Media & Tech Resources

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The two main resources on campus are Media Tech and Support Services (MTSS) and Media Commons.  Although there is some overlap of services, I recommend using MTSS for equipment checkout (it’s free when used for class projects) and Media Commons for most other services.

Media Tech and Support Services

Media Tech is located in the Wagner Annex (blue awning in the parking lot behind Wagner).  Equipment–like video and digital cameras, tripods, and microphones– typically can be checked out for three days for class projects.  (A list of digital camera equipment and accessories can be found here.)

The Wagner Annex also contains two video production studios for filming or editing, including access to cloth backdrops and a green screen, as well as the following software: Final Cut Pro, iMovie, iDVD, iPhoto, and Adobe Photoshop Suite.

  • Monday – Thursday, 7:45 am to midnight
  • Friday, 7:45 am to 7:00 pm

Media Commons

Hotline: 866-266-7496

Three main locations, which contain a portion of Media Commons’ 25 studios on campus. They also offer a variety of online resources at, including tutorials on many common media software applications.  The main locations provide extensive software and hardware resources.  Plus, the staff can show you how to use them.

206 Pollock is the primary location, and contains the most extensive audio and video recording and editing services, and helpful, tech-savvy staff.  Also contains a 24 hour recording booth.

  • Monday – Friday from 9:00 am to 8:00 pm
  • Saturday from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm  (limited tech support)
  • Sunday from 4:00 pm to 10:00 pm (limited tech support)

11 Sparks contains media centers designed for group projects, including 5 workstations (including VHS, DVD, and DV), plus a large screen for sharing portions of the project with the entire group.  Also includes 2 soundproof booths for recording audio.

  • Monday – Thursday: 9:00 am – 11:00 pm
  • Friday and Saturday: 9:00 am – 10:00 pm
  • Sunday:  noon – 11:00 pm
  • Consultant Available: Monday – Friday: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm

Knowledge Commons in Pattee Library is tailored specifically for integrating media production and the libraries’ collections.

  • Monday – Thursday: 9:00 am – 9:00 pm
  • Friday: 9:00 am – 6:00 pm
  • Saturday: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
  • Sunday: 1:00 pm – 9:00 pm (limited tech support)

You can (and should) schedule a room in advance by emailing, or by calling the hotline: 866-266-7496.  Drop-ins also are welcome, but labs often are occupied later in the semester.

Online Software Training
Tutorials on a variety of media editing software can be accessed from both Media Commons and Penn State’s Lynda pages.  If you have a specific question, YouTube also usually works.

Sources of Free and Legal Media

Many media artifacts are available for free and legal use, often under a Creative Commons License.  This resource lists many options at the bottom of the page.  A few highlights include:

Free and legal musicJamendo You may not have heard of the artists, but there’s a lot of good stuff to be found if you dig a bit, from a variety of music genres.  You can search by genre or instrument by clicking on the magnifying glass at the top of the page.  (Includes a wide selection of classical, instrumental, trance, electronica, techno, and ambient if you’re looking for some background music.)
Free and legal images: Remember, even if they’re licensed under Creative Commons or Public Domain, you should still always credit the photographer (or website if no photographer is listed).

  • allows use of its photos, with appropriate attribution.  Very high quality, interesting images.  Good selection of cherry-picked material.
  • is another go-to source for curated, high quality images.
  • Free Range Stock does require site registration, but–like the previous sources–you’ll find very high quality images taken by professional photographers.
  • ImageBase also allows use with attribution to the photographer (David Niblack). Most are high quality (a few are fuzzy at large resolution), with an eye for emotional impact.  Worth browsing, especially if you’re not sure what you want.
  • may have just what you’re looking for, especially for common people, situations, and objects.  More specialized images might be better served by Flickr, though.
  • Flickr’s Creative Commons search shows images that people have released for sharing.  Be sure to select the Creative Commons license search at the end of the page, as well as the option to “Find content to modify, adapt, or build upon.”
  • Although it may return fewer results, Google Images Advanced Search also has a way to search based on licenses: Select “free to use or share” under Usage Rights.

Free and legal sound or
Free moviesPublic Domain Flicks Contains a variety of older films (mostly pre-1960)
Free stock video clips