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New Elon admissions video debuts on UNC-TV

Two talented alumni worked with students to create a new video to introduce Elon to prospective students and their families.

An edited version of Elon’s new admissions video debuted during halftime of the Oct. 22 statewide broadcast of Elon’s Homecoming football game by UNC Television. The full-length video was produced over the past nine months by a team led by Tim Johnson ’09 and Max Cantor ’10, both graduates of Elon’s School of Communications. It will become a main feature of Elon’s Campus Visit program, shown to thousands of people annually at Elon’s Welcome Center prior to their campus tours.

The full, nine-minute version of the video will be shown only on campus, but a shorter version is available for viewing via YouTube:

Elon has traditionally used a video to introduce the university to those who are just beginning to learn about Elon. The previous video, which was produced by a professional production company, was due to be updated. Susan Klopman, vice president for admissions and financial planning understood the outstanding talents of Elon alumni who are making their marks in professional video production firms from Los Angeles to New York. She decided that this was a perfect opportunity to allow them to showcase their skills in promoting Elon.

“Having alumni produce the admissions video brought a whole new dimension to the production,” Klopman said. “They were able to draw on their personal experiences, and their instincts were right on target. They focused on how Elon broadens students’ horizons and prepares them for life after college.”

Klopman says the video is meant to convey a sense of the experience of Elon University. “It is about the four-year journey from uncertainty to confidence, allowing students to graduate with a sense of direction and excitement about what is yet to be.“

Johnson served as the video producer with Cantor serving as director. They had previously worked together on student video projects at Elon and were able to collaborate on the project even though they lived thousands of miles apart. Johnson currently works as a video editor for Precision Productions + Post, based in Los Angeles, and Cantor is a freelance video producer in New York City. They traded video files via the Internet and communicated via Skype.

Johnson and Cantor were assisted in shooting the video by 25 current or former Elon students. They made a trip to Elon to plan and cast in February, and then spent 10 days on campus in April in production. Much of the equipment used in the video production is owned by the university as part of the School of Communications inventory. During the main production phase, Johnson and Cantor shot more than 20 hours of video. They returned for two days to shoot video at graduation with the help of a large student crew.

The postproduction was done both in New York and Los Angeles, with Johnson and Cantor working with the same footage, and trading editing files. The sound mix was done in LA, as was the recording of the musical score.

Tim Johnson '09

The video features the pictures and words of about 65 students and faculty, blending their reflections and experiences. The students and faculty tell their stories to give viewers an idea about what it is like to be a part of the educational experience at Elon.


Q&A with Tim Johnson and Max Cantor

What was your goal in the production?

Johnson: “In showing the student experience at Elon, our biggest goal was to maintain honesty. We wanted to focus on what students actually get out of their experience, so in our interviews with students and faculty we tried to keep everything conversational and real, rather than reciting written lines. I think that paid off, because all of the featured students and faculty really opened up and were genuine. We tried to keep the perspective to their personal experiences, and let them tell the audience directly what they’ve gained at Elon. Collectively, they did a great job of conveying just how much you can grow and mature during your time in a unique and supportive community like Elon.”

Max Cantor '10

Cantor: “From the outset, we wanted to give prospective students a sense of the how it feels to spend four years at Elon. We weren't as interested in showcasing the facts of the figures of the school as we were in showing personal stories of people who take advantage of all that Elon has to offer. We figured that most prospective students are pretty nervous about how and where they will end up, and it was best to be approachable in our conversation with them and show them how students like them, who value self-awareness, found a sense of place at Elon. We didn't want to try to sell them something and make a lot of promises, but instead reassure them that they could become whoever they wanted to become at a place like Elon.”

Did your position as alumni bring special meaning to this project for you?

Johnson: “Being an alum really made this a special project to work on. I have so many great memories from my time in school, and to have the opportunity to work with Max to condense all those memories and milestones into a short video has been challenging but rewarding. It’s also been fun, because I know that many of my classmates, friends and professors will see this and hopefully connect. That’s made it a very personal project because so many peers have a similar connection to Elon.”

Cantor: “I think in a lot of ways, it deepened our appreciation for Elon. I think we both felt so emboldened by our experiences at Elon that when it came time to leave, we weren't overly sentimental about it. Doing this project forced us to think a lot more about what our college years actually meant to us personally. In that process, I came to miss and respect the school a lot more. In that sense, advertising for Elon, for us, felt completely sincere. It was something we really wanted to do. Working with students from the School of Communications and meeting students from other disciplines was a reminder of what a great place it is to grow and develop, intellectually, but also on a human level. It was nice to be able to share whatever small amount of knowledge Tim and I have developed, post-Elon, with those students, and also take in all that they have learned and are learning there now.”

What would you like people to know about this video?

Johnson: “This video is really the product of a lot of hard work by a lot of great people. From the beginning, Susan Klopman, Kaitlin Carlin, and the rest of the admissions staff and production team has been extremely open and supportive to our ideas, and their encouragement and trust in us has really made the piece what it is. This video is something new, and they gave Max and me free rein to make it so.

The student crew was fantastic. Luckily for us, I don’t think they really knew what they were getting into when they agreed to help out, but they really put in some long hours and made the whole production phase a lot of fun. Having been away from campus for a couple years, it was great for me to reestablish some friendships and make new ones among the undergraduates. The quality of the work from communications students is constantly improving, and that’s encouraging to see as an alum. It certainly served us well on this, because there were many times where we were the ones asking questions to the crew.

