California State University, San Bernardino

Behind the screen: CSUSB communication studies video production lab

A valuable resource that some communication majors at the CSUSB campus may not be aware of is the video lab located in the basement of University Hall. The video production lab gives students the resources needed to produce multimedia projects using a variety of equipment and software.

Some of the features of the lab are a multi-camera studio and control room, five self-contained editing bays and an assortment of field production equipment, such as DSLR cameras, lights, microphones and tripods.

The editing bays are equipped with iMac computers with the entire Adobe Creative Cloud suite of programs installed. This includes Premier Pro for video editing, After Effects for compositing effects and Adobe Audition for sound editing.

“I’m grateful this lab was provided. Many students can’t invest in paying monthly fees for these editing programs, but you can access them freely at the video lab,” said communication major Roberto De La Cruz. “Moreover, it’s a great, quiet place to help me focus when I’m about to edit a video and figure out how I want to piece together the final product.”

Communication student David Williams edits in the video lab. (Photo by Crystal Harrell)

Students are able to reserve editing bays, field cameras or the studio for an hour at a time with a maximum of two hours via the video production lab website. Priority is given to students enrolled in the Communication Studies department production courses to allow them to complete course requirements.

However, the video lab supports all students when possible, especially in post-production and studio usage. To use field equipment, students must first pass a practical exam to demonstrate that they can safely set up, handle and operate the equipment.

Since its official opening during the fall quarter of 1993, the video lab has been managed by media production specialist and instructor Michael Wichman. He has taught the Advanced TV Practicum COMM 444A course from 1995 up until the winter quarter of this year. During that time, the class has produced various TV programs that have been aired on the local cable access channel.

Video production lab screens in the control room. (Photo by Crystal Harrell)

“Students benefit from hands-on, practical experience. In-class lectures and production theories are critical, but actually using and experimenting with the equipment brings these lessons to life,” stated Wichman.

Currently, the video production lab is used in the fall when students are taking COMM 245, where they learn to tape productions in the studio. In the winter, they develop more complex productions to include editing and more special effects during COMM 346. By spring quarter, the students enrolled in COMM 346 are taking cameras into the field to produce on-location projects ranging from dramatic features to the Local Matters news program, which is produced every quarter and aired locally.

The video lab also employs six student assistants who are qualified and experienced to help others with their video production projects.

“What I enjoy most about working in the video lab is just getting to work with the students and help them create their visions. It’s very exciting to see their creative sides come to life,” said lab assistant Aylen Jauregui.

The video production lab is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Monday through Thursday, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday.