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Interactive Communications

April 23rd, 2014

If you check the OSU home page after Friday, April 25, you might sense there’s something different. It’s not your mind playing tricks on you. We’ve made a complete overhaul of the design and structure.

While it looks much like the previous version of our site, there are quite a few changes. A host of accessibility upgrades have been made. The site is now responsive, meaning it adapts to the desktop and various mobile devices more readily. The top menu links are now in individual drop downs instead of one large expandable menu.

We’re planning a new design for the home page the for the fall, but we wanted to make sure our interim home page performs as well as possible while that new design is in the works.

If you have any questions or comments about the new page, drop us a note.

Screen Shot 2014-04-23 at 4.57.40 PM

Analytics: Dec. 2013-Feb. 2014

March 3rd, 2014

If you think we’ve gotten a bit sluggish about analytics lately, you’re wrong. Back in December, though? Well, that might have been a different story. These pageviews include December all the way up to Feb. 28:

previous homepage stories

“Celebrate the season” happened sort of last-minute, and it had about a 2-week run on the homepage, explaining its low views. There might be more reasons why the Terra story, “Singing His Story” might have been so popular, but from what I know, I’m going to chock it up to the beautiful photography we had, and its much longer run on the homepage through the holidays.

Here’s a look at videos in January and February:

videos

The commercial is still going strong!

And as for what we have up on the homepage right now… Five GREAT stories of course!

Outfitting Team USA: A story courtesy of the Oregon Stater, which was great to have during the Olympics. A pair of our alums own a ranch that supplied the wool for Ralph Lauren to make the sweaters Team USA wore in the opening ceremonies. Exciting stuff.
Changing the world: A student profile from the College of Engineering. They have so many inspiring students, and Nick is up there.
125 years of research: A timeline of the Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station. This awesome multimedia feature has great photos from the archives, and shows off our rich history as the state’s Land Grant University.
Celebrating black culture: a profile of the new director of the Lonnie B. Harris Black Cultural Center. I’m sure we’ll be keeping in touch with them as they move into their brand new facility soon.
State of the University: a recap of Ed Ray’s speech in January with a great infographic about all of Oregon State’s accomplishments.

Make sure to check them out!

-Callie

DIY Motorized DSLR Brushless Gimbal

February 25th, 2014

Here at Interactive Communications, we like to experiment. We’ve built DIY camera rigs and try the nightly builds of Magic Lantern firmware on our Canon cameras. Heck, I even built my own timelapse camera slider, going so far as to write my own program to set the move speeds. We do it because we want to tell the best story and have different tools to use to do that.

So in 2012, when we saw the short video that Vincent LaForet did with the Movi, our jaws dropped. Fast-forward just under a year and now the do-it-yourself crowd has built a community around these gyro-stabilized camera gimbals, blossoming out of the RC hobby.

A couple of us in the office are in to the RC hobby. Flying helicopters and quadcopters kind of got us thinking; we could build one of those! And so we decided, when the right project came to our attention, we jumped on the opportunity to build one.

The finished gimbal during its debut shoot

The gimbal at its first real video shoot

Before I get too much further, I want to make this clear: This is NOT a how-to. Realistically, if you are toying with the idea of making your own camera gimbal, then you have to be able to tinker or pay up for the out-of-the-box solutions. However, I’d like to give some tips that would have helped us from the start.

Our parts list (all from HobbyKing):

  • Turnigy PRO Steady-Hand Gimbal 3 Axis KIT
  • Quanum AlexMos Brushless Gimbal Controller 3-Axis Kit Basecam
  • Turnigy HD 5208 Brushless Gimbal Motor (BLDC)
  • Lithium Polymer Charge Pack 18x22cm Sack
  • TL-262 Thread Locker & Sealant High Strength
  • Hobbyking 2-8S Cell Checker with Low Voltage Alarm
  • Cable Ties 160 x 2.5mm White (100pcs)
  • 5.6mm x 13mm M3 Nylon Threaded Spacer (10pc)
  • EC3 plugs (10pairs/set) (USA warehouse)
  • Turnigy 420 Balancer/Charger 2S~4S
  • Wire Mesh Guard Black 3,6, and 8mm (1mtr)
  • HobbyKing Power Supply 100~240v 5A
  • Turnigy 2200mAh 3S 20C Lipo Pack

Totaled out to be around $600 shipped vs the Movi equivalent at just under $5,000.

