Motion Capture Using Motion Eye Tracking

Motion Eye Tracking Glasses

Why should MMI be your choice of a school to learn about Motion Capture? Here is one reason why. Recently the UW Madison approached our Game Art & Animation Staff to test their new motion eye tracking glasses. Of course we took on the project, because this is the kind of first-hand information we like to pass on to our students. Our animation and motion capture teachers and students have fun with this kind of stuff. [More…]

Social Media and Video Engagement

social media video

For those that manage a social media account (or ten) there is always the challenge to create relevant content that engages your target audience. Few forms of content do this more reliably than short form video. The key to engaging video content for social media is relevance to your audience. Yes, slick video production and editing skills help (you can get those skills here), but consistently relevant content trumps even the slickest video if it lacks a meaningful connection to the audience. Lets take a look at two companies that are using video engagement on social media to its upmost potential.


This might seem unfair, as GoPro is a camera company, but I dare you to not contain your excitement about their product when you see how they use video to engage their audience on social media. They have a simple plan; “we make a camera that captures fast moving action; let’s give cameras to a team of action sports fanatics and world travelers; and let them show what the camera can do”. Brilliant! They have obviously mastered both content and video skills; check them out on Instagram (8.4 million followers) and YouTube (over 1 Billion channel views). [More…]

Why Doesn’t Pro Tools Play Back My Selection?


I got a call yesterday from my friend Ken, a singer-songwriter and music producer I’ve known for many years.  He was pulling his hair out – it seems his Pro Tools system had gone temporarily insane. No matter where he placed the cursor in a track, Pro Tools would play back somewhere else. Ken is quite skilled as a recording engineer, and he’s been using Pro Tools for a number of years, so he thought it might be something related to pre-roll. Unfortunately, toggling pre-roll on and off (command – K, in case you’re curious) made no difference.

Pro Tools Booby Trap

It turns out Pro Tools has a little booby trap built into it that a lot of people don’t know about.  Actually, it’s a very useful feature once you know about it, but it can be a bit of a nightmare if it catches you unaware.

The feature in question is called “Link/Unlink Timeline and Edit Selection.” The button that turns it on and off looks like this:

protools button


How Graphic Design Speaks to Me

graphic design listen with your eyes

Why do I like Graphic Design? That’s actually a really good question and probably the best place for me to start with for some of my blogs. I think the major reason that I like it, is the same reason I like Game Design or art in general. It speaks to me and enables me to speak to other people. Design is the ability to communicate to people through an image whether it involves words or not doesn’t matter. It’s the ability to relate an idea or story to the viewer that draws me in every time. The way we can use either the single image to make someone think about something in a completely different way, or the ability to use motion to draw their attention and keep them captivated for however long it may be is an amazing thing. [More…]

Digital product marketing, does it always work?

media business digital product marketing

Well, just like last week here is another blog that involves a recording artist. This week we focus on their digital product marketing. Have you heard of the music streaming and download site Tidal? If so, I am guessing it has more to do with the publicity it has received due to Kanye West’s decision to release his new album exclusively through the service than anything else. That is right; Kanye West gave Tidal the exclusive on his new album.

Why would he do this in the first place?

So why would a well known recording artist release a record on a little known online streaming and downloading site? I suspect the answer is because his friend Jay Z was involved in the founding of the company, and prior to the Kanye album they had very few users when compared to their competitors. What I am saying is that Jay Z used the Kanye West album exclusive in an attempt to make the site viable. [More…]

Work Hard or Skate By in the Recording Business

Woark hard in the recording business learn how at the Media Institute

“Yeah, who cares anyway? I’ve got natural ability so I really don’t have to work too hard on this project. I can skate by on this one, and nobody will be the wiser.” I’ve been in the recording business a long time and I can honestly say I’ve seen these people and they do get noticed eventually. That attention is not the kind you want. With that being said let’s get back to my point. “Who cares! No one will notice!”

The Recording Business vs. Natural Talent

Natural talent can sometimes be a license to be lazy. Your colleagues might not notice, and you probably will “get away” with not bringing 100% for a while.

The problem with this scenario is that there is one person who will know that you are “phoning it in.” That person is YOU. [More…]

Back-end Development

Back-end development Media Institutete

Last Time

In the last blog I talked about the very basics of working on the web as well as Development and Design, or Front-end and Back-end development. I listed some of the very basic skill sets used by both roles in hopes of breaking down the roles in to more easily digested bits of information, or “snackables” that are so common place online today. If you want to go back and see what I said in more detail, you can do so at: You want to Work in Web Development and Design?

Next Time

So what is the goal of this blog? It’s simple: to educate and share information to those that are just starting out in the field and are looking for some clarification. We’ll go over some common roles, skill sets and (further along) techniques that will hopefully help you in your education and career choice(s).

This Time

For this session, I want to start talking about Back-end Development. As a refresher, back-end development deals with how a website or app deals with the communication and reaction to user interaction and information. For example:

  • Someone entered a bunch of data- where is that information stored?
  • What is done with that information?
  • Should any information go back to the user?

The back-end of an app or website usually has a server (it’s the engine), an interface and a database (where the information is stored). A Back-end Developers would create and maintain those three items which allows the app or website to work in the first place. Typically this is done through a wide variety and volume of code. [More…]

Recording a Slinky Blaster Sound Effect

recording a slinky at Madison Media Institute

I was quite surprised when I first learned that many of the cool blaster sounds in sci-fi movies were created with stretched springs, including the slinky, and have always wanted to try it. So the other day I gathered up a few students, a slinky, and a very tall mic stand, and set about creating a slinky blaster sound.

Setting up the Slinky blaster rig

The setup is pretty straightforward: hook one end of the slinky over the top of the mic stand, and attach the other end to the stand’s base with a small piece of gaffer’s tape.Setting up a slinky blaster recording session at Madison Media Institute

If you try this yourself, you may be a bit underwhelmed by the sound the slinky makes. It sounds like a blaster, but it’s very quiet. You’ll also find that there are a lot of variables that affect the sound – how hard you hit the slinky is a big factor. Don’t hit it too hard – it might rattle:


Impact of Social Media

Minneapolis Media Institute. The Impact of Social Media

As you are probably well aware, the music industry is constantly bringing the drama. Whether it is Martin Skrelli paying millions of dollars for a Wu Tang Clan album that he has no interest in listening to or Kanye’s ridiculous rants on Twitter, there is constantly something reaching us on social media that is totally irrelevant. This week however, fans and celebrities are taking to social media in support of the recording artist Ke$ha and allegations she has made against her long time producer.   Ke$ha has sued her Record Producer Dr. Luke over a series of allegations including sexual assault and battery.   Ke$ha has requested to be let out of her contract with the Producer, but a New York Judge has recently ruled that the contract will not be dissolved. [More…]

Audio Engineering Society User Group Meeting: Challenges

Media Institute at the Audio Engineering Society User Group Meeting

MMI staff and students are well represented in the Wisconsin chapter of the Audio Engineering Society, and a number of us were in attendance at the February 24, 2016 meeting. The meeting was held at the spectacular Deep Space Auditorium at Epic Systems in Verona, which seats 11,400. Needless to say, there was adequate space for our gathering. [More…]