Penn State

Lights, camera, Thon! for student videographers

Production coordinator Alex Frederick works on the wrap up video during the Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon on Saturday, February 21, 2015 in the Bryce Jordan Center. Frederick’s committee will be capturing footage all weekend which he then makes into a weekend overview to be played in the final hour.
Production coordinator Alex Frederick works on the wrap up video during the Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon on Saturday, February 21, 2015 in the Bryce Jordan Center. Frederick’s committee will be capturing footage all weekend which he then makes into a weekend overview to be played in the final hour. CDT photo

If there was someone with a camera in their hand documenting events at the Bryce Jordan Center, it was likely a member of Thon’s entertainment committee.

By 2 p.m. Saturday, a group of student videographers and editors were halfway done with a recap film that would be revealed Sunday at the IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon.

It’s a project spearheaded by Penn State senior Alex Frederick, 22, whose goal was to create something guests would remember.

It will highlight activities during the 46-hour dance marathon that benefits the Four Diamonds Fund at Penn State Hershey Medical Center, which helps families of pediatric cancer patients.

Frederick and a group of other students on the entertainment committee began taking video footage at 9 p.m. Friday for the recap film that would be about 3 minutes long.

It will play as the Built By Titan song “Collide” plays in the background. While planning, committee members tweeted at the singer to make sure it was OK to use the song.

About 25 clips will be used in the final video, Frederick said.

“Personally, I want it to be something people will laugh and cry to,” Frederick said. “The biggest thing is that we capture the moment. It’s really special and brings back memories from the weekend.”

By Sunday afternoon, when the video is completed, more than 200 gigabytes of video will have been shot and sifted thought for the final cut, Frederick said.

“We’re nonstop working and shooting stuff, and going back to the computer to upload footage and picking the best stuff,” he said. “We’re working on the video on the spot.”

Along with overseeing production and live entertainment, the committee also has one major new component this year — all its disc jockeys are students.

Committee captain Austin Sommerer, a Penn State sophomore, said that in the past, Larry Moore Productions, of Boalsburg, provided that entertainment.

“It was just another way we, as students, can take Thon to the next step,” Sommerer said.

There are two coordinators and six DJs. But being a DJ goes beyond just providing entertainment.

Penn State senior Maggie Glass ran up the stairs of the stage set up on the floor of the BJC, and on her way, gave high-fives to a group of Four Diamonds families.

One of those family members was Brody Hoverest, whose brother was diagnosed with leukemia in 2013.

Brody, 9, of Camp Hill, said he was dancing for Cody, 8, who couldn’t make it to Thon.

And seeing kids, families, and student and community participants groove to the nonstop music and live entertainment in honor of another person, is one of the reasons Glass, 22, became a Thon DJ.

“I just have a passion for music and am able to provide that upbeat music, and see people have fun for one another,” Glass said. “You’re able to change the energy of the crowd, and through this position, can provide some positives vibes.”

Training began in October where the group worked on several on-campus events to gain experience leading up to Thon.

“I was always passionate about music, but not familiar with the equipment,” Glass said. “We learned it quickly.”

Other students like Joe Waterfield controlled the video feed that aired photos and video clips provided by other Thon committees, and Jake Bramande, the director, helped coordinate music, live entertainment and videos airing in the Bryce Jordan Center and online.

Entertainment committee members are given two, four-hour sleep shifts through the weekend.

Sommerer said production went smooth “for the most part.”

“There were a few glitches, but I don’t think the crowd even knew,” he said. “We’re always ready with a backup plan.”

The committee was equipped with numerous computers, mixers, videoboards and more.

Sommerer said the 30-member entertainment committee began working since the fall to make sure the weekend went “as perfect as possible.”

“We planned for a worst case scenario and made sure we rehearsed and planned for everything ahead of time,” Sommerer said. “This group is such a big part of Thon that we can’t be unprepared.”

Saturday’s activities also included the Explorers Program, hosted by football players at the Lasch Building with about 30 Thon families who participated.

Then it was time for athlete hour, where they held a meet-and-greet with guests.

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