One-Take Production Earns Cayuga Grads Media Award

Three members of Cayuga Community College’s Class of 2020 recently received a national media award for a video spotlighting the College’s media programs.

Cayuga graduates Nathan McKay, Zachariah Neupert and Brandon Nixon received a Silver Telly Award this spring for their work on “The Media Production Oner,” a single-take tour of the College’s bustling media programs. The annual Telly Awards, now in its 41st year, recognize excellence in television and video across different platforms.SUNY Logo

“Winning a Telly Award is an amazing achievement for community college students. The awards normally go to students in much larger colleges with far richer resources. The creativity and technical excellence exhibited by our students are a testament to their abilities and to the high-level of training they received in the Media/Telecommunications program at Cayuga,” said Professor Steve Keeler, Division Chair for Cayuga’s School of Media and the Arts.

Initially designed in one of Cayuga’s video production courses, “The Media Production Oner” takes viewers on a mostly dialogue-free tour of the College’s media facilities. Other students and faculty participated to help McKay, Neupert and Nixon craft the award-winning commercial.

The two-minute tour shows students doing broadcast news reports, broadcasting from the College radio station, preparing to film an interview in the television studio, students operating sound boards for the studio, and students consuming information from other media formats.

Designing and filming a commercial with so many people and moving parts was certainly difficult, but the group decided to further challenge themselves by producing the video with only one rough take before shooting the entire final video in a single take. That meant careful choreography to help people perform their roles in the commercial.

“No part was individually filmed. It was a constant run,” said Mr. Neupert. “We were happy and excited to see it work out as well as it did, because any little thing that was wrong we would have had to reshoot the whole thing.”

After formulating the idea for the commercial, the group began working with faculty and other students, stressing timing, cues and when their respective walk-on roles started and ended. It was challenging, said Mr. Nixon, but using maps, animation, photos, arrows and more helped the planning efforts.

The first and final take went smoothly, with the camera following different students and faculty members through the media facilities for a brief glimpse into the life of a Cayuga media student.

The project also gave McKay, Neupert and Nixon experience with just a few of the challenges that may await them in media production careers.

“I have a lot more respect for people who produce different forms of media and large film productions who execute one long take. You can’t screw up in that situation,” said Mr. Nixon. “There was a lot of planning and timing it out and cues for people to start moving and interacting.”

Mr. Neupert and Mr. Nixon said they gained valuable experience with the project and the complications that come with filming single-take productions, and felt their work on “The Media Production Oner” would help their media career efforts. Winning the Telly Award was an unexpected, but certainly welcome, bonus, they said.

“It’s a very interesting video in terms of its production with the single take,” said Mr. Nixon of their work. “That aspect made it a unique experience. Cueing all those people, it’s just not something that you can do over and over again. It adds realism to the video. That in particular made it a good experience.”