Quality Education in the Benedictine Tradition.


Saint Vincent College Faculty Blog

The Monastery Run Improvement Project Video Project

Posted by David Safin on Fri, Nov 8, 2013 @ 15:11 PM
This morning, we hosted an educational symposium celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Monastery Run Improvement Project.  

One of the symposium's coordinators was Dr. Caryl Fish, associate professor of  chemistry, and she opened up the festivities with a brief history of the project. As part of her presentation, she showed a video that I put together at her request. 

This style of video is my preferred style because the story telling is born in the editing. We didn't start with a traditional script. Dr. Fish gave me an outline that I used when I conducted the interviews. Then, once all of the interviews were complete, I was able to weave a narrative from their answers. A professor of mine once dubbed this style of editing as "organic editing" because the content dictates the flow of the story telling. 

This style can be more difficult to put together because it can't fall back on a voiceover. I have to find the story in the subjects' words. That is where I benefit from being the interviewer. I know what I need, and I can continue to ask questions until the interviewers fill in the gaps. 

In this case, I chose to interview Br. Norman last. That way, I could use his interview as the contextual glue for the others. (Learn about the origin of this painting of Br. Norman at the wetlands in the video.) 

Very early on in the video, Dr. Cynthia Walter, professor of  biology, says that the MRIP was a "great story about how students initiate and foster projects at Saint Vincent." The same could be said for a good portion of this video. 

I relied on footage taken from two student-produced documentaries produced about our wetlands. The first was When the Water Ran Orange, which was produced in 2005 by students, Brandi Lux and Becki Polaski. The cutaways to participants, Bob Hedin, Greg Phillips and Wes Gordon were taken from that project, along with some graphs and charts. 

The second was from Where Are We? The Wetlands produced in 2007 by students, Jared Bundy and Alex Byers. They shot remarkable nature footage at the wetlands in the summer of 2007, and it is footage that I could not have shot myself because of I produced this later version in the fall. 

Watch their version to see what shots of theirs I used.

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Topics: communication, digital media, broadcasting, filmmaking, degrees in communication, communication degrees, video, videos, documentary, science, nature, wetlands, students

Communication Careers | Jared Bundy

Posted by David Safin on Mon, Jul 22, 2013 @ 11:07 AM
Recently, I corresponded with 2008 graduate Jared Bundy about his life and career. Jared was one of my top students both inside and outside of the classroom. His body of work in media at Saint Vincent is unparalleled. In this blog, we discuss what he is doing now, how he got there, and how Saint Vincent guided him along the way. 

Jared and me circa 2007.

So, what are you up to these days?
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Topics: college, communication, digital media, broadcasting, filmmaking, degrees in communication, communication degrees, video, videos, media, media studies, public relations, social media

My Year in Video

Posted by David Safin on Thu, Jun 6, 2013 @ 16:06 PM
Last year, I did a recap of my year in video, and I see no reason why I shouldn't do it again. Being that I work in academia, a year for me begins when an academic year ends, so for the purposes of this blog, I will be recapping videos that I made from July 2012 until now. 

In September of 2009, we hosted internationally-acclaimed poet Jose Kozer, and in one of his talks, he said that he "measures his life in poems."  That makes me think I should start measuring my life in videos. You'll start to see why as you progress through the blog.

I will begin with a video that concluded a series begun the previous year, and that was actor Phillip Winters discussing his role as Art Rooney, Sr. in our summer theatre's production of The Chief.  

The next video I'd like to highlight also has a Steelers theme to it. It was the video that played on the big screen at Heinz Field during all home games. This ranks as one of the coolest videos I have ever had the honor making, especially when I saw it play at a Steelers pre-season game.

Once the semester begins, I start documenting many of the campus events that take place, such as...
  • Freshmen Move-In Day
  • Service to the Community Day
  • Homecoming
  • Founders' Day
  • December Commencement 

This brings me to the winter of 2012-13, which goes down as one of the most productive and rewarding of my entire video-producing career (professionally and personally).

