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MTSU at Bonnaroo: Gordon keeps EMC students truckin’ [+VIDEO]

MANCHESTER, Tenn. — For MTSU electronic media communications professor Robert Gordon, his role in coaching students working here is all about capturing the essence of “the Roo.”

MTSU-Bonnaroo 2016 combo“The major difference with producing Bonnaroo performances for TV from that of an individual artist TV concert is that the festival is the star,” said Gordon, an assistant professor in the Department of Electronic Media Communication with almost 40 years of experience in broadcast, cable and network programming.

“Bonnaroo is an experience. Stage to stage, hour to hour, day to day, year to year, the performers change. Bonnaroo is the focus.”

Gordon is a key member among a group of MTSU faculty and staff supporting about 40 College of Media and Entertainment students working at the 2016 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival. The team is in its third year of a unique partnership between the university and festival organizers Superfly Presents and AC Entertainment.

At the heart of MTSU’s Bonnaroo presence is its 40-foot, $1.7 million Mobile Production Lab, known as “The Truck,” which is covering the event’s Who Stage for the second straight year.

This year, Gordon said, MTSU will handle TV production for 20 different acts over four days. He’s overseeing electronic media communication students capturing footage of the 15th anniversary edition of one of the world’s biggest music festivals, where 80,000 music lovers are expected to descend on the 700-acre site.

MTSU’s Bob Gordon, right, a video production professor in the Department of Electronic Media Communication, talks with MTSU student production manager Kaelin Michelle Bastin June 10 after the afternoon’s first performance on the Who Stage at the 2016 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn. Bastin is a senior video production major from Springville, Utah. (MTSU photos by Rob Janson)

MTSU’s Bob Gordon, right, a video production professor in the Department of Electronic Media Communication, talks with MTSU student production manager Kaelin Michelle Bastin June 10 after the afternoon’s first performance on the Who Stage at the 2016 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn. Bastin is a senior video production major from Springville, Utah. (MTSU photos by Rob Janson)

Stocked with world-class video and audio production equipment, The Truck serves as Gordon’s behind-the-scenes headquarters, where he orchestrates the show as a “player-coach.” His role, he said, is “to provide a fun, safe atmosphere and a creative structure in which people can do their best work and benefit from the experience.”

A student production manager coordinates transportation in and out of the festival. For each act, students rotate between all the camera and truck positions.

Billy Pittard

Billy Pittard

“The students will have to present totally different artists, live, with no rehearsal, in one take and show the essence of each act, as well as the atmosphere which is Bonnaroo,” Gordon said. “I will be directing the first part of each performance with a student assisting me. Midway through each act, I will give the reins to the student and be their assistant.”

MTSU student Sean Byrne, a sophomore video production major from Memphis, uses a handheld camera June 10 to capture the Henry Wagons band's performance on the Who Stage at the 2016 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tennessee. MTSU students are producing multimedia content for the festival.

MTSU student Sean Byrne, a sophomore video production major from Memphis, uses a handheld camera June 10 to capture the Henry Wagons band’s performance on the Who Stage at the 2016 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn. MTSU students are producing multimedia content for the festival.

Students with expertise in audio, video, photography and journalism are again working at the four-day event to produce a variety of multimedia content.

“Our students are learning about working in live events and entertainment — and this week, Bonnaroo is their classroom,” said Billy Pittard, chair of the Department of Electronic Media Communication. “Live events present great career opportunities for our students.”

Sean Byrne, a sophomore video production major from Memphis, Tennessee, was one of the students handling camera duties June 10.

“We just ran handheld for a band called Henry Wagons, an up-and-coming band from Australia, and it was really cool to get in really close and shoot over the shoulder and get all kinds of shots and be creative with it,” Byrne said.

“I volunteered to do this because it’s a great experience. Bonnaroo is so unique, and the fact that MTSU is partnering with such a great music festival is a really great experience for all the kids involved.”

Gordon noted that while last year’s crop of students included “several dozen audio and video student volunteers,” this year’s group also includes an audio production class and video and photography students that he recruited.

“This year we are bringing three photography majors, guided by assistant professor Johnathan Trundle. They will be producing photo essays on various aspects of the festival experience as well as behind-the-scenes essays on the television production,” Gordon said.

http://youtu.be/zmVJbBIvvHw

The audio class has several recording industry graduate students who attended last summer’s Bonnaroo production and will serve as mentors for the undergraduate recording industry students, supervised by audio professor Michael Fleming.

Fleming is using MTSU’s previous Bonnaroo experience to teach a graduate and undergraduate audio production course this summer, focusing on live location music recording and subsequent post-production of performances on the Who Stage captured by The Truck.

Pittard noted that MTSU provides its students with opportunities to cover a variety of live events ranging including entertainment, sports, government and politics, and commercial events.

Highly skilled students are assigned to work at EMC Productions, which is MTSU’s student-staffed varsity team for live TV production of events such as MTSU football and basketball games plus a variety of other events. College of Media and Entertainment alumni and, occasionally, a few current students play key roles in major concert tours; Super Bowl halftime shows; the Oscars, Emmys, Grammys and CMA broadcasts; the Olympics; major sports broadcasts and more.

MTSU’s College of Media and Entertainment, which is the fifth largest communication program in the nation, offers degree concentrations in 14 major areas — ranging from the recording industry to journalism to filmmaking and animation— and is accredited by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.

For more information about the college, its departments and majors, visit www.mtsu.edu/media.

— Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu) and Rob Janson (rob.janson@mtsu.edu)

MTSU’s Bob Gordon, right, video production faculty in the Department of Electronic Media Communication, works with MTSU student Kyle Miller Friday, June 10, inside the university’s mobile production lab parked near the Who Stage at the 2016 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn. Gordon is assisting EMC students working at this year’s festival to get hands-on experience in live video production. (MTSU photo by Rob Janson)

MTSU’s Bob Gordon, right, a video production professor in the Department of Electronic Media Communication, works with MTSU student Kyle Miller, left, June 10 inside the university’s mobile production lab near the Who Stage at the 2016 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn. Gordon is assisting EMC students working at this year’s festival to get hands-on experience in live video production.

MTSU student Taylor Sullivan, an incoming freshman video production from Cleveland, Tenn., works one of the cameras filming the Henry Wagons performance on the Who Stage at the 2016 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn. MTSU students are producing multimedia content for the festival. (MTSU photo by Rob Janson)

MTSU student Taylor Sullivan, an incoming freshman video production from Cleveland, Tenn., films the Henry Wagons band’s performance on the Who Stage at the 2016 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn. MTSU students are producing multimedia content for the festival.

 


MTSU at Bonnaroo ’16: ‘Remarkable learning opportunity’ [+VIDEO]

June 9, 2016

MANCHESTER, Tenn. — Year three of Middle Tennessee State University’s partnership with Bonnaroo is again providing students with a uniquely immersive experience that can’t be found in any on-campus classroom.

About 40 College of Media and Entertainment students will be producing multimedia content from the 2016 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, which started June 9, runs through June 12 and features top musicians such as Pearl Jam, Miguel and Chris Stapleton performing on stages throughout the 700-acre site.

“Our partnership with Bonnaroo has given our students a truly singular experience, transferring the skills they’ve learned in the classroom to the grounds of one of the world’s pre-eminent music festivals,” said Ken Paulson, dean of the College of Media and Entertainment.

“From photography and videography to journalism and the recording industry, the MTSU experience at Bonnaroo reflects the wide range of media we embrace in our college.”

This group of students, faculty and staff from MTSU’s College of Media and Entertainment are working at the Who Stage at the 2016 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn. (MTSU photo by Rob Janson)

This group of students, faculty and staff from MTSU’s College of Media and Entertainment are working at the Who Stage at the 2016 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn. (MTSU photos by Rob Janson)

For the second straight year, MTSU’s $1.7 million Mobile Production Lab, known as “The Truck,” will work the Who Stage at the event, with world-class video and audio production equipment on hand and CME students operating a variety of cameras to help chronicle slices of the 15th anniversary edition of one of the world’s biggest music festivals.

http://youtu.be/inijtVMp1f4

Kaelin Michelle Bastin, a senior electronic media communication from Springville, Utah, is working as production manager for the student team, for many of whom “this is their first time that they’ll be using the truck outside of on-campus events.”

“So for them this is a new experience going to the venue, being at a venue that they haven’t seen before, so it provides them experiences that we don’t get necessarily sitting down in the classroom,” Bastin said.

“And on top of that we’re switching out positions, so we get to try out different positions, and it helps us really develop who we want to be in their career instead of just being set of one thing throughout.”

Michael Fleming, an associate professor in the Department of Recording Industry, noted that the university’s ongoing relationship with Bonnaroo also has led to an opportunity to bring the on-site experiences back to the classroom.

“Our media and educational partnership with Bonnaroo has evolved to the point that this summer I’m teaching a graduate (Master of Fine Arts) and undergraduate audio production course focused on live location music recording and subsequent post-production of performances on the Who Stage that we’ll capture over four days in conjunction with a student, faculty and staff video-production crew on board our television truck,” Fleming said.

MTSU College of Media and Entertainment student Stephanie Donithan films the band Doe Paoro June 9 on the Who Stage at the 2016 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn. About 40 MTSU students are working at the festival to get hands-on multimedia experience.

MTSU College of Media and Entertainment student Stephanie Donithan films the band Doe Paoro June 9 on the Who Stage at the 2016 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn. About 40 MTSU students are working at the festival to get hands-on multimedia experience.

“This is a remarkable learning opportunity for students in the College of Media and Entertainment. We’re really grateful that the festival is so supportive of both our live production work and the opportunities for embedded journalism and photography students to document the festival again this year.”

This is the third year of a partnership Paulson brokered between MTSU and the organizers of the annual festival after 2014 campus visits by Bonnaroo founders Ashley Capps and Rick Farman, as well as Bonnaroo directors and organizers, to talk about the mechanics of the festival.

MTSU-Bonnaroo 2016 combo

Ken Paulson

Ken Paulson

The mutually beneficial relationship provides the festival with quality production and content while students gain the types of hands-on experiences that boost confidence and resumes.

When MTSU students arrived at Bonnaroo last year, the then-named College of Mass Communication was about to get a new name to reflect the broad range of academic specialties housed within the college.

“We renamed ourselves the College of Media and Entertainment to reflect a real shift in our approach and curriculum from mass communication to targeted, multiple media delivered through diverse platforms,” Paulson said.

“Bonnaroo has mastered that kind of multifaceted content creation and marketing and offers a great learning opportunity for our students.”

MTSU’s College of Media and Entertainment, which is the fifth largest communication program in the nation, offers degree concentrations in 14 major areas — ranging from the recording industry to journalism to filmmaking and animation— and is accredited by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.

For more information about the college, its departments and majors, visit www.mtsu.edu/media.

— Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu) and Rob Janson (rob.janson@mtsu.edu)

MTSU College of Media and Entertainment student Sean Byrne, left, films the band Doe Paoro June 9 on the Who Stage at the 2016 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn.

MTSU College of Media and Entertainment student Sean Byrne, left, films the band Doe Paoro June 9 on the Who Stage at the 2016 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn.