Loyola University Chicago

School of Communication

Owl Lab


The Owl Lab serves as a media resource center for students who are enrolled in production courses in the School of Communication. We have a comprehensive supply of audio and visual equipment as well as eight Mac computers with Adobe Suite installed for editing projects.

During open hours, the Lab is staffed with a knowledgeable and friendly student worker who can assist you with troubleshooting equipment or editing issues on a drop-in basis. The lab's Technology Coordinator, Jillian Musielak, has an extensive editing and production background and is always willing to help you out with or lend an aesthetic eye for your projects. You can email her to set up an appointment.

Full List of Equipment


Students who have declared as their major Film & Digital Media or Multimedia Journalism and graduates in the Digital Media and Storytelling program have access to equipment every semester – including summer – until they graduate. For all other students, only those enrolled in a production course in the School of Communication will have access to equipment only for the semester they are enrolled in the course. Any student can use the computers at any time during open hours.

Your instructor will let you know what specific equipment you will be using for the class. You will not be able to make reservations and check out equipment until you’ve completed the release form. You can download and sign the form from the website, then email it to the lab or you can drop it off in person.

We strongly encourage you to make a reservation well in advance for the use of equipment. To make a reservation, go to https://equipmentloan.luc.edu, enter your Loyola ID and password and click on “Owl Lab.” You can find detailed instructions for using the reservation system if you click on the question mark at the top of the page.

You can also come to the lab as a "walk-in," but equipment is available on a first come, first served basis. This means that the camera you need for your project due on Monday might be checked out. This is why it's always best to make a reservation in advance.

You need your Loyola ID in order to check out equipment or pick up a reservation, until we get to know who you are. We try to remember names and faces, but there’s a lot of you!

Note that you don’t need your ID to return equipment – you can even have a trusted classmate return equipment for you if you won’t be able to.

There is a one-hour window to pick up the reservation. After an hour, the system automatically cancels the reservation and releases the equipment.

You can always edit your reservation - add or delete equipment or change the pick up or return time - through the reservation website. Click on "My Reservations" to find the "Edit Reservation" button. It's always nice to cancel your reservation as soon as know you won't need the equipment. Canceling the reservation frees up the equipment in the system and makes it available for other students to be able to reserve.

Equipment is checked out for two days at a time. Since the Owl Lab is closed on the weekends, equipment that’s checked out on Thursday or Friday will be due back on Monday.

You can always renew your equipment by calling the lab at 312-915-8830. You are allowed two renewals per checkout for a period of two days each. Never send an email asking for a renewal - it's possible the email won't be read in time. Also note that you don't need to bring the equipment in for a renewal, just call.

If you're running late for your return, not only is it courteous to call us, but you can also ask for a renewal - even if it's just for an extra hour - to avoid late fees. However, this is not a reliable method as the equipment may be reserved for someone else. If that's the case, you won't be allowed to make a renewal and the equipment will be late.

If you return your equipment past the due date and time, effective Fall 2019, you will incur late fees on your account. You should make yourself aware of the fees for any items you check out. Each item in the Owl Lab has its own fee and the fee is charged for each day the item is late. These can really pile up so cover your bases to assure you don't get charged. Your account will become inactive for reservations or checkouts until the fees are paid which could affect your ability to complete projects for your class. To avoid late fees, try renewing the equipment or ask a trusted classmate to return the equipment for you. Until the fees are put into effect, instances of late returns will be assessed on a case by case basis.

It's important to keep in mind that equipment you have might be reserved for another student, so if you are late returning it, you are negatively affecting that student’s ability to complete their work. Please be respectful!

When you check out equipment, the student worker will examine it in front of you. They will make sure that all of the components are there and that there is no visible damage to the item. If you notice that the student worker doesn't check the equipment, speak up! Ask them to check it for you or check it yourself before you leave with it. If there's damage or a missing component, alert the student worker and ask them to check out a different item to you. Otherwise, when you return the equipment, we will have to assume that you were the one who lost the component or damaged the equipment and you will be made responsible for any repairs or replacements.

If, after you've brought it home, a camera malfunctions or a microphone crackles, call us right away to let us know. We will work with you to troubleshoot or ask you to bring back the item for a replacement.

If you damage something, call us as soon as you can during open hours or come in to the lab with the damaged item. It might be a simple in-house fix, which means you won't have to replace it or pay for a repair. Honesty is always the best policy! Remember that the equipment belongs to everyone - it is for use by all of your fellow students as well as faculty - so treat it with the same respect you might treat something you borrowed from a friend.

First of all – call us! It’s important that we know as soon as the item is lost. Unfortunately, you’ll be responsible for the purchase of a replacement item. Cables, lens caps, or a pricey camera – you’ll have to buy a new one. Some of the items can be very expensive so always keep an eagle eye on any gear checked out to you.

If any item checked out to you is stolen, first, file a police report. Notify the lab immediately via email or by calling us. We will need a copy of the police report to keep on file. Loyola's insurance policy may cover stolen items, but this is at the discretion of the insurance provider, so it is possible you will be responsible for replacing the items. If you live off campus, it’s a good idea to have renter’s insurance which could cover any costs for the replacement. If you have a police report, we won’t put a hold on your account with the lab, but you could still be billed for the replacement.

Of course! Just send an email to Jillian to schedule a meeting. It’s a good idea to check out equipment a few days before your shoot, so you can spend some time familiarizing yourself with it.

There are some items that you first must be trained to use before you can have access to them. If there is something you see on the equipment list that you’d like to try out, email Jillian to set up an appointment with her or with a student worker.

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