The School of Communication offers our students with opportunities to work with state-of-the-art equipment and develop skills critical to success.


The School of Communication's state-of-the-art production facilities offer our students opportunities to develop professional skills critical to success in many today's media and communication fields. You'll have to access to a wide range of hardware and software in our media editing suites and photo lab that will serve your varied media production needs.

The McKinley Building, home of the School of Communication, houses specialized classrooms, multi-purpose learning spaces, and computer labs supporting digital imaging, online content creation, motion graphics, multichannel audio, and full HD video editing. 

The combination of technology and equipment in our Media Production Center, the Media Innovation Lab, and the Malsi Doyle and Michael Forman Theater make our facilities some of the most advanced university-based production facilities in the region.


Students who are currently enrolled in photography courses have access to cameras, a studio classroom, and lighting equipment.

The photography labs include the darkroom, film processing lab, framing and mounting workshop, and an advanced photo finishing suite. Our darkroom is equipped with 15 enlarging stations for the production of silver gelatin prints from negatives ranging in size from 35mm, medium format 120, and large format 4x5 black and white films. The darkroom is also equipped with a UV exposure unit allowing students to create Cyanotype, Gum Bichromate, Platinum, and other “printing-out-processes” for intermediate photography students. Our film processing lab is equipped for standard and advance processing of black and white film. Our framing and mounting workshop is set up to allow students to make finishing touches to their final image presentation. Our advanced photo finishing suite is reservation based digital lab equipped with two Mac-based workstations with Canon Pro-1000 printers and Epson V850 Pro film scanners, and a Canon ipf6400 24” large format roll printer for extra-large printing needs. The photography labs are located in the Media Production Center, rooms 102, 103, 106, 108a, 115, and 116.

The Digital Photography Lab provides five Mac-based computers to edit your images digitally. You can scan 35mm and 120 medium format negatives, slides, and prints on our Epson film scanners, and print them out using photo-quality Canon inkjet printers. The Digital Photography Lab is located in the Media Production Center, Room G10.

For more information contact Shaun Schroth, Manager of Photographic Services, at 202-885-2094 or shaun@american.edu.

Media Production Center

The School of Communication's Media Production Center (MPC) is a fully-digital HD production facility that houses a television studio, film and video editing suites, audio production suites, and two multi-format classrooms. It is located close to the center of campus at the base of the broadcast tower next to the Beeghly Building, and is open 24 hours per day, seven days per week.

Students learn post production editing skills in the MPC's four video editing and one audio post-production suite. These suites possess the latest Mac hardware and software, including the full Adobe Creative Cloud suite of editing software.

We have one professional audio suite where students can record podcasts or "sweeten" the sound in their video projects, or to add additional dialog. The suite is equipped with the latest Mac hardware and software, including Adobe Audition. It also sports two professional- quality microphones, a multi-channel audio mixing board, and a phone for call-in segments of your podcast!

The SOC Equipment Room, also known as the Cage, serves the equipment needs of SOC production courses. You can find us at the lower level of Media Production Center in Room G12.

To reserve time in the media editing suites, please book your time at the MPC front desk or by calling 202-885-8338. Reservations can be made in four-hour increments.


Located at the main entrance to the McKinley building, this glass-enclosed production space includes a three-camera HD TV studio, a one-camera HD insert stage, a multi-camera video control room, a digital audio recording booth, and a nine-screen programmable video wall. School of Communication students gain hands-on experience with the tools of their future professions through a unique collaboration with Sony Electronics. The Media Innovation Lab (MIL) is outfitted with Sony high-definition broadcast and production equipment, from 4K and business projectors to studio cameras and production switchers. 

Our almost 2,000 square foot studio is the perfect place for students to produce and direct narrative fiction projects. It boasts a large green-screen area, a full lighting grid, and all black, studio cycloramic curtains from which students can create  the full "black box" effect.

McKinley Building

In addition to a fully functional equipment room, there are seven computer labs located in the McKinley Building. Our Open Editing Lab is open 24 hours per day, seven days per week, and the other six are available during building operating hours when not scheduled for classes.

Located next door to the MIL, the Media Classroom also serves as an observation room during video production in the MIL, allowing students to listen in on the entire production process. The room also houses 18 Windows PCs connected to the Associated Press Electronic News Production System (ENPS), allowing students to produce teleprompter scripts and rundowns for radio and TV newscasts using AP wire copy.

This combined open lab and interactive classroom contains 18 powerful Mac Pro workstations loaded with the latest version of Adobe Creative Cloud software.

The Advanced Imaging Lab has eight iMacs connected to Epson scanners and Epson photo printers for high-quality image scanning and printing. The computers are equipped with the latest version of Adobe Creative Cloud software. This lab is open to all School of Communication students and is ideal for those taking photography, digital imaging, or web design courses.

This classroom/lab on the third floor of the McKinley Building includes 18 iMac computer workstations equipped with latest version of Adobe Creative Cloud software.

For information or help with computer labs in the McKinley building, contact the SOC Techline at 202-885-3570 or soctechline@american.edu.


The Malsi Doyle and Michael Forman Theater is located on the second floor of the McKinley Building, and is available for festivals, conferences, and lectures. The 145-seat exhibition space is equipped with a Sony 4K projection system and 7.1-surround sound audio, and can display material from Blu-ray discs and a wide variety of other digital file formats. 

The Forman Theater is generally open 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Events and classes sponsored by the School of Communication, the Center for Environmental Filmmaking, and the Center for Media and Social Impact have priority, but the theater is also available to individual students for school-related projects, or for rental for events from outside the School of Communication. 

For more information contact the SOC Events Manager at socevents@american.edu.

Game Lab

The American University Game Lab, which is a joint initiative of the School of Communication and the College of Arts and Sciences, is based in the Don Myers Technology and Innovation Building on the university's East Campus. Regular operating hours are Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Reception Area

The spacious reception area features an 8' diagonal, 4K touch screen monitor that allows visitors to play several of the Game Lab's productions (Factitious, Hurl the Harasser, and Function Force). The configurable space can serve as a welcome/sign-in area or an interactive play environment.

Conference Room

The networked conference/seminar room includes web conferencing capabilities as well as two large monitors that can support multi-screen presentations.

Visitors can connect their own laptop into the system or use a dedicated iMac for presentations.

Game Studio

The central room of the Game Lab can be configured in numerous ways to support a wide range of functions/events. It includes one 85" 4K monitor, three moveable two-sided whiteboards, as well as three moveable hybrid whiteboards with 32" monitors. Sample configurations include: open space for a large group discussion, focused play-testing area with three small satellite work areas, and a long "mini-classroom" space with two satellite work areas. With advance notice, up to 12 iMac computers can be integrated into the "mini-classroom" configuration.

Classroom with two large projectors

The Game Lab classroom supports small- to moderately-sized classes in a modifiable lecture/demo/discussion educational environment. The room includes two synched, convertible high-resolution projectors that provide nearly 25 linear feet of display.

Special requests to reserve the Game Lab facilities should be sent to Andy Phelps, AU Game Center Director, at phelps@american.edu.