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Dreams reloaded

Did the mind-boggling special effects in The Matrix set your imagination afire? Interested in the technical aspects of films and the media world? Check out SAE, which may inspire you to seek an alternative career.



SAE: a place that nurtures creativity

DO YOU dream of becoming a film-maker like Steven Spielberg? Does the spellbinding movie Matrix inspire you to seek a career in special effects, graphics, and digital film-making? Are you an audio engineering buff and don't really know how to take the next step in your area of interest? Well, even if feature films are not exactly your cup of tea and you'd rather make meaningful documentaries or learn the finer points of animation, there is good news. SAE Technology College has introduced bridge courses in media education for the first time in the country.

Founded in 1976 in Sydney by Tom Misner, a leading producer and audio engineer, it boasts of a worldwide network of 42 colleges in 18 countries, spanning four continents. Headquartered in Amsterdam, it is the largest audio, multimedia, and digital film-making college in the world. It owns the second oldest and the world's largest audio studio — Studio 301. The institution in the City was established in 1999.

The bridge courses will be conducted in Bangalore, Chennai, Coimbatore, and Thiruvananthapuram for students and professionals as they can enhance their education based on the concept of collecting credits. A student can take courses with specified units which award credit points, which in turn lead to a diploma or dual diploma. The credit points are recognised by the Middlesex University, U.K., and the U.S. Department of Education, and will come in handy for those pursuing higher education.

SAE offers programmes in electronic music and synthesis, multimedia post-production, graphics and film animation, post-production for film and television, film and content editing, and a certificate in sound engineering. The bridge programmes cost between Rs. 30,000 and Rs. 2 lakh. A typical course would take anywhere from a fortnight to three months to complete.

The CEO of SAE, Rathish Babu, is bullish about his future plans. "The film industry in Bangalore is dormant and that has to change. We will have to produce a whole new breed of film-makers," he explains. Low-cost, high quality, digital cinema is what he offers and that, in turn, "will open new vistas for production houses here."

He points out that the student profile in the City is cosmopolitan. "Only 30 per cent hail from the City itself, the rest come from all over the country. Plans are afoot to open branches in Mumbai and Hyderabad in India." He adds: "China is a large market and we are looking at Dubai, Egypt, and Turkey."

SAE also offers an international diploma and degree, post-graduate, and doctoral studies (in select campuses worldwide) in audio engineering, media technology, and digital film-making. The duration of courses vary from nine to 22 months (in the case of a dual diploma). The course fees for the diploma is Rs. 1 lakh and for dual diploma, Rs. 2.5 lakh.

Shirley Abraham, who handles corporate relations, says: Our students work with some of the industry's crème de la crème.We have students who work with A.R. Rehman, Vidyasagar, Radio Mirchi, BBC (Delhi), J. Davis, Paprikaas, Zee Interactive, AVM Recording, and Prasad Labs." SAE has tie-ups with HTA, O&M, Mudra Communications, Real Image Technologies, and Jadoo Works Animation, among others. It is attracting agrowing number of foreign students.It conducts workshops and seminars regularly over the weekend. "We focus on one aspect. For instance the topic could be 3-D Max, and all those who attend the seminar will be given an opportunity to practically discover what it really is all about," Ms. Abraham elaborates. SAE, in cooperation with the Round Table of India's Freedom through Education programme, also conducts workshops in schools and colleges. Says Jovian, member of faculty at SAE: "I studied audio engineering at SAE and have now begun teaching here. In my opinion, the most important fact is that society has grown up; it is possible to pursue alternative careers now."

Jurassic Park made a big impact on Vishnu, who wants to specialise in character designing. "I want to help create characters like the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park," he says. Sam Remy, the man behind Spiderman, is Rohit's idol. Pursuing a dual diploma, he comes from Bhubaneshwar.

According to a survey, the entertainment industry is poised to grow to a trillion dollars by 2004, with Asia-Pacific contributing $217 billion, which translates into a 27 per cent share in the world market. What with such heart-warming statistics and the increasing acknowledgement of the media as an industry even in developing countries, the dreams of many students may become a reality.

HARIPRIYA SRINIVASAN

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