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Frequently Asked Questions

  • What basic elements should student groups consider before starting a video project?

    Video Basics:

    1. Camera – Know what your camera can and cannot do
      1. Resolution (720, 1080, 4K)
      2. Recording Medium (Type of SD Card, or other Storage)
      3. Lens (Fixed/Interchangeable, Wide, Narrow, Variable Zoom)
      4. Recording time
    2. Lighting
      1. Color Temperature (Fluorescent lights tend to be cooler 4000K-6500K,Incandescent is warmer 3200K)
      2. 3 Point lighting (Key, Fill, and Backlight)
      3. Indoor/Outdoor
      4. Adjust white balance for color temperature
    3. Audio
      1. Audio is the most important part of video
      2. Select appropriate microphones (Shotgun, Lavalier/Lapel, Stereo)
      3. Room tone vs. no audio
    4. Storyboard & Script
      1. Plan what you are going to shoot.
        1. If it is something repeatable, e.g. a process, watch the process a few times to see what the best angles and times to shoot
        2. Make sure what you shoot is reflecting the story you want to tell
      2. Do not over shoot
        1. Some b-roll is good, but hours of b-roll is a waste of time in shooting and editing
    5. Schedule your shoot
      1. Time is valuable to everyone involved.
        1. Schedule location time
        2. Schedule talent time (actors/person(s) being recorded)
        3. Schedule video crew
      2. Shooting
        1. Format your storage
        2. Charge your battery(s)
        3. Test microphone/audio levels with headphones on
        4. Light scene/talent
        5. White balance the camera after lighting has been set
        6. Roll for 1 to 2 seconds before speaking
        7. Let people/action naturally go out of scene (these are natural cuts)
        8. Pan and tilt only when necessary
      3. Editing

    Post-production (editing)

    1. Any editing software should do, we use Premiere Pro on campus
      1. Premiere Pro
      2. Final Cut Pro
    2. Graphics
      1. Intro/Outro graphics aka header/trailer
      2. Size graphics accordingly (static should match your resolution, scaling graphics should be designed for the maximum size)
    3. Sound design
      1. Background audio can influence the mood of the video.
    4. If you follow your storyboard, editing should go quickly
      1. A good plan leads to a good edit
      2. Decide on a finishing point, you can edit forever (don’t)
    5. Lower Thirds – used for names/titles/locations

    Video Distribution

    1. Final Format - This is determined by delivery method
      1. MP4
      2. MOV
      3. AVI
    2. Publish to YouTube/Vimeo/Other online video distribution

    You can use royalty free music, some requires licenses or attribution pay attention to the terms/service agreements so you or your client don’t get sued.

    There is a YouTube music library with free and attribute required audio

    There are also graphics/lower thirds available for free and purchase.

  • Where can I access release forms for people and locations that may be in my production?

    These forms are designed to protect the University from liability as well as to ensure that the University can make use of materials produced using state equipment and staff labor.

    Please direct any questions regarding the use of these forms to Chuck Allen (4783 -

  • Can the CSUSM studios be used by non-campus organizations?

    This guide is for non-CSUSM organizations. Academic Technology Services, Spring, 2016


    The studio production facilities include:

    • Video studio A - full three-camera high definition production studio with control room (Kel 2316, 2314, 2315).
    • Video studio B - full three-camera high definition production studio with control room (Kel 2311, 2312, 2313).

    Each studio has a sink and full length mirror. Restrooms are nearby, and the building has a loading dock for bringing gear in and out. The CSUSM Studio facilities are supported by Instructional and Information Technology Services (IITS).


    The studios are available during normal working hours from 8AM-5PM, Monday-Friday. Use outside of normal working hours may require overtime for studio staff.

    Doing Production in the CSUSM Studios


    If you wish to book CSUSM studio facilities, equipment, and/or support labor, must first contact the Studio Coordinator (, 760-750-8670) to provide details, including:

    • Requested date.
    • Nature of organization desiring to use facilities.
    • Number of client personnel involved in production.
    • Nature of production.
    • Facilities/equipment requested.

