Character Animation Optional Workshops / Lectures – Winter Session 2020 (Non-Credit, Open to the Institute)

Sign-ups for Character Animation’s optional Winter Session workshops / lectures begin Monday December 2 at 8:00AM PST at the following link:

Seats are first-come, first-served. When selecting workshops / lectures to attend, please be mindful of your Winter Session schedule. If you sign up, please be sure to attend. The form will close when all seats are taken.

While every effort is made to ensure that each event will take place, this schedule is subject to change.

Winter Break Equipment Checkout

Hello filmmakers,

On Friday, November 15th, The Cage will begin accepting requests for Winter Break. Reservations will be made based on seniority, starting with MFA-3s and BFA-4s, then MFA-2s and BFA-3s, followed by MFA-1s and BFA-1s and 2s. It will be first-come-first-served within those tiers and you must come to The Cage in person. You will need to fill out the paper request form prior to your arrival on Friday November 15th. The form will also be available at The Cage beginning this Wednesday, November 13th. You will be expected to include your name, year level, dates of pick up and return and to answer specific questions about your shoot. It is advisable to mark your first, second and third choices for certain popular items like cameras, lenses and recorders. Do not request items that you don’t have access to.

The official day for equipment check out is Friday, December 13th. All equipment must be returned no later than Thursday, January 9th (no exceptions), but can be returned starting on January 2nd.

Winter Session reservations can be made no earlier than Friday, Dec 13th. 

Winter Session checkouts will begin on Monday, Jan 13th, with everything returning no later than Thursday, Jan 23rd.

Please think very carefully about your shooting plans over the break. You will be limited to one camera, one sound recorder and a maximum of three lenses. Other limitations may be necessary for us to accommodate as many students as possible. Much equipment reserved for Winter Break returns without ever being used. Save yourself the stress and trouble and make a real plan about whether you’re going to shoot or not. Be realistic about what you can accomplish without a big crew,  while traveling, etc. Also be mindful that the more equipment you take out for an extended period of time, the easier it is to lose track of it. You are completely responsible for everything you have out for the duration. If you are traveling out of the country, you must talk to Justin Hogan about buying the necessary insurance. 

Feel free to come and talk to us about your projects if you need any help.

Thank you,
The Cage

Urgent Adobe CC Upgrade Information

Adobe released Adobe CC 2020 today. The School of Film/Video does not generally install major software upgrades during the academic year. We will remain on Adobe CC 2019 for the time being.

If you are working between home and CalArts, we highly recommend you do not upgrade on your home systems.  If you upgrade at home, you may not be able to open files created or saved in Adobe CC 2020 at CalArts.

If you need further information or are having issues, please submit a ticket at

Welcome Back Updates – Fall 2019

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

Welcome and welcome back. Hope you have had a productive and enjoyable summer. Our summer has been eventful within the School of Film/Video as we’ve been refreshing and integrating new equipment into our facilities that will aid you in your coursework and filmmaking.

We have a bunch of updates regarding our facilities and equipment but, first a few important meeting reminders:

Mandatory Technology and Facilities Updates Meeting for continuing Experimental Animation, Film Directing Program, and Program in Film and Video students on Friday, September 6th from 10am to 11:30am in A111 Mix Theater.

Please join us for our first annual Ice Cream Social (with Pizza) to be held Friday, September 6th in BB3 from 11:30am to 1pm. All School of Film/Video new/returning students, faculty, and staff are welcome.

Mandatory Technology and Facilities Updates Meeting for continuing Character Animation students on Friday, September 6th from 1pm to 2pm in A111 Mix Theater.

As usual, software on all FV computers has been updated. Here are a few notable changes: macOS Mojave 10.14.6, Adobe CC 2019 (login now required), Pro Tools Ultimate 2019 (now available in all computer labs), Avid Media Composer 2019, Maya 2019, Cinema 4D R20, Blender 2.8, and Substance Painter 2019. On the backend, our OpenDrives storage which powers FVCentral received a major software update.

Our computer labs received various updates. New iMac Pro workstations have been installed in E60 Computer Lab. Both A108 and A109 Animation Computer Labs have been reconfigured and a new projection screens have been installed. We will have more information regarding new computers for our animation labs later this semester once Apple finally releases the new Mac Pro this Fall.

We’ve installed new Mac minis with eGPUs in all of our classrooms (not computer labs) as well as the Character Animation carts. A new projection system, whiteboard, and AV rack have been installed in E58 Classroom.

In the Character Animation area Cintiqs have been installed on the pencil test systems and all of the large format scanners received an update. A new projection screen has been installed A221T The Palace.

We have updated the large format scanners throughout the Experimental Animation area as well. There are 2 new Vive Pro kits and an Oculus Rift S kit available in F105. In F103, VR base stations have been installed. A new refrigerator, microwave, and motorized projection screen have been installed in A115.

All legacy tape transfer equipment has been consolidated to E104 Transfer Room. The Video Studio will no longer do legacy video transfers.

