BRCC Today

Any opinion shared on this website does not reflect those of Baton Rouge Community College.
These opinions and creations are my own.

BRCC Today was the public access talk show for Baton Rouge Community College. It was created around 2006 from the former Capital Area Technical College as CATC Presents, renamed once the two schools merged in July 2013. I discovered the show while flipping channels, and took interest in that I was coming from the main campus in Mid-City, then enrolling in the Acadian Campus (CATC’s main campus). As a fan of the concept, I drew up my own ideas for the show.

BRCC Today Ideas Reel, 2013

Fall 2013 was my first semester at the Acadian Campus, having been out of school for over a year; I was studying Studio Arts at the main campus. It had only been a couple of weeks before my work became the talk of the class. The show was hosted by Tammy Brown, the then community relations director for BRCC/CATC; after she paid a visit to my class, I jokingly told Ms. Angela, my instructor, that I was ‘starstruck.’ The following semester, one of my classmates whispered to me that Ms. Angela was talking about me to Tammy Brown over the phone. After that, she gave me her copies of all of my classwork.

“Take this to Tammy Brown’s office,” she enunciated, “and tell her, ‘Ms. Angela sent me here.'”

Weeks earlier, I was tipped off that she was looking for students to spotlight. What I didn’t know was that she was also interested in me producing the on-campus interviews for the show. From there, the BRCC Today quickly evolved, capturing the attention of BRCC faculty and local productions alike.

My interview from April 21, 2014.

This opportunity came within days of me finishing with Brian Hertzock, applying nearly all of what I had learned. But what I liked so much about this endeavor is that I not only had a lot of creative control, including the YouTube page, but the fact that I was learning about marketing from Tammy Brown, one of the best in her field.

Production Concepts

The show started with graphics based on my YouTube idea. But as I got deeper into the project, I tweaked the identity so that it would align with the school’s silver signage. The new package relies heavily on custom transitions as to personalize the interviews as much as possible.

I also changed the theme song. It was originally using “Story of My Life,” a very old tune from my video blogging days. But with the new identity came a new song cleverly titled “I Just Did,” serving as the response to BRCC’s slogan, ‘Image what you can do.’ The theme is loosely based on the production music used by Metro21, the public access station.

 

As the show got more advanced and the production value elevated, the inevitable growing pains arose. From March to May of 2014, the interviews and B-roll were filmed with Ms. Tammy’s digital camera. However, I began the use of a Canon T3i DSLR camera in June for full TV quality. Audio is also captured through a Tascam DR-05, with Neewer lights for my keys, hairs and fills. Though Metro21 broadcasts in standard definition, my first few DSLR shoots were in full high-definition 1080p, converted to 720p. HD is the norm, and having my footage in the highest resolution possible allowed for me to pan and zoom in post-production as I saw fit. The problem lied in sending the edits to Metro21, where the videos wouldn’t always be letterboxed properly. This caused me to downgrade everything to SD altogether.

I routinely watched the BRCC Today broadcasts, looking for ways to improve. Taking the above into consideration, my creative eyes went straight for the lower-thirds. My friends teased me about something I said on Twitter:

Lower-thirds are one of the most important parts of a broadcast, as it provides rotating information. Geared towards the casual channel-surfer, this was essential as the graphics gave all the info needed about the education and opportunities at BRCC.

Now in September, I was anxious to execute these new experiments. The plan was to meet Ms. Tammy at the Port Allen campus for an interview. However, I wasn’t expecting a handful of teachers and students for several interviews, all of whom were in a time crunch. Quality production takes time and attention; in this instance, I had little time to prepare, unpack, relocate and the rest. I’m a one-man show right now, but I refused to have the guests toting equipment. This led to a rather catastrophic outcome including over-exposed video, talent bobbing in and out of fram, funky camera angles, video with little depth and worst of all…

…REALLY…BAD…AUDIO.

For me, this was a test of communication as a producer. Ms. Tammy came to me for know-how, and I dropped the ball. I prioritized honoring the guests’ time over production procedure, which led quite an unsavory outcome. But it served as motivation to look for more ways to experiment…

…and to buy a windscreen.

Later in the Fall 2014 semester, Ms. Tammy pitched the idea of filming promos for different programs, starting with Heating and Air (HVAC), Graphics (GRPH) and Sonography (SONO). I went into these with a clear mind, prioritizing location, atmosphere and specific class duties, then equipment and accents in the class. With the voice-overs Tascam’d in Ms. Tammy’s office, the outcome was utterly beautiful.

A/C & Refrigeration (HVAC) promo

Graphics (GRPH) promo

Sonography (SONO) promo

Besides the umpteenth mix of the theme song and more flashy intros, the post (post-production) allowed me to experiment with color-correction, establishing standards for the on-campus interviews, the promos and fixes for the DVD rips of Metro21. Our school colors are red, black and white, which is why the interviews have high contrast and saturation. But I wanted a film look for the promos. I utilized a similarly high contrast but with warmer colors instead. However, I made an exception for Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN), filming and coloring the footage in a way similar to ER.

Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN) promo

Patient Care Technician promo

For the spring of 2015, my final undergrad semester, Ms. Tammy was moved to the Westside Campus in nearby Plaquemine, Louisiana, where she is now the site administrator. In February, she came to me with the idea of filming what I call a ‘feature’–a twenty-minute long ‘minisode’ highlighting the NCCER construction training programs. By this point, I was armed with even more knowledge and maturity than before, due to other projects I had been working on both for the school and the public. As a result, filming this was like butter.

BRCC Today Westside Campus

I learned more even more about mastering, remastering the already well-liked theme song, and the entire edit was more in line broadcast standards. I was involved in three different TV shows at the time, which was why it became paramount for me to establish my own standards of commonality when it comes to graphics, video details, etc. As a result, I revamped the coloring as a way to further unify all of the shows that I worked on or filmed for.

Going into this session, the most important thing for me was the video quality. We now live in a world where HD is the expectation–the standard. This is why old shows that were crystal clear during their original TV runs now look rather grainy and blurry. As much as I loved the videos from Fall 2014, I couldn’t get past the fact that they weren’t of the quality that I prefer; I relegated to SD at the time as a way to meet common ground with the broadcasts of Metro21. But through the additional ventures, I upgraded back to HD, sending a cropped version in SD for Metro21 as to avoid distortion and letterboxing.

With all of that being said, Ms. Tammy called this my best video to date, and Ms. Angela was elated when she saw the reel (below) before this feature debuted on March 20 of that year.

BRCC Today Westside Reel

By this point, things had come to an end, and I’m about to graduate. As of May 19, 2015, I was involved in two TV shows–with the possibility of a third–in addition to a set of commercials and my own community broadcast concept on the table. By the length of this page, as well as my old blogs, it should be clear that I’m retrospective to a fault. So in closing, just in time for my graduation from college, I put together one final video in memoriam, which can be seen at the top of the page.

I came into this as a fan, and left with a clear career path. Many people leave school with an ‘education,’ not knowing what to do, much less what they want to do. Fortunately, I wasn’t one of those people. And it all started with one really bad morning in class…

Special thanks and life-long gratitude to Angela Saia, BRCC Instructor–Graphics, and Tammy Brown, MBA, Site Administrator–BRCC Westside Campus.
Interviews and full-length episodes are available online at youtube.com/BRCCtoday. Filmed monthly, new episodes aired every Friday at 5pm on Cox Cable’s Metro21 in Baton Rouge.

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