CommMedia Labs Provide Useful Tools for College of Communications

The College of Communications Equipment Center in Suite 213B of the 101 (Lubert) Building at Innovation Park.

Innovation Park offers a wide range of facilities that benefit many colleges on the Penn State campus, including the College of Communications. Located in the 101 building is the CommMedia newsroom and multimedia production facility. This facility includes cutting-edge, high-definition televisions for news and sports productions. It also encompasses 30 Mac Pro computers that are used for various media production roles, including video editing, video encoding, photo editing, audio recording, and video playback. The Mac Pros are linked to an internal system that allows students to access their work from any computer in the facility.

Penn State Staff Multimedia Specialist Brian Shoenfelt works in the Innovation Park CommMedia labs to support the students who produce Centre County Report and other related endeavors in the College of Communications. The Centre County report is an award-winning weekly program produced by students in the capstone broadcast journalism class in the College of Communications.

“Students are able to use the newsroom and labs here at Innovation Park to hone their skills as journalists in a very real-world environment, allowing them to experience the challenges facing a working journalist before they get their first job,” says Shoenfelt. He adds, “The newsroom, studios, and lab space here are an essential part of our communications students’ lives. Many of them spend upwards of more than twenty hours per week at our facilities at Innovation Park.”

CommMedia Labs Provide Useful Tools for College of Communications

PSU senior Maddie Brightman is a broadcast journalism and Spanish major. As part of an internship, she made a visit to the ESPYs Red Carpet.

PSU senior Maddie Brightman is a broadcast journalism and Spanish major. She is the General Manager at CommRadio and an Executive Producer for the Centre County Report. At Innovation Park, Brightman points out that CommMedia majors like herself “have access to industry standard equipment like cameras and sound boards, but also have the opportunity to work in state-of-the-art studios and learn in a hands-on manner that will prepare us for the future.”

Innovation Park is not only a great learning environment, but it is also a place where you can make relationships with your peers and professors.

While filming, students use high-definition cameras that allow for tapeless workflow. The content that they produce is then broadcast locally and shown through an HD campus channel that can be found on the College of Communication’s student media website, commmedia.psu.edu.

Brightman continued, “I spend almost all of my time at Innovation Park. For students in the College of Comm, Innovation Park is a home away from home. I often like to think of it as a little getaway from campus and a place you can come both to be productive and have fun. The equipment we have access to and the hands on opportunities have helped me thrive as a student and learn new things about the industry.”

Also located in the 101 building is an equipment center with audio and video equipment available for student use. There is a film-video shooting space complete with a lighting grid, blackout curtain, and specialized equipment for in the film program. The Finestra Digital Editing Lab provides support for the telecommunications, broadcast journalism, and film-video programs. This lab is generally open 70 hours per week.

The College of Communications also has resources located in the 103 building at Innovation Park. This building contains the Digital Audio Laboratory. The lab has an on-air broadcast studio and 10 digital audio workstations featuring Hindenberg Journalist Pro editing software. These workstations also feature other software including: Audacity, GarageBand, iTunes, QuickTime, and Associated Press wire service. All of the digital audio workstations are linked to a central server that allow students to access their work from any computer within the lab. The Digital Broadcast News Laboratory is similar. 

There is also a television studio located in building 103. This studio features the latest HD digital technology in its control room and studio. This studio is available for recording and broadcasting productions by both students and faculty. This space provides students with both on-air and behind-the-scenes experience. This television studio has the capacity to be run as a news station.

When asked what she likes about the Innovation Park location best, student Maddie Brightman answered without hesitation: “The people—Innovation Park is its own community. When people ask me where my favorite place on campus is, my go to answer is IP—even if it doesn’t technically count! Innovation Park is not only a great learning environment, but it is also a place where you can make relationships with your peers and professors. I always find myself out here longer than needed because I’m having fun and am enjoying the people I am working with.”