Media Lab Blog
The first full year at the Media Lab is complete, and we’re excited to share what it has accomplished. If you’ve visited the Media Lab in Moody Library, you likely know how busy the spaces are, but it’s not clear at-a-glance the scope of how integrated it is with Baylor’s academic life. Below, you’ll learn how many hours the recording spaces are booked, how many students and faculty use the space, how many colleges and schools participate, and which of their courses assign class projects that involve this space.
Our thanks, again, to the Shumacher Foundation for their gift, which helped open the physical spaces and provided equipment, starting with the DIY video recording studio in December of 2014, the A/V Loan program in 2015, and the full launch of the physical space in August of 2016. This included two audio recording rooms, an editing room, consultation space, and an update to our video studio.
If we lined up these 4,106 total hours of use consecutively, and distributed them evenly across our one video and two audio recording studios, we could open for fifty seven straight days without without closing once. If we limited their use to M-F 9-5, the three spaces would be full nearly the entire fall and spring semester.
“Because of the vast changes to the communication landscape over the last two decades, along with the influence of emerging technologies on students’ writing practices, it is essential for institutions of higher education to provide students and faculty with the new media training they will need to thrive in a range of rapidly-changing contexts. The Media Lab in Moody Library affords Baylor students and faculty the opportunity to develop facility with new media composing tools that are integral to communication practices in many academic and professional fields. I have used the Media Lab often in teaching courses in Professional Writing and Rhetoric, and my students have benefitted significantly. I am grateful for the resources in the lab, and I am indebted to the media experts who oversee the lab for the mentoring they have provided to me and my students.”Dr. Michael-John DePalma
“The Media Lab allows my students to work on multimedia projects. Some of the work produced in the lab has been published in The Bundle Magazine allowing students to hone their skills while they build their portfolios. It’s a necessary space and I am so grateful we have it.”Macarena Hernández
The student portion of the 1,156 unique customers shows 6% of the student body booked one of our spaces at least once. Consider that these students worked on projects with one, two, three, or more fellow students, and it becomes apparent that the Media Lab quickly became a significant service to campus. Perhaps 10-20% of the student body used it in its first year.
10% of Baylor’s instructional employees had their students use Media Lab recording spaces. While ten of these faculty have additional distinctions, like department chair, director, or coordinator, most were simply faculty who included digital projects in their syllabus and whose students recorded work in the Media Lab.
Colleges and Schools
What level class is most likely to have projects in the Media Lab? Students in 1000- and 3000-level courses predominate, but we see that digital media projects are embedded in every year of undergraduate and graduate education.
“The Media Lab has opened paths for faculty to create and distribute course content in innovative ways that engage students in ALL learning environments. The multimedia resources produced as a result of using the Media Lab have encouraged faculty to (1) create student-centered learning environments based on research-driven best practices, (2) revisit instructional philosophies to refine how learning is measured and assessed, and (3) leverage the digital learning space our students are accustomed to interacting in.”Dr. John Solis
Baylor is currently comprised of fourteen Colleges and Schools, ten of which had students use Media Lab recording spaces in our first year. Arts & Sciences, predictably, contributes the lion’s share of projects, but most colleges and schools are represented. Nursing and Law, as well as International Programs and the Graduate School were the only groups that didn’t make the list (but there were graduate-level courses).
“When we needed to make a short video to allow Dean Nordt and selected faculty members to explain the proposed changes to our Arts & Sciences core curriculum, we turned to the staff at the Media Lab for help. They were able to coordinate all the details for us, and the chore of recording a number of different people at various times became pleasant as a result of their expertise.”Randy Fiedler
Video and Audio Booth traffic peaks after mid-terms, though there are class projects twelve months a year. Semester two was busier than semester one, even for the Video Booth, whose use continues to grow, even 2+ years in. This chart includes notable extracurricular projects, including:
- Auditions and casting materials
- Job interviews
- Internship and graduate program applications
- Student organization projects
- Staff training, marketing campaigns, & PSAs
- Kickstarter project updates
- Welcome, hype, and orientation videos
“The Media Lab has enabled the HR team to create content to promote Baylor Benefits, particularly with production of the SmartBen™ Video Tutorials.”Randall Brown
We are so happy with what the Media Lab helped accomplish in 2017, but we still have a long ways to go. Year one was a trial period, a learning year, to see what emerged. Felt needs, current media literacy demands, comparison with other higher educational institutions, and anticipating the future, all led us to launch the Media Lab. The numbers above confirm what we sensed:
Media creation and digital literacy are important themes across disciplines, among a broad range of faculty, and at every course level at Baylor University. For many, the Media Lab is the locus of this work.
Our experience shows that this work is worthy of more focused attention across the university. Our team will continue to review and add resources where necessary to adequately help faculty, staff, and students incorporate media creation and digital literacy into their Baylor journey.
