For graduates seeking jobs in media and entertainment production, competition is fierce. Utah Valley University’s (UVU) Digital Media Program strives to provide students with hands-on training and field experience that will give them a competitive edge upon entering the industry after graduation by using state-of-the-art equipment.
Offering tracks in Audio Production, Cinema/TV Production, Gaming and Animation, IT and more, UVU's four-year program lays the foundation for a successful career in any digital media discipline. From the start, UVU immerses program participants in a core set of classes where they learn the ropes - from web design to audio, 3D modeling, animation and other tasks. As students advance to upper division coursework, UVU tailors the curricula to each specific discipline. For example, students with a Cinema/ TV Production emphasis learn how to sync dailies, edit, color grade and more. It all culminates in the fourth year, as students apply the knowledge and skillsets they've acquired to produce senior projects - which range from developing training videos and promotional content for non-profit organizations to producing an original 12-page short film from scratch.
Hands-on experience with industry-standard equipment like Facilis' TerraBlock SAN is essential throughout all four years of the program to ensure that students know how to operate the latest gear being used in the field. UVU Associate Professor Dennis Lisonbee monitors industry trends and adapts the program's workflow accordingly to give students access to technology such as RED EPIC and RED ONE 4K cameras; Shotput video offloading software; Avid, Adobe and Final Cut Pro editing software; Assimilate SCRATCH Lab; CAT DV; and its newest addition - the Facilis TerraBlock shared storage system.
Last October, Lisonbee integrated TerraBlock into the University's pipeline to help house an expanding library of HD and 4K student projects. "We had tons of assets sitting around on hard drives, which isn't how a real studio works. I knew we needed an affordable SAN that could hold all of our projects and serve out our HD and 4K video files," Lisonbee shared. "An Avid learning partner, Avid compatibility was a requirement. The fact that TerraBlock would allow us to also work with Adobe and Final Cut was an added bonus. We knew it was the right fit for us, and every day that becomes clearer."
Located 2,500 feet from the Digital Media department building, the system is connected to 70 workstations spread out across campus through 10Gb optical Ethernet switches in each classroom. Since installation, TerraBlock has evolved into an integral teaching instrument -giving students enough bandwidth and capacity to learn how to store, share, edit and manage assets simultaneously as they would in a real-world post environment. "When we're teaching an asset management class of 30 students, they're able quickly learn how to pull files off of the shared network and edit them at the same time without any problem, slowdown or interference," Lisonbee noted.
TerraBlock's intuitive management features and remote access capabilities have also given Lisonbee newfound flexibility in his schedule. "Time spent administering is time away from the students. TerraBlock is so easy to use and manage, that I now have more time to spend working with the students," he said. "It also makes setting up volumes seamless. If a student is working on a project on campus and needs a new volume or more space, I can just log into the system - even if I'm at home - set the permissions, and they're good to go."
"TerraBlock has already saved us so much time, and the security it gives us is huge, which makes me want to buy more. It's come to a point now, where I wonder how we ever ran the program without it," Lisonbee concluded.