SAIC and Sony Digital Media Academy form partnership

Next September, The School of the Art Institute (SAIC) will be one of nine major institutions participating in the Sony Digital Media Academy (SDMA) that will give undergraduate and graduate curricular cutting-edge Sony equipment.

The SDMA program connects Sony’s digital media strengths with academia’s innovative culture. Initial projects are primarily supported by Sony consumer electronics, and areas of research include HD mobile media production, new storytelling methods, innovative digital media processes, 3D cinema and augmented reality.

The program is made possible through a new industry partnership between SDMA and the Earl and Brenda Shapiro Center for Research and Collaboration at SAIC.

One of the two new programs is SAIC’s Master of Science Historic Preservation program that will utilize Sony 3D Digital Recording Binoculars and Sony’s HD 3D Camcorder, to create stereoscopic documentation of architectural features on some of Chicago’s landmark buildings under the leadership of Anne Sullivan, Chair of the Historic Preservation program.

A studio class will experiment with generating archival photographs of historic architectural structures for this project, with the ability to focus on details at great heights not visible to the naked eye from the street. The goal is to make resources available to fellow researchers at organizations including Landmarks Illinois and the Chicago Architecture Foundation.

Simultaneously, the second program is an unprecedented collaboration between SAIC’s Visual Communication Design department and the first-year Contemporary Practices curriculum that will create SAIC’s Augmented Reality and 3D (AR3D) Study Lab.

Sony’s support of the AR3D Lab will facilitate the production and presentation of projects as students employ the uncomplicated interfaces of consumer electronics to focus on expression and invention while exploring virtual and 3D spaces.

Geoffrey Alan Rhodes, assistant professor and director of 4D curriculum in the Visual Communication Design department, will lead the AR3D lab with assistant professors Adam Trowbridge and Jessica Westbrook in the Contemporary Practices department.

Other institutions in the SDMA inauguration program: American University, School of Communication (Washington, D.C); Drexel University, Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts and Design (Philadelphia); New York University, Tisch School of the Arts; the Florida State University, College of Motion Picture Art (Tallahassee); UCLA, School of Theater, Film and Television (Los Angeles); UCSD, Division of Arts and Humanities (San Diego); University of Central Florida, College of Arts and Humanities (Orlando); University of Southern California, School of Cinematic Arts (Los Angeles).