A friend of both mine and Max’s, Nick Jacobson-Larson, really put together a powerful score. He wrote and recorded something that we couldn’t have found elsewhere, and it really sets the tone for the whole message of the piece.

Conor Britain, also a 2009 alum and 2010 iMedia alum, did some great effects work. You probably don’t notice it when watching the video, and that’s the sign of a job well done. He was able to improve more than 40 of our shots by removing unsightly signs, adding and enhancing parts, and even doing some compositing work for a nighttime shot of Alamance.”

Cantor: “The student crew we had was fantastic, and the faculty support we received was really encouraging. Susan Klopman and Kaitlin Carlin and everyone in admissions put a lot of trust and energy into this, and it made it so much more fun to have a committed, positive group around it. There are so many talented people at Elon. It's easy to take it for granted, but there is an infrastructure of highly motivated people interested in succeeding and seeing other students succeed. That was nice to see, and it made me feel really fortunate for having gone through that.“

What do you hope the video accomplishes?

Johnson: “I hope that prospective students who watch this video are reassured that college will be a great experience, especially if they attend Elon. I know that Max and I are biased, but I really think Elon enabled me in a lot of ways that most schools wouldn’t. The mentors and peers who have encouraged me during and since my time in school are something unique to find, and I’m grateful for that.”

Cantor: “I hope that it alleviates the fears that a lot of prospective students have about their futures, while also challenging them to push themselves a bit. The bottom line is, everything will be ok, but don't be complacent. You can do some great things at Elon if you push yourself and have a great work ethic. It would be great if alumni really took to it. I like to think they might enjoy a reminder of where they went to school and how it shaped them.”

Alumni, students, faculty and staff involved in creating the video:

Producer: Tim Johnson ‘09
Director: Max Cantor ‘10
Writing, videography, editing: Max Cantor ’10 and Tim Johnson ‘09
Original music: Nicholas Olof Jacobson-Larson
Executive producer: Susan Klopman
Associate producer: Kaitlin Carlin ‘10
Visual effects: Conor Britain ’09, G’10
Sound mix: Brady Schwartz

Production committee:
Greg Zaiser ’90, MBA ‘95
Katie DeGraff
Cindy Barr
Art Fadde
Brian Meyer ‘10
John David Parsons ‘06
Nancy Midgette

Video crew
Will Simon ‘13
Will Anderson ‘13
David Gwynn ‘13
Travis Mitchell ‘12
Clint Edmondson ‘12
Aaron Moger ‘12
Liv Dubendorf ‘12
Taylor Shain ‘12
Elijah Clark ‘12
Beatrice Copeland ‘11
Leigh Burgess ‘13
Gabriela Szewcow ‘13
Ethan Carr

Additional photography
J. McMerty ‘00
Peyton Lea ‘10
Will Simon ‘13
Will Anderson ‘13
Brian Meyer ‘10
Jack Dodson ‘12
Kelli Accardi ‘11
Katie O’Brien ‘12
Clint Edmondson ‘12
Daniel Koehler ‘13
Liv Dubendorf ‘12
Stefan DiMuzio ‘10
Kevin Burrows ’02, G’10

Marlee Belmonte ’11 and family
Kileigh Browning ‘12
Derrick Burnett ‘12
Paul Busby ‘11
Katie Chung ‘12
Molly Cimikoski ’11 and family
Patrick Clanton ‘14
Amanda Clark ‘11
Emily Cray ‘12
Ann Sterling Dale ‘11
Eugene Daniel ’11 and family
Dr. Jayoti Das
Simi Dhaliwal ‘14
Nolan Elingburg ‘11
Dan Enders ‘13
Jenna Farley ‘11
Erin Fitzgerald ‘11
Kathleen Freeze ‘11
Dr. Kenn Gaither
Evan Glover ‘12
Josh Goldstein ‘12
Chase Gottwald ‘10
Ken Hassell, M.F.A.
Sarah Hoopes ‘13
Brenna Humphries ‘13
Jessica Jackson ‘12
Claire James ‘11
Sean Jeffcoat ‘11
Ashley Jobe ‘12
Zach Jordan ‘11
Young Do Kim
President Leo M. Lambert
Natalie Lampert ’11 and family
Gabe Latigue ‘13
Jay Light ‘12
Jamie Lowe ‘11
Patrick Ma ‘12
Guy Mannick ‘13
Dr. Kathryn Matera
Stephanie Matson ‘11
Dr. Claudine Moreau
Courtney Mosley ‘12
Gillian Mulhere ‘14
Phil Nemec ‘11
Alex Pepper ‘11
Meg Ralston-Asumendi ‘11
Alana Read ‘11
Aaron Richards ‘11
Scott Riddle ’11 and family
Kate Riley ‘14
Elizabeth Riner ‘11
John Roman ‘11
Stephen Rosebaugh-Nordan ‘12
Kara Salpeter ‘11
Kate Shirley ‘11
Will Simon ‘13
Jeff Stern ‘14
Liz Stillerman ‘13
Claire Tipton ‘13
Dr. Rissa Trachman
Dr. David Vandermast
Jill Vanderoef ‘11
Ashton Vincenty ‘12
Meg Wagner ‘13
Andi Work ‘11

Dan Anderson,
10/26/2011 4:05 PM