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How To Throw The Ultimate Dorm Room Watch Party Ft. IMATS

Managing Editor Zack Abrams recently got a full weekend’s worth of fun out of a rented projector, adapter, and screen from IMATS at Barnard. Here’s his guide on how to bring the fun to your dorm room. 

IMATS stands for Instructional Media and Technology Services, and it’s the Barnard service located in the Milstein Center that provides media equipment rentals and technology training to students and staff from Barnard and Columbia, all for free. Along with tutorials on their website, IMATS offers workshops to help anyone learn how to work cameras or other equipment. However, my favorite offering is the equipment rental program.

This past weekend, I rented a projector, a screen, and a VGA-to-Thunderbolt adapter from IMATS from Thursday to Monday. Equipment rentals generally last three business days, so I was able to keep everything for the whole weekend. Plus, with my CUID, everything was included for free. To view a list of equipment, check this page on the website. The pick-up and drop-off process was easy, only lasting around 10 minutes each time, and though lugging the equipment from Milstein ten blocks to Carlton Arms was a bit of a pain, the included bag for the projector made it as easy as possible. Before requesting equipment for the first time, fill out a Patron Registration form. You only need to do this once. After that, head on over to the Equipment Request Form at least 24 hours before you want the equipment to pick out your gear.

Now that you’ve got your materials, the set-up is easy; the projector I got was a short-throw projector, which means you’ll have to place it close to the screen as it projects upward at a ~40º angle. I placed the screen across two of my dressers and set the projector on a small coffee table. If you have a lot of wall space, placing on the floor will work fine. I plugged the adapter into my laptop and the wall outlet and voilà! With a bit of adjusting, I got the picture to fit on the screen just right.

As for audio, the projector has speakers built-in, but they’re pretty small and not what you want to rely on for a full screening. If you have speakers laying around, it’s easy to output audio from your laptop via Bluetooth or a headphone jack. If not, IMATS also offers speaker rentals, though at that point you might want to bring a friend or suitemate to help you carry all the equipment if you live far.

At this point, you’re ready for your watch party or other events. Here are some ideas:

  • Host an Oscar screening for your friends sometime before the ceremony in ten days. Roma, nominated for nine Oscars, is available to stream on Netflix, along with fellow Best Picture Nominee Black Panther.
  • Throw a party and project music videos on the wall or ceiling (it’s possible to stand the projector on its side, but be careful; if you break it, you have to pay IMATS the full worth of the equipment). Here’s a playlist of bangers with music videos I made for a recent… gathering.
  • Watch movies on your ceiling while laying back in bed. The height of luxury, truly.
  • Use the extra screen to get some work done! Having an extra monitor to keep your assignment details or textbook up can help, instead of being limited to a small laptop screen. Definitely the lamest option on here, but it’s valid all the same.

Now that you know how it works, enjoy the IMATS service! Tell ’em Bwog sent you.

Movie Theater of Woodcock via Wikimedia

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1 Comment

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Love the varidesk ads on your site.
    If you want folks to stay awake in your lectures,
    make all the desks stand up, none sitting.
    Thomas Jefferson and Donald Rumsfeld had stand-up desks.

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