Category Archives: Vitale Digital Media Lab

Social Media Management with Sara Leavens

Sara Leavens from the Penn Libraries Advancement team and I met recently to have a 15-minute chat about what social media work means in 2017. We covered how Sara came to the libraries, what it looked like for her to compile all the Penn Libraries’ social media accounts under one umbrella, and what she thinks is the next big social media trend / need!

Some fun facts from our chat:

  • Sara has one of the longest titles in the library: Communications, Marketing, and Social Media Coordinator at the Penn Libraries.
  • Social media is 1/3 of Sara’s job.
  • Anytime you read text from any of the Penn Libraries social media handles: @upennlib or The Penn Libraries, you’re reading Sara’s original copy or copy from colleagues that Sara has curated.

Here’s a screenshot of the Penn Libraries Twitter account that Sara coordinates:

  • Social media at the Penn Libraries is curated across platforms.
  • The Penn Libraries has an account with Lynda.com which is part of LinkedIn. The certifications there were hugely helpful for Sara. Having a basic LinkedIn profile is so important because it gives you access to so many digital tools and allows you to keep up with platforms and social media how-to’s beyond the classroom.
  • The Penn Libraries offers photoshoots for LinkedIn profile photos.
  • 1/3 of Sara’s job is marketing, so she spent a lot of time in our chat talking about all the resources the libraries can provide to student to learn about media in the online landscape.
  • More and more students are looking outside of their traditional classroom settings to learn about digital and social media production.
  • The Penn Libraries has been a warm and welcoming space for its interns to create new media. Sara’s background in creative writing and her MFA helped her curate an equally warm voice for the Penn Libraries text output.
  • Creative writing experience + Sara’s generational experiences allow her to feel like the libraries is the best place for the merger between text and digital media.
  • I mentioned that you need fundamental skills and keystone lessons in communication to become a good writer, but once you’ve taken those core classes, it’s fun to riff off of those basic skills and create new texts (digital, video, & audio texts).

Check out the full interview for more of our discussion:

Summer Lightning

June workshops
June Calendar

This Memorial Day weekend has brought sunny hot days that end in evening thunderstorms. The flashes of lightning outside remind me to share the playlist of 16 videos from our April Lightning Round. The short clips are perfect for a tweet-out. Thanks to Chris Vandegrift for amazing video work!

Two June workshops build on Lightning Round energy. Ben Wiggins joins our intern Chava Spivak-Birndorf, creator of WIC and Dogs Timelines, for a TimelineJS workshop on June 8 and Ian Petrie presents a Scalar workshop on June 15. June has more fun topics as well, including how to get Google to notice your website.

Top Ten FAQ Questions @ WIC

Front DeskFrom basic directional questions, to more in-depth technology troubleshooting, we get asked a metric TON of questions at the Weigle Information Commons front desk. So we’ve decided to digitally compile our top ten most frequently asked questions (and answers!) at WIC. Always wondered where the bathroom is on the 1st floor? Spoiler alert: There isn’t one. It’s a crazy design flaw, we know. New student and unsure how to book one of our ever popular Group Study Rooms? We’ve got you covered. Read on!  Continue reading Top Ten FAQ Questions @ WIC

Where Are They Now? Interview with former WIC staffer turned illustrator, Sarah Jacoby

jacoby photo

© Sarah Jacoby 2015

Hello, PennWIC readers! My name is Elizabeth Crowder and I’m a new(ish) graduate intern at the Weigle Information Commons. Our inaugural post in the “Where Are They Now?” blog series features former Vitale Digital Media Lab consultant (2007-2011) Sarah Jacoby who resides in Brooklyn, NY. She currently works as a production designer with the creative team at Tinybop, an educational children’s app and media company. You might be wondering what a production designer does. According to Jacoby, her job as a production designer involves anything from creating art for Tinybop’s apps to helping prepare art for the apps as well as myriad miscellaneous design-oriented things.

In addition to her work at Tinybop, Jacoby works as a freelance illustrator and designer. Current exciting projects include working on a children’s book for a UK publisher and a line of wedding invitations for friends. She has also contributed to books about illustration, shown art internationally and throughout the United States, published with folks like The New York Times, and won awards in fancy places.

Jacoby_Nytimes_bike

© Sarah Jacoby 2015

Sarah was kind enough to take time out of her busy schedule to discuss how she landed her job as a production designer and all the hard work that went into propelling her from a lab consultant at the Vitale Digital Media Lab to where she is today. Continue reading Where Are They Now? Interview with former WIC staffer turned illustrator, Sarah Jacoby

Hello Dolly!

w4dx_deluxedollyWhen you carry a video camera and walk around while filming, the resulting video is often very jerky and can be annoying for the viewer if you don’t follow good technique.  Ideally, we’d all like that smooth camera motion you might get from a SteadyCam, but SteadyCams can get very expensive, they need some customization for the camera you’re using, and they take a long time to learn to use effectively.

So we’ve added a new heavy duty Tripod Dolly to our equipment lending program.  Basically, you can rest your tripod on the dolly, and then wheel it around to get that professional look and feel in your final video.  For obvious reasons, you’ll need to use it on smooth surfaces, so grass, gravel, thick carpets, uneven sidewalks, etc. probably won’t give you the best results, but it works like a dream on regular flooring or low carpeting.  (And even on a slightly bumpy surface, you can always use something like Adobe Premiere‘s Warp Stabilizer to remove most of the shakiness after the fact–just ask a lab consultant if you need help with this!)

Wes and I made a 90 second video on how to use it, which you can view at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=267ccJfyQOY

Right now we only have one dolly, but if it proves to be a hit, I’ll get more to meet the demand.

Reserve the dolly online at checkout.sas.upenn.edu (you’ll find it located in the Tripods category.) If you’re new to borrowing from the Vitale Digital Media Lab, check out our overview of How to Reserve Equipment.

p.s. Thanks to William for the perfect title for this post.

That’s One Sharp Monitor

4K monitorI’ve been wanting 4K monitors in the Vitale Digital Media Lab for a long time.  Most of the machines in the library aren’t powerful enough to drive a 4K display, but our new Mac Pros are, so I figured they deserved a display befitting their abilities.

We now have a gorgeous new 32” 4K Sharp Monitor, pretty much one of the best available as of this writing. (It’s on the workstation right next to the paper cutter.) The lab consultants, some lab users, and I gathered around it last week oohing and ahhing as we watched some beautiful 4K footage we downloaded to put the monitor through its paces.

Please enjoy it, and let us know what you think! If it works out and we’re happy with it, we may upgrade the rest of the monitors later this year.

Lending New Nikon and Canon DSLR Cameras

left-1200 copyAt the suggestion of a lab user, the Vitale Digital Media Lab recently added some brand new Canon 70D and Nikon D7100 DSLR cameras to our equipment lending program.  These are a significant step up from the Nikon D3100 cameras we’ve had up til now.  This brings us up to 8 DSLRs, which remain the most popular items that we lend.

The new cameras provide significantly better image and video quality, higher resolution, less noise, more dynamic range, better color depth, longer battery life, faster and more accurate focus, and better performance in lower light situations without a flash.  The Canon 70D also has a very useful flip-out LCD screen that you can tilt so you can get better shots when you’re shooting at unusual angles.

The cameras are identified by model number in our lending system so you can reserve the ones you like. If you’re new to borrowing, check out our overview of How to Reserve Equipment.

I hope to add more of these in the future, so please let us know what your experiences with the new cameras are like.  If you have additional suggestions for purchases, please let us know and we’ll do our best to get it.