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Research & Study Facilities
Research and Study Facilities - Film

The Department of Communication Arts is housed in Vilas Communication Hall. This seven-story building opened in 1972 and also houses the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, the Department of Theatre and Drama and the public radio and television stations WHA-TV, WHA-AM, and WERN-FM.

Vilas Hall houses one of the nation's finest complexes for the study of communication and the presentation and production of film and video. These facilities include theatrical stages, radio laboratories, film and video equipment and studios, and research and instructional facilities for all departmental areas. The physical plant at Vilas Hall makes possible not only a wide range of study projects in Communication Arts but permits unique approaches to their execution.

This facility is a national repository of performing arts materials. Of particular interest to film students are the United Artists and David Shepard film collections, which form the main part of the Center's film archive. The UA collection consists of the Warner Brothers film library (16mm prints and scripts for 700 features, 1929-1941); and the corporate records of United Artists, 1919-1950.

The Shepard collection contains 200 films, mainly German, French and Russian, produced from 1910 to 1960. Recent acquisitions include 270 Soviet feature films and documentaries produced in the fifties, sixties and seventies, the largest collection of postwar Soviet films in the United States. Features acquired from Almi and New Yorker distributors add more international diversification to the archives.

The Center is a major site for archival research in broadcasting history. The NBC papers, from 1921 to 1969, are housed here, in a collection amounting to almost 600 boxes of interdepartmental correspondence, reports, publicity materials, scripts, and recorded programming. Other significant historical collections include the records of the National Association of Broadcasters, the National Association of Education Broadcasters, National Education Television (NET), the Crossley and Nielsen ratings companies, and the papers of distinguished individuals such as E.P.H. James, Newton Minow, Irna Phillips, Jane Crusinberry, Paul Rhymer, Ed Sullivan, Paddy Chayefsky, John Frankenheimer, H.V. Kaltenborn, Rod Serling, Agnes Moorehead, and many more.

The Center is also particularly strong in materials relating to milestones in television documentary production. Individual producers affiliated with all three major television networks have donated a wealth of material for study by television scholars. The use of television as an entertainment medium is also represented. There are filmed series donated from Ziv Television Programs, the most successful producer of dramatic programs in the early days of television; Paramount Television, producer of the popular 1970s series Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley, Mork and Mindy, and Taxi among others; and MTM Enterprises, most well-known for The Mary Tyler Moore Show and its various spin-offs. Individual collections from independent producers and directors, as well as writers such as Rod Serling and Nat Hiken, round out the ever-growing television archive.
Visit their website at http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/wcftr/.

The Wisconsin Cinémathèque regularly offers 35mm screenings of films which would not otherwise be seen in the community. Programming includes silent films with piano accompaniment, as well as restored Hollywood classics, experimental works, and contemporary foreign films. Recent series include a Warhol retrospective, a tribute to Mary Pickford, new Taiwanese films, East German cinema, and screwball comedy of the 1930s and 1940s. The Cinémathèque coordinates its offerings with other departments and film societies as well as the Great Wisconsin Film Festival.
Visit their website at http://cinema.wisc.edu.

The video component of the Department of Communication Arts includes a three-camera studio and edit bay for use with BetaSP. The department also has a Betacam for remote shooting. Other field equipment is digital, with Canon XL-1 and Sony DSR300 cameras and AVID MCExpress edit systems. The AVID stations will be replaced in the fall with Final Cut Pro 3.0.

Advanced film students work in 16mm, with Bolexes, CP-16 sync-sound cameras, Arriflex SR II cameras, Fostex PD-4 digital audio recorders, and Final Cut Pro editing stations. Other facilities include an animation stand, an optical printer, and an in-house laboratory for processing and work-printing as well as a state-of-the-at Sonic Solutions digital-audio work station which can be used for postproduction film and video sound work. The program seeks to give students an understanding of the techniques of filmmaking so that they can use film as a medium of art and communication and view films with increased appreciation of their internal structures.

UW-Madison has the 11th largest university library collection in the North America, according to a survey by the Association of Research Libraries. Memorial Library, the largest library in Wisconsin, and more than 40 General Library System, professional and special-purpose libraries serve the campus. In 2002-03, the campus library collections included more than 7.2 million volumes representing human inquiry through all of history.

In addition, there are more than 58,000 serial titles, 6.7 million microfilm items, and hundreds of thousands of government documents, maps, musical scores, audiovisual materials and other items housed in libraries across campus. More than 1 million volumes are circulated to library users every year. In addition, materials from other libraries in the UW System are available through Inter-Library Loan.

In addition to the libraries listed above, many smaller specialized libraries and reading rooms serve the campus community. For more information, see http://www.library.wisc.edu/.


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