inspiration

One of the hardest things about web design is trying to decide on what you want your site to look like. It's true that some of the coding and development can be hairy, but the design can be just as difficult.

So here's some inspiration for you.

This first list is a group of rather amazing websites. Many of them employ Flash and other bells and whistles. While some of these may seem to be well beyond your skill level, they nonetheless employ excellent design aesthetics. You can learn from these.

This list is a litany of much simpler sites. Many of these can be done with simple Dreamweaver templates. See our previous blog entries for more on Dreamweaver templates.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Todd's Tips - Learn HTML and CSS. Now!

Kind of a sad state of affairs, no? I think one thing we can take away from this image is the idea that there are so many WYSIWYG applications out there that actually writing HTML code has become a sort of lost art.

But it shouldn't be.

HMTL (Hypertext Markup Language) and its companion CSS (Cascading Style Sheet) are essential for creating high-quality websites. While the WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) applications like Dreamweaver and Front Page can take you a long way, when you really need to alter the page in a minute way to fit your awesome idea, you're gonna need HTML and CSS.

Let me explain...

A web browser, like the one you're using now to read this, is built to read HMTL. At least, that was the original idea. HTML allows you to upload text (Hypertext) to the net. In the beginning one could only do the bare minimum of formatting with barebones HTML. But, after a while, CSS came along. CSS is a scripting language that acts on HMTL elements in a page. It can add a number of attributes such as color, size and most importantly positioning. Moreover, it can also be used to position Java Script objects, Flash files and other, more interactive elements. So as of right now the basic developmental elements of a web page are its HMTL base and a linked CSS file that tells all those HTML elements where to go.

So, in order for you to create the best web pages you can, you need to learn these things. And here's where you can start:

More Basic HTML Tutorials - This website might look crappy, but that's because it uses no CSS. Despite this, you'll find that the tutorials are very good at explaining the basics of HTML.

Also, there are a large number of tutorials on HTML and CSS as well as other web-scripting languages such as Action Script, Java Script, PHP, Ajax and Cold Fusion on

DMS Help - Dreamweaver Templates

This time of year a lot of faculty offer their students the option to create a website instead of writing a final paper. But creating a website from scratch can be a very daunting task for the uninitiated. All that code. All those pages.

One way to get around this it to use Google Sites to make a code-less webpage. The problem with Google Sites is it's gonna look like you used Google Sites. There are templates, but some are hard to manipulate...

Another, much simpler option, is to use a Dreamweaver template and then simply plug in your own content. Dreamweaver does have a few templates built in, but they are not very exciting. However, these sites have a large number of really nice and FREE Dreamweaver templates that you can download right to your computer:

Also, don't forget that we have Dreamweaver CS5 down in the Digital Media Studio on the first floor of the library.

DMS Help - Adobe TV Brings You the Newest and Best of Adobe

It can be hard to keep up with all of Adobe's product updates and new version features. But now you can.

Adobe TV has a myriad of videos that will keep you up-to-date on your Adobe products. But that's not all. There are also a number of tutorials on how to use all of the different Adobe products. Most of them are in the "getting-started" range, but there are some higher-level tutorials as well.

What's also cool about Adobe TV is the fact that you can create your own "homepage" of sorts. You create an account, tell the site what products you use and it creates a custom page for you with videos and tutorials that are specific to your needs.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Awesome Media Services news of the High Definition kind...

So we have now upgraded all our viewing rooms to accommodate Blu-ray DVDs. The Media Classroom (Which professors can reserve here.) and Room 10 both have a JVC Blu-ray player(Which also play PAL and other region DVDs) and Room 11 has a Sony Blu-ray player(Which cannot play PAL and other region DVDs). Check them out today!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Remembering Dino De Laurentiis (August 8, 1919 - November 10, 2010)

Oscar-winning Italian film producer Dino De Laurentiis, a master movie showman who brought some 500 films to the big screen including "La Strada," "Serpico," and "Three Days of the Condor," has died at age 91. Read more here.

