His fingers deftly moving the controls on the sound editor, 20-year-old Benson Li Wun-hang is busy removing the vocal impurities of a pop song in a studio at the Hong Kong Design Institute in Tiu Keng Leng. Li, a Year Three higher diploma student in digital music and media, dreams of becoming an audio engineer. The software he uses is Pro Tools by Avid Technology, an American video and audio production company. With it, users can produce ringtones, podcasts, film scores and all sorts of audio works. 'It can do precise editing work,' Li says. 'I sing and compose music in my band. I sing off-key sometimes. I use the software to make everything perfect without leaving any traces.' The institute, which has spent HK$2 million for the hi-tech hardware to support Pro Tools, is the only one in Hong Kong that provides all levels of Avid certification that can lead students such as Li to become expert users. The Hong Kong Design Institute is not alone in its training methods. With booming career opportunities in creative media industries, tertiary institutions in the city are sparing no effort to set up state-of-the-art facilities and offer new courses aimed at training multimedia professionals. Not only is this strategy fulfilling a burgeoning demand, but Ambrish Acharya, Pro Tools instructor at the institute, says the investment will boost the career prospects of its students. 'Digital music is an ever-expanding industry that looks for talented people [well-versed] in all the hi-tech music production techniques,' he says. 'The software provides a platform for students to learn [the tricks of trade] for all music production industries such as radio, television broadcasting, moviemaking, mobile phone and interactive multimedia.' But perhaps the hallmark of creative media education is at City University, where the Run Run Shaw Creative Media Centre opened last month. The HK$570 million, nine-storey cultural complex was designed by world-renowned architect Daniel Libeskind, who is co-ordinating the Ground Zero Memorial and Museum's reconstruction site in New York. The complex boasts a 3-D moviemaking studio and a 200-seat black box theatre for performances and lectures. A motion-capture laboratory, the largest in Hong Kong, is outfitted with 24 infrared cameras that can capture myriad human movements and facial expressions for the production of movies on a par with Avatar and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Professor Jeffrey Shaw, dean of City University's School of Creative Media, says the complex will be a cultural landmark in Hong Kong 'like the Bank of China and HSBC' buildings. 'Fast changes in the industry have to be matched by technological innovations,' Shaw says. 'We have the first Hollywood-standard film production studio in Hong Kong. A 360-degree [panoramic screen creates] a cinema that is all around you. The centre is not just for the academic excellence of CityU. The public can come at any time during the day to see festivals, exhibitions and screenings.' Besides the School of Creative Media, the complex also houses the Centre for Applied Computing and Interactive Media and the departments of computer science, English, and media and communication. As a result, Shaw says, the door is open to offering new courses that span several disciplines. 'We will launch the bachelor of arts and science in new media next year, which is the first in Hong Kong,' he says. '[Teaching various digital media formats] exposes students to a wide range of disciplines like computer science, biology, chemistry and humanities. The multidisciplinary programme gives students a broad range of creative experiences. Instead of being confined to one field after they graduate, they will be equipped with skills for different sectors.' This trend towards interdisciplinary courses will be the future of creative media education, says Dr Zhou He, associate head of the department of media and communication. He cites the degree in media and communication launched in 2009 as one way the university has addressed the need for training students in a variety of skills. 'Convergence of various media is a trend now,' he says. 'Instead of being purely a publication, a newspaper now has web and smartphone applications and podcasts. Traditional media education that treats journalism, broadcasting and public relations independently is not enough to nurture the well-rounded qualities expected of graduates. 'The high turnover rate of the media industry means graduates will change jobs and be exposed to various media fields throughout their careers. By merging the disciplines together into one programme, we will be able to nurture people with multiple talents.' With the establishment of broadcast studios at the centre, He says more students will be able to hone their skills at the high-definition, student-run television station on campus, which broadcasts international and sports news, weather forecasts, news and features. 'We get help from various media companies like ATV, Associated Press and Phoenix TV in compiling the broadcasts,' He says. City University will launch a new programme in digital television and broadcasting next year. 'The government has just granted three free digital TV licences and three digital radio licences,' He says. 'The digital broadcasting industry will have a huge demand for graduates.' What's more, the industry is constantly changing and expanding, so designing courses to meet the demand is not easy. Ben Mau Kim-fai, head of the Hong Kong Design Institute's department of communications, design and digital media, says the school has emphasised elements of online marketing in its creative media courses. 'As the web is swamped by new products, games and apps, students need to know how to make their creations come up top on the list of search results,' he says. 'Search engine optimisation is the key to successful online marketing.'