Take 4000 feet of cable, 10 cameras, one mobile television studio, one steadicam, HMI stage lighting, one jib, one really long zoom lens, 4 laptops and a 15-member student and intern crew and what do you get? A successful video recording and broadcast of the 44th Annual Lehman College Graduation.
From the beginning our production goal had two parts to it, both equally important. The first was to capture the full commencement along with the energy on campus during the day. The second was to have students and interns work as the crew, having them be part of a professional production from beginning to end.
From the beginning, it was the collaboration between the Multimedia Center, Buildings & Grounds, BronxNet, Student Affairs, and Media Relations that was essential in making the event run smoothly.
2 months before the event:
- A meeting with the commencement planning committee to discuss budget, equipment needs, power, logistics personnel and deliverables: a roundtable of people making sure everyone was on the same page along with an idea of dates and deadlines.
3 weeks before the event:
- Our team comes together with B&G to confirm our needs: safety guidelines, power requirements, building access, construction of a platform for our Sony Flightpack, camera platforms and any other setup help that we will need the days leading up to and after Commencement.
- A production meeting with BronxNet to finalize arrangements for Commencement. It's during this meeting that we finalize crew assignments along with the content to be covered during the day.
- We will have 5 camera crews throughout the campus before commencement along with 6 cameras shooting live during the ceremony so timing and schedule are essential.
2 weeks before:
- Set-up of our Sony flight pack in our studio for testing. Thank you to Sony help with wiring upgrades and switcher inputs.
- Input of all graphics and logos for the live broadcast to our Harris Character Generator.
3 days before:
- Confirmation of all graphics with Media Relations. Spelling, titles, grammar, colors, logos. You name it, they check it to make sure everything is perfect.
2 days before:
- Rental equipment arrives from Bexel Rentals. Wireless intercom, 42x Fujinon Lens, and several hundred feet of BNC cable.
- All gear is staged in the studio. Final tests are made and everything is checked and double-checked.
1 day before:
- Crew meeting with the students and interns. Crew assignments are given along with expectations of coverage, schedule, etiquette and safety.
- Set-up begins out in the field where commencement will be held.
- A very big thank you to Cliff from Profoto for coming down to help with our lighting setup. We always walk a fine line of lighting a tent up in daylight and keeping the heat down. Their new HMI lights did the job perfectly.
- The remaining gear is moved onto carts and prepped for an early morning setup.
- 6:00 A.M. - The first call time for select staff as there is a lot to be done. B&G meets us at 6:15 sharp to help truck out the Flightpack and other large items to their field location.
- 7:00 A.M. - The second call time for interns and students. Without missing a beat everyone jumps in and helps move the rest of the gear out to the field.
- 8:00 A.M. - Half of the crew continues working with field setup while the other half grabs their pre-assigned camera kits and heads out to their scheduled field location. The buzz on campus begins as graduates and their families start to arrive.
- 9:00 A.M. - Flightpack setup begins. 6 HD cameras running through our BRS 200 switcher, audio feed from the main mix, intercom setup with 8 access points including 4 wireless, and finally an audio/video feed to Ustream where the full ceremony will stream live online.
- 10:00 A.M. - The Ceremony begins with the procession of the graduates to their seats. The Lehman College Orchestra begins Pomp and Circumstance and everyone is on point. Live stream is up and all cameras are synced and running smoothly.
- 12:00 P.M. - It's a wrap! The graduates are celebrating as the wrap up begins. The whole crew comes together with the assistance of B&G to break all of the equipment down and bring it safely back to the studio.
- 3:00 P.M. - The post-production process begins. First in line is the full Commencement Ceremony that was recorded live at the Flightpack. The 2-hour video is encoded overnight for an on-air time slot of 11am the next day on BronxNet channel 67.
1 day after
- Gear is packed away and rental equipment is packed for return.
- Post-Production continues as the 2-hour video is encoded into MPEG-2 format for on air broadcast. 11:00 A.M. comes and it is on the air successfully.
- Next is the rest of the media. 350 gigabytes of video and images are logged and ingested into the memory system.
That sums it up. A small idea of the how things transpired from our point of view. The key is that everyone involved came together to make a successful production from beginning to end. Whether typing in graphics, setting crew assignments, running cable or assembling camera kits, it was an awesome team effort.
Now for the fun stuff. Below are some of the results of this student production.
- Behind the scenes photos from the production team.
- The full Commencement Ceremony
- 2012 Graduate Photo Booth
Lastly is a little time-lapse fun. Our still camera crew setup a photo booth with the graduates and asked them to have a little fun with the camera. Enjoy and stay tuned for more!