“Just remember to speak slowly,” Juliana Cecera reminds the nervous looking student in the studio on the other side of the wall.
Cecera, a graduate student and the new visual media studio supervisor, sits in front of an engineering console monitoring an ESPN-like sports show with Alana Rodrigues and John Zaremski—both members of a new Sports Broadcasting course—serving as anchors.
“Now lets take a look at the Falcons…” Rodrigues begins, looking into the camera as she previews the coming Super Bowl contest between the Atlanta football team and the New England Patriots.
The two students share an anchor desk in front of a computerized “green screen” that allows Cecera in central control to project whatever images suit the particular broadcast.
“If you want to be in space, you can be in space,” Cecera notes. “If you want to be in France, you can be in France.”
During this first week of February, the green screen backgrounds relate to the more down-to-earth and all-American Super Bowl scheduled for the coming weekend. Having already recorded his lead up to the Super Bowl, Andrew Carlson (pictured right) works at a nearby editing station using Final Cut Pro software.
“We’re doing a live, at the field approach,” Carlson explains, pointing to the video on his computer screen. His approach, thanks to the studio’s green screen, shows him standing in front of Houston’s NRG Stadium—the site of the coming championship.
“I’ve done a lot of work in the Nichols sports information department, but I’ve never worked in front of the camera.” Carlson says. “I never had this medium on which to project my ideas. This is a whole new way of putting my face on my work.”
Carlson adds that he appreciates the big league technology available to him. “This is what people in the industry use—green screens, Final Cut. There are the same editing techniques for interviews,” he says. “It’s incredible.”
Nichols Vice President for Academic Affairs Mauri Pelto introduced his students to video production in a smaller way years ago in his course Visual Communications. He appreciates the advanced possibilities over the past two years made possible through the visual media studio.
“We could do good work but it was difficult because we didn’t have the equipment,” Pelto recalls about the early days of the class. “This studio takes production to the next level.”
Another improvement, Pelto points out, is the increased access Nichols students have to video production. “Any student in any class can do it, from Human Resources to Marketing,” he says.
Cecera reports that the number of students using the facility has continued to grow. A psychology class has developed a series of public service announcements on mental health. Students in a marketing/business communication class recently created a commercial using Crocs foot ware and sent the finished product to the company.
Leading the way through a complex of editing and conference rooms, Cecera completes a tour in the now empty recording studio arrayed with almost two dozen theatrical lights overhead, two high-end video cameras on their pedestals, and a far wall dominated by the green screen.
For her part Rodrigues, who is returning tomorrow to edit her on-screen performance, prefers working on the other side of the camera and aspires to a career behind the scenes editing and producing sports shows. She admits that she is gaining plenty of experience here.
“If I could, I would probably spend all day here,” Rodrigues says. “It’s amazing.”
Cecera adds that the visual media studio fits well, not just into a first floor corner of the new academic building but within the Nichols curriculum. “Nichols prides itself on experiential learning,” she explains. “This really solidifies the message the school is trying to get across.”