Q&A with COD Media Lab Supervisor, Daniel McCallum

COD’s Media Lab supervisor answers questions about the lab and its many uses.

Joseph Krebaum, Staff Writer

Q: Please introduce yourself to us. How long have you been the Media Lab supervisor? 

A: My name is Dan McCallum, and I’ve been the Media Lab supervisor for about 5 years. I have a background in film production and in higher education, having worked at Columbia College Chicago. 


Q: What are the requirements for students to use the Media Lab? Do they need to make a reservation?

A: Students can reserve space in the Media Lab at library.cod.edu/lab. But anyone is welcome to walk in and use any available computer. Just ask at the desk when you come in and we’ll get you set up! 


Q: What are all the different rooms in the lab used for? 

A: We have three kinds of spaces in the Media Lab, all of which can be reserved online for up to 3 hours at a time. The first is what we call workstations; these are iMacs loaded up with the Adobe Creative Cloud suite and other design applications. These computers are great for editing video, making graphics, designing 3D images, and all sorts of other digital projects.

Second, we have two rooms dedicated to recording audio. Our Sound Booth is a noise isolation room – it’s perfect for blocking out noise and getting a good recording. Both rooms have high quality studio microphones, and an audio mixer with a lot of fun features, including the ability to record phone calls if you’re interviewing someone remotely. Students use these rooms for projects like podcasts and video voiceovers.

Our third space is our studio. The studio has a video camera, lights, audio equipment, and a backdrop that can be used as a greenscreen. Lots of students use this space to record presentations, practice speeches, or demonstrate skills like sign language. The studio can also be used for still photos, and has been used by fashion students, photography students, and more. Students can also use their own cameras or other media equipment in the studio if they want to – it’s a flexible space. 


Q: Can you tell me about the equipment that the lab offers? Also, can students borrow equipment from the lab? 

A: Students can check out equipment to shoot video, take photos, record audio, and more. This equipment can be used in the Media Lab, or you can take it home for a few days to work on your projects. We have several kinds of cameras, with options for total beginners to more experienced users – our most recent additions include the GoPro Hero 9 and the GoPro Max, which can shoot 360 degree video.

One of our more popular items is our drawing tablets. These are great for graphic design projects, editing photos and creating digital illustrations. They have a nice large screen and can be used with Media Lab computers or with your own laptop or computer at home.

We have audio equipment, which includes a podcasting kit, and several different kinds of microphones for recording better audio when you’re shooting video. There are tripods, fold-up greenscreens, light reflectors, and other items that can all help in creating high quality digital media.

Our photo printer is great for creating high quality prints of pictures or illustrations, and you can also use one of our scanners to make digital copies of pictures or other documents.


Q: Do you show students how to use the equipment if they’re not familiar with it?

A: We are always happy to sit down and show students how to use our equipment! We encourage experimenting and learning on your own, but we’re also happy to show you how to get started with any piece of equipment we have. If you check out a camera and you’re not sure what to do next, just let us know and we’ll walk you through everything you need to know. I’m happy to talk about cameras all day! We also have links to all the equipment manuals on our website, in case you need to look something up when you’re not on campus.


Q: What services do you offer here in the Media Lab?

A: Our main goal in the Media Lab is to help students increase their digital literacy for school and for personal growth. We help students in all kinds of classes, from accounting to English to nursing, as well as students working on projects for fun.

We do this by providing space and resources for creating multimedia projects and the expertise to help you get started. Whether you’re making a podcast for class or learning photography for yourself, we can show you the best tools for the job and help answer questions when you get stuck.


Q: How can the Media Lab be used to prepare for finals or for students’ final projects? 

A: The Media Lab is here to help students with any digital media projects for finals – infographics, videos, podcasts, and more. Come work on your projects in the lab and you’ll have our staff nearby to help if you have questions – don’t spend hours looking up what we can help you with in a few minutes!


For more information, visit their website at https://library.cod.edu/lab