Newport News Public Schools TV and the Telecommunications Center

camera operators at graduation

Christopher Newport University has a unique graduation event, and the Telecom crew has adapted to the new format, handling video production of the day-long event including two processionals and two commencement ceremonies.

Born of the pandemic, the "Commencement Experience" is a non-traditional graduation event replacing one lengthy, crowded ceremony with two smaller ones. Graduates sign up for either the morning or the afternoon session.

"Event zones" around campus allow the graduates and families to participate at their own pace.

For the Telecom team, the two-session commencement makes for a long production in terms of time, but it allows the students to gain a lot of hands-on experience and breaks up the monotony of a long ceremony.

The team's footage is featured on large video screens during the ceremonies and other activities, and they livestream the content through CNU's YouTube channel.

The day before graduation, the Telecom crew brought the large TV truck to campus and set up their production equipment outside. Additionally, they made a separate production setup in the Freeman Center with the ATEM Mini Pro portable switcher and three cameras as backup in case of rain.

Crew call was at 6 a.m. the Saturday of graduation.

Telecom Supervisor Ray Price served as Producer/Director and also filled in as Camera Operator when needed. Telecom Instructor Carl Daniels, Jr. was Assistant Director and Technical Director, and handled graphics. Telecom Broadcast Engineer Mansoor Ahmed handled engineering and audio.

Telecom students were part of the crew. A long day covering graduation ceremonies is a great way to gain meaningful TV production experience.

Serving as Technical Director was Heritage senior Jolyne Roldan. Menchville juniors Trevon Smith and Jacob Trias, and Woodside junior Ryan Hedgepeth, were Camera Operators.

Telecom alumni working on the production were: Camera Operators Joshua Stuck and Muriel Gamble, plus Brandon Hedgepeth, who handled the livestream and the audio.

It was a long but rewarding day for the crew, who ensured the production ran smoothly.