Digital Media Lab helps creators

As ice and COVID keep folks inside, DML keeps the creativity owing.

by emily croft, staff writer
Newswire photo by Desmond Fischer
Despite working to stay safe during the pandemic, the digital media lab is giving student creators useful tools.

Located on the third floor of the Conaton Learning Commons, the Digital Media Lab (DML) has modified its space and operations to satisfy pandemic regulations. Student workers and staff continue to be optimistic about the space and encourage students to become more involved with the DML. 

Within the DML, students can find an array of equipment that is available for them to use for classroom projects or personal hobbies. Poster printing, costing simply the price of the materials needed to make posters, is the only machine within the DML that is something Xavier students would need to pay for. Everything else, including the shooting studio, audio recording equipment, computers and space are free for students to use at any time. 

Aidan Siegel, a staff member for the DML, discusses the hidden treasures it has to offer the Xavier community. “The ability to use Adobe and all the cameras are really good options to have since students just have to rent them out for free,” he noted. 

Unlike the Makerspace, it is not necessarily required to have a reservation when using certain equipment in the DML. Mac and PC computers are free for students to walk in and hop on, while the audio recording studio and shooting studio need one-hour-block reservations. Equipment is not necessarily in need of a reservation, but it may recommended to go earlier rather than later if they need it for a school project. 

Paul Weber, Video and Digital Media Technologist, discusses the popularity of the DML when it comes to classroom projects. “We tend to know exactly when a project is due because we have a flood of students coming in without reservations to use the equipment,” he explained “and we want to save you from a walk in the cold if we don’t have any equipment available at the time.” 

With the pandemic in full swing, the DML has adjusted the way returning equipment goes so the proper cleaning and disinfecting can take place before another student wants to use the same technology. 

Weber added, “During the checkout process, we clean the technology and quarantine it so the students don’t have to, and we don’t want them to worry about cleaning the equipment anyway.” 

They also had to take away lounge chairs and couches in the DML to maximize the space for computers in the lab while following social distancing rules.. 

Looking forward, the DML is unsure if they will be able to host any events this semester because of  the uncertainty of the pandemic. With social distancing, it has been harder on the DML.

Weber noted, “The biggest thing that we tend to struggle with is students knowing that we are here and everything that we have to offer,” he continues. “We spent the money, so use what we have to offer.” On the other hand, they’re always searching for new and intriguing equipment that students may want offered. Based on what is being asked for and what is becoming popular, the DML wants to offer students everything they need.