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How Bryan Center Studios helps take media production projects to the next level

By Lesa Bressanelli, OIT Communications Intern


While laptops and tablets are go-to devices for completing class projects, sometimes they are not robust enough to handle tasks such as video and audio recording. That is where the Bryan Center Studios can help.

Opened and newly renovated last May, the Bryan Center Studios (BCS) is open to students everyday of the week during all hours of the day, as long as the Bryan Center is open. They can produce videos and audio recordings with professional-level equipment in studios designated for specific services.

“In today’s career landscape, being able to communicate with visual or audio media is an essential tool,” said Steve Toback, media architect and senior producer in the Office of Information Technology. “From recording entrepreneurial pitches to establishing yourself as a subject matter expert by producing well-written podcasts, today’s employers need people with critical media-creation skills.”

There are five studio spaces in BCS, and three of those spaces are available for students to reserve and use:

  • Studio Three: A self-service video-recording space with 4k cameras, energy efficient LED lighting, boom microphone and a black curtain or green screen that can be used as a background. You can record your screen and video at the same time making it perfect for use for recording software demonstrations.
  • Studio Four: A self-service podcasting space where you can record up to four people using professional microphones for anything from a group discussion to a podcast, or even acoustic musical instruments up to a point. There is a mixer that lets you alter the audio you are recording and you have the option to save your recordings to a memory card or connect it directly to your computer.
  • The Hotel Space: A space featuring an iMac 5k with two monitors dedicated to editing audio and video recordings. The set-up includes audio editing programs including Logic and Audacity, and video editing programs including Final Cut Pro and Premiere. Other technology available in the space includes a slide scanner that can scan transparencies, slides or photographs.

Each space can be reserved ahead of time by students. Using Microsoft Outlook, students are able to schedule out a room similar to scheduling a meeting with a person. While reserving ahead of time is recommended, students can still walk in and if available, reserve using the scheduling panel right outside the door.

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Bryan Center Studio 4 man at table with big screen monitor

Duke’s Academic Media Production team can assist students in the BCS Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. with technical problems and also help brainstorm ideas and solutions.

Toback sees the availability of the space and its close proximity to media-creation professionals as a way to help Duke students be competitive in the job market.

“Using state of the art tools and with the assistance of seasoned media professionals, they can create work to help satisfy current curricular requirements as well as prepare a portfolio of work that can help differentiate them in a competitive post-graduation environment,” Toback said.

Mich Donovan, manager of Academic Media Production, encourages students to book some time simply to get familiar with the technology.

“Using our equipment is not super complicated, but being able to come here and have some understanding of how things work will make you feel more confident in what you can do, while knowing where you could improve,” Donovan said. “Give yourself the flexibility to try and try again.”

Instructors are encouraged to contact Mich to set up orientation training for their classes if media creation will be required in their course.

Learn more about the resources available at Bryan Center Studios or reserve a studio by visiting the Bryan Center Studios website.