Have you heard about CTS (Collaborative Technology Services)? CTS is a fee-for-service unit that provides audio visual support for departments, colleges, research centers and administrative units across campus. Now in its fifth year of operation, CTS founder Paul Jewell recalls the formation of the unit.
"CTS was created to fill a void that existed on campus. We go in and help people with conferencing, video, and recording needs where they don't necessarily have the technology in place to do it," said Jewell.
When the unit was formed, CTS provided mainly video conferencing support, portable lecture capture, and seminar recording with most of its activities fixed in a few spaces sprinkled throughout the engineering complex of buildings. Today, the unit's mantra is "Have gear, will travel," as the unit deploys its technology to support events across campus – in places like Stephens Auditorium and the Scheman Building to LeBaron and Howe Halls, and anywhere in-between.
CTS offerings are not limited to campus locations. Last spring, the group supported the audio streaming of the April Iowa Board of Regents meeting from the Iowa School for the Deaf in Council Bluffs.
In addition, CTS worked with the Carrie Chapman Catt Center in hosting the Ready to Run event after a groundswell of interest caused organizers to host the event in hotel conference centers off-campus. The first of the three workshops was also sent via videoconference to Grinnell College. CTS Coordinator, Roger Suski, says the Ready to Run collaboration was a good fit for both units.
"We walked into an empty conference room, and provided the projection, wireless and table microphones, lighting and cameras," said Suski. "It was a great opportunity to work with the Ready to Run organizers accommodate the larger-than-anticipated attendance in the off-campus locations. We worked with the staff at the hotel and their service providers to ensure we met all of the requirements to make the day's presentations successful. We took ownership of the technology so that the organizers could focus on putting on the best presentation possible," said Suski.
CTS provides three tiers of services: videography, audio visual support, and remote video production. All three are flexible based on what is required for the event. Videography services are provided in a wide range of settings, from capturing a guest lecturer to recording a formal interview or obtaining footage in multiple locations for video production.
Audio visual support is also very broad and includes services such as setting up microphone and public address systems on location, video conferencing and Cisco Telepresence, and projection. Every event has at least one professional staff or student technician supervising and operating the technology at these events.
The remote video production is a portable production studio CTS built. It is capable of recording events, seminars, lectures and presentations with multiple camera angles and can also stream this video live to Facebook, YouTube. In addition, this unit can pair with videoconferencing to provide a very professional and polished look to training and multi-site conferencing events.
Production includes access to three remote controlled HD cameras and three traditionally operated cameras. Variations of this unit have worked to record and stream the ISU Fashion Show, the annual Presidential Address, and many high-level guest speakers on the Iowa State campus. "The technology we've acquired, and the service tiers we've created allow us to say 'Yes' when a client reaches out for assistance or consultation,” said Suski. We're here to make technology one of the easier parts of a client's job."