And the winner is...!

One of the key features of our current Vice Chancellor's tenure so far is his unwavering focus on the student experience, and, as we approach the end of the standard academic year, it seems only fitting that the efforts, commitment and achievements of staff and students alike are recognised at our innagural Vice Chancellor's Student Experience Awards.

Which means that tomorrow night (Friday 7 June), set against an amazing backdrop provided by our Putteridge Bury campus, lecturers, support staff, senior managers and students will gather to find out whether they are the proud winner of one of the awards, which range from Inspirational Teaching and Team of the Year, to Best Collaborative Project and the big one, Student of the Year.

Naturally this has required a fair bit of input from us in the marketing and events teams! Graeme and I were asked to produce nomination videos for each of the categories, which was a great opportunity to go and meet the people that have nominated this year's winners and hear about what these (often unsung) people have been up to. These kinds of videos are definitely one of my favourite parts of this job because it reminds me what this University can do for people - and how the 'transforming lives' motto is actually achieved, in most cases, by the encouragement of a single tutor or the dedication of an individual student.

What's more, this project meant our new team member Graeme had the opportunity to flex his After Effects muscles to produce a really nice set of motion graphics which complement the printed materials and the physical awards perfectly. Check out a tiny teaser clip of his work below:


The awards are just another example of the exponential growth of the use of video across the University, and this project has provoked some discussion amongst the team about the best techniques for this kind of video - it has certainly given us both the chance to hone our interviewing and prompting skills to ensure we have soundbites from nominators that really capture the essence of the awards ceremony, and the University's values.

With this kind of project, you have to achieve a balance between graphics, music, and interview to ensure that the tone is in keeping with the rest of the occasion - it's as much about understanding emotion as it is technical production. Having been given a maximum length for each of the 15 videos, there were a few that we just couldn't edit down because the content was so good - and I think the skill here is knowing when to break the rules to really hit the mark. After all, we all know that our deserving winners won't mind sitting for a few extra minutes before they hit the dancefloor (and the bar!) once they have seen the incredibly touching things their colleagues and students have said about them.
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