Beardsley Media Center Opens to All

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

Alvin Melathe ’10 uses a computer in the Beardsley Media Center to edit a video.

This summer, ITS transformed the old Faculty Resource Room into the Beardsley Media Center. Although the equipment is all the same, the new Media Center is in a larger space and is open to all students and faculty. According to Gayle Barton, Chief Information Technology Officer, ITS wanted to use its space to serve more students than just those in film classes.

The facility has four stations intended for video and audio editing; these are Mac Pro computers with large screens, mini-DV decks, four-way headphone splitters, and some other miscellaneous hardware, including keyboards with the shortcuts for Final Cut Pro color-coded onto them. Another computer, more intended for image editing, is hooked up to high-quality scanners. There are plans for another video editing station in a back room, which could be used for audio recording or while a class is using the main room. Each of the computers has the most recent version of the Adobe and iLife suites.

There are also several varieties of printers, although Barton said that because they are expensive to run, the large-scale printer is only for academic use and the color printer has some “reasonable limits” on its usage.

Moving into the new space required “playing musical chairs” with office space, according to Barton: Media Services moved from LPAC to be next to the Media Center, the Help Desk moved down the hall, and some ITS staff moved to the train station, near where the Lang Center used to be.

Although the school year is just beginning, the Center has already seen some use. Boy Meets Tractor has used it to edit sketches, faculty have used it to prepare course materials, the orientation play was edited there, and staff from the Arboretum and Admissions have used the space as well.

One of the printers in the Media Center.

The Media Center is currently only open to students while ITS staff are working, from 8:00 to 4:30. Barton said that they are looking for someone to keep it open from 3 to 9, assist people in using the equipment, and also help to shape the future of the Center. (This position only has funding for a year, however, so Barton said it would be ideal for a recent graduate still looking for a job.) ITS is also looking for students to keep the Center open on Sunday afternoons as well as other times.

The Media Center tries not to let its somewhat limited hours impair its accessibility, however, according to Michael Patterson, Media Services Manager, they are happy to give keycard access to students who are working on a project. For example, Patterson said that Boy Meets Tractor used it to edit a sketch after the facility would typically be closed last week.

Disclosure: the author of this piece is a member of SCCS, whose Media Lounge provides similar services to students.

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