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.
Last 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.
“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, when Matthews conceived the idea to implement digital learning, 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. Matthews said the OBS makes learning how to tell a story with video a whole lot easier for students.
“[The OBS is a] revolutionary idea that can help students get familiar with multimedia tools,” said senior Yongkai Lin, director of the Educational Affairs Division of The Media, a digital media production group sponsored by the Provost’s Office.
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 to gain valuable and translatable skills so they are prepared for anything they do after graduation in the modern technological world.