Walk through our space from the comfort of your own office. We now have Google Street View maps of the Media Lab and the Study Commons. The Video Booth is to the left, and both Audio Booths, the consultation room and A/V loaner equipment are to the right. Behind the printers is our editing space and 3D printer lab. Enjoy the tour!
Yesterday, I gave a presentation about Digital Storytelling to attendees of the Seminar for Excellence in Teaching, hosted by Academy for Teaching and Learning. We watched some digital stories and had some good conversation about digital storytelling. Many thanks to those who participated.
One participant raised the idea that digital stories can be dangerous. It’s an intriguing idea and I think I agree, digital stories can be dangerous in a double-edged-sword kind of way.
The emphasis on point-of-view, and the work done during the process of digital storytelling to refine and focus the storyteller’s perspective, often results in a story that carries the weight of truth. One person’s truth can sometimes be no more than that (and often that is enough in the work of digital storytelling), and other times one person’s voice/story points to larger truths. When confronted with new stories, in order to make sense of them, we classify those stories within larger narratives. It is in these classification decisions, which are made mostly unconsciously, that we find elements of danger.
What do we do with the other’s story? With the other’s truth? Do we dismiss it? Add it as another plank in a platform? Use it to promote agendas? Do we honor it? Learn from it? Deepen our empathy?
Paraphrasing another participant: stories are the oldest and most enduring form of knowledge creation and transmission.
They are powerful tools. Handle with care.
Resources (note: the digital story “Elevator C” is not online)
“They Sold Their Own” Digital story and blog post about an instructor’s in-class experience.
“Pete” Digital story by a scientist.
“Grand Canyon” Digital story about divorce.
“Breathless” Digital story about emergency transport.
Seven Things You Should Know About Digital Storytelling (an info-sheet from Educause Learning Initiative)
Hartley, John, and Kelly McWilliam, eds. Story Circle: Digital Storytelling around the World. Chichester, U.K. ; Malden, Mass: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009.
Ohler, Jason. Digital Storytelling in the Classroom: New Media Pathways to Literacy, Learning, and Creativity. Second edition. Thousand Oaks, Californa: Corwin, a SAGE Company, 2013.
Last night, I met with the Library & ITS student advisory group to introduce our Media Lab. “Why do Libraries and IT have a joint advisory group?” I asked. We talked about the origin story of libraries and made some connections to libraries of today. What were some reasons for the oldest libraries?
The group suggested:
- Repository of knowledge
- Forum for scholarship
- Expensive and rare items
- Belief that access should be free and open
- Propagate literacy
- Place of creative inquiry and learning
Libraries in the 21st century pursue this same list, but the digital world has suffused most aspects. Many collections that were historically paper are now digital. Search tools are almost exclusively digital. Scholarship itself can have the digital world be its focus (Baylor has two “Digital Scholarship Liaison Librarians.” Check out blogs.baylor.edu/digitalscholarship/). Add to this a new kind of literacy, “digital literacy,” which is increasingly fundamental to navigating our culture, and the connection between the IT function and libraries is apparent.
This idea of “digital literacy” and creative inquiry using new media are at the heart of our Media Lab. Students across majors must also be “fluent” in digital media for their careers. Graphic design, web development, and the process of planning, recording, editing, and publishing are nearly essential skills in today’s world, as reading and writing were for the educated in the era of the first public libraries.
The ALA “Libraries Transform” initiative writes, “Libraries are committed to advancing their legacy of reading and developing a digitally inclusive society” (ilovelibraries.org/librariestransform/about. 7 Oct. 2016). The main idea of this initiative is to demonstrate that while the resources libraries provide evolve, what libraries do for and with people is as essential as ever. The Media Lab is a great example of libraries doing what they always have, in new ways.
Libraries “transform’ so that libraries may “transform.”
If you’ve been through the Moody Library Study Commons this semester, you probably noticed new signage for the Media Lab. TechPoint was generously offered a gift from the Shumacher Foundation and four office spaces to create new digital media lab spaces for the general Baylor public. Included are three recording studios, special A/V equipment, and some great computers for editing and rendering.
Reading literacy and access to knowledge in the written word has long been a central goal for libraries. With the ascendency of digital literacy and the expense of access to the tools of this trade, libraries have increasingly begun providing media creation and exploration spaces. Baylor University Libraries is pleased to join this trend.
Read below to survey the concept behind our Media Lab and prepare to get your creative juices flowing.
Rewind, Start at the beginning. Many students with an assignment to create digital media don’t know where to start. Coming soon, look for a Lynda.com training kiosk, available 24 hours a day in the Study Commons. Kick your feet back and get free online training for Audacity, iMovie, Premiere, or even lighting tips and tricks.
Our Media and Technology Specialist and Media Intern will continue to create and provide instruction, gather resources, and coach on the digital media creation process. Book an appointment, or stop by (after our grand opening some time Fall 2016).
