Guest post by Slavik Boyechko

Earlier this year, OSU Ph.D. candidate A.J. Fillo had an idea: he wanted to make an educational video series for kids, teaching them complex scientific concepts in an entertaining way (read: explosions).

A.J. has a tendancy to start conversations with, “Wouldn’t it be cool if…?” More on that in a moment.

After securing a local video team including Travis Gilmour, Yancy Simon and myself, along with some startup funds from the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library, “LIB LAB: Library Laboratory” was born. For the pilot episode, A.J. went to his professors and asked, “Wouldn’t it be cool if we could film inside OSU’s propulsion laboratory?”

They agreed, and the first episode on rockets was made entirely on the OSU campus, with only minor burns (read: my eyebrow).

A few episodes later, Aaron broadened his scope… just a little. For an episode about vortices, he asked the OSU drum line if they could perform while hitting vortex smoke rings out of custom made drums.

Photo by Lindy Brown

 

And then, “Wouldn’t it be cool if the drum line could shoot the smoke rings at Reser Stadium?”

That’s one of the really neat things I’ve learned about OSU recently – the staff and faculty are willing to do whatever it takes to help their students succeed, which means supporting their wild ideas, innovations, and experiments. Even if that means a wacky video series with flying smoke rings, or the documentary work that this department is undertaking around the world.

Photo by Lindy Brown

 

I went to school here a decade ago, and have been lucky to produce videos around the country for many types of organizations. Sometimes it can be impossible to convince big entities like a university to support any kind of project that seems nonessential, especially if it takes up campus resources.

 

But the support that we’ve received from all levels of OSU staff and faculty, encouraging creative and innovative thinking in media and video production, has been a breath of fresh air. We can be comfortable starting conversations with, “Wouldn’t it be cool if…?”

Photo by Lindy Brown

 

Thanks OSU! We look forward to working with you on the next wild project.

Slavik Boyechko is co-owner of Video Dads and writes about video production tips at geardads.com

lab0

So you’ve got yourself a Drupal site, and it’s feeling a little neglected. Maybe it doesn’t have any friends and nobody plays with it anymore. Why not bring it to one the Drupal Open Labs? Or maybe you don’t have a website yet but you’ve always been thinking about getting one. Why not stop by and try one out? At the Open Labs, someone might let you play with theirs.

Think of the Open Labs as a sort of 4-H club for website owners. The free program has been around for a while as part of CWS’s suite of web training and support services, but this quarter we’re giving the sessions an adrenaline injection in the spirit of experimentation. We’re planning to hold extended sessions weekly through March, and we’ll not only have our Drupal trainer-in-residence, Sher Fenn, on hand, but we’ll also bring developers, site builders, graphic artists and writers.

We’re looking for web property owners who want to improve their sites. Bring your projects to the lab and we’ll assemble a team on the fly to either workshop solutions right on the spot or set you on a course to continue to work on your own with confidence. Are you lacking a robust web support team? Well now for two hours per week you’ve got one. Oh, and the program isn’t restricted to just Drupal. We welcome other web species as well, from WordPress to garden variety HTML.

So bring your neglected pet projects or even your major initiatives to the lab and let’s poke ’em with a stick and watch what happens.

Here are the dates for the upcoming labs. And you can sign up here. We hope to see you there this winter.

  • January 22, Autzen Classroom, Rm 2082, 2nd Floor Valley Library, 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
  • January 29, Autzen Classroom, Rm 2082, 2nd Floor, Valley Library, 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
  • February 5 -Autzen Classroom, Rm 2082, 2nd Floor, Valley Library, 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • February 12 -Autzen Classroom, Rm 2082, 2nd Floor, Valley Library, 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • February 19 -Autzen Classroom, Rm 2082, 2nd Floor, Valley Library, 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • February 26 -Autzen Classroom, Rm 2082, 2nd Floor, Valley Library, 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • March 4 – Autzen Classroom, Rm 2082, 2nd Floor, Valley Library, 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • March 11 – Autzen Classroom, Rm 2082, 2nd Floor, Valley Library, 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • March 25 – Autzen Classroom, Rm 2082, 2nd Floor, Valley Library, 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
(Photo: Oregon Digital Collections)

Clear Lake is located at the headwaters of the McKenzie River.  It sits right around 3000 feet above sea level and the temperature fluctuates from around 35 to 43°F year-round.  The bottom composition and water sources for this lake all contribute to unbelievably clear water.  Rowing on the surface is more akin to flying across an alien terrain than what you’d typically expect on a mountain lake.  These conditions all contribute to a remarkable albeit challenging SCUBA diving destination.  It is an odd site to see weekenders unloading camping gear alongside divers unpacking tanks and fins.  It’s easy to understand the allure of diving Clear Lake once you drop below the surface.  Exploring the bottom of Clear Lake you will come across a preserved forest frozen in time, carpets of algae, and sunken boats.  Some claim it is possible to experience up to 200 ft. visibility in the lake.  Locals mentioned we were in the midst of a seasonal algal bloom though even so we estimated being able to see over 100 feet.  All of this awe and wonder doesn’t come without a cost.  During our visit the water temperature averaged about 40 °F.  Even with a 7mm semi-dry suit (I was the only non drysuit diver in our group) I was pushing my ability to fight off the cold after 30 minutes underwater.

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This trip was part of our continuation down the path of becoming AAUS certified scientific divers.  Currently in the middle of production on a film about global coral reef decline (coralreefmovie.org) it became essential for us to develop underwater filmmaking skills.  It has been an incredibly challenging and rewarding experience thus far.  Diving and shooting in varying conditions has really helped us become quicker to adapt and meet the demands of the shooting situation.  In all honesty capturing images underwater has proven to be far more difficult than we could have anticipated.  Our appreciation for what you see in any given BBC ocean documentary has gone through the roof.  Behind every shot is an incredibly skilled camera operator/ SCUBA diver managing an array of variables to capture the stunning images in the given project.  Our humble efforts have yet to reach that level though each dive gets us a bit closer to our goal.