Here are some of his films from the Media Services Home Use Collection:

Hannibal - HU DVD 5375
Manhunter - HU DVD 4143
Dune - HU DVD 6106
Ragtime - HU DVD 4164
Serpico - HU DVD 5485
Nights of Cabiria - HU DVD 1452
La Strada - HU DVD 2590

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

DMS Help - Action Script 3.0 Tutorials for Flash

One of the most difficult things about using Flash can be adding interactivity. Animation is easy, more so in Flash than After Effects. But when it comes in interactivity in Flash users often find themselves quickly mired in Action Script.

Adobe's latest iteration of Action Script, 3.0, is nearly a misnomer. Gone are the days of a simple scripting language. Action Script 3.0 is a fully-functional object-oriented programming language with a robustness akin to Java. While this does offer tremendous power to Flash developers, it also adds a much steeper learning curve.

But here's a solution. If you need Action Script 3.0 advice and solving a particular programming or interactivity problem, check out this website: Flash and Math. The site houses dozens of tutorials explaining not only how to accomplish specific effects such as developing a particle system but also how to learn to program in Action Script 3.0.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Todd's Tips - Learn to Shoot Good Video

Have you ever felt like this when you finish a video? Felt like you're carrying the corpse of your dead idea?

Editing can obviously be a big part of making a good video, but before you ever even get to the editing suite, there's a lot
you can do to make your video amazing. You can shoot it well.

Now, for non-film students this might seem like a daunting challenge; without access to high-end video cameras or fancy lighting equipment high-quality shooting seems like a pipe dream. But it doesn't have to be. Here are a few simple tips for shooting good quality video for your class projects with an emphasis on shooting interviews.

These tips are perfect for the Flip UltraHD and Kodak Zi-8 camcorders we have available in Media Services.

1) Use a Tripod. For serious. Nothing detracts from video like shakiness that shouldn't be there. Don't have one? No problem. You can always prop the camcorder on something. The goal here is steadiness.

2) Pay attention to your framing. Framing is the process of moving the camera (or subject) such that the subject is positioned in a dynamic, appealing way. What does that mean? It means using the "rule of thirds."

Basically the rule of thirds splits the frame into three sets of horizontal spaces and three sets of vertical spaces. Where these thirds meet might be considered sweet spots. Like this:

Also notice here that this fellow is facing toward the part of the frame in which there is MORE space. This is called "nose-room." Imagine if he were facing to the right instead? He would look seriously jammed against the side.

Finally, see how the top of his head is cut off a bit by the top of the frame. That's called "head-room." It's generally ok to cut off the top bit or let a subject's head have a touch of space between it and top of the frame. Go lower than that and it'll look like the poor fellow is about to fall out of the bottom of the frame.

So when you set up your shot, take your time and make sure it looks appealing.

3) Light Your Subject. Even if you just tilt the shade of a lamp a bit to brighten up your subject's face, do so.

Or you could use a reflector to reflect some local ambient light onto your subject. And this is as simple as stretching some aluminum foil over some cardboard. Like the one to the left.

Believe me, it makes a huge difference. But lighting is a huge subject in itself. So checkout Videomaker magazine's website. They have a massive repository of educational articles and videos. Here are the ones on lighting.

4) Finally, and perhaps most important, test your gear before you get to your shoot. Make sure it works and you know how to work it.

Here's the link to the main teaching section of Videomaker's website. There are sections on pre-production, production and post-production. All are worth spending a bit of time on, even if you are only doing a short piece for your Anthropology class.

DMS Help - iMovie '09 Tutorials from Apple

As we add iMovie 'o9 to our repertoire of software in the Digital Media Studio it becomes clear that we have a serious lack of tutorials available for iMovie '09.

So here are some, direct from the source. Check out these video tutorials from Apple on using iMovie '09.

Todd's Tips - iTunes: Learn Anything, the Digital Way

I think it's time we take a slight digression from media-related posts and take a broader view of the world.

When I was last applying for jobs I was asked in an interview how I learned so many programming languages. (I am fluent in Action Script 3.0, Java, C, C++, Objective C, Python, PHP, HTML, CSS and XML). The answer is iTunes. Between podcasts and iTunes U a body can learn anything and everything on iTunes. There are literally millions of educational podcasts and free courses from a vast range of universities.

