A Day in the Life: Jake

Have you ever wondered what a librarian’s job looks like?  Or what exactly the faculty and staff members at the Undergraduate Library do during the day? We’d like to give you a behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of the UGL in our new blog series “A Day in the Life.”

Due to high student use of the Media Commons and the recent media attention of the sound booth, we thought we would introduce you to Jake, our Media Commons Technology Support Specialist.

 

Jake is responsible for connecting students, staff, and faculty at UIUC to all the technology the Media Commons has to offer. When he isn’t working at his desk, you can find him all over the UGL, teaching students how to effectively use technology to create, edit, and produce quality digital media. Whether you want to use high end media editing software, need help shooting a video project in front of the green screen in the video production studio, or want to record a podcast in the sound booth, Jake is your guy.
Jake has a fancy-ass computer.

Need help? Ask Jake.

The best part about working in the Media Commons, Jake says, is that it offers everyone–undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty, and staff– the opportunity to create their own digital media on professional-quality technology.
Recently, Jake has been working hard to move, test, and set up the equipment in the sound booth to get it up and running for you. When asked about his favorite technology in the Media Commons, Jake replied that he is pretty pumped about the sound booth set- up and is excited to collaborate with students to take their audio projects to a higher level.
Jake’s passion for audio recording carries over into his work outside of the Undergraduate Library. Check out what Jake does on the weekends by visiting UrbanaBasement.com, a web series highlighting the live music scene in the Champaign-Urbana area.

 

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UGL 101: New Sound Booth

Hey UGL-ers, it’s time we addressed the elephant in the room. And by elephant, we mean the huge metal structure that has taken over a corner of the lower level this past year. We would like to officially introduce you to the newest member of the Media Commons collection–the sound booth!

Large metal structure = professional quality sound booth.

Like the video production room on the upper level, the sound booth is a space for students, faculty, and staff to create high-quality digital media projects. Need an interview to complete a class project? Want to record your latest podcast? As a UIUC student, the sound booth is available to you! (QB looks forward to using the sound booth to record the answers to all your questions.)

In order to use the sound booth, you will need to contact the Media Commons at mediacommons@illinois.edu in advance to book a reservation. Whether you want to reserve time in the sound booth, ask advice on recording equipment, or just find out more information, the Media Commons staff is here to help! Don’t forget to check out our loanable technology page for any additional equipment you might need, from cameras to microphones or voice recorders.

Now, to answer one final question. We know all too well how difficult the doors at the UGL can be to open, not to mention fitting large pieces of unbending metal through. So, just how did the UGL manage to construct the sound booth in the lower lever?

Huge crane lowering a section of the sound booth into the UGL courtyard

The things we do for you!

That’s how.

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Pushing Buttons

Looking for yet more ways to have fun this summer? Of course you are. And, of course, the UGL is here to help. We’ve got video games and everything you need to play them, so why not indulge in a gaming marathon before the fall semester starts and your life gets crazy again?

Image of Mario jumping

I’m somewhere in the UGL, eternally jumping! Come find me!

You can always come in and browse the shelves in our media collection to pick out a game, but if you want to see what we have from the comfort of your own home (or see everything we offer, not just what’s currently on the shelf and not checked out) you can also search for video games using the catalog. If you’re comfortable using the Classic Catalog, then we have a  partial list of games for each console linked from the Games and Consoles page. If you’d rather use the VuFind catalog, here are some ways you can search in there.

To see basically every video game ever, go to the catalog and do a search for ‘Video Game,’ selecting ‘Subject’ from the drop-down menu next to the search box. The results this gives you will contain all our video games, but it will also contain books and movies about video games (like this one!).  So, to make sure you get only video games, use the limiters on the right-hand side of the screen to choose ‘Software/Computer File’ as the format. This will take out all those books and give you only games – about 1,700 of them!

If you don’t want to look at all 1,700 results – say, you only want to look at games that we have for a certain console – there’s a way to do that, too. First, decide what console you’re looking for, type that into the search bar, and select ‘Keyword’ as your search criteria. Then hit the ‘Find’ button.

The search box is on the main catalog interface.

If you want to find computer games, ‘PC Games’ is a good search term to use. Don’t worry, it’ll bring up Mac games, too.

Then, like you did before, select ‘Software/Computer File’ as your format to remove any books or non-video game objects from the results.

The format limiter is on the right-hand side of the screen under "narrow your search"

If you DO want books about video games, pick ‘Books’ instead.

You can check video games out for up to a week and play them on your own devices at home, but we also have several handheld consoles available for one-week loans – you can check out the UGL’s Loanable Tech page to check on their availability. And if you want to play a game on a platform you don’t own, remember that we have several available (with all their associated controllers) in our gaming space as part of the Media Commons! Bring all your friends and have a good time. While you’re there, check out the new display showing off selections from our vintage gaming collection – if you don’t go anywhere else this summer, you can always travel down memory lane.

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Write it, shoot it, create it

There are lot of changes happening right now. (Spring! Is it finally here to stay?) In the UGL, we’ve launched our Media Commons. As part of our mission to support collaborative research and learning through technology, the Media Commons features a brand new video production studio. (You may have already heard all about it in the Daily Illini.)

The video production studio has lots of equipment, including a green screen.

The new video production studio in the UGL

In this former classroom space, together with CITES, we’ve been hard at work acquiring professional equipment and setting up a space for all your video production needs. Take a gander at some of the equipment available to you in the awesome new space:

  • Green screen
  • Pro-level lights, like the Lowel Fluo-Tec Studio 450 Phase-Dimmable Fluorescent Fixture, a professional fluorescent light fixture (We’ve included all the bells and whistles, so you can up the intensity or trim the spill. If that sounds fancy, it’s because it is.)
  • Cameras & tripods
  • Mics, including wireless mics, desktop mics, shotgun mics, and voice-over mics
  • Speakers, like the AV 40 Active 2-Way Desktop Monitor Speakers, which are ideal for smaller spaces (like our production studio) and are shielded for use near video monitors
  • The Mackie 1202-VLZ3 12-Channel Compact Mixer, which has 12 line inputs and 4 mic preamps

This all sounds great, you say? Well, then all you need to know is how to get access to this sweet setup. It is available for anyone who wants to use it. (Yes—that means you!) You have to reserve the space ahead of time and complete an orientation on the space and all its goodies. Email the Media Commons team at mediacommons@illinois.edu to get started. Check our website or the Media Commons Facebook page for updates, and we’ll also bring you updates about the Media Commons here at your friendly neighborhood UGL blog.

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