Sheridan’s post-graduate Advanced Television & Film (ATVF) program is one of the most technology-rich programs of its kind, giving nascent filmmakers the opportunity to create original films using state-of-the-art equipment, including HD, 33mm and 16 mm cameras, and top of the line edit suites, production and green screen studios.
James Rowan, the program’s technologist, has the demanding job of keeping all of this industry-standard equipment in good working order. He also oversees the high performance media server, central recording equipment room, and the SCAET Theatre, which is the public-facing part of the SCAET facility.
The job is complex, but James brings a unique blend of education and experience to the role. He holds a degree in information technology from York University, and went on to complete the ATVF program in 2008. He immediately joined Sheridan as a part-time technologist after graduation, and also freelanced in the film industry before assuming the full-time position in 2011.
“It’s exciting to have a part, however small, in creating the next generation of filmmakers. It’s amazing to see the ideas that come out of this place” – James Rowen
“There’s such a wide range of things to do in this job. It requires a broad skill set, and I also have to stay on top of technological changes with a view to what’s just around the corner,” he says. Fortunately, James has a natural passion for technology which makes the role a perfect fit.
A side benefit of the job is that its regular hours allow time for his other passion: Shaolin Kung Fu. James has been training in this Chinese martial art for 13 years, and teaching for the past five. Occasionally, his two passions have converged, as happened at an event to showcase the new 3D stereoscopic equipment donated to the college by NBCUniversal. James donned his Kung Fu garb and gave a brief demonstration of his skills, which was captured in glorious 3D to the delight of the dignitaries in attendance.
A big part of what makes his job rewarding is the endless variety and unpredictable nature of the work. He may start off the day with a list of tasks to complete, but then will turn on a dime to help faculty or students address an issue that arises. “It’s exciting to have a part, however small, in creating the next generation of filmmakers,” James says. “It’s amazing to see the ideas that come out of this place.”
Pictured at top of page: Sheridan College technologist James Rowan. Photo by Photography Technologist Owen Colborne.
Written by: Susan Atkinson, Manager of Communications and Media Relations at Sheridan.