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Equipment Used:

Panasonic GH4

Panasonic Lumix G Fisheye 8mm lens

Nauticam NA-GH4 housing

 

Getting Started

My internship at Interactive Communications has been one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. The journey here was quite random, after being rejected for a graphic design internship I was encouraged to apply for an internship with Web Communications (the department’s previous name). I kindly thanked the referrer, wallowed in self-pity and didn’t apply due to having no experience with web design or motion graphics.

Weeks later Santiago, the Assistant Director, contacted me and asked if I’d like to interview for the position, I thanked him for the opportunity and pointed out my lack of knowledge in their field. He explained that a few of their previous interns started off with a print background and transitioned into motion graphics, and that the important part was having a strong sense of design. The interview went smoothly, Santiago and Dave liked my portfolio, so I tried out After Effects and joined the team.

The Office, the Team and What I’ve Learned

A little while after I became a member of the group, the office moved downstairs to the basement of Adams Hall to an open floor plan with everyone in the department in one room. I understand this setup isn’t for everyone, but I honestly think it’s facilitated growth in our relationships and brainstorming. There are many moments when the office is so dead silent that visitors feel awkward entering the room and other times when it’s in an uproar either due to Kegan having an epiphany of what the next world changing app, sitcom or invention should be or Justin sharing a random video that’s on the borderline of morbid but you can’t help but laugh because of how hilarious it is. This place isn’t just a workplace; it’s a space for discovery, storytelling, laughter, and working hard.

Through these last two and a half years I’ve learned what it’s like to be a part of a true team. Each person brings a readiness to work with others, explore, stay focused and have fun. One of the projects that really brought us all together was the creation of the Beaver Nation Web Campaign. Every individual was involved in the gathering and creation of stories, videos, web design and photos. I narrated for the Beaver Nation Trailer, created a few animations and designed the Beaver Nation History Site.

Home page screenshot of the Beaver Nation history site with an archival photo of the Oregon State Campus in the background.
Home page of the Beaver Nation history site.
An image still from the animation  of Brian Wall.
Brian Wall Animation Still

When I started this internship I had no idea I would get to use and develop such a diverse amount of skills. I’ve explored narration, web design, motion graphics, puppet design, photography, project management, archival research and more through this position. I also didn’t realize I would meet such cool people, each person is witty, hilarious and fun to be around.

A screenshot from the animation Metabolic Melodies: Hemoglobin's Movin' Around, a light hearted animation that describes Hemoglobin in the body.
Here is a still from the animation I directed called Metabolic Melodies: Hemoglobin’s Movin’ Around.

Now It’s Your Turn (possibly)

My time here at Interactive Communications is coming to a close as I graduated with my degree from Oregon State University in June. Their internship will become available in the Fall. If you are a current student at Oregon State with a passion for graphic design, web design, motion graphics, animation and/or video editing then reach out to the team. If you want a creative internship that pushes your skills to the next level in an unpredictable and fun environment then this is the place for you. Email Interactive Communications at: web.communications@oregonstate.edu.

downloadIf you’d like to follow my journey you can find me at www.taylor-howard.com.

– Taylor

Since this past winter, I’ve been working with colleagues from Information Systems and college web and communications teams on mapping a digital platform strategy, a plan that will help to guide the overall direction for web and mobile for the university. It’s an exciting development: it is the first time in my seven years at Oregon State that our main IT and communications units are collaborating with campus at this level. We’re happy to be able to share this initial draft. It should be a great foundation for things to come.

Take a look and let us know what you think.

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Our latest digital campaign is underway. It’s our Beaver Nation interactive documentary, and it’s following the themes of the ongoing Beaver Nation efforts led by our sister unit, University Marketing. The whole campaign launched last year with our new commercial (also produced by our team in partnership with University Marketing).

What the interactive documentary does is establish a sense of place. Oregon State University has the great benefit of being located in a natural resource wonderland. Old growth forests, dramatic volcanoes, glaciers, gorgeous coastlines and waters rich with sea life, an array of agricultural products, vineyards, hop farms, pastures, painted hills, mysterious canyons: all of these wonders orbit our main campus like a constellation of glossy tourist brochures. You sometimes have to pinch yourself as a reminder that it’s all real.

We’re lucky to live in Oregon. And that our campus has such deep connections to every corner of the state.

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The Beaver Nation documentary and site is intended to show our reach within the state and beyond, but it’s more than that. We also want to just step back and celebrate the places that we’re fortunate to be surrounded by.

Our crew traveled to all of these spectacular places to uncover the stories of the people who call them home and are connected to them. And we didn’t just focus on OSU students, alumni and faculty. Anyone who loves where they live and appreciates their local bounty–and works to protect it–is an honorary member of Beaver Nation. It’s not just about orange and black…it’s about making a difference in your community.

We’re releasing a new chapter every few weeks through early 2015, and we’ll be finishing with coverage of Beavers around the country and across the globe.

What I’m particularly proud of is that the entire project has been produced completely in house with our full-time staff and student workers. Our team can compete with the best agencies and show the potential of committed workers devoted to the institution. Beaver Nation isn’t just out there. It’s right here, inside our studio as well.

And our staff also produced the various chapters. Each region had a different producer who pulled together the team and invested a part of themselves into every story, word and pixel. And the results are amazing. It’s a great privilege to be part of this talented crew.

– David

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 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.

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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….

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.

[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:

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

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.

 

– David