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Behind the scenes of chapel service

With COVID-19 affecting many major events where people would normally attend in-person, it became necessary to ramp up their media work in order to allow folks to view chapel services, sports and plays, such as the recent Cherry Orchard. But how are they done? Who does it? Why do these people do it? Well, a lot of work goes into each and every one of these streams and productions, that’s for sure. 

In order to stream the Wednesday and Friday chapel services, as well as other major events that normally take place in chapel, students in the Media Mastery Institute and senior Cinema/Television/Digital Media students run equipment such as cameras and graphics that you see on the stream. 

Led by Roy Baker, director of the stream, the students are instructed as to how certain camera movements and positions are to be done, while adults working for KGEB in the Mabee Center do more of the behind the scenes work, such as engineering and making the stream go live. 

Photo by Gabriel Jaggernauth

A practice to get an idea of how the morning’s chapel service will play out, as well as an equipment check, is conducted in the morning. This helps the students gain ideas for what camera angles and shots to take. Senior students, for the most part, go out and record most of the chapel announcements. On a handful of occasions, chapel announcements may be shot and submitted by third parties in order to be featured on a chapel service. Such examples include the recent Freestyle Friday’s Straight Out of Quarantine trailer, produced by the minds behind The Take, or the Film Audition announcement shot by the Media Mastery Institute students to promote the audition process for their upcoming films. 

Thanks to the work of Professor Holt, the college now has a media truck whose purpose is to make the setting up of streams easier, whether it be sporting events such as the baseball and soccer games, or the dramas put on by the drama students. This truck compliments the gear the college currently has and allows for ORU to stream multiple events at the same time.  Unlike chapel, where adults run the stream for the most part, a majority of the work is done by the students in the communications and media department, including but not limited to audio engineering (how the video appears from the camera), character generator (the fancy text and effects that show up on the screen) and playback. Professors Christopher Holt and Hans David Steele set up the truck with the assistance of the Media Mastery Institute students and help them tear down the truck and equipment when the work is done. 

Photo by Gabriel Jaggernauth

So why do the students run these processes? Because it creates hands-on opportunities for the students to be able to practice behind the scenes and give them experience by putting the students in professional settings to simulate real world jobs.  The jobs that these students do train them for the potential futures that they may intermingle with, such as directing, when they already have the experience from directing sports games or dramas, or camera operations, when they already learn what it takes to be an effective cameraperson. 

The work that it takes to make these streams come to life is not an easy task, as the students have expressed, but it is a rewarding one, and it is because of the teams behind the streams that you can watch them from the comforts of your home (your dorm is your home).