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Oprah’s Harpo Studios Production Equipment is Up for Auction (But Is There a Better Way?)

Oprah's Harpo Studios Production Equipment is Up for Auction (But Is There a Better Way?)

As I reported
back in March, Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Studios in Chicago was finally sold off to the
real estate developer, Sterling Bay Cos., who bought the 4-building, 170,000
square foot studio late year, paying some $30.5 million for it (HERE).

But what everyone didn’t know is that, not only did Sterling Bay just get the property, they also got all the studio equipment worth millions.  And not having any real use for it, the
developer has decided to sell all of it this month, through an online auction that started
last Friday, continuing until this Thursday, for anyone anywhere in the world interested.

The auction
is being conducted by the Joseph Finn Co.
auction firm based in Newton, Massachusetts, which specializes in auctioning
film and TV broadcast equipment.

The vast
array of equipment includes, according to the official description, “Sony HD
cameras, Fujinon lenses, Vinten Vision fluid heads, tripods, pedestals,
Autoscript teleprompters, Technocranes, Varilights, HD Sony, Chryron, Snell
& Wilcox, Abekas switchers/effects, dimmers/processors,  Yamaha audio console mixers and microphones
and much more.”

Add to
that “hundreds of light and grip equipment include Kino Flo, Arri, ETC,
Desisti, Light Panel; Matthews, American, Avenger, stands, hangars, clamps and
cable; wireless mics including Lectrosonic, SMD, Sennheiser, Neumann, Shure,
JK, Sound Devices, receivers, transmitters, belt packs and headsets.”

That’s pretty
impressive, and I don’t even know what a lot of that stuff is. But why did Oprah just
leave all that very valuable production equipment for Sterling Bay to sell off?

True, she’s
now based in Los Angeles and doesn’t
need any of it, nor the money that she could have made if she sold the items off herself. But wouldn’t it have been better for her to donate it to someone
looking for production equipment to use? I’m sure there are many small
independent TV producers, or small production studios who would have loved to
have some or all of that equipment.

Better yet,
why not donate it to some black colleges or universities to upgrade their equipment
for media production courses? Just leaving it to the buyer who doesn’t care about
to sell it off for millions, is just a total waste.

Who agrees?

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