In a dark, soundproof room, lights and a camera are focused on MIT President Emeritus Paul Gray as he graciously accepts the IEEE Founders Medal. He’s taping an acceptance speech that will be shown in June at an IEEE conference in Montreal that he won’t be able to attend in person. The studio could be in any major television newsroom, but it’s right here on the MIT campus.
The video of Gray is the inaugural recording in the new MIT studio, located in Building 24. The studio, two years in the making, replaces an older recording space in Building 9. The state-of-the-art facility is equipped with high-definition cameras, a controlled environment for light and sound, and “Medialink” technology to provide news media with convenient and immediate access to MIT newsmakers.
“With the flip of a switch we can be connected to any major news organization via fiber optic network,” says Larry Gallagher, director of video production and digital technologies for AMPS (Academic Media Production Services), a part of the MIT Libraries.
Requests for interviews with MIT faculty and researchers come often from MSNBC, CNN, Fox News, Bloomberg and other national and international news organizations. Craig Milanesi, AMPS Production Manager, estimates that they tape three to five television appearances a month, and also record three to five radio interviews a week with outlets such as NPR and BBC. He anticipates that number will grow once the studio is in full production this fall.
"Having this facility and service on campus is extremely convenient for faculty and research staff who are sought after by news organizations for their expertise. We’re glad to be able to facilitate this kind of exposure for MIT experts to reach a broad audience," Gallagher says.
In addition to media requests, the studio will also be used for video in support of MIT events and teaching. Paul Gray, who was an early advocate of using video in teaching, recorded a series of tutorials for course 6.002 with AMPS several years ago, and is now involved in the Infinite History Project, which is capturing first-person video interviews with key MIT figures for MIT’s 150th anniversary.
“Without the studio we would have had to rent studio time elsewhere. I’m delighted that we have this space,” Gray says.