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June 4, 2007

Students intern at one of the nation's largest music festivals

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -
Rascal Flatts performs
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A dozen Purdue University students will serve a summer internship with entertainment video professionals during the June 7-10 annual Country Music Association's (CMA) Music Festival in Nashville, Tenn.

"The students get a chance to work beside and learn from a group of highly respected professionals in the live video production industry," said Steve Hall, director of Purdue's Hall of Music Productions. "Students participate in every aspect of video production -- the first day of load-in, through four days of performances at two different venues and the load-out on late Sunday evening. The shows they produce at Riverfront Park and LP Field will be seen live on the large video screens by more than 100,000 fans attending the festival. In addition, the students will work alongside an ABC television crew that will be on site taping the festival for a special to air nationally on July 23."

Reba McEntire, Alan Jackson, Brooks & Dunn, Brad Paisely, Little Big Town, Sugarland and Carrie Underwood are among the 80 artists scheduled to perform.

The course is offered by Hall of Music Productions as part of a summer internship program in the College of Liberal Arts' Film/Video Studies program.

"As the university's event production company, we provide audio, lighting, staging video and event management services to a variety of campus-affiliated events," Hall said. "We also have a longstanding tradition of involving students in the events we produce. Most recently, we have been providing our expertise for classes in video production and non-linear editing."

During the internship, the students will be involved in many aspects of the production, including engineering, building six giant light-emitting diode (LED) video screens, operating cameras and video graphics computers, managing cables and assisting the international press in receiving an audio and video feed of the event. More than 40 students have participated in this program during the past four summers. Students represent majors in film/video studies, computer graphic technology, communication and electrical engineering. Bill Callison, manager for academic outreach at the Hall of Music Productions, teaches the internship course for third- and fourth-year students.

"This is a great place to bring these students who are interested in entertainment video production and to partner them with professionals who are industry leaders," said Callison, who has been working in the entertainment industry for more than 25 years. "You really can't get much more real world than this. These students get a taste of what working long days and being on the road is like."

In addition to courses offered in video production and editing through Hall of Music Productions, Film/Video Studies' courses include digital video, scriptwriting, the Mafia in the movies, history of film, French cinema, literature and the visual arts. More than 80 students are majoring in this program.

Ben Lawton, associate professor of Italian and director of the Film/Video Studies program, said graduates from the program are directing feature films, as well as working for television stations, advertising agencies and small filmmaking companies.

Lawton says the partnership with Hall of Music Productions is beneficial to providing hands-on experience for students.

"When we redesigned the film/video studies major some years ago, while not diluting the quality of our academic courses in theory, history and national cinemas, we deliberately incorporated the experiential training," Lawton said. "We programmatically expose our students to the best professional equipment available in our production courses. This is possible only thanks to Hall of Music Productions and to the contacts our production instructors have in the entertainment industry. Then we have the students work with that equipment assiduously, first on campus and later, once they have proved themselves, off campus at events such as the Music Festival in Nashville."

Writer: Amy Patterson Neubert, (765) 494-9723, apatterson@purdue.edu

Sources: Stephen D. Hall, (765) 494-3937,  sdhall@purdue.edu

Bill Callison, (765) 404-4393, billc@purdue.edu

Ben Lawton is traveling and can be reached at lawton@purdue.edu

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; purduenews@purdue.edu

PHOTO CAPTION:
Rascal Flatts performs at the 2006 Country Music Association's Music Festival in Nashville, Tenn., while Purdue student interns operate the video cameras. A dozen students will be at this year's festival June 7-10, where they will work in various areas of video production, such as engineering, operating cameras, creating computer graphics and managing cables. The course is offered by Hall of Music Productions as part of a summer internship program in the College of Liberal Arts' Film/Video Studies program. (Photo provided)

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