Field Equipment

The School’s Equipment Cage offers a comprehensive range of film and video equipment for student use, encompassing technologies from the cutting-edge to the obscure, from underwater camera systems to portable digital stop-motion kits. This gear allows students to shoot on the School’s production stages, in front of a green screen, at home or anywhere on location, providing them with a versatile set of tools with which to pursue any number of traditional and experimental approaches. The Cage features a wide assortment of video and film cameras, lighting kits, microphones, digital sound recorders, stereoscopic systems and a host of video installation equipment.

Animation Computer Labs

The School of Film/Video has several Macintosh-based computer labs, each one comprehensively outfitted with an array of industry-standard hardware and software. The Animation Computer Labs provide equipment for students to produce films using 2D and 3D computer graphics as well as traditional animation techniques.

Labs are structured around powerful computer graphic workstations featuring Wacom Cintiq graphics tablets, and applications such as the Adobe Creative Cloud suite, TVPaint, Maya, ZBrush, Pro Tools and other related software.

A PhaseSpace motion capture system and Oculus Rift DK2 HMD are available for use with Autodesk MotionBuilder and Unity software for real-time performance animation. There also is a dedicated stereoscopic editing system using a Blackmagic 4K Ultrastudio with live 3D display.

Students can scan hand-drawn animation on high-speed, large-format scanners, or draw or create their animation directly in the computer. From initial concept through production including digital painting, compositing and special effects, sound design, audio and video editing, and final output as digital files suitable for digital distribution or film festivals, these labs can meet the demands of virtually any animation project.

Multimedia Lab

The Multimedia Lab serves as a versatile technological hub by furnishing hardware and software for a wide range of media works, ranging from narrative, documentary and experimental pieces to installation, new genres and hybrid forms, developed for galleries, public spaces, live cinematic performance and theatrical presentation. Much of the work carried out in this lab involves programming and the use of sensors and other hardware.

Video Studio

The Video Studio production space is used for classes, shoots, and installations and is 1400 sq. ft. with an adjacent control room. There is a lighting grid with movable lights as well as two rows of fixed lights. The floor in the Video Studio is smooth and level, which is unique to our production spaces. A fixed green screen curtain and flooring are available for digital compositing. There is also a slidable black curtain. Equipment includes floor lights, display monitor, and basic grip equipment.


The Blackmagic Cintel Film Scanner creates digital files from 16mm, Super 16 and 35mm negatives and prints. The film scanner captures in a high resolution RAW format for digital mastering and archiving. The film scanner can also capture audio in real time and Keykode information to allow filmmakers the ability to match frames and later cut their negatives.


Videographics is a dedicated live analog video generation and manipulation facility. Using any or all of the various generators, unique and subtle electronic images can be created. Audio sources can be used to influence the images via a Eurorack modular video synthesizer. Pre-recorded and live sources can be combined and altered with immediate results, no rendering needed. Sources for pre-recorded materials can include DVDs, DV tape, VHS and Betacam SP tapes. The analog video sources can be transferred into the digital realm via Blackmagic Design hardware and software.

Signals from C105C Videographics can be connected to C115 Video Studio for source mixing and switching, or C115 Video Studio output can be routed to C105C Videographics for processing.

Digital Editing & Post

The Digital Editing and Post-Production areas (DEP) help students to thoroughly understand and navigate the post-production process in order to best support their artistic practice. DEP provides access to students on a professional level, including contemporary hardware and software with faculty, staff and trained student assistance to help with digital and film workflow and technical issues. Digital Editing & Post-production provides post-production facilities consisting of iMac Pro based systems.

Sound Facilities

The School offers state-of-the-art sound equipment and facilities to meet all recording, editing and mixing needs. All rooms are Pro Tools based and mixing rooms have a large complement of advanced signal processing tools. All systems have access to students’ server accounts and online storage, as well as the school’s online sound effects library, which contains about 45,000 digital sound files, and over 60 hours of production music.

The School’s Pro Tools systems allow acquisition, editing and pre-mixing of film and video projects. Systems can be found in various facilities within the School of Film/Video including the sound area, digital editing labs, and some animation labs. After sound editing, projects normally are opened in one of the mixing rooms for a final mix.

Digital Cinema Surround Mixing Theater

A large theater-sized space for mixing 5.1 surround sound for film and video projects, the facility includes a fully-automated Avid S6 control surface, a large Pro Tools HD system with extensive signal processing plug-ins and calibrated JBL cinema monitors. Mixing is performed while watching film or video images on a NEC 2k digital cinema projector.

Recording Studio/Video Surround Mixing

The Recording Studio is utilized for recording narration, dialogue replacement, foley and sound effects, as well as for music scoring. It features vintage and contemporary microphone preamps, and a Pro Tools HD system with an Avid S6 control surface. Most sessions are engineered by trained sound student assistants. The Recording Studio’s Control Room is also used for 5.1 surround sound video mixes using calibrated Genelec monitors.

Basic Sound Preview and Edit Rooms

There are several acoustically treated rooms built around Pro Tools digital audio workstations and Genelec surround monitoring systems for sound editing, small group teaching, and preliminary mixing. Also available is an isolation booth for recording voiceovers and ADR.

Film Directing Studio

The Film Directing Studio, measuring 39x36 feet, is used for teaching students how to shoot and direct actors for filmmaking. The studio is part of the Steven Spielberg Sound Stage, a building that also includes a classroom with multi-format video screening capability, a seminar room, an editing workstation, a control room and a shooting studio. Studio equipment includes two digital camera packages with full sound and lighting support, a camera dolly and a 24-channel lighting board.

Permanent Set

The Louis B. Mayer Permanent Set, donated by one of the commercial studios in Los Angeles, is a 35x39-foot interior set with simulated backdrops for backyard and patio. Used primarily for classes and workshops in staging, lighting, cinematography and other aspects of production, this facility is also available to students outside of classes.

Black-and-White Studio

A 39x47-foot space, the Black-and-White Studio is outfitted with a permanent hard cyclorama. It is used by undergraduate and graduate students for productions as well as for multimedia installations.

Installation Space

A white cube space with network ports, this space is designed for the exhibition of installation, performance and other media work that is best suited for a gallery-like setting. Projectors, monitors and other sculptural elements can be combined for exhibition supported by a hanging grid.


The 125-seat Bijou Theater is CalArts’ main screening facility. It features a Digital Cinema projector, both 16mm and 35mm Xenon projectors and a calibrated 5.1 audio system. Modern and legacy formats such as film, videotape, optical media, digital video files and Digital Cinema Packages can be screened for exhibition and study. Exhibitions, discussions and Q&A sessions can be supported with laptop inputs for projection and live microphones.