Information, Technology & Consulting

Lights, Camera, Action! Media Production at Dartmouth

If you need to promote an event or document historical materials, Computing Services' Media Production Group can help.

We sat down to talk to Associate Director Mike Murray about the Media Production Group’s projects and process.

Who’s on the Media Production team?

We’ve got three people who’ve got a considerable amount of experience in this field from very different backgrounds. I’m a film school grad, our Producer/Videographer Dan Maxell-Crosby is a Dartmouth grad with film and television studies, and our Senior Producer/Videographer Jay Beaudoin is from a broadcast/TV environment. All of us have been creating film and video our whole adult lives, and so there’s a lot of experience people could take advantage of.

Read Dan Maxell-Crosby’s profile in Dartmouth Now.

Describe your work.

We’re Dartmouth’s in-house media production wing. Almost anybody here, including the graduate schools, can hire us to either do complete soup-to-nuts video and audio production for whatever sort of communication project they’ve got going—or they can hire us to consult or do a specific part of a project. We do work for Admissions, Athletics, Development: any department that has a budget and a desire to produce video content.


Watch the Hop's Fiftieth Anniversary Celebration.

How do you categorize the work?

It falls into two general areas. The ones most people are familiar with are special events at the college, like graduation, that are recorded for posterity. We do between 250 and 350 of those per year depending the year. The other part of what we do is more project-based.


View the Presidential debate at Dartmouth.

What are some of those projects?

We just finished a series of three short videos Admissions wanted to put together as a way to welcome the newly accepted class at Dartmouth. We’re working with the Athletics Department on a video for Dartmouth’s part in You Can Play—a national campaign whose mission is dedicated to ensuring equality, respect, and safety for all athletes, without regard to sexual orientation. We also do a fair amount of training videos—we do some things through the med school, and through their affiliate programs: we did a series of training videos on how physicians should work with mentally ill patients, and in that same series was  information for mentally ill patients on interacting with their primary care physicians.


Sleep and the College Student is a film produced with Dartmouth's Academic Skills Center.

How long does a project take?

It really depends on the subject and the way that the client wants to treat a subject. I did a project last week that took a week from its request to its presentation. We move as fast as we can and as fast as our clients need. On the other hand, we have large projects that last two years. The thing that’s difficult with three people on staff is having the bandwidth to move really quickly without a lot of planning. I want people to know to contact us early and as soon as they want to do some kind of media project.


Watch an ArtWorks profile of an "underground cartoonist."

What are the steps involved in a media project?

It depends. For an event, clients let us know when it’s happening, where it’s happening, what else is going on. We do the rest. For the project stuff, the first step is to get on the same page in terms of what the client wants and the resources we have for that project. The second stage is talking to the folks who are the key holders. Then we work with what those folks say, almost as if it is a story in text or like it’s a radio show, and we let those folks that we’ve interviewed tell the story in their own words. Once we feel we’ve got that, we have this process of layering visuals, sounds, and other sorts of footage to round out the story and make it more full, more pleasing, more enjoyable, and therefore have some lasting meaning and value for the folks who see it. The last part is the distribution of the thing: more often than not that means YouTube, but for many events the production is used as a capstone, and is shown at an event.


Learn about the Class of 1978 Life Sciences Center.

What are some other ways of communicating with your audiences?

Another interesting thing we find ourselves do is wade through historical collections: old film, old stills, old audio recordings. Dartmouth has been here for a long time and using historical stuff helps us connect to alums. If you have a fundraising event and can show them moving pictures of their time on campus, it usually ends up being a good thing. We find that historical footage so useful. There is some feeling that we’re doing that now for Dartmouth—working 30, 40 years from now on some campaign where they’re trying to bring some money from the class of 2013 at their 40th reunion.


Dartmouth Homecoming: In a Word.

How can people sign up for your services?

The treatment form is just a form we use to get on the same page with people. The best thing is to contact any of the three of us directly by email. We do charge for our services; we don’t charge for consulting and giving advice to people about our projects. I’ve been here a long time doing the same kind of thing. The chances are that if you’re doing a video project, we’ve probably done that thing or something similar, and we may have some advice on how to proceed. Or we may already have something already in the can. If you’re thinking of some kind of media project, you should get in touch with us, even if you’re thinking of doing it yourself. We love to help and offer our experience on how you might go about it and that’s not going to cost anybody anything. Use us as a resource.”


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