The video and audio production lab, located on the first floor and adjacent to the Executive Residence lobby, is open to students, faculty and staff of the Ross School of Business. It has all the tools needed to assemble an audio or video project from start to finish, including a color-screen backdrop, professional lighting and recording equipment, and three editing stations with professional video editing software.
You can output to a variety of digital formats suitable for many needs, from presentations, voice-overs, interviews, narratives and screencasts. You can then assemble a DVD or upload your final product to a service like YouTube so it can be shared.
Where and When Can I Use the Lab?
The video production lab is located adjacent to the Executive Residence lobby, in a room next to the Marketplace. The lab was formerly located in the Kresge Library but has moved to this new location for the duration of construction.
The lab will be open during normal school hours. Occasionally, under special circumstances you may find the door locked or a sign indicating that the room is reserved.
How Do I Make a Reservation to Use the Lab?
A reservation isn't required to use the room. You're welcome to stop by and see if there is an open spot to use. However, there is a posted sign-up sheet that you can use to block off times in the future. We ask that even if you haven't used the sign-up sheet to make a reservation, you still sign-in so that we may track usage to further improve the lab.
The sign-up sheet is posted on Monday mornings and goes two weeks into the future. If you would like to reserve a time past that, or can't make it to campus but want to sign up for a time in the future, send an email to the Ross Helpdesk and ask them to write your name in for you.
Time is reserved in two hour increments. You may block off more than one station at a time, such as if you want to use the entire room for a recording session.
Why Would I Use the Lab?
More than ever, multimedia is being integrated into everything we do. Faculty are wanting to incorporate it into their classes as lectures or additional content. More and more classes are requiring students to produce video projects, and even when it isn't required some students want to take that leap on their own.
Many devices out there will allow you to produce a quick video, but the lab at Ross has the tools used by professionals.
What Kinds of Tools are Available?
The lab is equipped with three (3) editing stations with Apple iMac computers with Final Cut Studio X installed. Each station has a USB and firewire hub so you can plug in devices such as external hard drives or cameras. Each station has a set of speakers, too (but we encourage the use of headphones for the sake of others sharing the lab). For the time being there is a fourth editing station with the older version of Final Cut Pro 6 installed.
There is also a color-screen that is positioned in front of a recording station. The color-screen can be rolled to show a variety of colors that can then be used to "chroma-key" in a distinct backdrop (think: television weather man), or just used as a background for an interview or on-screen narration.
The recording station has a professional grade microphone attached to an HD camera, attached to an iMac. This iMac does not have editing software installed, but you can easily transfer your recording to one of the other three stations.
What Are the Policies for Using the Lab?
We do not have a set of written policies that dictate the terms of using the lab, beyond the standard University acceptable use policy. We may create one as needed, but for now merely ask that you respect the lab and the time of others. We'd ask that you don't bring any food or drink into the lab, and refrain from using it for anything other than video related projects (i.e., don't use it for your lunch break or study group).
The iMacs in the room are restricted for media production use only. This is to ensure that the lab computers remain as clean and consistent as possible between uses. For this reason, you may want to bring your laptop along if you need to access the internet for help or to obtain resources. Also, note that we may periodically clear files off of the iMac hard drives in order to do maintenance, repairs, or swap out hardware, so it will be necessary to get an external hard drive or USB drive to which you can save your files. Do not create a folder or otherwise save files onto the iMac and expect them to be there later.
Who Can I Turn to For Help?
For assistance with technical problems that prevent you from operating normally within the lab, you may contact the Ross Helpdesk.
For instruction or guidance on how to use the software, refer to the links at right. There are also many useful resources online that you may seek out.
In addition, the Digital Media Commons provides a number of detailed workshops for free, and so does LS&A. Topics include "Introduction to iMovie," "Introduction to Final Cut Pro" and "Advanced Final Cut Pro."
Are There Any Other Resources Like This on Campus?
Yes, U-M has more video labs like this if you find this one crowded or inconvenient (but please tell us why you think so!) The Digital Media Commons is a great resource located on north campus.
How'd you do that sweet green-screen effect in the introduction video (above)?
Green-screening, or "chroma-keying" isn't as hard as you might think. Just record yourself in front of the green screen and open your clip in Final Cut Pro to add the "chroma key" filter, which allows you to select a color to remove from the video, allowing whatever is in the track beneath to show through. Watch this video to see how it is done.