Thursday, November 13, 2008
After more than $2.2 million worth of renovation, Biola’s ambitious Media Production Center is ready for lights, cameras and plenty of action.
The center — a state-of-the-art home away from home for students in the University’s film and journalism programs — is currently in the process of being outfitted with cutting-edge equipment that will greatly enhance students’ preparation for 21st century careers in the media industry.
When completed, the center will be a place for filming and editing newscasts, teleconferencing with journalists across the nation, designing magazines and public-relations materials, and creating top-notch student films.
Doug Tarpley, dean of fine arts and communication, said the facility will play a vital role in helping Biola provide the next generation of Christian filmmakers and journalists with both a strong academic foundation and real-world professional training.
“This production center helps us fulfill the second part of that equation,” Tarpley said. “It is absolutely critical to provide students with an excellent experience with cutting-edge equipment in an environment that reflects the professional world.”
Over the summer, work crews completed an extensive remodeling of the existing facility, making room for a new television news studio, a convergent newsroom, a film equipment-storage room and a lobby.
With that skeleton in place, the focus shifted to filling the interior with equipment.
This fall, the University installed a professional news desk, cameras, teleprompters and lights — thanks to generous donations totaling more than $300,000.
Another $400,000 to $500,000 is still needed to purchase computers, computer monitors, software and additional equipment, Tarpley said. All the upgrades will total about $3 million.
Biola previously received more than $1 million for the center from the estate of Joanne and Pepito Perez.
Earlier this year, an anonymous donor contributed an additional $1 million toward the project.
Already, Biola is the flagship school for film programs in the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities, Tarpley said. He said he believes the production center will play a role in helping Biola become a leader in visual communication, broadcast and print journalism programs.
Unlike some programs, Biola doesn’t just give students the technical skills necessary to create films or produce news stories, but also offers the broad academic background, critical thinking skills and ethical foundation that Christian filmmakers and journalists need, he said.
“It’s not enough to know which buttons you push to do a newscast or what the perfect lighting is for a scene in a film,” he said. “At some point, you have to ask the question, ‘Why am I doing this? What is my contract with the culture? How am I trying to impact people?”
The need for more of these well-trained Christians to help influence culture through the entertainment media and information media is great, he said.
“The call to be a Christian filmmaker or journalist is a sacred calling,” Tarpley said. “It is every bit as sacred as a calling to be a minister or a missionary.”
Written by Jason Newell, Biola Magazine Editor.
Biola University, http://www.biola.edu/news/articles/2008/081113_media.cfm