Thursday, 25 February 2016 18:10

Campus-Based Video Production Business Gives Students Experience

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Open for business -- Students Amanda McKnight (right) and Matthew Cancél operate video equipment for Lakeside Media@SUNY Oswego, which has launched as a student-staffed, faculty-mentored video production business. Open for business -- Students Amanda McKnight (right) and Matthew Cancél operate video equipment for Lakeside [email protected] Oswego, which has launched as a student-staffed, faculty-mentored video production business. Submitted photo

Lakeside [email protected] Oswego has launched as a student-staffed, faculty-mentored video production business, with professional responsibilities that include everything from on-time delivery of high-quality video to keeping the books.

"It's actually professional experience that these students will be getting, with faculty oversight," said Julie Pretzat, dean of the college's School of Communication, Media and the Arts. "The work is contracted and the students are paid."

The enterprise evolved over several years, starting with an award-winning, student-produced video whose contract ran through communication studies faculty member Marybeth Longo's own video business. The video, informing the public about a communication system for Upstate first responders, tied for third place in the instructional/educational category of the Broadcast Education Association Festival of Media Arts, a national competition.

"We thought, 'Why not keep this going?'" said Longo, who teaches broadcasting and mass communication courses and is faculty director of the new business. "We kept working with a series of other jobs."

With assistance from Pamela Caraccioli, deputy to President Deborah F. Stanley for external partnerships and economic development; Mary Toale, chair of communication studies; Pretzat; and a corps of student employees chosen for their work ethic and ability to work well with others, Lakeside [email protected] Oswego launched with three contracts in hand: a video to help students know University Police and its duties better, one on the dangers of synthetic marijuana and another on the college's Title IX program.

"The President's Office is pleased to support this department-led effort to showcase student talent to the region's business community," Caraccioli said.

Longo said students seeking work after graduation, including self-employment in video production, would value the experience. Clients during the run-up to the new business have included such agencies as Oswego County Division of Promotion and Tourism and the SUNY Oswego technology department's advanced manufacturing program.

"This is a job," she said. "There's no academic credit. They're not getting student work, they're getting professional work. ... This gives them a big leg up on becoming self-sufficient."

Dedicated to craft

Matthew Cancél, a junior communication and social interaction major from Poughquag in Dutchess County who has taken numerous courses with Longo, said the opportunity to work for Lakeside Media has turned his college career around. Originally a chemistry major, he found himself out of school after a particularly bad semester.

"My Dad's been in the (video production) business for 25 years. I decided to pick up this torch and do what he does," said Cancél, who re-enrolled at Oswego in the fall and hasn't looked back. He now speaks to classes and has done a video about academic success.

"The fact I got a job opportunity in college is huge. I'm going to come out of college saying I have experience," said Cancél, whose Lakeside Media colleagues include students Amanda McKnight, Zachary Fregoe, Lamont Sadler, Raymond Rivera and Taylor Ksiazek.

Longo said Pretzat thought so highly of providing such opportunities to students that she approved purchasing dedicated professional-level cameras and other equipment for Lakeside Media. "I am so thrilled the school had this vision," she said

Pretzat said that working for the video production company will be a competitive process. "It's going to be an honor to be chosen for Lakeside Media," she said.

With students working for a percentage of the gross contract, they probably won't get rich just on a per-hour basis doing the kind of storyboarding, interviewing, videography and editing that paying clients expect – but the experience is the value, Longo noted.

"The students we pick are very dedicated to the craft," Longo said. "You're more likely to find them editing on a Friday night instead of going out. They know the dedication it takes. ... I've got students asking, 'What can I do to be part of this?'"

For more information, contact Longo at [email protected]

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