ACMS Aces: Lev Kalman

Lev KalmanThe Media Teaching Lab provides instruction, facilities, and equipment to UC San Diego’s undergraduate students enrolled in media production classes and graduate students who use media in their research. The Media Teaching Lab’s workshops and instructional capabilities were recently boosted by the arrival of Lev Kalman. Lev is the newest Senior Producer/Director to join the Media Teaching Lab team.

Lev teaches many of the workshops that the Media Teaching Lab offers to UC San Diego students. This is no small task given the fact that there can be as many as eleven workshops each week. Workshops cover a variety of topics, ranging from editing software to equipment operation, and Lev is particularly excited about the new workshops for this quarter. “We’re teaching [Adobe] Premier now and we’re teaching Avid,” Lev said, “Those are two kinds of workshops that we didn’t offer before. I’m leading those two.” The Media Teaching Lab has also upgraded its visual effects workshops to put more emphasis on Adobe After Effects. “[It] is a higher end software than what we were teaching before,” Lev said when describing After Effects, “and it really gives a lot more flexibility for the kinds of special effects or video effects [that] students want to build.”

Lev has really enjoyed how enthusiastic Tritons have been in his workshops thus far. He cited a recent workshop he taught on video compression. Lev started teaching compression in a similar position at Columbia University because it is often glossed over in many video editing courses, but if it does not go well it can often become a huge hassle for students at the end of a project. “Usually the first week is kind of quiet so we had a small group, but they were really psyched—more than I thought they were going to be,” Lev said.  Though Lev admitted that compression “is the least sexy topic in the world,” his students were incredibly enthusiastic about learning about it. “The students said, ‘What’s the point of making a good video if it’s not going to look good when you play it back?’ I couldn’t believe it.”

Though he only recently joined the Media Teaching Lab, one of the things that Lev has enjoyed the most about his position is that he gets to work so closely with the undergraduate students to help them learn about different equipment, software, and techniques. “What’s so great about this program is that there are so many awesome resources that we have that are super expensive and that are really hard to access in the professional world,” Lev said, “What’s great when you’re [a student] here is that you have a chance to try out a whole different bunch of things.”

In addition to teaching workshops, Lev is also available to media students who have questions about video production techniques. “It’s almost like having office hours,” Lev said, “We have ten editing rooms in the facility, so there’s always students working on things. They [will] come in with questions or they want me to show them how to do this or that.”

Prior to coming to San Diego, Lev had lived in the New York metropolitan area for his entire life. He has found the adjustment to Southern California living to be an easy one and he has not been alone in that. “My dog really loves it a lot more [here],” Lev admitted, “We’ve done camping and hiking and all the things you should do.” When it comes to a favorite movie (a question we just had to ask since he is at the Media Teaching Lab), Lev cites Robert Altman’s 1985 high school comedy O.C. and Stiggs. “It was totally ill-conceived,” Lev admitted, “but it ended up being this really great, really funny movie about these teen pranksters.”

The next time you are at the Media Teaching Lab, stop by and say hi to Lev. “Even though we’re all the way over here [in the Communications building], I just want you guys to know that I’m really excited to meet all of you,” Lev said. Welcome to the team Lev!

ACMS Aces is a series of articles that highlights the dedicated employees of Academic Computing & Media Services at UC San Diego. Keep checking back to find out more about the people behind the magic at ACMS!


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