Georgia Southern studio applications class gaining experience amid COVID-19 pandemic
The experience of working in a multimedia studio cannot be recreated virtually or elsewhere. Working within the circumstances of the pandemic, Dean Cummings, Ph.D., assistant professor of multimedia film and production at Georgia Southern University turned to the Georgia Film Academy and his time filming in sterile environments to ensure students in his studio applications class stay safe while gaining valuable studio experience.
All students in the class, which is offered through the Department of Communication Arts, are certified in COVID-19 safety protocols through training offered by the Georgia Film Academy, and Cummings mandated the use of lab coats and head coverings, in addition to masks, for students and talent in the studio.
“All of the students have done a great job making sure that the protocols are being applied and so far, they are being applied correctly,” Cummings said. “I mandated the lab coats and caps to minimize the transfer of any virus that would be on clothing, kind of like a mask for the body. The students would be up close with guests, clients and any non-students who come into the studio, so the lab coat protects them as much as it protects others.”
Students are split into four groups to minimize contact, and each group member has a different role, so they don’t have to share equipment. Temperature checks are performed before entry into the studio, and all equipment is sanitized after each session.
The class has been working with outside clients to create commercials that will be seen on the campus websites of Georgia Southern Health Services, Emergency Management and International Admissions. Senior Mecca Malone said the most challenging part of the class is making sure the clients get what they want.
“We are confined to the studio for safety precautions, so there is a lot we are able to do, but you have to get creative about how you do it,” Malone said. “Within this time, I have learned a lot of what is possible even in the current circumstances. Safety is also a big deal, so we have to do this while making sure our clients and talent are all comfortable.”
Cummings’ experience filming projects in hospitals and surgical suites has helped him make sure students know how to keep themselves and others safe in the studio while still creating quality content.
“I don’t expect the students to tiptoe around the studio, but I do want them to be aware that what they touch, where they stand and how they treat the sterile environment is important,” he said. “If anything, treating a client or talent with respect is extremely important in their future professional careers. In COVID-19 times, we must respect our talent, keep them safe and keep our crew safe.”
Malone said she’s glad she is getting so much applicable experience.
“I tell Dr. Cummings this all the time: I am not sure what I expected to gain from this class, but I have learned a lot,” she said. “Dr. Cummings wanted to make this class similar to situations that would occur in the real world and that has stayed true. This class has involved working with people, setting meetings and being professional. I am still unsure of where I will work after graduation, but I will be applying at jobs similar to this class.”
Posted in Faculty Highlights