Wichita State University senior Alyssa Pfeifer took an elective film class in high school as a break from academics she considered more stressful.
It didn’t take long for film to become her passion. She made short films, entered competitions, and experimented with cameras and lighting on music videos.
“Editing was something that I could tune out the world and put my own focus into,” she said. “It got to the point where I was making things that were getting recognition. I wanted to do something that I enjoyed doing, rather than something I was dreading going to every day.”
Now at WSU’s Shocker Studios, students like Pfeifer have even more opportunities to hone their skills with a state-of-the-art, 700-square-foot editing suite for their video projects. The studio features theater lighting and seating, a 4K digital cinema compliant projector and a 200-inch screen. Students work on PCs and Mac Studios. It is equipped with DaVinci Resolve Color Panels, and keyboards are hot-keyed for Adobe Premiere Pro and/or DaVinci Resolve.
“No one else has this, certainly no one in the Midwest,” said Justin Rorabaugh, director of Shocker Studios. “I can do all my color correction here. The room’s got awesome sound. It’s really vibrant quality and color.”
The suite gives students a professionally equipped place to edit. The big screen gives them a theater-style look at their work. By next year, Rorabaugh’s goal is to install Dolby Atmos for immersive sound.
“It feels very nice to have a proper setup for looking at things, especially with regard to things with color correction, where you’re not just doing it on your laptop and hoping when you project it up somewhere else that it still looks good,” said Andrew Emanuel, a senior majoring in media arts.
Students use Adobe Premiere Pro and DaVinci Resolve editing software and Blackmagic Design production and editing equipment.
“It gives you experience using the actual equipment, the actual workflows,” Emanuel said. “If I’m editing on my laptop, I’m getting some of the basics, but I’m not getting all of the muscle memory, all of the understanding of the most efficient practices.”
Pfeifer, from Lee’s Summit, Missouri, is majoring in filmmaking. Access to professional software gives the students more real-world experience for their color correction and lets them work at a faster pace. The screen allows collaborative work that would be limited by a laptop’s small screen.
“Because (laptops) can’t always handle what we’re doing, it’s nice to have the space that we can go to where we can really experiment,” she said. “It also has a great projector, so you go from seeing your work on the smaller screen to actually being able to see it in a presentation mode.”
Her high school experiences in film editing led her to Wichita State, where she continues to enter contests and work on personal projects.
“I just had that gut feeling that Shocker Studios was where I am meant to be,” she said. “It wasn’t as intense, or as big of a move, as something on the coast would be, but it’s still very much state-of-the-art. I’ve been able to get a super-good education and experiences here that I think will translate really well to my career.”