• Welcome to The Spark
    The Spark is a blog curated by the staff of the Multimedia Project Studio (MPS) at Duke University. We are a small group of highly talented students and staff well-versed in the language of multimedia. The Spark is a resource for helpful tips, tutorials, specific concerns of the lab, and general inspiration.

The Spark is Changing

You may have noticed some changes in the content and formatting of the Spark.  Don’t worry, the functionality of the Spark will continue to exist through Shiftr.  On Shiftr you’ll be able to find staffing schedules and profiles, where they’ll be available in Enroll.  Right now, we are transitioning the Spark to serve as an announcement site for the MPS, so we’ll keep you posted on any future updates!

Some of you have previously relied on the Spark as a training resource or a place to go to for answers to software and methodology questions. We have you covered! Starting this fall OIT Training and OIT Lab Engineering will be launching the Tech Tutors program. This program will allow anyone at Duke to make a reservation with an MPS student or trainer for some 1-on-1 help. While posting articles to a blog was a great way for our staffers reach people it forced us to be general and often address unasked questions. This new format will allow our students to convert the time they were using on the blog articles to hands-on customer interaction. More information on Tech Tutors will be coming soon as details are finalized!

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The MPS is hiring students for Fall 2014!

The Office of Information Technology has a few openings for student support staff to work in the Multimedia Project Studio for Fall 2014.

MPS Consultants provide support for students, faculty and staff working in the Multimedia Project Studios on East and West campus. Projects encompass video editing, graphic design, website construction, audio editing and more. We are looking for students with experience in at least one of those areas – if you’ve done projects for class, student groups, or just for personal fun and want to expand your skill set, this is a great job to have.Successful candidates usually have at least some experience with video editing, since the majority of lab questions are about video editing, but there is opportunity to learn that stuff if you are really skilled in other areas and want to learn.

If you think you might be a good candidate for this position, please check out our job descriptions and application on the OIT website, and send in an application! We are also hiring for staff in the Link and other areas. The link is below —


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PTZ Shootout

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We currently have mid-model PTZ cameras all in one location and hooked up to a test monitor.  On hand is the Sony BRC-Z330, Panasonic AW-HE60, Vaddio HD019, Cisco PrecisionHD, and Logitech BCC950.  With the exception of the Logtiech all three cameras have similar price points and options.   We did this round up to see how they perform against one another.  If you have a project coming up that needs a PTZ, it’s good opportunity to familiarize yourself with some common options.


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Panasonic Mini-Event


Panasonic is coming on site today from 2:30-5pm at MPS West in the Perkins / Bostock Library to demo their PTZ line up. We will be testing their cameras in several conferencing and production scenarios. Representatives will be available for questions. We will be exploring the AW-HE120, AW-HE60, and AW-HE2.

More information:

  • http://www.panasonic.com/business/provideo/AW-HE120.asp
  • http://www.panasonic.com/business/provideo/AW-HE60S.asp
  • http://www.panasonic.com/business/provideo/AW-HE2.asp

This is a walk-in style event, we invite you to stop in and check out the demo.

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PrimeSense At The MPS!

Screen Shot 2014-06-23 at 5.01.23 PM

A new PrimeSense scanner has been purchased for use in the MPS starting this fall.  We couldn’t help ourselves when we explored some applications in the Media Lab.  To demonstrate the potential, we used a powerful application called Faceshift that captures our movements and expressions in real time.  Just a quick preview of things to come this fall at the MPS, keep checking back for previews of some of the other new gadgets we’ll be bringing to Duke.

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2014-03-14 17.21.51

If you’ve been watching the Spark you’ve seen posts about several changes this week to the MPS but it’s time to announce our biggest one, A 3D PRINTER!

Now before I go any further, an important note.  The 3D Printer is being hosted inside of the MPS but is not part of the MPS.  This is an important distinction as the MPS is an operationalized space and 3D printing is experimental.  The DukeMakers will be volunteering 3D days a week to staff the room for walk ins and orientations.  Beyond that the service is self-serve and self-support.  We have provided much wisdom and documentation on Duke’s wiki, which anyone is welcome to comment or modify.  In addition to the printer, we have also added a 3D scanner anyone is welcome to use.

Use of the printer is first come / first serve with a sign up sheet located on site.  The service officially kicks off at 9am Monday and there will be a staff member on site most of the day.  We do welcome office hours to talk about the program and thoughts all day Wednesday.  To help with 3D, we have installed SketchUp 2014 on all MPS machines for people to use.

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Student Worker iMac at MPS East

As I’m sure you’ve seen in some of the other recent posts, we’re doing some remodeling around the MPS this spring.  One of our additions is an iMac for the student worker desk at MPS East.  Students now have a space to work while they are on duty!

2014-03-11 13.25.15

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Audio Room Changes

Things will look a little different in the MPS when students return from spring break.  One of the big changes was the audio booth.  Previously there were two systems in the same room.  You would record on one iMac and then carry your data out to the other iMac in the room to edit it.

We changed things up a bit.  The room is now powered by one iMac and we are using extenders to drive a second keyboard, mouse and monitor located in the booths window.  This should give everyone the convenience of working from the same system without having to drag data around.

2014-03-12 16.52.45

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Audio Room Nearly Complete

After 4 days of construction the audio room upgrade is almost done.  Just a couple more quick tweaks and we’ll be all finished up!


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Soundbooth Renovation

2013-12-16 12.47.482013-12-16 16.46.43

We have some construction going on at MPS West. The contractors are here replacing the door and wiring. The project will give the audio room a more open feeling. Other than general aesthetics, the door will also be functional. The new window will allow patrons to see if the room is occupied and prevent interruptions for those who are working. More updates to come soon!

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  • What is the MPS?

    The Multimedia Project Studio is a high-end computer lab located on Duke University West Campus. We feature cutting edge equipment and industry standard software and are staffed by a corps of student Multimedia Consultants who are available to help you out with your project on a one-on-one basis, but are not able to do production work on your behalf.
    MPS Lab Location & Hours
    MPS West
    006 Bostock
    The MPS in Bostock is open whenever the library is open. Check their site for hours, which can change during holidays and academic breaks.

    Staffed Hours for the MPS

    Winter, summer, and other break hours will vary, according to student consultant availability. To check consultants' availability, view our Live Schedule.

    Sunday - Thursday: noon to midnight
    Friday: noon to six.
    Be sure to check our Live Schedule to see who will be on staff and our staff page to meet our talented consultants.