Undergraduate Library opens professional video production studio

The University’s Undergraduate Library opened its professional-grade video production studio in a former library classroom for the first time last week.

The studio, which was constructed as a part of the media commons project between the UGL and CITES Academic Technology Services, is meant to provide a collaborative production studio space to students. The new studio allows students to film an assortment of projects, from simple interviews to more complex shots with special effects using the green screen and professional cameras.

“The Media Commons is open to supporting digital products of all kinds,” said Eric Kurt, media commons coordinator. “We have designed the studio to have as much versatility as possible.”

The UGL did not have a video production studio before the new one was constructed. There are other video production studios on campus, but they are not available for student use, Kurt said. He said the University Library and CITES ATS partnership wanted to build the studio so students would have room to work together on video projects in a centrally located space. 

Kurt said the hardest part of constructing was eliminating all the classroom elements in the space and rescheduling classes that were in the room. He said the project was completed over the course of the fall semester.

To demonstrate the green screen and entice students to the University, MACS visiting lecturer Rich Potter showed prospective students the capabilities of the green screen at Saturday’s Mediapalooza. Potter and two prospective students filmed and edited a short video discussing the positive and negative effects of Facebook.

Potter said he wanted to shoot this “YouTube-style vlog” with prospective students so they could use video production skills and look at media with a critical eye.

“A big part of what MACS does is to get students to look at media critically,” Potter said. “Whether it be discussing representation of identity within media, politics and policy surrounding media, or economics and business models used with media.”

The studio is fully functional, Kurt said, but is still waiting on a couple of lights, which are scheduled to arrive this week. Since the studio’s opening, a couple of student projects have taken advantage of the setup.

Kurt and the rest of the UGL and CITES ATS partnership hope to eventually have YouTube videos explaining how to use the studio, as well as videos to explain how to use loanable technology items.

Until the instructional videos are finished, students can email mediacommons@illinois.edu with a brief explanation of the project they want to shoot. Because of liability issues, a staff member must be present in order for students to use the studio. Students will schedule a time when either Kurt or another UGL staff member can be present to supervise the shoot.

Janelle can be reached at jnodea2@dailyillini.com.