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Media Arts Course Descriptions


In this analog film production class, students explore the moving image as a visual language system and creative tool for self-expression. Students shoot with Bolex 16mm and Super 8 cameras, while learning the interdependence of time, light, and motion. Principles of film exposure, latitude, non-sync sound strategies, film stocks, analog and digital editing techniques, and darkroom processes – traditional and alternative – will be explored. In addition to shooting short film projects, students experiment with various handmade film techniques, cut found-footage montages, and critique each other’s work. Daily screenings of avant-garde, animated, independent and foreign films engage students with a diverse range of ideas and conceptual story-telling techniques. Students develop their own vision and analytic tools while gaining hands-on experience in film production. Final work is screened in a theatrical setting at the end of the program. No prior experience in film production is necessary; all equipment and film stock will be provided.



The digital photography program at NYSSSA engages young photographers at all levels to make work that develops a personal vision of what photographic arts can be. Students will learn the fundamentals of the DSLR camera, studio lighting and street photography, and edit in Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom. Students print their images in small, large, and book formats, and explore alternative processes including image-appropriation, cyanotypes, and Polaroid and ink transfers. In addition to looking at work by conceptual, social documentary, portrait, and nature photographers we explore work by filmmakers, performance artists, painters, and photo historians and theorists. At the end of the program, students install their final projects in a gallery for a final show that is open to the public, family and friends. 

Optional equipment requirements: DSLR camera with RAW shooting capability, memory cards, camera battery, camera charger, and tri-pod. Cameras and gear will be provided for students who need it.



NYSSSA Media Art's Animation program invites both experienced animators and enthusiastic beginners to spend a full month learning, pushing, and breaking the laws and principles of animated motion. We start in familiar territory, understanding and mimicking the basic physics laws of masses in motion. The real fun starts when we exaggerate natural physics, when we break the laws, when animated motion shows character and intention. Students should come with a passion for drawing and the ability to stay focused and motivated through exercises into self driven projects. By the end of the month you can be an independent animator, expressing your ideas and visions to the world.

The principles of animated motion we learn are applicable across all animation mediums: both 2D and 3D, manipulating physical materials and creating in the digital realm. We start the class with stop-motion experiments, gaining experience with lighting, photographing, and animating a stop-motion character rig and set. We animate on iMacs with Cintiq drawing tablets and use Adobe Animate (formerly Flash) and Photoshop. We create, record, and edit sound through Adobe Audition, and compose our final edits through Adobe Premiere.You need not have prior experience with the software, we will show you what you need to know to get started, and offer specific guidance with techniques and workflows as your projects and abilities expand. Throughout the month, students are exposed to broad range of work by independent and experimental animation artists.



NYSSSA Video class is a unique and immersive educational experience in which students work individually and together to make brave new work that they believe in. We show a variety of experimental video work along with canonical works that push boundaries and offer an outline of the rich history of moving images. Students learn the basics of lighting, sound-recording, cinematography and Adobe Premiere editing software. The class is a safe-space for students to be vulnerable, to grow, to take risks within their work, and to open their eyes to worlds beyond their own video production background. The curriculum is composed of a range of projects that expose the students to alternative modes of making and storytelling. Each completed project culminates with a group critique focused on constructive criticism and helpful feedback. Past student work includes experimental narratives, essay films and music videos. All required equipment is provided by NYSSSA; you do not need to have direct prior experience with the video medium to apply.



Students learn the elements of sound design, field recording, studio mixing and collaborative styles for visual mediums (soundtracks for film, installation and performance). The curriculum exposes students to experimental composition and avant-garde music, foley techniques, storytelling and podcast production, and audio mixing / post-production techniques. Students learn Ableton software and have access to a range of professional microphones, musical instruments, keyboards and digital recorders. No prior experience in sounds art is required.