It begins with a road trip to York, PA, to report on our Wimmer Scholarship Recipient.

All the while, I was producing this informational video about our Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice (DNAP).

And finally, Fire and Ice: The Saint Vincent Fire of 1963. I can say with all humility that this is the video I will most be remembered for. It was a daunting project that involved collaboration of the highest level with Jerome Oetgen, Albert Oetgen, Jordan Hainsey and Kim Metzgar. 

And as I was wrapping production on the fire documentary, I began production on my thesis film for my Master of Fine Arts degree from Chatham University - The Birthday Present.  

On evenings and weekends in February and March, I worked diligently on my thesis, while at work, I continued producing videos for...
  • Threshold Lecture
  • Academic Conference
  • Honors Convocation
  • Commencement
  • Summer Theatre
Even as I write this, I cannot believe how fast this year went by, and how many videos I have made.

Because the end product of my work lives on the internet, there is no physical product that I can stack on a shelf, so it is a blog like this that lets me document what I have done. 

In putting them all in one place like this, I hope all who helped me can appreciate how much they have done as well. 

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Topics: college, communication, digital media, filmmaking, degrees in communication, communication degrees, video, videos, screenwriting, commencement

Early Literacy Quick Clips | Video Production

Posted by David Safin on Mon, May 20, 2013 @ 14:05 PM
On occasion, I have the privilege of collaborating with the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media. My most frequent collaborative effort is serving as the voice of their app videos. Here's my voice in their video for the app, Go NiNi!

Last summer, I lent my skills as a videographer for two days worth of shooting for their video series, Early Literacy Quick Clips. These videos, which were created for the Fred Rogers Center Early Learning Environment™, use real world examples to illustrate best practices in early literacy in a variety of settings.

I shot the videos in a handheld direct cinema style for a variety of reasons.
  1. I wanted the videos to feel fluid and natural.
  2. I was able to react quickly to what the children and their caregivers were doing.
  3. I felt a tripod would distract, intimidate and possibly frighten the children.
In this video about phonological awareness, I am sitting on the floor behind the children, shooting from their point of view.

The videos were produced by Jude Shingle, a talented artist/filmmaker and an Early Career Fellow for the Fred Rogers Center. He and I worked together to craft the look of the videos. It was a pleasure working with him. He was cheerful, energetic and open to any ideas thrown at him. Here is Jude introducing the videos (yes, that is my voice preceding Jude).

The experience of going to these daycare centers was also very rewarding. To see the time, effort, energy and enthusiasm put out by these caregivers gave me a greater appreciation for the work they all do. We were there for two days, and I left exhausted. They do this EVERY day.

Take a few moments and check out all of the Early Literacy Quick Clips (and please pass them along to anyone who might find them useful).
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Topics: digital media, video, videos, media, pennsylvania, fred rogers, ele, child care, daycare, fred rogers center, Pittsburgh

Bearcat on the Street 3.0 | Advanced Multimedia Production

Posted by David Safin on Mon, May 13, 2013 @ 14:05 PM
No doubt you have probably seen one of the several Bearcat on the Street videos either embedded on our homepage or on our (or other) Facebook pages. These videos were produced by students in the Communication course, Advanced Multimedia Production.

The students "on the street" were Carly Marsh, Eric Arbore, Charlie Kurtz, Nick Higgins, Pete McGee, Dillon Monier, Max Schrenk, Krissy Mazzenga, Rory Mitrik, Josh Spellman and DP Harris. 

Here is a playlist featuring the series in its entirety.

I call this series version 3.0, because it is the third iteration of the Bearcat on the Street videos. 

The series was originally produced in 2009 by students such as Ale Muzika and Sarah Ralutz. Here is one of the more popular episodes produced by them.

The series was revived the following year by students such as Sadie Stresky, Jeremy Smith and Rob DiVincenzo. Take a look back at some of their work. 

I hope to continue producing this series as part of my Advanced Multimedia Production course. The videos are at their best when they are made for student by students.

What was your favorite episode?
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Topics: college, communication, digital media, broadcasting, filmmaking, degrees in communication, communication degrees, video, videos, media, pennsylvania, media studies, internet marketing, public relations

Communication Careers | Eddie Coughlan

Posted by David Safin on Fri, Apr 19, 2013 @ 09:04 AM

On Friday, April 12, I hosted former student Eddie Coughlan, Broadcast Coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens. On game days, he shoots bench audio and game action and is part of the broadcast team that travels with the Ravens and produces, shoots and edits five TV shows per week. 

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Topics: communication, digital media, broadcasting, degrees in communication, communication degrees, video, videos, media, media studies

Wimmer Scholarship | Media Events

Posted by David Safin on Fri, Jan 25, 2013 @ 10:01 AM

One of my favorite videos is the Wimmer Scholarship Prize Patrol. In my time here at Saint Vincent, I have been a part of four of them. Below you'll see our own Shawn Gouch awarding a full scholarship to Alexander Pawlikowski, a senior at York Catholic high school two weeks ago.

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Topics: college, communication, digital media, broadcasting, viral, video, videos, media, news, scholarship, pennsylvania

Viral Videos | Intermediate Multimedia Design

Posted by David Safin on Thu, Jan 3, 2013 @ 11:01 AM
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Topics: communication, digital media, viral, video, videos, media, media studies, internet marketing, public relations

About the Authors

Michelle Gil-Montero is an associate professor of English and director of creative writing at Saint Vincent College. She runs the visiting writers series on campus, oversees the student literary magazine, and serves as guru to aspiring poets on campus. She received her MFA from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop in 2007, and she has been on the Saint Vincent faculty since that year. She is an active poet and literary translator from Spanish. She is spending part of the 2016-17 school year travelling to Argentina on a Howard Foundation fellowship and Fulbright grant. 

Dr. John J. Smetanka has been a member of the full-time faculty since 1997 and currently serves as the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Academic Dean of Saint Vincent College, a position he has held since January 2008. Dr. Smetanka has taught courses in Physics, Astronomy, Chemistry and Geology as well as interdisciplinary seminars. He has published scientific research articles in physics and astrophysics journals, numerous conference proceedings and also works in science education reform and the interaction between science, technology and theology.

Jim Kellam is an associate professor of biology at Saint Vincent College and our resident ornithologist. He received his Ph.D. from Purdue University in 2003, and is taking this semester as a sabbatical. What does that mean? He'll explain in his blog posts.

Dr. Michael J. Urick is Graduate Director of the Master of Science in Management: Operational Excellence program, and Associate Professor of Management and Operational Excellence at the Alex G. McKenna School of Business, Economics, and Government. Dr. Urick teaches courses related to organizational behavior, human resources, culture, leadership, diversity, conflict, supply chain, operations and research methods. Professionally, Urick serves on the board of the Institute for Supply Management (Pittsburgh) and belongs to the Society for Human Resource Management and APICS. For fun, Urick enjoys music and, since 1998, has led and performed with Neon Swing X-perience, a jazz band that has released multiple albums and toured portions of the US. He enjoys watching movies, is an avid reader of fantasy and science fiction, and also likes to fence.

David Safin, C'00, has been a lecturer in the communication department since the Fall of 2003, and has served in a variety of administrative roles since the summer of 2004. Currently, he teaches multimedia in the communication department as an assistant professor. 

Dr. Michael Krom received his Doctorate in philosophy at Emory University in 2007 and is currently the chair of the philosophy department at Saint Vincent. He has authored a book on religion and politics and continues to publish works in Catholic moral and political thought. Dr. Krom also directs the Faith and Reason summer program every summer. 

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