Video & Media Design Get an Inside Look

The School of Drama Graduate Video & Media Design Option is a conceptually rigorous, hands-on and innovative three–year program, which teaches advanced technical skills in a critical context.

     The School of Drama Graduate Video and Media Design Option is a conceptually rigorous, hands-on and innovative three-year program, which teaches advanced technical skills in a critical context, leading to a Masters of Fine Arts.
     Video & Media Design Graduates are expected to think critically about media technologies, their impact on individuals, relationships and society and to explore these issues in the form and content of their work.
     This program is designed for dynamic artists working at the forefront of media technology and the Arts. Course work is focused on experimentation and collaboration. The core classes Decoding Media and Staging Media challenge students to conceive of fresh media-based theatrical experiences and the skills to realize them at a variety of scales. Future Stages (the flagship collaborative class), is where Graduate students from the Design and Directing programs work with the Senior Actors to devise new works exploring the rich potential of technologically savvy performance.
     Expanded Theater is a cross-disciplinary “Fusion Studio” (part of the IDeATe curriculum), where students explore a variety of new technologies and unusual platforms for theatrical experience with students & faculty from across multiple CMU Departments (Fine Arts, Engineering, Computer Science, Entertainment Technology, Robotics). Expanded Theater explores domains ranging from site-specific and network-supported performance / interventionist practices, to pervasive social media technologies and their influence on interpersonal communication. The goal is to investigate contemporary languages that allow authors, actors and technologists to collaborate in ways that push beyond our present understanding of theatrical production and reception. Expanded Theater also has a New York City component, housed at Steiner Studios in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, where projects move from the proof-of-concept stage to workshops for presenters and other industry players.
    Special Topics in Media courses fill out the curriculum; these workshop-based classes explore the newest technologies and contexts. This Spring we are offering a course exploring Augmented Reality for site-specific performance, (description link).
     Finally Graduate Video & Media Design students participate fully in the ambitious School of Drama production schedule across 3 theaters and Studio 201, our warehouse space. All CMU productions are student designed and produced, with close faculty support. Graduate students are involved in at least one production per semester, which range from one-act plays to full-scale main-stage productions and “devised” or experimental works.
     As you can see the program is designed to leverage CMU’s advanced curricula in a variety of disciplines across the university to provide Graduates with an in-depth yet flexible course of study. Cross-departmental projects are enthusiastically supported; indeed, the ability to tailor your course of study toward your interests and career goals is a key asset to this program.

Facilities, Equipment and Software available for Media Design students:

  • “Studio 201,” a 15,000 sq ft, flexible media lab, housing large (12’ x 7’) wheeling rear-screen units, moving walls (8 ‘x 8’) lighting, sound and video projection equipment.
  • A wide variety of video projectors from tiny picos to Panasonic professional units (4- 12 K)
  • Multiple up to date Mac towers & iMacs for production and class work.
  • In addition to the extensive CMU computing services facilities, the Media Design Option has in-house: Final Cut Studio, Adobe Creative Suite, Max/MSP/Jitter, Millumin, TouchDesigner, Isadora, q-lab, M-Box media server.


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What You'll Learn

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