Media Resources Offers Video Editing Support
by Brian Simmons
Students with the need to exercise their creativity in new media now have a place to go in Carrier Library to find resources for working with video and audio. Media Resources in the lower level of Carrier Library is offering support for student video projects via workstations and tech support. Three Windows and one Mac workstation are available, each containing applications for video and audio editing, along with the hardware for transferring video from camera and burning DVDs as well. The stations are designated “self-service” as staff availability is limited.
What brought all this about? The purpose of all the carrels in the media center is to support the media available in the circulating collection. A user can view media in many formats, from DVD to slide programs. PC workstations were added in the past to support “multimedia” titles in the collection—usually interactive CD-ROMs—when these were the cutting edge program format. Since then, the PC workstations have been used mainly for internet access.
Last year the Equipment Loans Office was integrated with the media center to offer portable equipment through the library checkout system. Our recent PC upgrade, and the addition of one Mac Mini, allowed us to convert the workstations to meet a practical purpose stemming from the media center’s equipment checkout. Find more information at the Equipment Loans web page.
Our experience with loaning students recording equipment, both video and audio, tells us they can’t always complete their projects with the resources available to them elsewhere on campus. To transfer-- let alone edit-- their recordings, many students need hardware, software, and sometimes assistance. For the general student population, apart from majors with technology support facilities (such as SMAD or Education), the needed support hasn’t been available. The media center can now provide a service that complements its portable recording equipment for loan. As a result, we hope that the new editing workstations will help students reach their project goals faster, meaning shorter turnaround on equipment loans and more equipment available to circulate to other borrowers -- a win-win for all.
What, then, are the capabilities of the workstations?
Hardware has been added to accommodate the needs of video camera users. In particular:
Firewire or digital video ports have been added for transfer of video
DVD burning drives have been added to create finished DVDs or to use as portable storage for project files
A Mini DV tape to DVD-R transfer deck is available for individuals not intending to edit. Video is dubbed directly from tape to DVD-R in real time, a quicker solution for those who can’t spend time transferring, editing, rendering, and burning a project.
For software, we feature:
Final Cut Express for video editing on the Mac Mini
Adobe Premiere Elements for video editing on our Windows workstations
Audacity, a time-tested open-source application, available on all workstations for audio projects using our Zoom digital audio recorders available for checkout.
Furthermore, all workstations have supplementary applications for converting, editing, and authoring DVDs for video and audio projects. While our workstation capabilities won’t meet the needs of an advanced media production user, they should certainly be appropriate for less ambitious video and audio projects that students may undertake—whether for class assignments or personal fulfillment.
With so much involved, wouldn’t this all seem daunting for some users? It’s going to remain true, at least for a while, that you’ll need to invest some time in learning workstation software when tackling a project. Although tech support is limited, there is an easy-to-navigate Video Editing Support web page available covering many aspects of the service, along with helpful links to tutorials.
So what’s next? For the short-term, we look forward to gathering feedback. This project has undergone some informal testing, but time and student usage will be the ultimate test of this service. Tentative plans for expansion include another Mac and Windows station, an additional DVD-only transfer workstation, and a move within equipment loans to providing hard-disk high-def video camcorders.