Topics: Immersive Learning, College of Communication Information and Media, College of Fine Arts

June 4, 2007

BSU is going MTV or possibly VH1.

Students from Ball State's Institute for Digital Intermedia Arts and Animation  (IDIAA) have created a music video for Ki:Theory, the artist's first professionally produced video for broadcast on popular music television venues.

The entirely animated video is for the song "Holiday Heart" from the "Brittle Branches" CD. Seven students worked on the project during the spring semester with three staying on into the summer to finish the project, said John Fillwalk, director of IDIAA.

"It's a very playful and highly creative animation following the plight of a mechanical bird in a world of natural animals," he explains. "There is tension between the natural world and mechanical world."

The project will be finished in the next few weeks and will be distributed once it is complete. The immersive learning experience connected the students to an industry partner and gave them a look at life after graduation, Fillwalk says.

"It's a real-world project, with real-world deadlines that will eventually get national airtime, so the production value has to be top-notch," Fillwalk says.

The relationship was established when Chip Warren, content developer for the university's Institute for Digital Entertainment and Education  (IDEE), contacted Adam Foley of Red Light Management, who was interested in partnering with Ball State. Foley contacted Fillwalk, shared the artist's video vision, story line and "mechanical bird" renditions from the "Brittle Branches" album art designed by Matt Pamer and asked if IDIAA would be interested in making the video.

Ki:Theory's Joel Burleson is a solo artist who plays all of the instruments on his releases. Burleson and Foley came to Ball State in January and have stayed in close contact with the student animation team throughout the entire process.

"Joel and I have thoroughly enjoyed the project," Foley says. "Everyone came together in a very creative partnership that resulted in a video that Ball State can show off as a solid student project. At the same time, Ki:Theory got a great video that should net substantial national exposure."

Warren and IDEE students filmed a solo acoustic Ki:Theory performance and created an HD-quality live DVD that will be used for promotional purposes. The suite of digital products created by Ball State students likely could lead to more projects with Red Light, which manages the Dave Matthews Band, Sasha, Trey Anastasio, O.A.R., Cheap Trick and other artists, Warren says.

IDIAA is one of four immersive learning institutes created at Ball State as a result of a $20 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to fund the Digital Exchange, an initiative expanding opportunities for students to participate in innovative, immersive educational experiences.

The institute's centerpiece is a digital studio that immerses students in the production of intermedia art and 3-D animation and allows them to collaborate with artists and industry professionals.