Video Studio Opens In The Library

Many current college students will remember watching iCarly and thinking about how much fun it looked to create a web show. Now Wake Forest students will have the opportunity to start their own with Wake Forest’s latest initiative: The One Button Studio (OBS), an automated recording facility that enables faculty, students and staff to produce their own professional audio and video presentations.

On Friday, Sept. 7, the Office of Information Systems hosted a grand opening for the OBS. Located in the Z. Smith Reynolds Library inside the Bridge, this simple yet powerful set-up has everything required to produce professional quality audio and video projects. 

The sound-proofed studio is equipped with LED ceiling lights, a microphone, an HD video camera and a gray backdrop that acts as a green screen or a blue screen, depending on what the user is wearing. 

Activated when a USB drive is inserted, participants simply click the button to begin recording. Pressing the button once more stops the recording and compresses the file to the USB. 

This facility is open to faculty, students and staff and is suitable for an assortment of academic and personal projects, such as a public speaking project, conducting an interview or recording a song.

Attendees of the grand opening were among the first people to utilize the facility. 

Located next to the production studio, the computer lab has 16 iMac desktop computers, loaded with professional post-production software. It provides the tools needed for users to edit their OBS projects. For those who need to edit elsewhere, much of the software is available with the Adobe Creative Cloud subscription provided to Wake Forest personnel via Software@WFU. 

“The studio is part of a broader strategic initiative by Information Systems to reallocate resources towards the core institutional mission of teaching, learning, and research,” says Hanna Inzko, Director of the Academic Technology division of Information Systems, and Brianna Derr, Manager of Advanced Learning Projects. “The hope is that students will use the studio to complete their video assignments, practice class, presentations, and hone their interview skills.”

“You’re tapping into a dream I have,” said Rick Matthews, a professor of physics and director of Academic and Instructional Technology, in reference to the OBS. 

Back in the 1990s, an autonomous recording studio was unfathomable. Matthews thinks that every student could benefit from creating digital content, regardless of their field of interest or future profession. In his experience, students who make videos in lieu of a live presentation tend to condense their information and communicate it more effectively. 

Given the ubiquity of digital content in academia and industry today, students who can create compelling digital content will have an advantage both in the classroom and in the job market.

Senior Yongkai Lin, director of the Educational Affairs Division of The Media, a digital media production group sponsored by the Provost’s Office, thinks The OBS is a “revolutionary idea that can help students get familiar with multimedia tools,”

Lin’s division is responsible for recording academic lectures from various departments; normally described as laborious, Lin believes the OBS will streamline this responsibility. As such, the OBS will empower professors to disseminate knowledge and build Wake Forest’s academic reputation.

2GB USBs, which cost approximately three dollars, will hold up to an hour of audio and video footage, making this a feasible option for anyone looking to create content affordably. 

Currently, studio time must be reserved through the One Button website. Plans to transition to an ‘open door’ policy, allowing users access when the library is open, are in the works. 

Early adopters include the Departments of Communications and the German and Russian departments, which have reserved times in the OBS for promotional projects and in-class projects. 

Sophomore Maddie Boyer, a budding musician with songs on iTunes and Spotify, said she is “glad to hear Wake Forest is investing in resources to help students hone their artistic talents.” 

The OBS is one of many Wake Forest endeavors to provide resources and opportunities for students so they are prepared for anything they do after graduation in the modern technological world.

“The aim of Academic Technology, a sub-division of Information Systems,” Inzko and Derr share, is to “provide students and faculty with guidance and support while engaging with the most relevant and emerging technologies.”

With the WakerSpace launch around the corner, faculty, students, and staff, will have their hands full with state-of-the art facilities to help them to gain valuable and translatable skills. And I, for one, am excited to see what comes next.

Note: This article has been revised with updated information.