ADMA is very pleased to announce a new member of its permanent faculty. Ms. Wanjiru Kairu is a veteran film and TV Director, Producer and Writer from Nairobi. She has won numerous awards, and launches into her first class on Storytelling in Multimedia on February 2!
ADMA students and staff mobilized to quickly produce a video about TVET in Rwanda for screening during a conference in Berlin between representatives of the German government and industry and a delegation from Rwanda. Produced in just 13 days, over 30 students participated in the making of this video.
Not only does following video give a quick look at the Motion Capture process used at ADMA, but the video itself was also created entirely by ADMA students!
We're excited that 150 new faces will join us on campus next week as students. They're the cream of a crop of nearly 1,800 applicants who had hoped to join ADMA. They're also our first intake in ADMA's new 15-week competitive screening program, an objective way for us to identify and cultivate successful students. Each week, students will complete a new digital media assignment using software such as Photoshop, Motion, Cinema 4D and Final Cut Pro. Everyone will also have an opportunity to participate in extracurricular workshops and distance learning sessions. At the end of the 15 weeks, the best 40 students – as measured by assignment performance, attendance and other factors – will be invited to become full-time students. It's our way of maximizing the number of successful students who can take full advantage of our limited resources.
If you were watching the Smart Rwanda Days conference live on YouTube earlier this month, then you were watching the hard work of almost 20 ADMA students. They worked as camera operators, live switchers and production assistants to live stream the event for Rwanda's Ministry of Youth and ICT (MYICT), which put on the event.
ADMA's services "boosted the level of the event," said Magnifique Migisha, the MYICT press and communications officer. "People were amazed by the quality of video shown live and on the screen."
It was the 9th function that ADMA students have live streamed in the past year. With each event, they have improved their skills and taken on more responsibility, said Ryan Yewell, ADMA's senior instructor, who oversaw the live stream team at Smart Rwanda Days.
"We are very proud of the professionalism exhibited by most of the students as they handled the bulk of the production chores on their own for the first time," said Chris Marler, ADMA's director.
You can see all the conference session videos on the Ministry of Youth and ICT's Youtube page.
We were fortunate to have the talented Deanna Matthews teaching ADMA students in Kigali during all of September. (Colleague Kevin Hansen was teaching here, too). Deanna is a graphic artist and 3D character modeler with experience in motion capture (mo-cap) animation, post production editing and compositing, broadcast and film production. Her most recent projects include on-set stagehand and editing, respectively, for online shows "Sword and Laser" and "MacBreak Studio."
How did you come to be teaching in Rwanda for one month?
I'm lucky to be working so closely with one of the ADMA's directors, Alex Lindsay, with the motion graphics team for Pixel Corps in Petaluma, CA. Word came that the motion capture studio in Kigali was close to completion, and because of my experience with mo-cap technology I found myself approached to become a part of this experience.
What did you think teaching at ADMA would be like, and how was the reality different?
I had known that the ADMA had some of the highest quality media technology in East Africa, so I really didn't think teaching there would be much different than working with the same tools in the industry. I thought the language barrier was going to be the biggest issue in a teaching environment. I was pleasantly surprised to find language was not an issue!
What was your teaching schedule like in Rwanda?
I worked 9-12 hour weekdays, and each day ended with classes. Preparation was usually an all-day activity switching between updating course material, creating lecture assets, and grading students' projects. I also assisted Kevin in building the motion capture studio and directing motion capture demonstrations.
What were the challenges in teaching at ADMA? The successes?
One of the challenges was determining how much time to give the students between projects. Given the short amount of time and the amount of material to teach, we couldn't help but to push the students to their limits. It was fantastic to see the majority of the students excel in the new computer graphics interfaces in a realistic fast-paced production pipeline!
What do you wish you'd been able to teach but you didn't have time?
I'd like nothing more than to delve into the vast sea that is 3D production: character creation, scene building, advanced rigging and rendering, and refining hand-animation on top of motion capture data. I'd prioritize the planning that goes into motion capture shoots for a finished film.
Do you have a favorite moment from when you were teaching here? If so, what?
One day I was flooded with questions about my experiences in the industry, how they could pull off motion capture feats such as ones in Planet of the Apes, and how I had enjoyed my time in Rwanda. It was refreshing to converse back-and-forth. It reminded me that education can be a two-way street.
How do you see your role/relationship with ADMA in the future?
