The Comcast Digital Media Studio at the WESST Enterprise Center is more than the sum of its state-of-the-art parts. Under the direction of managing director Russell Combs, the studio is a hive of business networking and creation.
“We didn’t want this to be just another studio where you can produce a Kickstarter video,” said Combs, who led the Erie Technology Incubator at Gannon University in Erie, Pa., before taking the job at WESST in March 2013. “We want to combine technology and entrepreneurial aspects. And that only happens if we bring together multiple groups, multiple resources and multiple opportunities.”
The studio, which formally opened in October, features video, sound, editing, lighting and streaming equipment that clients can use to produce and distribute multimedia presentations for commercial or educational projects. Its 180-degree green infinity cyclorama is one of the only of its kind in the region, Combs said, and its workspaces include a control room, roll-out theater seating and a 20-foot screen for viewing finished products or giving presentations.
A magnet for innovators, the studio attracts people with various levels of expertise and diverse needs. Some simply rent the space and equipment because they possess all the technical skills they need to produce a film or video or to stream a performance or lecture to distant audiences.
Others hire the studio to help them create something, generating work for local technicians, entrepreneurs and university students. Some of these service providers then turn to WESST for the core services it has offered for 25 years: small business development, training and lending.
WESST has been a key driver of economic development in New Mexico throughout its history. It has operated its headquarters in downtown Albuquerque for twenty-five years and was an early anchor in what is now Innovation Central ABQ, a burgeoning entrepreneurial ecosystem downtown and home to other innovators such as FatPipe, CNM Stemulus Center, ABQid, the PNM Pop-Up Pavilion, KIIC, Levitated Toy Factory and the future Innovate ABQ.
The Comcast Digital Media Studio is an example of how WESST continues to evolve, just as its clients are innovating and adapting to changes in the market and in technology. Housed in the organization’s Enterprise Center, it’s a valuable resource for the startups that grow there with help from WESST.
But it also offers WESST multiple opportunities to partner with UNM and other educational institutions in its own name. With the technological tools to produce animation, video games and animation forensics, among other products, the studio can outsource work to students from UNM and Central New Mexico Community College.
These opportunities can encourage graduates to remain in New Mexico, Combs said. “Instead of them leaving, they can start companies here.”
Businesses that need a place to record and edit electronic educational materials, to film and stream workshops or to create online video content are invited to check out the studio’s offerings at www.wesst.org/enterprise-center/comcast-digital-media-studio-at-wesst/. To reserve space or schedule a meeting to discuss a project, call 505-246-6900.