This site will increasingly be a source of instruction as well.
Before you record, you must pause to make a plan. Do you need to borrow equipment, or will using our provided spaces be adequate? How long must your final product be? How long do you have to work on this project? How professional must it be? Scripted, outlined, or improvised? Lots of questions.
Dive in without a plan, and the project might take too long, turn out poorly, lose its way, or otherwise be a bad experience. Our Technology and Media Specialist and Media Assistants are available to help think through storyboarding your project, setting up the required equipment, and introduce the software you’ll use to finish the project.
The Media Lab has three DIY recording studios. The first – and where the Media Lab project began – is the Video Booth. This simple audio & video capture space provides everything you need to record your presentation, lecture, or audition. Faculty use it for lecture capture, staff record training, students capture presentations, practice speeches, and more. Multiple backdrops, a projector, teleprompter, lightboard, and staging join the camera, microphone, and overhead lights to accommodate almost any use. Simply bring a USB drive.
Two audio studios are new this fall. Reserve one to record your weekly podcast, audio book, instrument audition, or simply capture voice-overs for training.
Try rendering in Premiere on your old laptop. Not fun. We’ve added special computers to our Editing room to make your editing experience better. All computers in the Study Commons have a great software package with all the tools you’ll need to edit audio and video projects, but the Media Lab computers will be faster.
As we build out this blog, you’ll find details about which tools, both for neophytes and professionals, can take your project where it needs to go.
Where does your content live? Our group runs Kaltura for campus. Your personal “Media Space” allows you to plug content seamlessly into Canvas, WordPress, or your websites and social media. Make your content private or public.
As we discover uses for our Media Lab together, we hope to curate a “Best of” gallery of your work. Get and share ideas in what we expect will become a fun community of new writers, performers, directors, and producers.
Visit lightboard.info and you’ll read: “The Lightboard is a glass chalkboard pumped full of light. It’s for recording video lecture topics. You face toward your viewers, and your writing glows in front of you.”
Lightboards are a teaching tool particularly helpful for flipped or hybrid classes where the professor desires to record lecturettes and write without having to lose eye contact with viewers, or do tedious post-production.
Two tricks are necessary to make the effect work. First, the transparent glass panel, placed between the presenter and the camera, is edge-filled with LED lights. Neon dry erase markers catch that light and the writing glows. A second trick reverses the image, so the viewer sees what the professor sees.
Baylor has two lightboards available for public use. One lives in our Video Booth and offers users virtually plug-and-play lightboard capture. Another is smaller, reservable, and great for desktop lightboard capture, or even live streaming. Read more on our lightboard page!
After recording a video in the Video Booth, you will most likely need to edit it to get the final product that you are envisioning. The Media Lab has two powerful computers that make video editing easy! Right across the hall from the video booth, our editing room includes a Mac and a PC computer for editing. iMovie is a Mac program, so you will want to use the Mac computer on the left.
Once logged in, open the iMovie application and use the following instructions. Happy Editing!
Step 1: Create new movie
Either ‘new movie’, plus sign, or file>new)
Don’t create a theme, give the movie a name
Import media (click on down arrow, file>import media, drag media into media library)
Click on media>import selected
Add media to timeline (click and drag, or double click and click plus sign)
Syncing audio and video in iMovie
Drag video and audio down onto the timeline
Turn on waveforms (down at bottom right)
Turn down audio on original clip
Editing audio (click and drag to adjust volume)
Fade in/out using slider at beginning and end of clip
Add in and out points on your audio (Option+click on audio)
Exporting (top right corner or file>share)
R-click to split clip
Double click on effects to change time
Menu above playback window
Crop to fill (crop>crop to fill)
Pic in Pic/side by side
Speed up/slow down clip
Flip clip under filter
It’s important to understand that a video has two components: picture and sound. Both need to be considered when recording, and flaws in either component can be extremely distracting for the viewer. One of the biggest mistakes amateur filmmakers commit is to put all of their effort into recording a nice-looking picture without putting any consideration towards the audio. Having a nice, clean audio track to go along with your picture is essential for creating a successful video.
Tip #1: Avoid generally noisy spaces
Tip #2: Use a high quality microphone
Tip #3: Eliminate background noise
Tip #4: Proper mic to mouth distance
Tip #5: Listen!
Your ears are the best tools to use to ensure you have recorded clean audio.
Yesterday, I gave a presentation about Digital Storytelling to attendees of the Seminar for Excellence in Teaching,...
Last night, I met with the Library & ITS student advisory group to introduce our Media Lab. "Why do Libraries...
If you've been through the Moody Library Study Commons this semester, you probably noticed new signage for the...
Visit lightboard.info and you’ll read: “The Lightboard is a glass chalkboard pumped full of light. It's for...
After recording a video in the Video Booth, you will most likely need to edit it to get the final product that you...
It’s important to understand that a video has two components: picture and sound. Both need to be considered...