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CNU graduation: A Telecom production

CNU graduation: A Telecom production
student camera operator
A Telecom student tests his camera before the CNU graduation ceremony.
Photos: Ray Price

The Telecom crew video-recorded Christopher Newport University's graduation ceremony May 12. It will be produced for DVD, which will be available for CNU families to purchase. Telecom's video was also used for the live shots displayed on the giant LED screens at the ceremony.

The 2018 commencement exercises were held on the Great Lawn with a very large crowd in attendance. Warm weather arrived, and the temperature on Saturday reached the 90's.

"The students did really well," said Telecom Supervisor Ray Price, who served as Producer/Director.

"It was a huge crowd," he said.

Price has led the production team since Telecom started covering CNU's graduation in 2008.

As always, the day before the ceremony, Price moved the NNPS-TV remote TV production truck into place and the Telecom crew set up and did testing for most of the day.

student camera operator
A Telecom student video records during the ceremony.

"The CNU event staff - Walt Walker and his crew - are really helpful getting what we need, like a generator or anything we need," Price said. "They are really good to work with."

The next day, crew call was at 6:15 a.m. for the 10 a.m. ceremony.

Nine high-school students were part of the crew, and this year, half were juniors, meaning first-year TV students.

"Only one student had worked CNU graduation before," Price said.

"They were fresh," he said of the newbies.

Students taking part in the production were: Gabe Odachowski (Stream Tech/Engineering), Derick Miracle (Technical Director), Xavier Davis (Camera 1), Darin Cooper (Camera 2), Jason Hoyle (Camera 3), Collin Smalls (ENG Camera), Tyson Odette (ENG Camera), Ryan Mullen (Graphics/Camera/Production Assistant), Jordan Mottley (Production Assistant/Camera).

working in the truck
Telecom students and staff work in the TV truck.

NNPS-TV staff working the production included Price, Instructor Carl Daniels, Jr. (Assistant Director/Graphics/Production Assistant), and Broadcast Engineer Greg Lesko (Engineer/Audio).

During the ceremony, student "ENG" camera operators roam around with hand-held video-cameras, getting shots of the graduates and the crowd. "ENG" stands for Electronic News Gathering.

The other camera operators use the cameras on tripods that are placed on top of platforms. They get the more formal shots of the ceremony like the speakers, musical performances, and the conferring of degrees. The camera operators wear headsets in order to hear instructions from the director.

The director, technical director, and the audio and graphics operators work inside the TV truck. The director says which camera shot he wants to use, and the technical director operates the switcher to call in that shot.

Student TV crew
The Telecom student crew

The Telecom video feed was displayed on the LED screens at the ceremony, and was also used by CNU to stream it live on the Internet.

This year, 1,244 graduates received degrees from CNU. Hampton University President William R. Harvey was the keynote speaker.

As always, the CNU staff working the event were impressed with the Telecom students and their abilities.

"People don't realize that we can do something of that magnitude with high school students," said Price.

Very soon, the students will be hard at work recording all six of the NNPS high school graduations. Hopefully plenty of juniors will sign up to work those, too, so the seniors can enjoy their big day.

student video-recording Instructors by TV truck student video-recording
student video-recording Engineer by TV truck student working inside TV truck