MIT: Independent Activities Period: IAP

IAP 2014 Activities by Category - Multi-Media

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3D Animation with Blender

Loren Sherman

Enrollment: Limited: First come, first served (no advance sign-up)
Attendance: Participants welcome at individual sessions
Prereq: no programming or drawing experience required

Ever wondered how computer-generated imagery could be realistic enough that it's seamlessly integrated into films?  How Pixar and Dreamworks generate entire lifelike movies without any live footage at all?  

Well, it's easier than one would expect!  And with Blender, a powerful open-source 3D animation and modeliing program, it's also free.

This course will cover the basics of using Blender in three sessions.  Each one stands on its own, but if you attend all of them you'll be fully-equipped to start making your own CGI movies and special effects.  

 Please bring a charged laptop to class.

Sponsor(s): Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Contact: Loren Sherman,

Digital 3D Modeling

Jan/21 Tue 05:00PM-07:00PM 12-142

Learn how to create 3D Models in Blender.

Loren Sherman


Jan/24 Fri 05:00PM-07:00PM 12-142

Learn how to work with textures and material properties.

Loren Sherman

Animation and Compositing

Jan/28 Tue 05:00PM-07:00PM 12-142

Learn how to animate your models and integrate them with live-action footage.

Loren Sherman

AMPS Media Makers Showcase

Amanda Justice

Jan/28 Tue 12:00PM-05:00PM Bush Room, 10-105

Enrollment: Unlimited: No advance sign-up

The staff of MIT's Academic Media Production Services (recently aligned within the Office of Digital Learning), will be showcasing and demonstrating a wide range of video capture technologies ranging from multi-stream lecture capture and delivery solutions, to HDSLR shooting techniques in support of documentary production, to our recently developed portable "studio in a box". We will be populating the Bush Room with a variety of exhibits featuring capture technologies from Sony Anycast, Wirecast from Telestream, Echo 360 media rich capture, Cuttura Capturecast,  and Canon-professional and pro-sumer DSLR and video cameras. We will also be sharing information about the inventory of technology equipped classrooms that AMPS maintains and operates.    

The Media Makers Showcase will also feature two 50-minute presentations, at 1PM Chris Boebel, AMPS Senior Producer and Manger of Multimedia Developement will share tips on visual storytelling and production planning, and at 3PM Harlan Reiniger, AMPS Operations Manager, will lead a presentation on Educational Media Design and Capture.  


 12 PM  - 1PM    Exhibits and demonstrations

 1PM - 2PM        Presentation - Video on the Web:Plan It, Make It, Share It

 2PM -3PM         Exhibits and demonstrations

 3PM - 4PM        Presentation - Educational Media Design and Capture

 4PM - 5PM        Exhibits and demonstrations

 Refreshments will be available. 

Sponsor(s): Academic Media Production Services
Contact: Amanda Justice,

Creating a Video Abstract of Your Research

John Freidah, Multimedia Specialist

Jan/23 Thu 09:30AM-01:00PM Room 3-333

Enrollment: Unlimited: Advance sign-up required

Learn the basic skills to product a 3-minute video presenting your scientific research.  This workshop is open to PhD students looking to produce a Dissertation Defense video summary, but is applicable to all those looking to communicate their research work.  Topics will include:  building concise narratives, using imagery effectively, the basics of photography and videography, studio lighting tips, recording clear sound, and editing examples using Adobe Premier CS6.  

Please sign-up for the workshop by emailing John Freidah (

Sponsor(s): Mechanical Engineering
Contact: John Freidah,

Design and Development of Media for edX

Sebastian Seung, Professor of Neuroscience

Enrollment: Unlimited: Advance sign-up required
Sign-up by 01/03
Attendance: Participants must attend all sessions

Come design the future of education.

In IAP 2012, the Seung lab hacked conventional approaches in neuroscience research by bringing it to the people. Since, we've inspired 100,000 people around the world to join the quest to map the brain - check out Now, we're hacking education.

