Advanced Laboratory for Visual Anthropology

About Us



The Advanced Laboratory for Visual Anthropology (ALVA) was created with funding from the National Science Foundation, Major Research Instrumentation grant. It is the first facility to incorporate digital cinema technology into anthropological research and the communication of the results of that research to broad audiences.

Broadcast Length Films

From 2010 to 2012, student and faculty researchers associated with ALVA have completed four broadcast length documentary films.

These films have screened in festivals as well as on PBS affiliates on the West Coast. With many more films in the production pipeline, we look forward to transforming the relationships among scholars, students and the mass media. 

National Science Foundation Grant

In 2012 the director of ALVA received a grant from the NSF, Innovation Corps(opens in new window) program to explore the commercial potentials of anthropological digital cinema. Since then we have been seeking partnerships with cultural resource management companies as well as state and federal agencies.

The goal of these partnerships is to use film as a tool for public outreach and defuse the results of the anthropological research they sponsor to the widest possible audiences.

Student using expensive camera with CSU, Chico redwood tree in the background


Production Equipment

The Advanced Laboratory for Visual Anthropology is a fully furnished digital cinema production and post-production facility. It houses a Red one and a Red Scarlet camera, a full suite of prime and zoom lenses, professional wired and wireless microphones, still photographic equipment, field lighting solutions, field data storage solutions and all the hardware necessary for cinema production in anthropological contexts.


Our post-production facilities include Mac Pro towers with multiple non-linear editing software platforms, calibrated speakers and monitors for sound mixing and color grading, Blu-ray and DVC Pro mastering hardware, and a formidable data storage, processing and archiving system. Our 32 TB raid subsystem is connected to our editing workstations over an XSAN based, Fibre Channel, local area network. Our data is incrementally backed up and archived to LTO-5 tape.

Our Most Important Assets

Our most important assets are the anthropological researchers and technical staff who are devoted to communicating the insights of anthropological research to the general public.