Here are just a few examples (click on the links to open iTunes right to the courses):

Don't have iTunes, don't worry. Download it here for free.

A full course from Stanford's Department of Computer Science on Development for the iPhone.

A set of all the tutorials you'll ever need for iMovie HD from the University of Houston. Btw, iMovie HD is the version that we in Media Services recommend non-media students use.

A podcast with more than 40 episodes on how to program in Action Script, Flash's Object Oriented programming language used to add interactivity to your Flash projects.

But it's not just media stuff you can find on iTunes. Just about everything else too...

A full course from Yale university on Ancient Greek History.

A full course from UC Berkeley on General Anatomy.

A full course on single-variable calculus from MIT.

There is almost nothing you cannot learn from iTunes. Just navigate to the iTunes store and type in your search terms. Scroll down on the results page to find iTunes U and Podcasts. Take advantage of it because the best part is, it's free!

DMS Help - iLife Fun with Alex: iMovie 09 Tutorials

While we here in Media Services encourage the use of iMovie HD ('06) due to its simplified workflow, we will soon be adding iMovie '09 to our repertoire, though we will also hold on to iMovie HD for those of you purists out there. We are making this addition so that we will have the same software as the New Media Center and the Anderson Computing Complex.

'09 does offer more features and a few more cool video effects. On the flip side, it presents users with a much more complex workflow requiring careful media management. Luckily there is help for the perplexed.

A former employee of the New Media Center and now adjunct professor in the School of Communications created a series of tutorials not only on iMovie '09, but also on recent versions of iDVD and iPhoto. iLife Fun with Alex is available on iTunes U.

Please note that you will need to have iTunes installed for these tutorials to work. You can download and install it for free here. Clicking on the link above will open a browser window which will then open iTunes.

New Home Use Titles!

Cowboy and the Lady – HU DVD 7501
Real Glory - HU DVD 7502
Vera Cruz - HU DVD 7503
Winning of Barbara Worth - HU DVD 7504
Men - HU DVD 7505
Bollywood Hollywood - HU DVD 7506
Avatar: The Last Airbender Book 1, Vol. 1-6 – HU DVD 7601-7606

Yoo hoo, Mrs. Goldberg – HU DVD 7620

The Bigamist – HU DVD 7628

The Wind Journeys – HU DVD 7629

Antonio das Mortes – HU DVD 7630

King Kong (1933 version)
Glee: season 1: Disc 1 - 7
HU DVD 7621 – 7627
The Big Trail
HU DVD 7631
North to Alaska
HU DVD 7632
The Undefeated
HU DVD 7633
The Comancheros
HU DVD 7634
3 Godfathers
HU DVD 7635
Will PennyHU DVD 7636
Hang 'em High
HU DVD 7637
Love and Basketball
HU DVD 7638
John Rabe
HU DVD 7638
The Host
HU DVD 7652
HU DVD 7653
3:10 to Yuma (1957)
– HU DVD 7654
3:10 to Yuma (2007)
HU DVD 7655
Hard Core Logo
HU DVD 7660
Modern Family, Season 1, Disc 1-4
HU DVD 7701-7704
Barking Dogs Never Bite
HU DVD 7651
HU DVD 3813
Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid
HU DVD 3813
The Stalking Moon
HU DVD 3813
Ride the High Country
HU DVD 3813
The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones, Volume 1-3
HU DVD 7661-7691(not available on Home Use this semester)
The Last Wagon – DVD 7692
A Man Called Horse - HU DVD 7697 ­
Winter's Bone - HU DVD 7696

Avatar: The last airbender, Book 3, Volume 1
-5 - HU DVD 7612-7616
The Quake - HU DVD 7168
The Red Violin - HU DVD 2764
Le Combat dans l'Ile - HU DVD 6056

Montana - HU DVD 7707

Rocky Mountain - HU DVD 7708

San Antonio - HU DVD 7709

Virginia City - HU DVD 7710