MANCHESTER, Tenn. — Middle Tennessee State University students and faculty were hard at work in the final hours before Thursday’s opening of the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, preparing to handle live television production duties for 25 performances that will be featured on the popular streaming service Hulu.
The assignment, the centerpiece of MTSU’s long-time partnership with the iconic four-day music event, means students will capture images and sound from 35% of the concerts at this year’s Bonnaroo, said Bob Gordon, an associate professor of media arts and the college’s live production degree coordinator.
“Our students are handling video production for Hulu on two stages, with some of those performances occurring at the same time,” Gordon said. “Paid professionals are handling the other three. But we’re all doing the same thing.
“Our production efforts at Bonnaroo are as ‘real world’ as it can get.”
University Provost Mark Byrnes and College of Media and Entertainment Dean Beverly Keel spent Wednesday at Bonnaroo, visiting with some of the team of about 50 MTSU students and faculty on this year’s coverage team. It’s a coveted assignment for students, as it provides a resume boost and talking points for job seekers in entertainment journalism, music business and audio and video production.
Meanwhile, students from MTSU’s School of Journalism and Strategic Media will file daily stories and photos for Sidelines, the university’s student news operation; Seigenthaler News Service; and the MTSU Student Voice. Also, photography students will roam the festival grounds, known as “The Farm,” for visual stories.
“We are doing more with Bonnaroo this year than ever,” Keel said. “The work they create will be the highlight of their collegiate portfolios and the memories they create will last a lifetime.”
The MTSU-Bonnaroo partnership began in 2014 with student journalists given special access to cover the festival. It expanded in 2015 to also include video and audio work with the college’s almost $2 million Mobile Production Lab, known affectionally as “The Truck.”
It’s a 40-foot rolling TV studio/classroom used by the departments of Media Arts and Recording Industry to teach multi-camera production at about 30 live events each semester, including sports, concerts and award shows. The Truck includes a complete, professional quality HD video and audio production control room, which was adapted this year to capture performances on Bonnaroo’s “This” and “Other” stages.
And more work may be coming at this year’s Bonnaroo, Gordon said.
“We were asked if we could handle production work at nine more concerts,” he said. “We’ll be ready.”
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