Monday, November 14, 2016

Four Classic Lighting Techniques

Television, cinema, video, photography- anything involving cameras- require some thought about lighting. Lighting can be powerful force in conveying feeling, emotion, tension, even danger.

My video production students were challenged in the studio to properly light a classmate in what are termed by professionals the four "classic" lighting techniques: Rembrandt, Split, Broad and Butterfly Lighting.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

News "Quick Takes" November 2016

"Quick Takes" is a video production and reporting project I have my SC State student do. They are to gather clips on three different topics, preferably timely things in news, sports and/or entertainment. Then, using Adobe Premiere Pro's "picture in picture" (PIP) feature, the students inject reporting or commentary over the three videos.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Prezi Presents: My Favorite New Book Bird Photographs!

My students will soon be producing a Prezi Top Ten list- topics of their own choosing, so I'll be expecting a lot of variety when this assignment is due. I like Prezis because of their movement, flashiness and easy of assembly.

To demonstrate what I'm looking for and to show students who haven't yet created a Prezi presentation, I put this one together of 10 favorite bird photographs from my new book, "Nature-ly Fun! Bird Photography From A to Z."

Sunday, November 6, 2016

"Green Screen" Magic! "Where I Want To Be" Challenge

I always look forward to seeing what the students in my Electronic (Digital) Media Productions II class come up with in the project I assign them dealing with chromakey or green screen technology.

The idea is to blend two images, one of themselves photographed with a green background (in our TV studio, which has green walls for this very purpose) and then an image they find with the theme of "Where I Want To Be." This can be anything and everything, from dream jobs and vacations to celebrity encounters and other life magic moments.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

DJ 908 Aumari Peters On "Campus Conversation"

SC State Communications student Javonte Neal interviewed his classmate and fellow Communications major Aumari Peters about his DJ hobby and passion.  The interview was shot in our TV studio as part of the ongoing series, "Campus Conversation."

This and other "Campus Conversation" interviews have been conducted as part of the SC State Communication Program's practicum course that gives students internship-type experience at various offices and departments at the university. 

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Camera Equipment Set Up Challenge!

Today in my video production class I tested the students to make sure they can properly set up our program's video cameras and tripods. With the pressure of a stop watch and competing against each other, the students, three at a time, went at it.

Most of the students did great in this challenge. The fastest three finishers faced off in the championship round. Kiiyah Stokes prevailed in under three minutes.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

May 2016 Communications Graduate Shares Job Hunt Advice

What a treat on Monday of this week to have Andrea Butler return to the Orangeburg campus from her home in Columbia, bringing with her the exciting news of her new position at WACH-TV, the Capitol City's Fox station.

Boeing Speakers Bring Interviewing Advice to Campus

The recent Career Week at SC State included the opportunity to have professionals from the huge Boeing aircraft plant in North Charleston come speak to communications students.

In my Electronic (Digital) Media Production II class, we welcomed a pair of Boeing representatives, who spoke on the important topic of effective job interviewing.

One of the guests was David Jenkins, a manufacturing engineer with Boeing and a 2008 SC State engineering graduate. He told us how he had taken classes in this very building that used to house the school's engineering program and is now home to the growing communications program.

Brittni Lundie joined Jenkins for the talk. She is a college recruiter with Boeing's human resources office.

Boeing aircraft professionals David Jenkins (fifth from left) and Brittni Lundie (seventh from right) and my EMP II students

The speakers told the students how they can keep abreast of jobs at Boeing in North Charleston and elsewhere with the large corporation. Should you apply and get called in for an interview, they stressed the importance of preparation and appearance.

"Dress for success, dress professionally," Lundie said. She said to avoid saying or wearing anything "that will make you memorable in a negative way" such as heavy colognes or perfumes.

They also stressed to the students the importance of being confident, selling themselves and having good posture and body language. "If you stay ready, you don't have to get ready," Lundie said.

Jenkins spoke of brand awareness- the students need to establish themselves and their own brand identity. "This is my brand," he said. "This is what my brand can do for you."

Boeing offers three summer communications internships that involve moving to Seattle, Washington (all expenses paid!). The application deadline is Dec. 2 so if students are interested, don't delay!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

"Five Questions" with Jordan Beagle and Jaylaan Riley

This is a "Five Questions" segment my students are doing in my Advanced Television and Production and Editing class here at South Carolina State University.