    Studio staff will consult the Production calendar to determine if production can be supported without affecting instruction. If so, we can tentatively reserve space/personnel for your production. After consultation IITS will inform the University Events and Scheduling Office (UESO) so that we may work together to determine costs and other requirements. Upon client acceptance of fees and requirements, production is scheduled on the studio Production calendar.  Please note that use of the studios is subject to the campus “Scheduling University Facilities for Non Instructional Events” policy.


    Important items to be completed prior to facility use include:

    • Purchase of parking permits (UESO)
    • Completion of Risk Assessment form (IITS)
    • Script/storyboard review (Communications)
    • Insurance requirements check (UESO)
    • Technical preparations (IITS)
    • Collection of non-refundable deposit (UESO)

    On the production date(s)

    1. Client arrives at Kellogg Library loading dock with parking permits.
    2. IITS staff meets them and escorts them to studio area.
    3. Production activities occur.
    4. Client is provided with resulting video files (on client-provided media).
    5. Client is escorted to the loading dock area for load out.


    • A designated Studio Technician must be present during any and all use of the facility. This Technician will have authority to ensure that activities comply with the project’s approved use. The Studio Technician must approve all equipment and properties brought into the Studio.
    • Liquids, open flames, flammable materials, or materials that create health or other hazards are not allowed in the studio facility.
    • No smoking, food, or drink is allowed in the studios themselves. A cart can be provided in the hallway outside the studios for catering.
    • The studios are potentially dangerous areas where personnel must strictly comply with safety practices to avoid injury.


    • Only IITS personnel may make software and/or configuration changes to the computers in the facility.
    • Repair of damage to the facilities, tools or equipment during use (including setup, rehearsal, production, or post-production) will be billed to the project.
    • Costs incurred to remove any material after the approved de-installation date will be charged to the project.

    General Information

    • The university is not liable for any loss, damage, or expense incurred by any user due to the use of CSUSM Studio services, equipment, software, or information.
    • IITS will make every effort to protect intellectual property rights. It will be the responsibility of those requesting services to secure appropriate rights to programs and content.
    • The University reserves the right to restrict or refuse service from or access to IITS studio facilities to any group or individual. Use of campus technology, including the studios, is subject to CSU and campus acceptable use policies.  Use of university facilities for commercial purposes is restricted.
  • What kind of video equipment is available for checkout?

    We have a variety gear necessary for recording high-quality HD video. This includes:

    • small consumer camcorders
    • professional camcorders
    • tripods
    • field monitors
    • matte boxes
    • light meters
    • user manuals

    These items are stored and checked out in:

    IITS Help Desk - Second floor Kellogg Library (760-750-6505)

  • What kind of audio equipment is available for checkout?

    This area includes:

    • Field recorders
    • Portable mixers
    • Microphones
      • Wireless, Shotgun, Handheld wire, Lavaliere
    • Headphones
    • Slates
    • Boom poles
    • Other accessories

    These items are stored and checked out in:

    • IITS Help Desk - Second floor Kellogg Library (760-750-6505)
  • What kind of lighting equipment is available for checkout?

    This area includes:

    • Light kits and accessories
    • Single lights and accessories
    • Light stands
    • Reflectors and diffusers
    • Other accessories

    These items are stored and checked out in:

    IITS Help Desk - Second floor Kellogg Library (760-750-6505)

  • What's the Learning Glass?

    The Learning Glass is essentially a transparent whiteboard. A camera is aimed through the glass while you write on it, so you're facing your audience while you're being recorded. The glass you are writing on is side-lit by hundreds of small LED lights, making the flourescent marker ink bright and easy to read.


    The writing is flipped horizontally, so you don't need to learn to write backwards. Just teach the way you are used to teaching, and we'll take care of the recording and processing and email you a link. If your teaching involves use of equations and diagrams, this is a great way to go. We do the recordings in the Media Production studios on the second floor of Kellogg Library. For more information, please contact Blake Schilling (bschilling, x8670).

     Sample teaching session using Learning Glass.