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LUMA launches new lab space

Film students, Hannah Hudgins and John Jones, practice recording sound bites in the new LUMA audio lab, Nov. 6.  UP photo by Abigail Pennington
Film students, Hannah Hudgins and John Jones, practice recording sound bites in the new LUMA audio lab, Nov. 6. UP photo by Abigail Pennington

Lamar University department of communicationlaunched the new initiative — Lamar University Media Alliance, Oct.30. LUMA is a new media space in the communications building that features innovative technology and labs for the creation of various media and communication-based products.

“The whole purpose and goal behind LUMA is to take the production facilities and merge them into one unit that will provide students with the opportunities to get hands-on training, as well as get internship opportunities — that’s really the goal of it,” Natalie Tindall, communications chair, said. “That includes KVLU, the TV station, what we’ve been calling the ‘set cast,’ which is where we tape the government meetings, and anything related to studio 20 and the different radio and podcasting rooms we have in the building.

“We merged all those things together to provide opportunities for collaboration, production and any kind of innovative storytelling students want to do. We wanted to give them a platform and a way to do that so we can showcase our equipment, the kind of facilities we have, the faculty and the expertise we have.”

Tindall said the idea piggy-backed off a few different programs and models.

“There is a belief that journalism programs, or schools that have journalism programs, should be more of a teaching-hospital model,” she said. “It’s not that you just learn how to diagnose the parts of a body from a cadaver at medical school, but you also have to understand how to diagnose and problem solve by working on the floor and with patients — it’s the same thing here. “There is only so much textbook stuff that we can do in the classroom. Students have to be able to take what they learn theoretically and apply it, do it and be able to have the space to do it.”

Tindall said the media alliance space is multi-dimensional.

“Most students don’t know where the TV studio is,” she said. “Most students don’t know where KVLU is or where they can do advanced digital editing. But, now, we have a lab that LUMA supports and the department supports. Students have the actual space to see where things can get done and how they get done. It’s all about giving our students different experiences than what they get in the classroom.”

The multi-lab space includes two digital editing suites, two podcast studios and two vlogging rooms with a green screen.

“We will have two digital editing suites,” Tindall said. “We have studio 20 and studio 21 which are podcasting rooms. One is set up where you can do a podcast in there and the other is our traditional radio studio. We also have two vlogging rooms. If someone needed a green-screen effect they can use that or if they just wanted a talking head panel in one room they can do that, too.

“The room itself is very flexible. If you wanted to do things in the room space like tape a recording you can as well. So, the lab is a teaching space as well as a collaboration space and production space.”

Tindall said that at the moment the labs are for communication students only and strictly by appointment.

“The labs are schedule only, because we don’t have the capacity to be open as much as we’d like it to be,” she said. “We’d like to make it open longer. We’ve been experimenting with lab hours in the department for the past few semesters to keep it open longer and open earlier. “But, right now, because we can’t find a lot of students who want to work late, we keep it open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on schedule-based appointments. So, there is a scheduling process with it and the equipment is specialized enough that you have to have some training and knowledge to know what these things are and how the equipment is used. So, we can’t just open it to everyone.

“Once we are able to get more funding, more support, as well as additional lab monitors, we may be able to open it to other people, but our goal is to help communications and media students do the best that they can. We are a very large department with a lot of different needs and majors, so we need to provide as much support as we can to those students first — that’s the primary target.”

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Story by Cassandra Jenkins, UP editor

Category: News