9.01 Intro. Neuroscience is being taken online like no course has before. We believe that best in education doesn’t just mean the best in content. It means the best in people. Over IAP, we’re bringing together people from all areas of expertise to design, develop and star in media (games, simulations, videos) for 9.01X. You'll meet and work with people from Mass Art, Harvard, MIT and Berklee, and the work that you do in class with be featured on edX and in promotional materials. You'll also get a survey of the educational technology landscape with a speaker series throughout the course, featuring professors and designers of existing online courses.

If there's a particular resource that you need in order to make your idea happen, we can work with you to make it available. Anything is possible :) 

To get an idea of what we're working on, check out our demo video

Interested? Contact us and let us know how you can contribute to the best online course in the world.

Sponsor(s): Academic Media Production Services, Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Media Arts and Sciences
Contact: Claire O'Connell, 46-5065, 650 380-5955, CEO@MIT.EDU

Educational Media Design and Capture

Amanda Justice

Jan/28 Tue 03:00PM-04:00PM Bush Room, 10-105

Enrollment: Unlimited: No advance sign-up
Prereq: None

Don't miss the essential information you need to "up your game" in the ever-evolving world of educational media.  This presentation will provide an overview of the range of media capture services that AMPS provides in addition to exploring a number of "do it yourself"  approaches.  We'll demonstrate the wide range of new creative tools and cost-effective techniques that will realize your project with maximum impact. Get tips on performance, presentation and optimizing workflow. Get the maximum value from your media production budget. See you there! 

Sponsor(s): Academic Media Production Services
Contact: Amanda Justice, 617 253-0544,

Making a TV Show Without the TV

Dazza Greenwood, Visiting Scientist

Enrollment: Come to 1st session or please contact project lead to join later
Limited to 10 participants
Attendance: Attend relevant sessions and we can schedule flexibly in advance.

This project is to create a web-based participatory "show" in the style of a television variety show. The content focus is "Social Physics and the New Field of Data Science"  featuring ideas of Media Lab Professor Sandy Pentland's new Social Physics site and book.  The show will be made of short segments, including mini interviews with experts, fun segments like "person on the street views on big data" and a design challenge engaging participants in design and innovation. 

The IAP project will be led by Dazza Greenwood of the MIT Media Lab and co-led by Stephanie Rowe of the Sloan School. In-person sessions will be hosted at the Media Lab but most sessions will be conducted online.

Participatory functions and features of the show will be melded with the content and the intended user experience path. The collaborative services and tools initially expected include Google Hangouts, TouchCast, Twitter, GitHub and a CMS such as Wordpress or Drupal to act as a front end frame for the show. The design challenge will focus on the process of innovation and exploring methods and mechanisms that catalyze creativity. 

This project is appropriate for people interested in developing a) web-based tv production and online engagement, b) the topic of data science and "Social Physics", which is the substantive content of the show, or c) engaging people in design and innovation.

For more information on this project, see:

Sponsor(s): Media Arts and Sciences
Contact: Daniel "Dazza" Greenwood, JD, E15-384b, 617-500-3644,

Project Planning/Review Standup Meetings

Jan/08 Wed 01:30PM-02:30PM E15-384b / Lounge, Bring laptop
Jan/14 Tue 03:30PM-04:15PM Online, Have High bandwidth, mic/headphones & apps ready
Jan/21 Tue 03:30PM-04:15PM Online, Have High bandwidth, mic/headphones & apps ready
Jan/28 Tue 03:30PM-04:15PM E15-384b / Lounge, Bring laptop

The weekly project standup meetings focus on production planning and review.  The kickoff meeting is for introductions, questions/ideas/discussion, selection of project roles and we will demo an ultra-fast example of a complete production cycle showing how a segment is created, published and managed in a minimal prototype format. Our workflow enables project and production work to happen mostly online.

