Video exposure gives Graphic Comms students added career track
Brad Cohen views the Graphic Communications course, GC3400 as a game changer in his academic journey at Clemson University.
The videography course, taught by lecturer Erica Walker, opened Brad’s eyes to a career in graphic communications he never would have considered until he stepped into the Godfrey Hall studio class this past spring semester.
This summer, the junior graphic communications major is interning with the university’s award-winning new media team in the Athletic Department, and Brad says the experience has further convinced him that he may have found his calling.
“I never would have considered videography a career option in graphic communications,” Brad said. “It’s sort of a non-traditional area for students in my major when you consider so many of us end up in print or packaging science-based careers. But I love what I’m doing, and I’m learning from some of the best new media talent there is.”
Walker, who has taught the class since 2012, said the videography course, which is a requirement for majors, veers somewhat from traditional graphic communications disciplines. But it introduces students to emerging career opportunities that companies across many industries today leverage as part of their everyday business.
“Videography is a 21st century business communication tool used in social media, website development, and related marketing campaigns,” said Walker, who before teaching was a feature-length documentary filmmaker. “Beyond the creative component, this course gives students a chance to practice important life skills such as adaptability, leadership, and problem-solving that students can apply to any career path they choose.”
A GC3400 assignment that tests students in all of those areas is the Godfrey Video Awards competition. Through a new partnership with the Clemson Athletics’ New Media Department, 10 teams of students plan, shoot, and edit short video features on student-athletes. The videos are recorded in lengths of 60 seconds, 15 seconds, and 6 seconds for targeted use on popular social media channels. The athletic department then decides which student videos can be used as a part of their marketing plan.
“Prior to this course, most of the students have little or no experience in videography, so this is a learn-by-doing project,” Walker said. “In the project’s scenario, the athletic department is our client, so the expectation is students’ creative work will meet their specifications in length and direction.”
And the athletic department’s social media content standards are very high. The department, headed by Jonathan Gantt, has made a significant impact on the sports marketing industry. National Basketball Association (NBA), professional soccer teams, and other major college brands have approached them for insights on how to build a successful social media presence.
This past semester, a team composed of Cohen, Logan Chuy, Charlotte Price and Hayli Johnson produced the Godfrey Award winning video about Clemson volleyball, Creating A Legacy .
Cohen is one of three GC3400 students interning this summer with the athletic department’s new media team in either film or photography. Walker said the Athletic Department partnership, along with partnerships with Admissions and Creative Services, gives students opportunities for real-life experiences that test them on many levels.
“Creating the video can be stressful and sometimes push students in areas they haven’t been pushed before. Professional quality is an expectation when you’re working with real-world clients,” Walker said. “The problem-solving and adaptability skills students gain on these assignments will transfer into many careers other than videography. So, we think we’re giving them tools that can benefit them no matter what they decide to pursue after graduation.”
Cohen agrees: “The Godfreys put me on a path where I began rethinking career options. It challenged me on many levels. It also led me to my summer internship where I am learning from some of the very best in the business. The course was a game-changer in that I am definitely focusing on a career path different than I originally thought was possible.”
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