They're the students behind the cameras, whether
they're recording campus performances or chasing
undergraduates trying to scoop inflated flamingos with
lacrosse sticks at Fall Festival.
Since fall 2003, a handful of students have been
watching Johns Hopkins through the lenses of their digital
cameras. Now, they're launching their work online as part
of the project J-Stream, the first student video station
that provides an Internet showcase of student films and
recordings of campus events.
"It gives the students a voice to express their
creative ideas," said Joe Reinsel, digital audio specialist
at the Homewood campus's
Digital Media Center.
J-Stream is a Web-based streaming network that acts as
an Internet video station so that Johns Hopkins films can
be viewed online by the university community, with videos
ranging from recordings of campus events to student video
"Hopkins is really a disparate community; there are a
lot of things happening, but you don't know about it," said
Katie Gradowski, J-Stream vice president. "We're trying to
make something where you can see it all."
Anyone with an Internet connection will be able to
connect to the Web site — jstream.jhu.edu — and
watch student films that include recordings of Witness
Theater performances and a student-made cartoon featuring a
prank-phone-calling squirrel. Students, faculty and staff
members of Johns Hopkins can submit films without any
restrictions except for the prohibition of sexually
explicit content, according to university IT
The streaming media allows the videos to be viewed at
any point without being downloaded onto a computer, which
saves both time and computer memory, member Asheesh Laroia
The project started two years ago, when Digital Media
Center director Joan Freedman and Reinsel advertised for
students interested in starting a new streaming video Web
site. Gradowski, who worked at the DMC, and Dan Morais
jumped on the opportunity.
"Working with the students to develop a project like
J-Stream is important because it helps the students develop
entrepreneurial skills like project management, fund
raising and marketing," Freedman said.
The students were awarded a Creative Use of Technology
Grant — funding administered by the Digital Media
Center to support new ideas in technology — to buy
the equipment to make J-Stream possible. Freedman said this
is a large computer with specialized hardware and software
to enable video play in continuous stream. The group has
about 150 gigabytes, which amounts to hundreds of hours of
Only a handful of students are now involved, mainly
the central board that includes Gradowski, president
Morais, treasurer Vivian Levy and secretary Melissa Kim.
They are contacting film classes and e-mailing film majors
in an effort to find additional help. But they said anyone
can get involved, even if they don't have film
"The hope is that as we grow and as more people get
involved, we will have the resources to have a more
structured approach to it," Gradowski said. They also hope
to eventually host regular television shows on the Web
The group has been recording events and planning the
Web site since 2003, Morais said, and finally posted the
preliminary Web site online this January. They plan to
officially launch the final Web site March 31.
"Dan and Asheesh have put a lot of work into it to
make it automated, to be easy for us to use it," Gradowski
said. The automation will enable regular updates.
The Web site offers simple directions on how to use
the video clips and, for submissions, on how to compress
the digital files sent to J-Stream. In the process, the
students have learned about video and programming.
Gradowski knew nothing about video technology before she
joined, and Morais said, "I've learned a lot of things I
probably wouldn't have learned otherwise."
The group is working toward membership in the Student
Activities Commission to be eligible for SAC funding so
J-Stream can support itself once its grant runs out.
But without the Digital Media Center, the students
agree they could never have even started up the project.
"The DMC," Gradowski said, "is the reason that this
Students, faculty and staff can e-mail
for more information about submitting videos. Information
about the DMC is available at
Jessica Valdez, a senior majoring in English, is an
intern in the Office of News and Information.