Stephanie Rowe - Sloan Fellow, Dazza Greenwood - Visiting Scientist

Video/Web Content Production Sessions

Jan/10 Fri 01:30PM-02:30PM Online Session, Have High bandwidth, mic/headphones & apps ready
Jan/17 Fri 01:30PM-02:30PM Online Session, Have High bandwidth, mic/headphones & apps ready
Jan/24 Fri 01:30PM-02:30PM Online Session, Have High bandwidth, mic/headphones & apps ready
Jan/29 Wed 01:30PM-02:30PM Online Session, Have High bandwidth, mic/headphones & apps ready
Jan/30 Thu 01:30PM-02:30PM Online Session, Have High bandwidth, mic/headphones & apps ready
Jan/31 Fri 01:30PM-02:30PM Online Session, Have High bandwidth, mic/headphones & apps ready

The Video/Web Content Production Sessions focus on a) producing, post-producing and provisioning video and other media assets for the show, b) managing participant questions/contributions and c) administering/managing the online sites, apps and services comprising the show.  The show workflow enables all these activities to be conducted online allowing participants to be physically dispersed.  

Stephanie Rowe - Sloan Fellow, Dazza Greenwood - Visiting Scientist

Participatory and Interactive Documentary Workshop, Taught by Emmy Award Winning Pioneer Kat Cizek

Katerina Cizek, Visiting Artist

Enrollment: Please submit the following form:
Limited to 21 participants
Attendance: Participants must attend all sessions

Explore how technology enables new forms of storytelling and public engagement.
This 4 day workshop, intended for anyone with an interest in collaborative storytelling and innovative research methods, will cover participatory methods, social and digital tools, and best practices in cross-disciplinary approaches of digital documentary.

The workshop covers the basics of building media projects with partners that aim to change worldviews, lives, policies, conditions, and tell good stories too. In this highly interactive workshop, you’ll learn about proven methods, projects and experiences, and we’ll brainstorm your own ideas and projects to develop concrete strategic plans.

You’ll focus on:
Developing deep partnerships/collaborations
Reviewing the scope of what's possible in digital storytelling
Turning ideas into awesome projects
Identifying political and social goals
Understanding audiences and communities
Telling hyper-local documentary stories with universal appeal
Web-docs 101 - where to start
Creative financing and outreach

The mornings will feature lectures, screening and presentations: Visiting Artist Kat Cizek will share research findings and tool-kits around ethics and methodologies from over 8 years of practice, including the most recent project, a collaboration with the New York Times, “A Short History of the Highrise.” The afternoons feature structured break outs into small groups to discuss/develop your own ideas for collaborative projects.

Sponsor(s): Comparative Media Studies/Writing, Office of the Arts
Contact: Meg Rotzel,

Morning Session

Jan/27 Mon 10:00AM-12:00PM E15-335
Jan/28 Tue 10:00AM-12:00PM E15-335
Jan/29 Wed 10:00AM-12:00PM E15-335
Jan/30 Thu 10:00AM-12:00PM E15-335

Katerina Cizek - Visiting Artist

Afternoon Breakout Session

Jan/27 Mon 02:00PM-05:00PM E15-335
Jan/28 Tue 02:00PM-05:00PM E15-335
Jan/29 Wed 02:00PM-05:00PM E15-335
Jan/30 Thu 02:00PM-05:00PM E15-335

Katerina Cizek - Visiting Artist

Polish Literature in the Digital Age

Piotr Marecki, dr.

Jan/21 Tue 06:00PM-07:30PM 14N-233

Enrollment: Unlimited: No advance sign-up
Prereq: none

Polish digital literature has a rich tradition to build on: from Polish experimental literature to avant-guarde filmmakers associated with Warsztat Formy Filmowej (Film Form Workshop) of the 1970s, including Bruszewski and the Oscar winner Rybczyński. Other precursor phenomena include Jan Potocki's “Rękopis znaleziony w Saragossie”, interwar avant-garde and the work of concretist artists like Stanisław Dróżdż. Poland's contribution to the developement of world hyperfiction was the notion of sylwa (from the latin silva rerum), "a form more capacious”, very popular in XX century literature. The description of this form by Czesław Miłosz inspired Michael Joyce to write an essay on this subject. Polish digital literature develops alongside the phenomenon of liberature, which, since its beginnings in 1999, influences our understanding of the digital medium. A rather isolated position on the international scene and a separate, unique historical background contribute to the distinctiveness of Polish digital literature. The most important authors from this field (including Radosław Nowakowski, Robert Szczerbowski, Wojciech Bruszewski and Katarzyna Giełżyńska) will be presented during the lecture.

