Millersville University is a supportive and enriching community located on 250 acres in the heart of historic Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Founded as a beacon of academic opportunity over 150 years ago, Millersville University was recently named 22 in the category of “Top Public Schools” – Regional Universities (North) by U.S. News & World Report and gained recognition for its academic excellence in Martin Nemko’s book How to Get an Ivy League Education at a State University.
Millersville University recently recognized the need to break free from a machine-specific media production environment and adopt a centralized media management solution. By implementing a workflow built on the open, extensible, and customizable Avid MediaCentral Platform, Millersville gained a centralized workflow solution for media management, editing, and distribution while maintaining integration with existing and future third-party hardware and software.
A hands-on approach to education
The Millersville broadcasting curriculum employs a hands-on approach where students learn advanced and sophisticated technical skills through lectures, production classes, and working with professional production teams.
The university’s cutting-edge facilities provide students an opportunity to utilize the same equipment and practices found in major commercial production facilities. Unlike larger universities, students at Millersville University have access to facilities starting their freshman year. “From the first day students enter the campus, they are welcomed to utilize the entire facility,” explains Mark Mullen, Broadcast Systems Specialist. “The sooner we can get students using industry-standard workflows, the better.”
Along with a large HD television studio, students have access to a unique oversized control room, a 24-seat media creation lab, 4 video editing suites, 4 audio editing suites, an audio mastering room with a 5.1 sound system capability, and a second smaller flexible studio space. This summer a 12-seat digital media journalism and small production lab is being installed and added to the facility.
Knowledge and experience learned by using Millersville’s facilities help students obtain internships and employment at media companies such as Comcast Corporation, CNN, Disney Media Networks, ESPN Inc., Hearst Corporation, MLB Network, MTV, NFL films, QVC and regional broadcast television stations. The overarching goal is to offer students opportunities to incorporate critical and analytical skills with strong writing and technical production competencies. Faculty-student collaboration, MUTV 99.1, WIXQ 91.7 and the National Broadcasting Society provide students with additional research and production opportunities.
Projects that reflect the professional world
How do you get students up to speed with the latest industry trends? Millersville takes a pragmatic approach, offering students a broad range of projects that closely mirror the sophistication and complexity of the professional world. Projects include documentary filmmaking, broadcast news reporting, and an array of web-based productions. Students also produce programming for two university channels—with possible local distribution of these planned for the future. High-quality content is an essential component of every project, which is why Millersville now relies on a full end-to-end Avid workflow to help students learn industry-standard workflows for media creation, management, and distribution—all built on the Avid MediaCentral Platform.
Implementing a cutting-edge Avid workflow
Just as the media industry has greatly evolved over the years, so too have the needs of students and faculty. To achieve high-quality results in the most efficient way, it’s important to enable seamless collaboration via integrated workflows that utilize the latest technology. The Avid Everywhere vision for education meets these unique needs by providing integrated, innovative solutions all built upon the Avid MediaCentral Platform. Avid solutions provide students with the skills and workflows they need to create, manage, and distribute high-quality media, so they can succeed in today’s challenging media industry.
Millersville needed a workflow that enabled students to access their media from labs, editing rooms, or anywhere else in the facility. A previous Ethernet-based shared storage solution from another provider yielded numerous problems, and the technology staff realized their aging workflows needed a major upgrade.
To meet the workflow requirements of students and faculty, Mullen and his staff needed a server-based system with central storage that would allow students to easily access content from anywhere, work with existing hardware and software, support multiple editing applications from different vendors, and allow students to collaborate quickly and easily. “Our professors can choose to use multiple video editing applications in their courses, so we needed a solution that would support Avid Media Composer, Final Cut Pro, and Adobe Premiere—all from the same platform,” says Mullen.
Before making a final decision, Mullen visited other universities to see the Avid workflows in action. “We wanted to see how other schools are utilizing Avid. I talked to colleagues from the Salisbury University in Maryland and UNLV, and everyone is very happy with their Avid workflow,” he explains. “It does everything they want to do without requiring excessive support.”
With this reassurance, Millersville decided on a full end-to-end Avid workflow built on the Avid MediaCentral Platform to help their students get the most out of their courses. “It became clear that Avid was the only solution that could meet our unique needs,” explains Mullen. “We’ve had great success in the past using Avid’s audio solutions, including Pro Tools, so that made us confident in investing in the broadcast and pro video solutions.”
According to Mullen and his staff, Avid’s focus on the professional customer was also a key deciding factor. “Avid is clearly concentrated on the needs of professionals and provides the most powerful integrated, end-to-end workflow in the industry,” says Mullen.
