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Shocker Studios sitcom set brings ‘Hollywood element to Wichita’

The classic sitcom set — think anything from “I Love Lucy” to “Seinfeld” to “The Big Bang Theory” — is now a teaching tool at Wichita State University’s Shocker Studios.

The set, part of a 6,500-square-foot film studio, opened this semester and is used by students studying film, cameras, editing, lighting, production design, writing, acting and sound. Similar to what you might see in a variety of family TV shows, the set features a living room, kitchen, dining room, doors and windows with which to create any number of atmospheres.

“This brings an element of Hollywood to Wichita,” said Justin Rorabaugh, director of Shocker Studios. “That’s the kind of set they build. This isn’t limited to the coasts.

Actors learn to act on set, technicians learn to adjust the lighting based on the time of day and the story – all skills that will translate into careers in television work.

“You can practice lighting,” said Mason Vietti, a film expert. “We’re learning a lot about how to light a scene naturally, by taking the overhead out and then building back the natural lighting from there.”

The set also saves students the hassle of looking for suitable locations for a project.

“You’re able to be creative and come up with great stories without having to scout for a location,” said Lainey Caldwell, senior film major.

Film students can learn to shoot with multiple cameras, providing experience with a range of perspectives. The editing process shows students how to take the different shots and produce a finished product that includes a variety of perspectives, such as close-ups and reactions.

“It’s applied learning,” Rorabaugh said. “It’s one thing to sit in a classroom and go, ‘Oh, on a set you would do it like this.’ To come and actually do it, is a game changer.

Rorabaugh consulted industry consultants on the design.

Doors open to allow actors in and out. The fridge door opens to allow for the use of props, hiding the inside of the appliance from the camera. The ability to switch up props like furniture, paintings, and window treatments lets students set the look for different periods and themes, and Rorabaugh scours discount stores for art, furniture, dishes, quilts, and other accessories.

“This gives us the opportunity to be hands-on and hands-on in an environment that is more like what they will encounter in a professional, day-to-day situation,” said Robert Thomas, Film Program Director.

Wichita State University is Kansas’s only urban public research university, enrolling nearly 22,000 students between the main campus and WSU Tech, including students from every state in the United States and more than 100 countries. Wichita State and WSU Tech are recognized for being student-centered and innovation-driven.

Located in the state’s largest city with one of the highest concentrations of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) jobs in the United States, Wichita State University offers unique, distinctive, and innovative pathways of applied learning, applied research and career opportunities for all of our students.

The Innovation Campus, which is a physical extension of Wichita State University’s main campus, is one of the largest and fastest growing research/innovation parks in the nation, encompasses over 120 acres and is home to numerous global businesses and organizations .

For more information, follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/wichitastate and Facebook at www.facebook.com/wichita.state.

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