Sponsor(s): Comparative Media Studies/Writing
Contact: Piotr Marecki, 14N-233, MARECKI@MIT.EDU

Rock the Lab Coat Video Contest Info-session

Fabiola Hernandez, IHP / RPP Assistant Officer, EHS

Jan/06 Mon 03:00PM-04:00PM N52-496A

Enrollment: Limited: First come, first served (no advance sign-up)

Help our MIT community embrace lab coat use, and earn some cash, by making a lab coat safety video!  The MIT EHS Office is sponsoring a video contest open to the whole MIT community.  The maximum video length is 4 minutes, yet an effective video could be of less duration.  Videos will be judged by MIT Faculty and Staff on content, engagement, and entertainment.  Awards will be presented at a screening show during the first week in February (first place $1000 and second place $500).

 For more detailed information and registration visit his page:

 An info-session will be held on Monday, the 6th of January.

 Be creative and have some fun while helping our MIT community foster a culture of safety and rock the lab coat.

Sponsor(s): Environment, Health and Safety Office
Contact: Fabiola Hernandez, N52-496, 617-253-9494,

The Universe is Beautiful: The Art of Astrophysics

Dr. Bryce Croll, Sagan Postdoctoral Fellow, MIT Kavli Institute, Dr. Zach Berta-Thompson, Torres Postdoctoral Fellow, MIT Kavli Institute

Enrollment: Unlimited: No advance sign-up
Attendance: submit entries up until January 29 @ 5pm!
Prereq: none

The Universe is Beautiful: The Art of Astrophysics

Astrophysicists try to share the mysteries of the Universe around us in a clear & understandable fashion, but we don't always succeed. It's a hard challenge - the wonders of the Solar System, the Galaxy, and the ever expanding Cosmos demand more of our imaginations than can be captured by numbers in a table or terms in an equation. However, a work of art can uniquely inspire us to look closely, to dream freely, to understand openly - anything from the smallest curiosity to the biggest discovery.

We're asking members of the MIT community to create works of art that help us visualize our Universe and how we observe it. Whether you're a photographer or a poet, a crafter or a coder, a musician or a moviemaker, we want you to use your talents and creativity to illuminate the beauty of astrophysical results. Please consider participating in this year's Art of Astrophysics competition during MIT's 2014 Independent Activities Period.

Entries must be received by January 29, 2014 at 5pm EST.  Full details: The Universe is Beautiful: The Art of Astrophysics

The competition will culminate in an exhibition on Friday, January 31 in Lobby 10 from 4:00-5:30pm.

Contact:  Dr. Bryce Croll & Dr. Zach Berta-Thompson
37-667 and 37-673 and

Sponsor(s): Kavli Institute for Astrophysics
Contact: Bryce Croll and Zach Berta Thompson, 37-667 and 37-673,

Art of Astrophysics--submit entries

Jan/06 Mon 09:00AM-05:00PM 37-673, submit entry by January 29

Digital works may be submitted to Tangible artwork may be brought to MIT office 37-673 (either during our office hours 9am-5pm on Jan. 27,28,29 or most other times as long as you e-mail ahead).

Art of Astrophysics

Dr. Bryce Croll - Sagan Postdoctoral Fellow, MIT Kavli Institute, Dr. Zach Berta-Thompson - Torres Postdoctoral Fellow, MIT Kavli Institute

Art of Astrophysics

Jan/13 Mon 09:00AM-05:00PM 37-673, submit your entries by January 29 at 5pm
Jan/22 Wed 09:00AM-05:00PM 37-673, Submit your entries by January 29 at 5pm
Jan/27 Mon 09:00AM-05:00PM 37-673, Submit your entries by January 29 at 5pm
Jan/29 Wed 09:00AM-05:00PM 37-673, TODAY IS THE DEADLINE TO SUBMIT YOUR ENTRY -- 5pm
Jan/31 Fri 04:00PM-05:30PM Lobby 10, Gallery--come see entries!

