A Cool New Thing in Fresno – CMAC

I was priviledged to be part of a ribbon cutting yesterday for the CMAC video facility. In spite of the pouring rain over 100 people showed up for the event, Mayor Ashley Swearingen from Fresno and Mayor Jose Flores from Clovis gave speeches as well as others from the community. As a joint venture between Fresno & Clovis, media partners Comcast & AT&T this facility offers state-of-the-art video production equipment and training for non-profits, schools, government agencies etc to use the facitlty to produce video content for the community.

This is especially exciting for me and my organization Fresno American Indian Health Project because we have a youth outreach program and I had proposed to to teach the kids video production before I had even heard of CMAC! This facility opens up a whole new world of possibilities. I can see a student run weekly show on health and prevention topics, digital story telling which is very big right now in the Native American community as well as shooting PSA’s and so forth. What a great opportunity for our community. Here is a short synopsis about CMAC:

About CMAC

Where: Fresno Met building, 1555 Van Ness Ave. (just north of Stanislaus Street)

What: Community Media Access Collaborative gives the public direct access to produce cable (not over-the-air) television at almost no cost. It differs from public television — in the Valley, that’s KVPT (Channel 18.1) — which is a nonprofit business that is part of the Public Broadcasting System over-the-air network.

How CMAC works: Production work is supposed to be done by individuals or groups, but if help is needed — from shooting to editing — there is a small charge. Executive Director Jerry Lee is pulling together a list of volunteers to help.

Production plans: Programming doesn’t have to be shot at the facility. Any member can provide a DVD of their program for the schedule. Those who want to shoot their own material do not have to own a camera or editing equipment. Lee has a locked closet where five cameras, multiple tripods and other equipment need for a shoot is kept. These items can be checked out for 72 hours. Everyone has to fill out a form that explains what they will do with the equipment to discourage someone checking out the equipment just to shoot pictures of their children, for instance.

Programming: For now, the educational and government channels will air the local programming already being produced by Comcast. Once there is a steady flow of material, locally produced programs will air at least two times at the discretion of the CMAC staff. Only under special circumstances will a request for a specific air time be honored.

More information: To become a member and sign up for classes, go to cmacfresno.org

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