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Telecom grad shoots aerial video for city
Telecom grad shoots aerial video for city
setting up the drone
Lawrenzo Green works on the drone in preparation for the shoot.
Ray Price photo

Earlier this fall, Telecom program graduate Lawrenzo Green had the opportunity to use the skills he learned at Telecom to work on a video project with the city channel, Newport News TV (NNTV Cox Channel 48/Verizon FiOS 19).

The city needed aerial footage from around Newport News for Mayor McKinley L. Price's State of the City Address, "Delivering Greatness." The State of the City event is an annual presentation where city leaders share information with the community about City Council's strategic goals and the progress being made.

NNTV knew Telecom had a drone, so they contacted Telecom Supervisor Ray Price (no relation to the mayor) to see if someone who could fly it well was available to do the shoot. Price recommended Green, who graduated from Warwick High and the Telecom program in 2014, and who is skilled at flying the drone. He has a special interest in flying and video games, and had written the instructions for Telecom students about how to operate the drone.

"Some of the students are scared to use it because it's expensive," Green said.

He explained how documenting what the drone can and can't do, how high and how fast it can go, and other nuances of the device could give the students the knowledge and confidence they needed to fly it.

Price knew Green was the man for the job, and as always, is thrilled when his students put their TV production skills to use, especially for a paid assignment.

He is also happy when the city and Telecom work together. It gives everyone involved more experience, exposure to new ways of doing things, technical ideas, and networking opportunities.

NNTV Broadcast Engineer Ishrat Mohammad and Sr. Production Specialist John Corriere, along with Price, went on the shoot, which took place in three different locations in the city: the new Tech Center, DW Center (formerly Denbigh Village Shopping Center), and Newport News Park.

Green had to get specific shots that were needed, which was particularly tough at the DW Center in Denbigh. It's located near the intersection of Warwick and Denbigh boulevards, which is busy with traffic. He had to fly the drone in between the street lights and the big sign that lists the stores at the shopping center.

"It was pretty windy as well," Green said.

The day before the shoot, Green flew the drone to make sure everything was in working order. But the drone came back to him, indicating something was wrong.

"It took a couple hours to figure it out," he said.

The drone needed a software update to re-calibrate its settings so it would know - literally - which way was up. After the update, the drone "worked perfectly," Green said.

For the video, Green did some shots that started low and then panned up, and also used a fisheye view for a wide, artistic perspective. He also did some shots where he had to pan left to right and some slow movement shots. At the shopping center in Denbigh, he got footage of the sign and the new electric go-kart race track, Speed Club.

Green was happy to be able to use his Telecom knowledge and skills to contribute to the video.

"It was thrilling to be put to the test," he said.

Aerial video of the city: