New Digital Media Lab expands access to modern media technology at W.E.B. Du Bois Library

By Kathleen Donegan

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After a year of planning and construction, rows of books, VCRs, files and CDs of the Reserves Department of the W.E.B. Du Bois Library have been replaced by state-of-the-art audio and video recording and editing equipment, facilities and software.

Jessica Chaiken/ Collegian

Located on the third floor of the Library, the up-and-coming Digital Media Lab (DML) is celebrating its grand opening this semester. The project started out as a campaign to give all UMass students, regardless of major, access to media technology and equipment.

Lab coordinator Jeanne Antill said that the lab “is designed to support undergraduate and graduate students working on course related multimedia presentations, projects and portfolios.”

The 4,000 square foot lab shares a space with a quiet study lounge, but if the program continues to be a success, it may expand into the remainder of the third floor, she said.

Antill added that students of the university can use the lab “to develop creative concepts, borrow equipment, shoot video, record audio, create images and animation and do post-production editing and compositing.”

Organization of the Digital Media Lab was complete after a year-long research process, as well as another year spent renovating the space, collecting equipment inventory and supplying productions rooms which according to Antill, “was made possible by the generosity of donors.”

According to Antill, as professors start to adopt more hands-on teaching methods, students should have access to more resources.

“As instructors continue to innovate with active teaching methods such as team-based learning and technology-enhanced classrooms, students are required to shift from being passive consumers of information to active creators of content,” she said. “This shift is reflected in class assignments as well; instead of a traditional research or term paper, a student may be given the opportunity to participate in multi-disciplinary teams to produce an interactive presentation, video or podcast.”

According to the Digital Media Lab website, beginning Sept. 29, workshops will be available for students interested in learning how to navigate the green screen room, how to operate video and audio recording equipment or how to manage media files online

Additionally, the website states that Mac and PC computers are available, complete with media making software including iMovie ’11, Final Cut Pro X, Finale 2012 and Maya 2014, a three-dimensional animation software.

Other equipment available, according to the website, is tripods, microphones, projectors and portable camcorders. Cords, memory cards, lights and more are also on hand so students can have access to everything they need for all video, audio and studio recording needs. Each item is available for check out for up to three days.

Miranda Woods, a freshman communications major, expressed interest in using the lab as a tool to help her with class assignments.

“I am not the best with technology so I was glad to hear that there is a workshop to learn how to use the equipment in the green screen room,” she said. “Once I learn how to actually use the equipment it would be awesome to be able to make some videos for projects.”


Kathleen Donegan can be reached at [email protected]