The purpose of this assignment is to build skills and experience with shooting, editing and producing. The students also get to host and be a guest. So there are really three different aspects for them to experience.

Thank you Jordan Beagle and Jaylaan Riley for the fine job with this "Five Questions" interview!   

There is a second part to this "Five Questions" assignment. That is to insert a background image (photo or video) into the interview. This is why it is shot in our TV studio against the green wall. Chromakey is now possible- the layering or compositing of different visual elements.

I used this "Five Questions" jpeg (first created on PowerPoint) to be seen behind Jordan and Jaylaan.

Here are the steps involved in making this video magic happen in Adobe Premiere Pro. 

I really like the job done in this "Five Questions" by Kiiyah Stokes- Jones (producer/videographer/editor), Lynn McGrier (host) and Alexis Rabb (guest). Substantive topics and nicely put together by the talented Kiiyah!

I also want to highlight the job Alexis did with producing her video, with Kiiyah as host and Lynn as the guest. Lynn's audio was low but in editing Alexis was able to boost her level. I also like the writing and use of embedded links by Alexis.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

U.S. Army Armor Spotted Along I-26

My daily travels from North Charleston to Orangeburg and back are usually very routine. Tonight was a different story. This transport truck was carrying something you don't see everyday: what appeared to be a tank.

I edited this short video in Adobe Premiere Pro (Creative Cloud 2015). I applied some slow motion effects learned from this tutorial.

I actually pulled off the interstate to videotape this armored beast. Then I got another shot at it when it went through a truck weigh station.

Some research at home later in the evening determined this to be a U.S. Army Stryker Fighting Vehicle equipped with 105 mm rifled cannon. "Oversize Load" to say the least!

I got this shot before I attempted to get video. Everything was shot with my iPhone 5. Not the best still or video, but better than nothing in capturing an unusual scene on the interstate today. 

Monday, September 19, 2016

"Five Questions" in Four Steps

I have my Advanced Television Production and Editing students producing a fun interview segment I called "Five Questions."

This short blog post shows the four parts to the shooting exercise.

The piece opens with a two-shot of the host and the guest. The host, in this case Jordan Beagle, introduced himself, the segment and his guest. The guest is asked to tell a bit about, in this case, herself, who is Jaylaan Riley.

After the opening is shot, the camera operator moves the camera to the left to get a close up of Jaylaan. This is the standard interview head shot. With the camera on her, Jordan asks his five questions.

When the interview is completed, the camera operator then moves the camera next to or behind Jaylaan, and composes a head shot of Jordan. Now, Jordan will ask his five questions. Jaylaan does not need to answer this time. 

The fourth step in this production process, is for the camera to again be on a two shot for Jordan to wrap up the "Five Questions" interview. He thanks Jaylaan for being his guest, thanks the viewers for watching, then signs off giving his name to conclude the piece. 

Once the parts are all successfully shot, then the editing takes place. When finished, "Five Questions" will have a professional polish, with the look of two cameras shooting the questions and answers, not just one. 

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Christian Manning Walks the Walk!

This is a video project I'm having my SC State Advanced Television Production and Editing students do as their first "get your feet wet" project this semester. It's pretty basic but demonstrates some basic principles of videography and editing: steady tripod shots, allowing the subject to walk in and out of the screen, and editing it all together with music in a smooth, flowing way.

Thank you Christian Manning for the assistance with this. I look forward to seeing the video you took and produced of me leaving the classroom and building.

The music I used is courtesy of my go-to royalty free site,

And here it is.....the sequence video Christian shot of me...

Here's another motion sequence class video. Keith Gilliard shot, edited and produced this with classmate Constance Maybin.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

New Kizoa Slideshow: SC State TV Studio in Action!

Now that the Spring 2016 semester is wrapping up, I wanted to put this Kizoa slideshow together using various photographs I took this semester in the Communications Program television studio and control room.

It was a busy and productive semester and school year! I'm ready to take a break, catch my breath...and take on the summer, and various projects at work and at home.  I hope all our students have a great summer too!