Outside of planning my next trip to Rwanda, Kevin and I will keep in close contact with the ADMA via Google Hangout, and provide periodic lessons and projects for the students to further their motion capture experience.
Anything else you'd like to add about teaching here or living in Rwanda for one month?
Try the goat!
Cori Shepherd Stern, an American filmmaker, was looking for Rwandans to create an animation to accompany her Oscar-nominated documentary "Open Heart," about Rwandan children sent to Sudan for heart surgery.
So she did what most people do these days: she Googled "Rwanda" and "animation." When she came upon ADMA students' animation work for the Know Zone Rwanda, Cori knew she'd found her animators. She hired a student-run company called Mento Pro Ltd. – recent winners of a $20,000 Rwanda Media Hub grant – and spent four weeks working with ADMA students.
"Our main challenge was time," said Oscar Niyigena, director of Mento Pro and an animator and editor on the cartoon. "Some days we worked until 3 a.m. But it was cool. If you have to deliver to a client, you do it."
The resulting short animation, called “Rooster Says: Child Heart Health,” stars a megaphone-toting rooster who urges his animal neighbors to be vigilant against strep throat, which can lead to rheumatic heart disease (RHD). RHD is the ailment that afflicts the Rwandan children in Cori’s film. Virtually eliminated in the west, RHD is an easily prevented disease that afflicts 8-10 million children throughout sub-Saharan Africa.
Cori was thrilled when she first watched the final animation.
"I think my exact quote was 'Wow! I love it !! Be proud of this work!!' I worked in animation in Los Angeles for a long time and I don't think I've ever had that strong of a happy reaction before," Cori wrote in a recent email. "I couldn't wait to share it with people. I actually cried when I saw the final version, I was so happy."
Both the documentary and the animation screened on September 10, 2014, in the hometown of one of the girls in Cori’s film. The glow from the inflatable movie screen lit up the faces of a couple hundred moviegoers. Some sat but most stood in the dirt road, transfixed by the films. Afterward, people said they learned things they never knew about sore throats and medical care. One woman said that even if her house had been robbed while she was watching the films, it would have been worth it for what she saw and learned.
"It was the first time many people saw a Kinyarwanda animation produced by Rwandans. They liked it so much," said Oscar. "I like that people appreciated what we made. I feel encouraged to work hard and get more projects like that."
"Rooster Says" will show at all screenings of "Open Heart" worldwide. The animation will also be on DVDs that will be distributed and shown at 600 health centers and hospitals in Rwanda. In addition, Cori said Rwanda's Ministry of Health would like "Rooster Says" to be used exclusively as the face of future health-related animations.
To learn more about rheumatic heart disease, visit:
Open Heart Film: http://openheartfilm.com/about/the-story/
This project was produced by The Strongheart Group, supported by a grant from Stories of Change, a project of Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program supported by the Skoll Foundation.
Animation produced by Mento Pro Ltd at the Africa Digital Media Academy under WDA, Rwanda. Created in consultation with the Government of Rwanda, Ministry of Health.
Students who worked on the short animated film:
Clement Byiringiro M.
Patrick S. Ndaruhutse
When Patrick Salomon Ndaruhutse watched the movies “Avatar” and “Lord of the Rings,” he never imagined he would one day have a chance to use the motion capture technology that makes those films so spectacular to watch.
But on a recent Tuesday, Patrick pulled on a custom-designed black bodysuit, had 41 little reflective balls – called markers – velcroed to the suit, and then jumped and cartwheeled around the room in what was one of Rwanda's first motion capture sessions.
“It’s something I’ve been seeing in movies and on the Internet but doing it here was something else,” Patrick said. “I was thinking of all the future opportunities with this. ”
ADMA's mocap studio is the only facility of its kind in East Africa and Rwanda is the third African country with a studio, after South Africa and Nigeria.
Motion capture is the process by which live movement is recorded and the data is used to more efficiently create realistic animations for film and TV. ADMA's motion capture studio, which has been over a year in the making, uses 24 cameras mounted around a specially designed room.
Feature films are the most well-known use of motion capture. A more common use is in TV commercials. That’s how Chris Marler, ADMA’s Rwanda-based director, envisions the technology being used in Rwanda, at least at first.
"After we get the students trained, we anticipate using the technology to create some local TV commercials that will increase awareness about the ability of Rwandans to do this kind of production work," said Chris.
July 19 - 20. ADMA Students recorded a live mix at the fourth edition of the Kigali Up music festival at Amahoro stadium.
For more information on Kigali Up please visit their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/kigaliup