The Digital Editing and Post-Production area offices and edit suites have seen a minor reorganization. E45 is now a student lounge and bullpen with 3 production level iMacs and desk space for laptop use. Additional high-speed 10Gb fiber drops have been installed in E39, E46, and E47. 4K HDR monitors have been installed in several edit suites.

Our Production and Installation facilities have received several updates this summer. In A404 Black & White Studio, the truss has been permanently mounted and the column in the white cove has been cleared. A new black drape has been installed in C117 Permanent Set. The dimmer systems and light board have been replaced in C115 Video Studio. A standard package of grip gear consisting of apple boxes, c-stands, flags, etc. are now available in A404, C115, C117, and BB3M. We have a new DIT cart available for classes.

Installation equipment checkout in C105D has 6 updated Mac minis, 2 new high-performance MacBook Pros for projection mapping, 6 new Andor 1 media players. All of the Cage projectors have been relocated to C105D for checkout. The Fisher dolly has been relocated to the C-block as well. A Fisher Model 20 jib arm has been added to the Fisher dolly which replaces the old crane in the C115 Video Studio.

We have some new gear and changes in the Equipment Cage this year. The Sound Devices 722/744 have been retired in favor of new MixPre3s and 6s. Some notable new items: 1 Zeiss CP3 Prime 5 lens kit, 2 Sound Devices MixPre3 (Character Animation), 10 Sound Devices MixPre6s, Vive Pro kit, Oculus Rift S kit, 2 HP ZBook 15 G6 for VR, Dana Dolly, matte boxes, and 2 Tokina 11-16mm lenses.

Large equipment lockers are now available in E61. Checkout will be handled through the Equipment Cage.

Christina Nguyen was busy compiling our new School of Film/Video Student Handbook and the new website. 2 Pop is our new mobile-friendly, online home to the new student handbook as well as the place to go to submit a support ticket to report issues within our facilities for such things as logins and hardware issues. Support tickets can also be submitted by emailing Our old websites, FVTech and FVTechSupport have been taken down and you will now be redirected to the new 2 Pop website. Thank you to Christina Nguyen for leading this incredible undertaking as well as Jill Kane for her support.

Suggested computer specs for new students can be found on 2 Pop here.

A reminder that if you have problems with CalArts email, WiFi, or The Hub please visit or email:

Solly Benzacar joined us in July as our new Equipment Coordinator in the Equipment Cage. Please join us in welcoming Solly.

Thank you to our incredible team of staff who made all of this possible: Solly Benzacar, Tom Evans, Justin Hogan, Edgar Jorge Baralt, Jill Kane, Scott Kozberg, Gordon Kurowski, Paul Kyle, Michael McNeff, Nate Meier, Christina Nguyen, Patti Palmer, Kye Potter, Aidan Reynolds, Gina Roen, Jennie Serrano, Terry Spraker, Nathan Strum, and Chris Sullivan.

A big thank you to student workers who helped us this summer preparing our facilities for this new academic year: Blake Derksen, Sonya Fayzieva, Matt Hardy, Dave Hess, Aaron Holmes, Lucy Kerr, Alex Lopez, Alicia Maye, Alex Michel, John Henry Theisen, and Marco Zhang.

The School of Film/Video Garage Sale will happen again this year on Thursday, September 5th from 10am to 3pm in E58.  We will be featuring the usual unusual assortment of equipment. Of particular interest this year are sound recorders, iMacs, and Mac minis.

We look forward to seeing you all soon.

Best regards,

Nathan Crow
Director of Technology

Sara Thompson
Director of Operations

Production/Installation Space Reservations – Fall 2019

Hey everyone,

For those of you looking to book a production/installation space ahead of time for Fall 2019, we will receive your Production/Installation Space Reservation Forms starting on August 29th until September 4th at 11:59pm. We will set up an individual meeting for Friday, September 6th to finalize your reservation in person. Please keep in mind, any reservations sent after the deadline will be taken into consideration only after the semester begins.

Priority for reservations will be given as follows:

  • MFA 3, 
  • MFA 2, BFA 4
  • MFA 1, BFA 3
  • BFA 2, 
  • BFA 1
  • Students from other schools

The following are instructions on how to sign up to use one of our production and installation facilities. These procedures apply to A404 B&W Studio, C113 Gallery, C115 Video Studio, C117 Permanent Set and BB3 Soundstage. Please read these instructions carefully.

  • Click on this link (you may want to bookmark it) to download and fill out the Production/Installation Space Reservation Request Form on your computer using Adobe Acrobat or Preview. Attach the completed form and email it to with the subject line “Space Reservation”.
  • Submitting this form does not mean your reservation has been confirmed. You will receive an email setting up an appointment with a Technical Specialist from the FV Production team (Edgar Jorge Baralt and/or Kye Potter) to finalize your reservation.
  • There’s no need to sign this form electronically, you will sign this form in person at the end of the process.

Please, be mindful of the fact that you may have to shift your desired dates according to availability/priority. Be prepared with backup dates during our meeting, just in case.


The FVProduction Team