BOSTON — As a freshman, Lindsay Pelzar came to Suffolk University as an enthusiastic media major. Although skeptical about the lack of media equipment, Pelzar gave Suffolk the benefit of the doubt in hopes for a better future.
“As a media major, the absence of a studio here was a weakness for the school in my eyes,” Pelzar said. “But I chose Suffolk in hopes that the future would bring new developments.”
Luckily, she was right.
On February 25, 2008, Suffolk University’s Department of Communications and Journalism proudly announced the grand opening of its brand new HD studio. Located at 73 Tremont St. next to the Suffolk Welcome Center, the state-of-the-art studio looks out onto one of the busiest streets of downtown Boston.
Equipped with three high-definition digital cameras, a full lighting grid, and a high-tech control room, the new studio has a lot to offer. Due to the prime location of the studio, passers-by can view the HD screens with live video streams.
Although the studio is a vibrant addition to the streetscape, the most important part of the studio is the opportunity it provides to Suffolk students.
“It is fantastic for the university to have such a great studio for students to work in,” said lab instructor Jason Carter.
Before the new studio was built, media students had virtually nowhere to shoot footage. Students had to shoot videos in classrooms, restricting creativity and learning opportunities in the new age of technology.
Sophomore Ronnie Campbell recalls the “portable studio” he worked with as a work-study employee in the media lab. He set up the studio, including a simple monitor and camera switcher attached to three of the media lab cameras and an audiot board.
“Doing this for every shoot was getting to be a hassle for setting up and cleaning up, so it made getting footage difficult,” Cambell said.
With the new studio, students are able to become familiar with a real lab, and without the hassle of lugging equipment around campus.
“Fundamentally there is only so much you can learn from books and lectures. Especially with video production, hands-on teaching and learning is the best education we can offer students,” said Communications professor Nina Huntemann. “The studio allows us to do that, and with the most cutting-edge technology available.”
Now, students use a simple switcher to make all needed adjustments in post production and take the footage as a live TV show. The studio creates more opportunity for learning in a professional studio rather than a fake classroom setup.
Senior broadcast student Tiffany Soon enjoys working in the new studio for her assignments, including hosting a news segment and cutting footage for interviews.
“Working in the studio is fantastical,” Soon said. “I love using all the high-tech equipments, where projects come out in a much better quality.”
With Suffolk’s student-run TV show Temple Street in its fourth season, the students are now able to shoot interviews and spotlights right in the studio, eliminating the burden of setting up for TV in classrooms and elsewhere.
“The studio also made it so much more convenient for us to set up for hosting and interviewing such as changing of different backgrounds, lightings and sound checks,” Soon said.
After years of teaching out of a regular classroom, Carter sees the new studio as providing more opportunities for his students.
“It gives students a legitimate venue to raise their level of work and be more creative,” Carter said.
With a brand-new studio, students will certainly be more motivated to get involved in the production aspect. Pelzar feels the studio fills the missing piece of the Communications and Journalism Department.
“I haven’t used the new studio yet,” she said. “But I can’t wait to get in there and learn more about the behind the scenes action.”
The studio will allow students to get in front of the camera as well learn as the technical aspects behind the camera. Hands on learning not only helps professors teach, but teaches students in a more effective way.
“Time in the studio will help students be prepared for studio jobs post-graduation,” Huntemann said. “Having the experience running the equipment and troubleshooting problems in real-time will give students a valuable advantage on the job market.”
In addition to the skills it will teach Suffolk students before entering the job market, it provides more opportunities for Suffolk University as a whole. The studio adds to Suffolk’s already excellent reputation and gives incoming freshman an added incentive to attend Suffolk in the future.
“I think I think it could be the factor that helps prospective media students choose Suffolk over other schools,” Pelzar said.
Suffolk is excited about upcoming features on local channels showcasing the school and the new HD studio. The Communication and Journalism Department also hopes to air a Suffolk newscast and sports show from the studio. It is a great opportunity for Suffolk to showcase events, projects and other activities on campus.
From going from virtually nothing to a brand new HD studio, the media studies at Suffolk are only getting better.
“The studio represents a ‘new beginning’ for media at Suffolk University,” said Huntemann. “Better things lie ahead and I am very excited to be a part of it!”