Technology to Maximize Resources
A rapidly expanding ecosystem, a constant growing demand for human resource, a shortage of teaching and training talent. What can be done? Technology can provide some solutions. When used effectively, it always helps in optimization of resource and maximization of results, observes Anand Gurnani.
And we are not talking about rocket science here, just some simple technologies that are already in use for other purposes, for example Video Conferencing, Edusat, Video on Demand, DVD catalogues, online mentoring and so on…
Studios regularly use video conferencing to collaborate with their international colleagues and clients. Video conferencing is part of dailies, where work done the previous day is reviewed by the artists, supervisors and the directors. Even as the same shots are being simultaneously viewed by teams from two separate geographical locations, the director from Los Angeles can very well explain the nuances he wants in a character’s expression or the lighting TD from India can explain exactly how and why he set up the lighting for a particular scene.
Then you have multi-locational collaborative workflow enabled by video conferencing. Can the same technology be utilized for teaching? Of course yes!
The very precious knowledge and teaching resource of Indian as well as international production experts can be available at one location, but via video conferencing their master-class can be accessed by students across multiple locations. Students can interact with experts in real time and can really learn a lot.
What are the ways in which one can deploy this technology? The government of India has laid miles and miles of fiber, put a bird up in the sky (satellite) and installed access points across universities and educational establishments in India under its Edusat program. The possibility of utilizing this infrastructure can always be explored. There are other private communication companies which offer video conferencing services on a rental basis.
Even if institutes have to invest in setting up their own infrastructure, the results in terms of the quality of the education that could be provided would be worth much more than the investments required. They could set up points in all their centres (self-owned as well as franchisee) and a few additional points in Los Angeles, UK & France. Setting up international video conferencing nodes means that institutes have access to a lot more expertise and experience.
Video on Demand
Agreed that nothing can take the place of live interaction with mentors while learning. But since we are talking about optimization and maximization, let’s look at how VoD can be yet another great addition to the teaching arsenal. All master-classes, workshops, seminars and interviews can be recorded and put on a video on demand server, so that students can access these great learning resources anytime (in class) or if some institute ties up with DTH operators or MSOs with national presence, then students could access the material anytime from home or class.
One cannot undermine the positive results that VoD can yield for students, who would need constant reference as they practice what they learn.
DVDs published by third parties, or by the institute can again be a great resource for learning. In addition to this, the already available DVD training catalogues by various international experts, by conferences such as SIGGRAPH, GDC, FMX, etc. This is yet another humungous resource that is available at hand for those that want to learn, and for those that want to teach.
Well, most of us in the animation space would have heard about animationmentor.com and that kind of format works greatly too. To take that format and modify it, the best of the institutes’ experts could create a customized curriculum and then module by module have online as well as live mentoring of students, who could study and learn from anywhere in the world as long as they have a good PC and broadband and the desire to learn.
Theory could be explained live and through notes and illustrations, exercises given to students for practical training and practice, mentors could then remark on the exercises and also be available at specified times on web chat.
The model works.
Simple technology, effective results, great and enriching learning for students will result in solid growth of the talent pool. It’s just waiting to be done!
Do you have any ideas on technology utilization for animation education? Do you want to share some of your knowledge and expertise on the same in an open forum? Send a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org