Additional parts were bought from Quadframe.us who we were able to provide IMU and AlexMos board cases. We also took several trip to our local hardware shop, where we got our nylon screws, nuts and spacers for mounting the board. Here’s a short video that includes some shots with the gimbal:


YouTube Direct

Some notes and tips (specific to this build)

  • The Hobby King frame is not easily adjustable and thereby very frustrating to balance. Be prepared to tighten and untighten the screws about a thousand times.
  • The hardware provided with the frame was not quite adequate, it was missing motor mounting screws and it was not in the motor box. Some screws broke threads or just didn’t work. Have some additional screws on hand!
  • Another suggestion to Hobbyking: Please include a stand for the gimbal, it would save people so much time and frustration. What we did was use two light stands to hold up the gimbal, which worked great but if there was an option to buy a simple stand, we would have definitely done that.
  • Get yourself a halfway decent set of hex drivers, they will save your fingers and sanity.
  • Providing a case for the IMU and the AlexMos board would be really helpful in protecting the electronics, especially if people are going to fly this on a camera ship and if it is intended on being used on a production shoot.
  • A longer IMU cable would have been tremendous; we tore ours off so many times, eventually creating a longer one.
  • Header pins for the IMU would have been nice so we wouldn’t have to keep resoldering the wires.
  • BE SURE to check all axes for friction-less motion, it is super important and gave us too many headaches.
  • BALANCE is essential to the success of this, we followed the basics from the Movi online manual on Vimeo and found it very helpful.

So the big question is, was it worth it?

Yes and no. We saved a ton of money by doing it ourselves and we sure as hell paid for it in the time we spent tinkering and adjusting the thing. In the end, I can build one of these things with a bit more confidence and the experience we gained is new territory in the world of cinematography. So to answer the question, it was mostly worth it minus the times we wanted to throw the gimbal through the window.

-Darryl

CASE 8 Conference in Vancouver

February 20th, 2014

Vancouver

Well… Where to begin? CASE 8 held a lot of firsts for me: It was my first time at a CASE Conference. It was my first time at any conference. It was my first time in Vancouver, and my first time in Canada. I didn’t even really, fully understand the term “advancement” until a few days before I left. So, for your enjoyment, here’s a quick recap!

Day One

Kegan, Ashley and I drove to Vancouver. The drive was delightful, and Kegan managed not to get us all detained at the border! We happily checked into our hotels after the eight-hour drive, and headed down the street for dinner, during which our delightful waiter gave us some tips of things to see in the city.

Day Two

Conference opportunities didn’t start until the afternoon, so after picking up our name tags & schedules in the morning, we took the opportunity to see a bit of the city: We walked and shopped around the downtown area and enjoyed our first Canadian staple: Tim Horton’s! And then we made our way to Granville Island, where we enjoyed the public market and some of the shops & galleries.

Callie with CTV

In the Pacific Centre mall, we actually got interviewed by a personality from CTV! The segment, which contains man-on-the-street style interviews about random topics at the end of the Vancouver newscast is online here.

The opening keynote was given that evening by Shane Koyczan. You may know him from his TedTalk….


YouTube Direct

His keynote speech was very similar to this talk: kind of fading in and out of poetry and public speaking. It wasn’t so much about our careers in higher education, but about life and how to be creative. I heard mixed reviews from other conference-goers, but I LOVED it! I jotted down a few notes a few notes:

•”If your heart is broken, make art with the pieces”
•My favorite quote from the Velveteen Rabbit, “…by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”, which almost brought me to tears because my Grandaddy read me this book before he passed away, and it’s always meant the world to me, as a metaphor for salvation.
•”In this world, If you can’t succeed in the formula set out for you, you will not be successful.” (which basically means …life ain’t fair!) But if you spend your life conforming to a broken process, you break yourself in the process.”
•”Stop waiting for a breakthrough.”

