Jazzing up the west wing of the typically quiet CSUN Library with streamers, balloons and even birthday cakes, staff of the Creative Media Studio (CMS) crafted a space fit for a “birthday” party — celebrating five years of student creations in video and sound — even 3-D printed composites.
On Sept. 10, the studio celebrated its impact in providing students with equipment and tools to expand their ability to create beyond their class requirements. The studio offers audiovisual equipment, recording facilities, 3-D printers, virtual reality devices and computers with the latest software to enable students to create a variety of artistic projects.
The number and type of technologies available in the studio has grown exponentially over the years. Students can rent a wide range of equipment, including DSLR cameras and audio recording devices, use the latest Adobe Creative Cloud suite on Mac and PC computers or record professional-quality audio in a soundproof recording room. PlayStation VR and Oculus Go headsets are also available for up to three hours at a time.
Since opening in October 2014, the studio has logged more than 20,000 equipment checkouts. And since adding 3-D printing in August 2016, the studio has welcomed more than 3,000 3-D print requests.
At the celebration, CSUN students, faculty and staff were treated to free snacks and cake, raffle prizes and a photo booth. Attendees also tried out the VR station, marveled at student creations at the 3-D printing station, and tested out video and audio gear at the equipment “petting zoo.”
Studio staff also hosted an award ceremony, where they announced the five winners of the studio’s student showcase for the 5th year anniversary. CSUN students submitted 32 entries in videography, photography, graphic design, audio and 3-D printing created with studio resources. Each winner received a certificate and a $75 Amazon gift card.
“Without CMS, I don’t think I would’ve made as many films and projects as I have,” said Rakesh Naguri, who won in the videography category. A senior in the film production program, he said the studio has been his primary source of video and audio gear since his freshman year. “I wouldn’t have been able to afford all that gear,” Naguri said.
Funded through the Campus Quality Fee, all resources and facilities in the studio are available for rent or use by any student, regardless of major, at no cost.
Beyond being able to get their hands on the studio’s hardware and software, Matadors have benefitted in indirect ways as well. Professors have collaborated with the studio to create educational materials, such as 3-D printouts of molecules that allow students to observe molecular structure in a new way.
Over the summer, the studio acquired a brand-new 3-D scanner, which can capture a 3-D object’s size and shape and convert it to a digital representation (data that can then be sent to a 3-D printer to create a copy in plastic or resin). With this new equipment and a vinyl cutter, also acquired over the summer, excitement among staff and student patrons is building.
“The Creative Media Studio started off really small,” said Eva Cohen, Learning Commons Lead at the library. “We’ve grown tremendously because we’ve been listening to what the students want. If they want to learn something, they can come in. We definitely want to encourage trial and error in the process of learning something new.”
Cohen said the studio also has become a hub for networking and collaboration between students. “We see connections being made here,” she said. “[The studio] has become a way to connect students between majors.”
Cohen said she hopes to add a sewing machine and a laser cutter, to give students options for even more types of projects. In the coming years, she said, library staff hope to expand the studio into more of the library’s west wing and evolve into a larger makerspace — a place where students can come in with an idea and leave with a completed project.
Jimmy Guzmán Jr., a second-year biochemistry graduate student who won the student showcase’s 3-D printing category, said he decided to learn 3-D printing as a new hobby. Now, it has evolved into “a skill that I plan to apply professionally, in the realm of DNA research,” Guzmán Jr. said.
“The Creative Media Studio is an amazing resource that empowers students to undertake pursuits we may not otherwise be able to,” Guzmán said.