TV Studio May 2016 - Kizoa Video Editor - Movie Maker

Kizoa is the bomb!  I really like this program and have students in various classes do fun slideshows with it.

Here's another SC State TV studio piece I did that is on YouTube. 

Monday, April 18, 2016

Bulldog Scavenger Hunt by Kizoa!

The students and I had a lot of fun in the Fall 2014 semester Electronic Media Production II class creating slideshows using the fun Kizoa platform. The task was to go around campus and photograph as many SC State Bulldogs as possible- they are everywhere on campus!

Then put the photos together into a slideshow using Kizoa. Add some transitions, titles, animations, music and other effects and you can produce something very unique, flashy and creative.

Bulldogs on Campus - Kizoa Video Editor - Movie Maker

Kizoa is a free program that is every user friendly. Check it out! 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

"Buzzer Beater" Sports Talk Program

Javonte Neal and Devante Williams continued their sports talk collaboration from last semester with a new segment recorded today in the Communications Program's television studio.

"Buzzer Beater" is the show's name. Check it out!
Andrea Butler did a great job in the control room directing and operating the NewTek Tricaster "studio in a box" system. Jasmine Robbins kept things tight in the studio as associate director. Kedrick Paisley, Kendra Pigler and Stephanie Lampkin were on the three studio cameras. 

Friday, April 1, 2016

"Quick Takes" Video Project

Everyone gets to be a commentator with this assignment I give my television production students. The task is to find three video clips- shoot them yourself and "rip" something from YouTube ( is a great site for doing this). Select things you are interested in talking about.

Then use Apple iMovie's picture-in-picture tool, insert your commentary over the clips. The Mac computers make the process easier by having a built in camera. Activate that, speak your mind, and the on camera segment goes directly into your iMovie editing project.

New "Green Screen" Creations

In some of my classes we take advantage of the communication program's green-walled television studio to do some projects using chromakey. This technique allows for two images or video clips to be blended together. Television weather reports with fancy maps, charts and graphics and a meteorologist appear on screen is a way all of us have seen "green screen" in action.

SC State communications major Kendra Pigler is savvy to working the green screen to create pictorial magic. She produced this campaign flyer a couple years ago using the TV studio green wall for her image then blending it with the background shot and adding text. Nice work Kendra!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Lighting Sets the Mood!

In my television production class we continue to work with lighting and how it can be used to look proper and professional but also to set tone and mood.

The exercise here is to demonstrate three common lighting applications used by photographers, videographers and cinematographers alike.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Vine Video: Driving to Work!

We're doing Vine videos today in my Electronic (Digital) Media Production II class. I couldn't resist knocking out a 6 second gem while coming onto campus this morning.  I like how easy it is to embed Vine videos into Blogger posts!

Check out my other Vine videos here!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Vine- It Can Be Divine!

Vine is a neat video shooting and sharing apps that tests the users to tell a story in just six seconds!

My Electronic Media Production II students will be doing two different Vine assignments. The first project is called "One Word Response." The students will be challenged to come up with a timely topic, whether news, sports or entertainment, and pose a question in such a way that all is sought is a one word answer. The better questions will elicit different answers and not the same ones. Example: "Do you hope the word ends tomorrow?" We can only hope a universal and emphatic "No!" would be the response to such a question.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Three Point Lighting Exercise

The three point lighting technique has long been a mainstay of photography, videography and film. It involves the use of three strategically situated lights to create the best possible image of a subject, often a person. See diagram below to show where the three lights should be placed.

My television production/editing students study three point lighting. I like to give them a hands-on (and lights on!) project so they can set up the lights and take photographs to show the changes made by the use of the key, fill and back lights.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

"Five Questions" Interview Project

My "Advanced Television Production and Editing" students are shooting and editing a little assignment I call "Five Questions." In teams, the students take turns interviewing, being interviewed and shooting the brief Q&A segments.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Super Bowl Predictions by Javonte Neal

S.C. State communications Javonte Neal produced this excellent person on the street (POS) report, asking students and faculty who they like in the upcoming Super Bowl 50 between the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos. Perhaps not surprisingly given our Carolina Connection, the Panthers are a unanimous choice among those interviewed by Javonte.

Super Bowl 50 will air on CBS this Sunday at 6:30 p.m.