Avid is clearly concentrated on the needs of professionals and provides the most powerful integrated, end-to-end workflow in the industry.
MARK MULLEN, BROADCAST SYSTEMS SPECIALIST, MILLERSVILLE UNIVERSITY
The results of implementing the Avid workflow speak for themselves. “Students no longer have to always work from the same computer every time they want to access a project. They can save projects to a location and the next day, use a different machine, and access the same project,” notes Mullen.
He also recognizes the value of offering these workflows to aspiring creatives before they step into the professional world. “Knowledge of Avid solutions is very valuable to students after graduation,” he adds. “Avid workflows are an industry standard with media production.”
And despite the fact that Avid workflows keep important, high-quality files available and in sync across multiple locations, Mullen appreciates the minimal upkeep required. “Our Avid solutions are reliable allowing us to operate more efficiently than before.”
Knowledge of Avid solutions is very valuable to students after graduation.
MARK MULLEN, BROADCAST SYSTEMS SPECIALIST, MILLERSVILLE UNIVERSITY
Seamless workflows for aspiring creatives
The school’s full end-to-end Avid workflow built on the Avid MediaCentral Platform covers media creation, management, and distribution. Using solutions from the Avid Artist Suite, Media Suite and Storage Suite, students and faculty are able to collaborate seamlessly and easily access shared content.
The Bassler Hall facility includes more than 45 audio and video stations equipped with Pro Tools and Media Composer, a recording studio that boasts an Avid C24 mixing console, and a fully functional broadcast studio. All of this is tied together with ISIS shared storage and MediaCentral | UX, offering Millersville the perfect Avid workflow for their students’ unique needs. A Digital Media Journalism lab will be installed over the summer providing 13 more seats of Media Composer, Pro Tools and other media software.
The university’s newly renovated Winter Visual and Performing Arts Center houses a 41-seat Yamaha Clavinova digital piano lab, the nation’s largest, including Pro Tools and Mbox workstations at each piano. The Steinman Foundation Recording Suite includes three rooms—an isolation room, recording room and a spacious rehearsal room. The studio is equipped with Pro Tools software/hardware, and a Pro Tools D-Control console, providing 7.1 surround sound capabilities for student projects.
MediaCentral | UX (formerly Interplay Central), the cloud-based, web front-end to the Avid MediaCentral Platform, enables students and faculty to access media and work on projects from practically any device, everywhere. From a desktop computer, laptop, or mobile device, Millersville students and educators get a unified experience to work whenever, wherever, and with whatever they want.
Millersville professors clearly see the benefits of this integrated solution. They are learning the intricacies of Media Composer and Pro Tools in order to take advantage of the strong content creation, management, and distribution capabilities. “Our professors have embraced the Avid platform,” states Mullen. “The fact that faculty can use Pro Tools, Media Composer,Media Composer | Symphony Option and tie it all together greatly expands the creative possibilities for students.”
An upgrade made easy
Millersville had a great experience working with Avid sales to upgrade their workflows. “I can’t say enough about Avid sales. They did a great job right from the beginning, and really stepped up to help us plan and implement a workflow that would meet our needs,” explains Mullen. “They spent time with us on campus talking to faculty and staff defining the Avid Everywhere vision and describing solutions based on it—including how to incorporate third-party products into our workflow. That commitment on their part made a big difference when it came time to make a decision.”
Mullen sees his relationship with Avid as a true partnership that will continue to grow over time. As a result, the combination of cutting-edge technology and real-world training will be of massive benefit to current and future Millersville students. “We need to offer students industry-standard workflows they are going to experience in the field. Avid helps us understand the workflows leading industry professionals and facilities are using, so we can incorporate similar tools and concepts into our facility.”
A partnership built for the future
Moving forward, the school is considering the use of Media | Distribute (formerly Interplay Pulse) to help distribute the content that students create across multiple platforms. The staff plan on introducing another lab with Media Composer and Pro Tools expanding use of Avid solutions on campus. “We plan on looking into Media Composer | Cloud as a cloud based editing solution providing faculty access to the media on campus from their laptop wherever they are,” notes Mullen.
Avid stands for more than just software and hardware. “We see this as the beginning of a long and fruitful relationship with Avid, and look forward to perhaps becoming a preferred learning partner in the future,” Mullen states. “The Avid preferred learning partnership would help students obtain Avid certifications as part of their coursework.” It’s clear that Millersville sees Avid as a key component for its future success—not to mention a driving force behind the success of its future graduates.