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Behind the Production of the 2023 OU Graduation Video

Gaylord Extra: Final Spring Edition

Behind the Production of the 2023 OU Graduation Video

Gaylord Hall Productions (GHP) has once again completed an excellent graduation video to celebrate the Class of 2023. This annual project debuted during the University of Oklahoma Commencement Ceremony on Friday, May 12, 2023.

The graduation video, a mosaic of campus events, classroom footage, and athletic achievements, was crafted by GHP, a client-based production practicum course in Gaylord College. Leading the team was Scott Hodgson,  Creative Media Production professor and GHP faculty advisor. Hodgson emphasized the students' autonomy  and collaboration in this large-scale project, stating, "The students organized themselves. They were editors, producers, shooters, content gatherers… everyone played a role."

The video's production was a labor of love starting in February, intensifying during the last few months approaching graduation. Sydney Nichols, lead producer, said of the production process, "We gathered footage from Marcomm, SoonerVision, and the rest we shot as a team. Our editor, Andrew Kelly, is incredibly organized in his file management. The main portion of the video that we had to shoot was all of our stadium shots."

Dividing the work was a collaborative process. Each member of the team contributed. "We had three producers who were basically the team leads for writing, scheduling, communication, and directing. The rest of our client production class (GHP) served as crew for the shoots, actors, narrators," Nichols added. Hodgson echoed this sentiment, “The students are highly invested in this process. The chance for them to do something that highlights their four years in college and will have such a large audience including their families is very meaningful to them. It's incredible how well the students work together to figure out what needs to be done and then to get it done. As a faculty member seeing their commitment to doing effective, high-quality and very creative video means, "they got it! They understand what it means to create a message for an audience that can hit a mark."

Despite facing challenges, including scheduling conflicts and balancing the creation of 60 videos for the Broadcast Education Association award show in Las Vegas, GHP continued to make strides on the graduation video. Even though time was in short supply during the process, the team’s commitment to creating a story that represented all OU students pushed them through. Robert Harris, one of the student producers, said "The passion we shared really helped us to push the video further than any of us expected."

The video made its premiere during commencement in the Lloyd Noble Center. The entire GHP team was able to finally view their work as an audience member. "There is nothing like the students see their months of work playing on a big screen for the first time. Up to that moment everything was a concept. But seeing it play in an arena makes everything real and brings it home. The clients are crying, the students are crying and I'm sitting there like a proud dad!" said Hodgson.

The 2022 graduation video, also produced by GHP, won the “Best of Festival” award at the Broadcast Education Association’s 2023 Festival of the Arts. Scott and the team are excited to see how they can continue in the future. When asked about whether GHP planned to do it again next year, Nichols said "They absolutely should. Who better to tell the student story than students? They’re experts!"

View the 2023 graduation video below.

Sundee Busby

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