So it was a lot of stuff I’d heard before, but said in an awesome, poetic new way, and it reminded me of a song by one of my favorite bands, The Mountain Goats.


YouTube Direct

[If you don't feel like listening to the whole song, my favorite line is "When you punish a person for dreaming his dream don't expect him to thank or forgive you."]

After the opening reception, 10 of us from URM, Public Health & development headed out for a delicious Mexican dinner in the Gaslight District, where the staff were kind enough to let us watch our CTV interview on their TV! Ha.

Day Three

Thursday, we got into the nitty gritty of the conference. First, we heard from Simon Fraser University about “Why We Stopped Talking About Ourselves”. They shared their “Are you SFU” campaign for prospective students:


YouTube Direct

I really liked how the illustrations they used in their video, website and print materials all matched, and were really cute and fun. The point basically was: they stopped telling students about themselves; they stopped recruiting students. Instead, they started SEARCHING for the RIGHT students, the ones who would belong on their campus and thrive. Pretty cool!

As you all know by now, I was REALLY excited for the second session that day, because it was given by two social media professionals from Arkansas, one from Central Arkansas University and one from Arkansas Tech University. But, honestly, I was a bit disappointed in the representation from my home state, and I’m sad to say I didn’t learn too much about social media. However, I did get an idea from the lady from ATU. She said she reads her university’s strategic plan every morning before she starts the day. I know this sounds a little excessive, but when you’re writing all day, and the plan is part of the messaging, I think it could only help, so I might start doing that! We’ll see.

At the Communications Awards Luncheon, we were awarded a Grand Gold award for Kel Wer! But, were denied the Cregal. Maybe next year, guys.

After lunch, I sat in to hear Melody and Carson present “A Tale of Two Beavers,” and they did a great job talking about our rebrand!

The last session of the day was presented by UBC about “Breaking Down the Digital Wall”. Until this presentation, I’d never heard “digital immigrants” used as a term, which I thought was interesting. They talked about their use of storybox, which is similar to tools we’re utilizing, and reminded us to ask the questions: Are you building stories that lets your audience in? How does your audience participate?

That evening, the alumni association took us out for a great dinner, where I ate probably two loaves of bread by myself, among other things….

Day Four

Because we had to drive home, we only got to attend one session on the final day of the conference, presented by the University of Manitoba. They talked about embracing their perceived negatives for a marketing campaign. They turned negative words like cold, flat, boring, old-fashioned into words like “pioneer” and “visionary”, using them boldly with great black and white photography. I really liked their ideas, but (fortunately), I don’t think we’re facing many of the same challenges they are…

U of Manitoba

Wrapping it Up…

So all in all, it was a great time, and I’m really thankful for the opportunity! As you can see, I got some great ideas, met some interesting people and basically became internationally famous. Thanks for reading!

-Callie

Job Shadow with Interactive Communications

February 10th, 2014
Jordan making final edits to her video project

Jordan making final edits to her video project

Jordan Nelson is an all-star. In high school she’s spending most of her time in college classes and she’s got a pretty clear idea of what she wants to do. She also loves movies, and watches all the behind-the-scenes featurettes. When she approached me by way of Teresa Hall, she wanted to conduct a job shadow to fulfill her requirements to graduate high school and get an idea of what the “real-world” was kind of like. So starting in September of 2013, we had a Philomath High School senior in our office sporadically over the next several months.

At first we decided to have her shadow the Interactive Communications office, seeing how projects go from start to finish. She sat in on meetings, video shoots and the wonders of the editing room. Basically, we brought her in to anything and everything a normal staff person would go to. Eventually, we felt like it’d be a great idea for her to get hands-on with video production because we knew the best way to experience something is to do it.

So we encouraged her to create her own video project, use our project management software and brainstorm with us of an idea. We gave her the tools and she took an idea all the way to production and to the editing process and without having had prior experience in any of it. She came up with the questions and was there for every video shoot she could. She sat down in our office and edited the entire thing on her own with a little guidance and a whole lot of determination. Needless to say, we’re pretty impressed at the results:


YouTube Direct

I have a couple of takeaways from this experience.

