SMPA students receive upgraded audio, video equipment for multimedia classes

Media Credit: Lillian Bautista | Staff Photographer

Officials will offer instructional workshops every Friday through November to teach students how to use the new equipment.

School of Media and Public Affairs students now have access to new audio and video equipment and can participate in a new series of workshops to hone their multimedia production skills.

SMPA Director Frank Sesno announced at the school’s All Major’s Night last month that students now have access to new resources like Panasonic CX350 4K video cameras to complete coursework in the school’s audio and video production classes. Officials said they are offering weekly instructional workshops to teach students how to use the upgraded equipment, which will give students the skills to find multimedia jobs after graduation.

“The world of audio, video and interactive media resources is evolving and ever-changing,” Linda Lashendock, the school’s manager of media and instructional technology, said in an email. “The successful integration of SMPA’s new audio, video and interactive media resources will allow the faculty members to teach and facilitate the undergraduate and graduate students with the industry’s standard tools.”

SMPA students enrolled in production classes – like Introduction to Video Production and Introduction to Web Production and Social Media – can borrow the equipment from the fifth floor of SMPA, according to SMPA’s policy handbook.

Doug Zimmerman, the school’s senior multimedia producer, said the upgrades to the camera equipment available to students bring SMPA to the “cutting edge” of camera technology. He added that student and faculty input prompted officials to upgrade from Sony NX-5 cameras to equipment with higher quality visual capabilities, adding that the change makes SMPA students more valuable in the professional world.

“This directly affects our students’ marketability in the job market as they graduate,” Zimmerman said in an email. “They already have skills that would otherwise need to be developed in another candidate and may make our SMPA students more attractive candidates during the hiring process.”

Zimmerman said SMPA has recently added action cameras, virtual reality technology and microphones to its collection of mobile video equipment. He said students recently used the technology in the Galápagos Islands in Ecuador with Planet Forward – an SMPA-led project that focuses on teaching students methods to communicate environmental and science issues.

“These tools give us new ways to tell stories for the modern digital world,” Zimmerman said.

The school is now offering technology workshops every Friday to teach SMPA students audio and video production skills using the new equipment. The sessions will be offered through November and taught by members of the SMPA production team, according to a weekly SMPA newsletter.

The first “Friday Fun Workshop” session was held Sept. 6 and focused on teaching students how to use new Panasonic CX350 4K video cameras, according to a release on the SMPA website.

The Sept. 13 session taught students how to work with the video editing application Adobe Premiere, the SMPA newsletter states. The next workshop – which will be held on Sept. 20 – will also focus on how to use the Panasonic CX350 4K cameras, according to the newsletter.

More than 10 SMPA students said the fifth floor updates will allow them to broaden their skills in technical production and help them to complete production coursework more easily.

Sophomore Garret Hoff, a political communication major and co-chair of the SMPA Director’s Council – a group of students and administrators that meet to discuss how to improve the school – said the decision to begin hosting the workshops followed a series of conversations between Sesno and members of the council.

“The administration and Director Sesno, in particular, has been really great about just really trying to listen – and being very proactive about trying to figure out student needs – and that’s just a consistent pattern,” Hoff said.

He added that the workshops are a helpful resource for students to increase their audio and video production skill set even if they are not enrolled in SMPA production classes.

“It’s something that’s not too much of a commitment, but you still get the opportunity to pick up those skills and learn about it,” he said.

Junior Ethan Evers, a journalism and mass communication major, said the new equipment will especially benefit SMPA upperclassmen whose coursework generally requires them to regularly use cameras and microphones to complete class assignments.

“Hopefully it’ll be easier for us to get our projects done,” Evers said.

Jess Makler, a sophomore majoring in journalism and mass communication, said the workshops offer a “lower-pressure” environment for students with limited experience with technology to learn how to use the new cameras.

“It’s pretty cool to learn about the cameras and stuff like that before you take a class and formally get education – it’s a good way to practice and to network with other students,” she said.

Jared Gans, Parth Kotak, Lizzie Mintz, Ilena Peng, Ciara Regan and Zach Schonfeld contributed reporting.

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