By Adam Goldberg, Chief Engineer, Broadcast and Media Operations, College of the Arts, Montclair State
The School of Communication and Media Building (SCM) on the campus of Montclair State University opened in September of 2017. Designed to be a professional production space for the school’s TV, Film, Radio, and communications programs, the building hosts a variety of productions spaces.
All of these spaces are interconnected to each other via a central video/audio/data Evertz Router. All use one RTS Adams Intercom system.
The facility is also connected to the LTN network. This allows us to send signals and receive live videos from around the world. As a result we’ve hosted uplinks for NBC, MSNBC, CNBC, Fox News, PIX, NPR, BBC, and private events.
The building’s second floor is primarily dedicated to audio production. The state of the art facilities center on a 24-channel ProTools audio recording studio and a 16 channel ProTools Foley studio with multi-surface substrate floor, gravel/dirt pit and splash pool. The audio area also features 4 small ProTools post-production rooms for editing.
Just adjacent to the audio area of the building is the campus radio station WMSC, consisting of an On-Air live 24/7 room, prerecord productions room, and overflow talk room. The station can be heard locally on 90.3 FM, and internationally via wmscradio.com. WMSC is also streaming live on the iHeart Radio App as one of a few select college radio stations to be allowed onto the platform.
There is also a 35 seat private movie theater with a 4K DCP projection system and 16-speaker 7.1 surround sound system available for film screenings.
To support these facilities and the roughly 200 classes per semester offered by the School of Communications there are 5 computer labs ranging from 16 to 31 seats per room. All the labs are preloaded with Avid Media Composer, Avid ProTools, Adobe Creative Suite, Davinci Resolve, AutoCad and Vectorworks, just to name a few. The school offers class in Audio/Sound Design, Communication and Media Arts, Communication Studies, Documentary, Journalism, Filmmaking, Public Relations, Sports Media and Journalism, Television Production, Fundamentals of Speech, and a MA program in Public and Organizational Relations. More information on classes and degree programs can be found at: montclair.edu/school-of-communication-and-media/
There are also three additional mediated classrooms in the building used mostly for lecture courses for the Communication Studies and Public Relations programs. The building is also connected to other buildings on campus via dark fiber. Directly adjacent to the building is Morehead Hall where the academic offices are for the School of Communications and Media. The connection to this building allows us to send and receive multiple video signals between the two buildings, creating an interlink between the offices, conference rooms and two mediated classrooms with the production spaces in SCM.
The production spaces are also connected to two theaters on campus. Kasser Theater is a 500-seat professional theater. Seven PTZ cameras permanently mounted in the theater connect back to the production facilities in SCM. Additionally, there are video, audio, and intercom connections between the two facilities allowing the spaces to be fully interconnected for production. We are currently about to go into our third season of recording and producing shows in conjunction with MSU Peak Performances. (peakperfs.org)
Memorial Auditorium, the second theater on campus, seats 1000. Currently, the fiber run between our two facilities allows us to bring in studio cameras and additional support equipment in order to cultivate the theater into a production space.
We have also run fiber connections to the campus football field where other events are captured and/or streamed live, including Montclair’s annual graduation ceremonies. This past June, due to Covid-19 restrictions, we streamed 19 ceremonies over a one week span with 4 studio cameras, jib, 3 PTZ cameras and one wireless roaming camera all switched and streamed live.
In addition to supporting the classes and other university initiatives, the building is also available for third party rentals. Our clientele list includes ABC, NBC, CBS, Google and Telemundo. We also do several recurring talk shows for local politicians in the area. We provide clients with a variety of rental packages ranging from a full technical crew provided by MSU, a mix of MSU and client crew, and space-only rentals. This is a great opportunity for our students to work side-by-side with industry professionals. In all three scenarios MSU provides engineering support to ensure the equipment and spaces are operating correctly.
In the past we’ve also rented facilities to Netflix and independent film makers, and hosted gubernatorial debates, film screenings, town hall meetings and private events. We were even honored to host a lecture by the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg soon after the building was open.
More information about the building and rental areas can be found at: montclair.edu/bmo