CAPS department receives new production lab

Emily Pagel

The Communication and Performance Studies (CAPS) department is in the process of receiving a new production lab.

According to CAPS department head James Cantrill, the new lab grew out of the needs highlighted by the academic program review process.

“The review, among other things, indicated that right now our students in broadcast production and public relations are hampered by the fact that we’re limited to the PC platform of the Lenovo Thinkpad, whereas the industry standard is a Macintosh operating system,” Cantrill said.

A proposal was made to shift over to Mac laptops for the department, said Cantrill, but was decided it wasn’t best for the department needs.

“It became apparent when that proposal was brought forward that the laptops didn’t have the storage or computing power that we needed for the broadcast production courses,” Cantrill said. “The administration decided to make a lab.”

According to Mark Shevy, associate professor of media production and mass communication the new facility will equip students and faculty with the ability to have a more integrated learning experience.

“The Mac lab is a response to requests we’ve made for a long time to get a computer platform that was more useful to the production students. Many of our students require Macs for running software such a Protools or Final Cut Pro, and we haven’t had much of that capability in the past,” Shevy said. “Having a Mac lab classroom will allow us to teach whole classes where every student can be on a computer following along and doing the examples that we’re presenting at the front of the class.”

The new lab will strengthen the CAPS department in what it lacks with  the current video/audio production lab, Cantrill said.

“This lab will have 17 work stations, all hooked up to a server, and all the software needed for production work,” Cantrill said. “There will also be a high end dual-screen editing suite in the room and an instructor station with a iMac, large LCD screen for viewing, editing and discussion in class.”

Cantrill said this lab will make the CAPS department up to date with the broadcasting industry.

“The lab will be state of the art which will allow us to do new things that we haven’t been able to do in the past,” Shevy said. “We’ll be able to have more computing power for teaching video post-production and give students more flexibility to work on their projects. This is a step in a direction we’ve needed to go for a long time.”

The lab will be used all day with lab hours in the evenings and throughout the weekend. Students will need a CAPS card from their instructor to access the facility.

The new lab will be located in room 318 of the Thomas Fine Arts Building and is currently under the process of being constructed. Cantrill anticipates the lab will be finished for the Winter 2014 semester.

“We owe this facility to the Provost Paul Lang. and especially Michael Broadway for leading this project,” Cantrill said. “They have been very supportive on the basis of academic program review and it’s to their credit that they recognize the needs of departments on campus.”