For complete details, please see the Art of Astrophysics website

Dr. Bryce Croll - Sagan Postdoctoral Fellow, MIT Kavli Institute, Dr. Zach Berta-Thompson - Torres Postdoctoral Fellow, MIT Kavli Institute

Using Images in your work: A look at fair use, open licensing, and copyright

Ellen Finnie Duranceau, Program Manager, Scholarly Publishing & Licensing

Jan/10 Fri 01:00PM-02:15PM 14N-132

Enrollment: Unlimited: Advance sign-up required
Sign-up by 01/09
Prereq: none

This session will provide information about how to assess whether use of a particular image requires permission or is “fair use,” how to find images already flagged for reuse, and will touch briefly upon good practices for citing images.  Directed at authors of theses, journal articles, blogs, and other scholarly writing.

Presented by Ellen Finnie Duranceau, copyright contact and Program Manager for Scholarly Publishing & Licensing in the MIT Libraries.

Sponsor(s): Libraries
Contact: Ellen Duranceau, 14S-216, 617 253-8483, EFINNIE@MIT.EDU

Video on the Web: Plan it, Make it, Share it

Amanda Justice

Jan/28 Tue 01:00PM-02:00PM Bush Room

Enrollment: Unlimited: No advance sign-up
Prereq: None


Lawrence Gallagher, Director, MIT Video Productions/AMPS

Chis Boebel, Manager, Multimedia Development, MIT Video Productions/AMPS

Amanda Justice, Operations Coordinator, MIT Video Productions/AMPS

Over 1 billion videos are watched online every day.  In a month, over 4 billion hours of video are watched on YouTube alone.  Online video accounts for more than 50% of mobile device traffic.  In the next three years, video is predicted to rise to account for more than 50% of ALL consumer Internet traffic.

It’s an online video world, and communications professionals at MIT, in higher education, and beyond, need to know how to effectively use the medium.  

This session will provide an introduction to the basics of video on the web:

Preparing: What are good uses for online video, and how can video play a role in a broader communication plan?  What does it take to produce a video? What about cost?

Short-form Storytelling: What are the elements of a good story? How can you effectively tell your story in a small package?  What are some optimal video lengths? What makes a video “viral”?

Production Basics: When does a DIY approach work?  What about working with professionals? What are some key technical issues and considerations?

Sharing Video: What are the most popular video platforms?  How can you integrate video with social media?

We’ll watch some cool videos, share tips, tricks, and best practices.  So bring your questions, your experiences, and your ideas.

Sponsor(s): Academic Media Production Services
Contact: Amanda Justice, NE48-308, 617-253-5475,

Writing Photographically: "List Projects: Kambui Olujimi"

Kambui Ojulimi

Jan/24 Fri 01:00PM-04:00PM E15-Bakalar Gallery, Bring a photograph you'd like to contribute.

Enrollment: Limited: Advance sign-up required
Sign-up by 01/17
Limited to 15 participants

Explore intersections of photography and creative writing through an afternoon with artist Kambui Olujimi.  The artist's interactive exhibition at the List Visual Arts Center, "List Projects: Kambui Olujimi," functions as a social space where visitors are invited to exchange their own personal photos with over 1000 photos from the artist’s personal archive. In addition to exploring the rich and vast world of narratives revealed through photography, the picture exchange mimics the way the public shares images online but decontextualizes the exchange by creating a physical space for the giving and receiving of photographs. 

Participants will be asked to bring their own photographs (or print them on-site) for a session led by Olujimi and List staff that uses photography to explore creative narrative writing practices.  Participants will write and co-create short form prose, poetry, and photoessays from inspiration gleaned from the photo archive.  Those interested in writing, filmmaking, visual art, or storytelling are encouraged to attend.

Sponsor(s): List Visual Arts
Contact: Courtney Klemens, E15-109, 617 324-4565, CKLEMENS@MIT.EDU