S tu d e nt s p ra c t ic in g v id e o p ro d u c t io n
rom Facebook marketing videos to cooking blogs to news segments and even that underlit video of the family vacation taken on a phone, digital content is inescapable. Smartphones and myriad low-cost or free apps make it possible for anyone to be a creator, while advancements in professional-quality digital tools and services have had a similar impact on the creative industry itself. We took a look behind the scenes at two West Chester University entities aiming to make the digital world a better place.
The Digital Media Center (DMC) In its headquarters in the basement of Brandywine Hall is the Digital Media Center (DMC), which provides event videography, equipment loans, video editing, and training services to students, staff, faculty, and organizations. A full-service TV studio and control booth support courses in broadcasting and video production as well as events and student programming. Eleanor Walton took the helm as DMC Coordinator in 2006 after spending 14
years in TV production, and another 17 as a technical director and producer at QVC. She quickly set her sights on bringing the studio into the future. “When I got here, they were still using tape. My goal was to upgrade to HD and then go completely tapeless,” she recalls.
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In the time between moving from tape to digital, other projects on campus sprang up, including a new student-run campus news program called WCU Weekly (see our sidebar on the next page). “People would bring their own cameras into the studio to use and we’d end up with all these different formats, like VHS or MiniDV,” remembers Joe Watts, General Technician at the DMC.
green cloth hanging in the studio to a curved, seamless plastic version for higher quality and more versatility. It is essential for segments such as the Quad Weather Minute, a daily weather update which is broadcast all over campus, with different students serving as on-air talent each day.
In 2011, tape was eradicated, streamlining the production process and making workflow easier. “We immediately saw that we got more use out of the studio,” Walton says. Fast forward to today, when everyone uses the teleprompter and the cameras in the studio to record their projects directly to file. Another upgrade is the green screen. Five years ago, they moved from a basic
The president’s “welcome back” video from 2017 provides an example of the complexity that goes into planning and executing a typical DMC project. “We met with the president’s speechwriter to come up with key points, the script, and overall structure, and then we developed the content accordingly, incorporating content from all the leaders who are presenting,” Watts explains. Rehearsals, along with lighting and sound equipment preparations, are components key to professional quality.
FEBRUARY 2020 THEWCPRESS.COM
Voice of the Borough