A/V club fills newly created gap in expertise

It’s not very often that a club at Mines has the potential to attract such a diverse set of interests, both artistic and technical. The Mines A/V Club offers just this opportunity. Just in its beginning stages, Dr. Christian Shorey serves as the brains behind the club and explains just what an audio/visual club really entails.

Dr. Shorey, an Earth and Environmental Systems lecturer, started creating audio podcasts with more in-depth versions of his lectures and covers more material than a 50 minute class period would allow. Shorey then expanded into video podcasts, and the idea for the club was born.

As the name implies, the club deals with the essentials of audio and visual productions. Though, as Dr. Shorey said, “We’re thinking about a name change because some kids are saying A/V Club sounds like high school ‘nerdism.’” It is Mines after all, but given the plan to break the club into three distinct sub-groups, a name change may be suitable. The three branches – Educational Outreach, Camera Equipment Construction, and Independent Film Group – will suit a variety of members with various skills.

Dr. Shorey’s interest, given his teaching background, was in the first branch. Presently, his educational videos take a lot of manpower to produce. Making an audio recording is one thing, but creating a full video podcast requires planning, filming, and editing and is much more involved. “My reason for starting this was the [first]; the educational outreach,” Dr. Shorey explained, and with a grin, added, “so, I would love to get help, of course. You can call this the Dr. Shorey slave labor group…”

High quality audio and visual equipment is not cheap, however. And, with the help of a grant from the Mines Tech Fee, the club was able to obtain a Canon XL2 Professional Video Camera. But the camera itself is only part of the process as there is a fair amount of other equipment required to make a professional grade video. Dr. Shorey explained that further accessories such as cranes, dollies, hand stabilizers, and lights are just a few of the many pieces in audio and video production.

Once the club is officially set up more tech fee grants will be submitted to purchase the necessary materials to build equipment and buy what cannot be built. This is where the Camera Equipment Construction comes in. This aspect allows the student to put their skills to work to create the parts necessary for the filming.

The last component is the Independent Film aspect. Dr. Shorey stated that numerous students have contacted him since the inception of the club and said they had similar interests in making videos but were not sure how to make them a reality. With the Independent Film Club falling under the umbrella of the larger A/V Club, they would be able to complete their own projects using professional grade equipment made available through this club. And while this bodes well for students interested in video as a creative outlet, that is not the only advantage according to Dr. Shorey. “There’s also a [Public Relations] benefit for the school. For one, we’re showing that we’ve got a 21st century look; two, we can show everybody in the world where we live; and third is the education.”

Dr. Shorey is confident that the interest is there and given time, both students and faculty will jump on board. “What I’ve been doing is trying to expand the classroom.” he explained, “that’s what iTunes U is about. Lets expand the classroom. We can bring multimedia into it. Every day before class I get in there a little early and start a little five minute video sequence, movie, of something I’ve filmed. And it’s been interesting. More and more students are showing up early to class. And they ask questions like ‘What was that?’ and it starts a discussion.”

The club itself will be organized like every other official campus organization. There will be dues and scheduled meetings as time progresses.

For more information, please contact Dr. Christian Shorey at cshorey@mines.edu

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