  • First, it’s that I am and always will be impressed with what people can do when they actually want to do it. Of course, then there’s the fact that she’s a HIGH SCHOOLER.

  • If we can learn anything from Jordan its that age means nothing and that being flexible to technology is a huge boon to your skill set. Working in the creative area, technology is what’s going to lift storytelling to the next level and being keen to technology, much like how younger people are accustomed to, is only going to help in the future.

  • It is possible to be a Beaver fan and still go to the University of Oregon with a conscious heart. Jordan is set to study pre-law at UO but she’s grown up to love the Beavs so much that nothing in this world will break that bond. NOTHING.

Having Jordan in the office was an extremely positive experience for all of us at Interactive Communications. For us to have the opportunity to share what we love to do was a refreshing experience and for that we thank Jordan for her work, we wish her nothing but the best in her future.

-Darryl

Snow Day 2014

February 7th, 2014

Classes may have been cancelled, but the campus was bustling with students and faculty taking in the rare site of a foot of snow blanketing our gorgeous campus. Everyone was capturing the moment with cameras and smartphones, or just standing and reverently soaking it all in.


YouTube Direct

 

- David

Ruth “The Canadian Hammer” Hamblin

January 22nd, 2014

Ruth-Hamblin

Every now and again I get to help Justin and Darryl on their video projects. Most of the time it is usually because they know I would have a personal interest in the subject matter. This time it was for an upcoming video to be aired on the Pac12 network. It features Ruth Hamblin, the starting center for the OSU women’s basketball team. The final story hasn’t come together just yet, but the general idea focuses on her being able to balance being (AN AWESOME) division I athlete and an engineering student, which is considered by many one of the more difficult and time intensive undergraduate degrees at OSU.

Side Rant

I want to go back to her being an awesome athlete. I watch a lot of college basketball, mostly mens, but over the last couple years I have started to watch more NCAA women’s basketball. The women’s team is leaps and bounds more fun to watch. From a pure basketball standpoint they win hands down. Their fundamentals are strong, they can shoot from anywhere on the court and they actually run an offense instead of the weird quasi-offense that our mens team runs. In the middle of all the excitement though is Ruth. She is absolutely one of the most devastating defensive presences I have seen at any level of basketball. The way she impacts the game is really fun to watch. She recently put together a 10 block game, which also included around 20 shots altered (insane!). She is just a sophomore, which basically means who knows how crazy good she will be after two more years of training.

I shouldn’t let my singular praise overshadow the rest of the team. From top to bottom the women’s team is filled with ballers. With only one senior, and I think also only one junior, the team is set up to make a deep NCAA run in the next couple years. Point guard Sydney Wiese is a freshman with excellent ball handling skills and court vision, not to mention a crowd stirring super quick southpaw 3pt shot. She has unlimited potential and will be fun to watch. Honestly, I could go player by player and talk about all their amazing abilities, but there isn’t enough space and you really just need to get out and watch them in person. You won’t regret taking in one of their next home games.

End Rant

Ultimately the point of this is to share the fun opportunities we get working at Interactive Communications. For me it was a big personal bonus to get to meet Ruth and thanks to Justin’s quick thinking I got the absolute great honor of getting my turn-around shot rejected by “The Hammer.” Below is photo proof of the sequence. I can now check getting stuffed, by OSU’s best shot blocker in history, off my bucket list.

- Kegan

Step 1: Think you can make a shot

ruth1

Step 2: Get destroyed (pretty sure she barely tried)

ruth2

 

Step 3: Have a good laugh because it was the most fun failure in my entire life

ruth3

- Kegan

Teamwork pays off

January 9th, 2014

Screen shot of Kel Wer website

I’m very lucky to be able to work with an absurdly talented team. This year their work was recognized for excellence by CASE, our professional organization, for three different projects.

The  silver award for “Floralia,” an interactive storytelling site that features rich content and immersive design, is especially rewarding because that project was conceived and executed by the staff on their own initiative. They took a standard request for a video and turned it into a passion project filled with amazing images, a sleek design and creative use of prose and embedded video. It pioneered techniques and an approach to storytelling that they hadn’t taken before and that we’ve used several times since. It was a launch-and-learn project that paid dividends.

