Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish thou the work of our hands upon us.
The dedicated team of the Augustine Institute Studios is known for its pathbreaking productions such as Forgiven, Symbolon, and Fr. Michael Gaitley’s series on Divine Mercy. But one of their most important works is almost entirely hidden from view: the provision of technical and artistic support for the Graduate School of Theology’s distance education program.
This Fall, as the Graduate School welcomes some six-dozen new distance education (DE) students, the returning DE students will be greeted with video lectures that are at once more effective and more beautiful.
The most important change was the switching out of the older DE cameras for newer high-definition cameras, the very ones used in some of the Studio’s most recent film productions. Together with a rearranging of the lighting and some fresh paint, these cameras—set at new heights and angles—provide warmer and crisper views of the classroom. In the past, DE students may have felt that they were watching the class from behind the last row of students. Now, they will feel like they have a seat among them.
In addition to the improved visuals, DE students will enjoy an improved audio experience thanks to new microphones throughout the room and better wireless transmitters for the faculty. And all of these gains have been founded upon a comprehensive rewiring of the St. Francis studio classroom and a major investment in the hardware that connects those wires to the servers, by way of new switchers and mixers to keep video and sound seamlessly tracking the movement of the class and to ensure that the recording is as secure and reliable as it may be.
Under the capable direction of Executive Producer Steve Flanigan, the mainstay of the DE team is Travis Haynie, who is assisted at one time or another by every other member of the Augustine Institute Studios. The task is a large one: the steady, timely provision of some 300 hours of classroom instruction each semester. Their shared hope is that the Institute’s distance education students will experience their classes as a refreshing time spent at the very fount of truth, the Gospel of Jesus Christ as conveyed by our great Catholic tradition.