The Vancouver Public Library has officially opened the brand-new Inspiration Lab, a digital media production space aimed at telling stores and building creativity.
It is the newest creative destination in Vancouver open to the public and is completely free to use. In the 7,500 sq. ft. space there is the Terry McBride Recording Studio for audio and film recording, three sound recording booths and a large editing suite with a few dozen computer stations designed for media creation and editing and digitization.
“It’s all free to use – for the first time giving Vancouver access to technology, a place to use it, and training workshops from VPL staff and partners from the city’s technology and creative communities.
If someone wanted to digitize home videos from the early ’90s, the Inspiration Lab can do that. If a school group needed to record a song, there is space for them. If a senior wanted to learn new technologies available to them, the lab can make that happen.
“This is kind of a creative playground where anyone can experiment with cool technology, without having to buy their own – and that is very enabling. By enabling more young people to achieve their dreams by doing what they want to do, I think we’ll truly be on the path to something great,” said Sam Chandola, founder and CEO of Victory Square Games in Vancouver, a company which will be working with the library to produce one of the Inspiration Lab’s first partner programs: a week-long video game development camp for teens this summer.
Tuesday’s unveiling showed the public all that the large space can offer, including an impressive array of equipment along with special considerations for quality production, such as sound-proof suites, lighting for film production and a presentation corner to showcase projects and instruct workshops.
The VPL’s diversion into the digital realm will also include a free subscription to Lynda.com, the industry leading destination for online courses in graphic design, photography, video and more. Users will be able to access the site within the library or from anywhere by using their VPL card.
The Lab provides support for all types of digital media production, including:
- Four sound booths with computers, webcams and microphones, including one with dual microphones, an eight-channel audio mixer and monitor
- An 11-by-16-foot recording room with available green screen, video camera with dolly, studio microphones and LED video lighting, along with a connected producer space with a computer and 18-channel audio mixer
- 12 high-performance desktop computers with Microsoft Photo Gallery and Adobe Photoshop (photography), Microsoft Movie Maker and Adobe Premiere (video), Reaper and Audacity (audio), Sigil and Adobe InDesign (publishing and e-publishing)
- Analog-to-digital conversion for video and sound: VHS, Hi8 and 8mm, and audio cassette
- Flatbed scanning stations for photos, negatives or slides
- Presentation and training area for up to 16 people with a large LCD screen and integrated wireless presentation system.
- Digital display spaces with seating for individuals and small groups.
Computer stations and booths can be booked in advance for three hour timeslots and drop-ins are also welcome.
The Inspiration Lab cost $600,000 to build, with funding coming from the City of Vancouver’s Innovation Fun, the VPL Foundation, the library and the Highbury Foundation.