Congratulations to our team for another year of incredible collaboration and effort. Here are the awards:

Beaver Nation website
Award: Bronze
Category: Websites, Sub-site or Section

Floralia
Award: Silver
Category: Websites, Sub-site or Section

Kel Wer
Award: Gold
Category: Video & Multimedia, Multimedia for Special Events

 

- David

We are Interactive Communications

January 3rd, 2014

The Web Communications department has changed dramatically over the past few years as we try to keep pace with the evolving digital landscape. The advent of web video, social media and mobile devices has redefined how we communicate.  As a reflection of these changes, our team has grown from three web specialists to a group of eight media professionals and three interns, including video producers, animators and motion designers.

While the web is still a primary delivery vehicle for our work, our content also regularly appears at major campus events, on broadcast television, PBS and the PAC-12 Networks. Video and motion graphics now make up the vast majority of our billable hours. To reflect these changes, we’re changing the name of our team to Interactive Communications. We’re hoping the  term “Interactive,” is more inclusive of the work of our entire team, whether it’s a website, a documentary film appearing on television that has a companion website, a multimedia piece integrated into a live event or whatever we discover we’ll be doing tomorrow.

We’re excited by the new possibilities available with every advance in technology, and we’re looking forward to continuing to work with all of you in 2014 as we carry our integrated marketing and communications plan forward in the digital space.

Here’s a look at some of the exciting projects we worked on over the past year:


YouTube Direct

Analytics: Oct./Nov. 2013

December 2nd, 2013

We are in the middle of the holiday season at the moment, but that doesn’t mean we still can’t take a look back at the past few months of web traffic:

Here’s a look at the stories we took down.

previous homepage stories

Floralia was up on the homepage for a very, very long time. It was our first experiment with a microsite and was VERY well-received by the College of Business.

The stories currently linked on the homepage include:

Creating great writers: A feature about EVERYTHING Writing at Oregon State: from a new partnership with a nonprofit in east Oregon, to the new low-residency MFA in Bend, to talented students choosing Oregon State over world-class programs like Iowa. Big things are happening for writers here.

Rocking outdoor education: My big summer project: A feature about the Adventure Leadership institute here at Oregon State and the impact its made from the very start with prominent climber Willi Unsoeld

Making it happen: A great student story about Joyce Madriz: an undergrad biology student following her dreams! This story is also up in Spanish.

Amphibians are crashing: A Terra story about herpetology, which I don’t even understand, so you’ll have to read to find out more!

On a wing and a dare: Another great Terra story about drones. Drones are such a hot topic now, and the dudes in our office obviously love them.

On the video side, we gained 471 subscribers and lost 124 subscribers for a net gain of 347. We currently have 5,658 subscribers to the Oregon State Youtube channel. “Welcome back to Oregon State”, our “short tour” campus video has 141 likes and only one dislike, counting it as our “most engaged” video.

And here’s a look at our top videos:

top videos

Darryl says: In this time period, we saw a nice bump in views in comparison to our last report.

The Welcome Back video was inspired by a video that an improv group created. It was one of our top performing videos, and in a very short time and little to no promotion at all. While edgy, the video inspired over 100 likes and multiple comments within a week of posting. The amount of time we spent creating the video was minimal as well, we spent a couple hours planning the idea of the video, a day to shoot and just a couple hours to edit.

The Bass fishing video we created generated an impressive 18,883 views due to an interesting viral video that recommended our video as a follow up to watch. Most of these views originated from Brazil, which leads us to believe that the recommendation must have been localized to that country.

Our Beaver Nation commercial, as mentioned in the previous report, is also performing well and we continue to receive good feedback on it. We also finished up our 1-minute version of this video, using similar visuals yet a unique take on messaging.

Other videos in this timeframe include the Fire video and two accompanying profiles. While they don’t have many views, we fully intend on pushing the piece out to different sources. We also recently finished up our campus recruiting video for the OSU Cascades Campus, a fun video with all the spirit of Central Oregon.

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