If you’ve been in UTC’s new Library, you’ve probably walked past the Studio unaware of the creative happening inside. The Studio is the hub for all things high tech, from 3D printers to Oculus Rifts.
“What do libraries traditionally do? They provide access to things you might not otherwise have access to. If you don’t know where to start, they provide guidance. That’s what we do,” said Bo Baker, Studio Director.
The Studio checks out a variety of high quality cameras, including hybrid still/video cameras and GoPro cameras, as well as the accessories to go with them, like tripods, lenses, hard drives, and graphics tablets.
“We’re still very ‘library’ in that we do check out stuff – it’s just electronic stuff. We circulate the kind of stuff you might need to make a documentary, or a commercial, take headshots for your organization, or take product photography. Whatever you want to create, you can check out the equipment you need here,” Baker said. “And you only have to pay for it if you break it or don’t bring it back.”
If you’re into building circuits and doing electronics prototyping, you can check out things like breadboards, microcontrollers, Makey Makey kits, and Raspberry Pi. If you’re interested in virtual reality, you can also check out Oculus Rifts.
“These are sort of development tools, so you’re welcome to just take it home and play with it and get exposed to the technology, but you can also download the development kit and start creating your own stuff,” Baker said.
The Studio also provides access to 24 high powered work stations with a variety of specialized software.
“These workstations are higher powered than workstations elsewhere in the library and they have all the software that people need to do just about anything. Whether you want to do graphic design, av production, prototyping, 3D design, videogame design, or any other sort of digital creation, we have software that supports that,” Baker said.
The Studio has a small fleet of 3D printers that can be used for anything from product prototyping to printing off gaming dice, for a nominal fee that allows the Studio to recoup the cost of materials.
The Studio also has specialty hardware. If you need to digitize analogue formats, the Studio has a turn table, a cassette deck, a VHS deck, and a big graphics scanner for things like slides or film negatives.
“So that’s kind of a niche thing, but people take advantage of it,” Baker said.
The Studio also has production rooms that can be reserved much like study rooms elsewhere in the library. There is an audio studio, which features microphones, sound proofing, an input output box for instruments, and a midi keyboard. There is also a light room, with reflectors, a light kit, a product box, and backdrops, for custom lighting or for green screen. The audio studio has already been used for interviews, amateur rap recordings, and a gospel album, while the light room has been used for product photography and cosplay photography.
The other valuable service that the Studio provides is face to face help. There is someone working the desk the entire time the Studio is open, willing to help answer questions. The Studio also does teaching – workshops and consultations, either one on one or in groups.
“We’re here all the time if you have a quick question, like how to do this in Photoshop, or you can set up a consultation if you want to get in depth about how to do something,” Baker said.
Baker wants everyone at UTC to know that the Studio isn’t just for computer science or engineering majors, and it isn’t just for class assignments.
“We don’t ask questions about why you’re here, whether you’re here to do assignments or to do a rap video or digitizing your home movies. We welcome people who are just here to have fun, because you’re still learning valuable skills, and we’re here to provide access to that,” Baker said.