• 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.

Autodesk Fusion 360

We are excited to announce the deployment of Autodesk Fusion 360 for use in the MPS and Innovation Studio. This product is an emerging application that is rapidly gaining steam in the 3D industry and has the potential to be a game changer. Fusion 360 is targeted to both engineers and industrial designers with the look and feel of a marriage between Rhino and Solidworks. The product also has CAM features and a cloud back-end that enables a very smooth collaborative workflow for those engaging in team projects. It’s built-in rendering features are perhaps one of the best stock engines on the market and rival the results of expensive plug-ins like V-Ray. All of these features combine to make it a rising star in the prototyping and making industries.

As a quick note, use of this product does require an Autodesk account because of the cloud tie in. You will need to register here and log in when you start the application (http://www.autodesk.com/education/free-software/fusion-360). This program is also relatively new and Lynda.com does not have a training program for it as of yet so we are recommending Autodesk’s training material at the moment: http://fusion360.autodesk.com/learning/index.html

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Autodesk Maya


Continuing our effort to take advantage of Autodesk’s generous educational licensing, we are excited to announce that the MPS now has Maya installed. Fans of 3D will recognize this title. For those unfamiliar, this software is at the apex of soft-edge modeling. If you have seen an animated character on the screen, it’s a safe bet it was made in Maya.

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AutoCAD in the MPS

You asked, we listened!

In what is the first of many new additions coming to the MPS, we have added AutoCAD to our systems. Users can find it in the Autodesk folder within Applications. Our users have been requesting Autodesk programs and we are committed to providing them. Being that this is a very complicated application support will be limited. But as always, Lynda.com is a great resource http://www.lynda.com/AutoCAD-LT-tutorials/AutoCAD-2016-Essential-Training/375489-2.html?org=duke.edu

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The Innovation Studio now has Photons available for students to use in the lab! We have also picked up several accessory boards to help with your development. If you aren’t sure where to get started, stop in anytime from 12-5 and have one of our student workers show how to get started.

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Screen Shot 2015-09-02 at 2.06.50 PM

There’s a Rhino in the MPS! Well, sort of.

As part of our effort to better serve the growing 3D community on campus we have licensed and deployed Rhino3D. This software has long been a standard tool in the modeling industry and is the “Photoshop” of Industrial Designers. Since its inception, it has been a Windows-only app but has recently been ported to OS X. OIT has obtained 25 seats that are now available to MPS Patrons. All of our machines have this installed and we encourage users to check it out.

For help getting started, take a look at Lynda’s offerings – http://www.lynda.com/Rhino-tutorials/Rhino-5-Essential-Training/133324-2.html?org=duke.edu

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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

2014-07-21 13.59.54

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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  • 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.