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New digital media lab rolls out access to media equipment

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Local residents get a first look at the new Spark! Digital Media Lab in the Burbank Central Library during a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday.
(Raul Roa/Burbank Leader)

The Burbank Central Library held a grand opening of its new Spark! Digital Media Lab, a free-to-use maker space library officials hope fosters a future generation of creative talent who will work in local studios such as Warner Bros., which broke ground this week on an expanded headquarters.

City officials and students from the neighboring St. John Paul II STEM Academy got a first look at the new facility, which includes various hardware and software needed for photo and video editing, sound production as well as virtual-reality design and 3D printing.

During the grand opening, a 3D printer was on one side of the room meticulously printing a toy boat, and on another side was a DSLR camera pointed at a green screen.

However, many people flocked to the virtual-reality headset, which, during the event, allowed people to travel to different locations around the world thanks to Google Earth.

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“We have lots of ideas of how people will use the space, but I know people will come up with way more creative things than we could ever dream,” said Elizabeth Goldman, Burbank’s library services director.

St. John Paul II freshman Ashley Grande was more interested in using the video- and sound-production equipment, which she said she plans to use to create a vlog channel on YouTube.

“I want to learn how to edit the videos myself,” Ashley said. “No one would ever know that I would be creating these [vlogs] from here.”

All of the equipment and software can be used for free in the media lab, as long as the user is at least 14 years old and has a Burbank Public Library card.

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Additionally, those who are interested in using the facility must first attend an orientation class at the Central Library, located at 110 N. Glenoaks Blvd.

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Burbank Central Library director Elizabeth Goldman talks about the new Spark Digital media Lab that was created within the library, during ribbon cutting ceremony in Burbank on Thursday, Jan. 16, 2019.
(Raul Roa/Staff Photographer)

Rebecca Moreton, a library assistant who will be helping patrons in the media lab, said it took her some time to master most of the gadgets and software.

She said she is fairly proficient with the virtual-reality and 3D-designing software, but she’s still working on understanding the sound-production tools.

“We’ll be relying on the expert instructors who will be coming in to teach us a lot of that material,” Moreton said.

The idea to create a media lab, Goldman said, was through a collaboration between library staff and the city’s economic development department.

Both entities realized that much of Burbank’s economy is based in some manner in the media industry, and having a facility like the Spark! Digital Media Lab could help ensure those in the city can have an opportunity to work in that industry.

“I hope that everyone in the community can feel part of what is such a big part of the community,” Goldman said. “Everywhere that has a dominant industry, there are people that get left out of it for whatever reason, such as access. So that’s what the library always tries to do — level the playing field and provide that access.”

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