The UW Department of Communication was granted a technology fee worth about $80,000 of new media equipment.
Senior Computer Specialist Nika Pelc coordinates the funding efforts to assure that the equipment program is sustainable.
“We receive a lot of different funding sources for the equipment, including faculty grants, funding from courses, and funding from different programs on campus, like tech fee” Pelc said.
As of fall quarter 2014, the new equipment is available for all students to check out. The new purchase includes the following:
2 Bescor 1-panel LED kit
1 Ikan 3-panel LED kit
12 Zoom H4N Recorders
6 Canon Rebel t5i
3 Canon 5D MK III
3 Canon 55mm Lens
2 Canon 135mm Lens
4 Sony PMW-200 XDCAMs
4 Marantz PMD-661 MKII Recorders
4 Sachtler Carbon fiber tripod
4 Sennheiser MKE-600 Shotgun Microphones
These new additions make it easier for DSLR media-makers to achieve higher quality with LED light sets, more audio equipment, more camera bodies, and lenses.
Systems Support staff member and former UW student Evan Swope helped with the process, and emphasized keeping the different generations of equipment as seamless as possible so students can check out any Canon Rebel and expect a similar experience.
“I’m always most excited about our high-end full-frame Canon DSLRs, but we also got some large LED lighting kits that were the first expansion to our lighting equipment in a few years,” he said. “All of our previous lighting was using light bulbs with filaments, and those get hot really fast.”
Swope believes that access to this equipment will have a strong impact on students and their success.
“Our equipment provides a lot of hands-on experience and skill-building that will benefit our students far into the future. We have a great space students can learn and grow in by getting equipment for free – I of course say this because I was once a student here,” Swope said.
One of those students is Seth Halleran, a junior at the UW. He uses the equipment for personal and school projects.
“Communication’s equipment checkout system has helped me find the creative outlets I find most engaging and given me the courage to pursue a career in documentary filmmaking,” Halleran said. “I’ve felt that by allowing me access to media equipment, UW and the Communication Department have invested in me taking myself seriously and considering how to expand my post-undergrad skillset.
Deanna Isaacs – who graduated last spring from the Department of Communication with a degree in journalism, emphasized the role this resource played in her college experience.
“The ability to borrow cameras to create content about automobiles has inspired me to create my own multimedia outlet – AON Media (Autos, Outdoors & News),” Isaacs said. “It is important for students to have resources such as the Comm Department Equipment Rental because it allows us to expand our horizons and see what fields we may want to enter from outside the classroom.”
Swope said students play a major role to help sustain this resource.
“Every year or two we put forth an effort to get as many testimonials from students – those testimonials go into a big document that we submit to the Student Technology Fund,” he said. “Your voice is super important in keeping the checkout system as broad and up-to-date as it is.”
The Department of Communication also provides open lab hours to help communication students learn the equipment. You can check out the equipment by visiting the main Department website, and view video tutorials created by tech interns.
By Austin Williams, News Lab student at the University of Washington.