By Kelly Corbett
Social Media Editor
You’ve probably seen it. You’ve probably shared it on Facebook and captioned it with a prideful status. And, hey, you might have even made a star appearance in a clip.
In late 2014, between juggling his senior thesis and completing schoolwork, Class of 2015 graduate and interactive multimedia major Joshua Lewkowicz lugged his RED Scarlet cinema camera around campus, building a collection of footage featuring campus and sporting events, as well as candid and staged interactions, for the now popular admissions video titled, “Welcome to TCNJ.”
In the span of two and a half minutes, Lewkowicz, alongside junior interactive multimedia majors Christopher Lundy and Ryan Laux, the “video dream team,” captured the essence of what it’s like to be a part of the College community in the eyes of students and staff.
“We all felt that there needed to be a way to translate the emotion we all feel from our experiences at TCNJ to someone that may have never set foot on a campus,” Lundy said.
College spokesman Dave Muha and Lewkowicz had come up with the idea for this production: an admissions video which was informative, yet also allowed for people to feel as a member of the College community for three minutes.
“I would go out and shoot footage of different people, places and events and keep a running list of what I had shot thus far,” Lewkowicz said.
When Lundy and Laux joined in on the project, they took a load off Lewkowicz’s shoulders. Just having another person on set and having someone there to help move equipment made the project more manageable, according to Lewkowicz.
Lewkowicz took on the role of a street photographer during the filming. While some portions were staged, a “majority of the video is just me pointing the camera at what was around me at the time,” he said.
After Lewkowicz graduated and began working at DreamWorks Animation, Lundy and Laux took over the editing portion, working through October, sifting through hours of footage to pull out the clips that best fit the video’s vision.
One of the best parts of the project for this trio was being given so much creative freedom to do a video that typically would be something so strictly structured, according to Laux.
While there were certain guidelines for the video and information that had to be included, “being able to add my own spin with 3D animations and sound effects made it a lot of fun to work on,” Laux said.
The video went on to garner 83,286 views on Facebook as of Friday, Oct. 30, and almost 1,236 shares, according to Muha. In all, the video reached 222,792 people on Facebook.
“I think a lot of people have pride in TCNJ and are happy to share the video proudly and show off our school,” Lewkowicz said.
Lewkowicz, Lundy and Laux had all worked together previously during Campus MovieFest, getting sent to Hollywood twice. Given the opportunity once again “to work with your best friends to produce such a video made it all the more enjoyable,” Laux said.
And indeed, they worked well together. Before graduating, Lewkowicz had edited some sequences together, but it was his partners that “took those bits and really put them together to make the video what it was,” he said.
However, the video dream team did face some difficulties while creating the viral video. Producing such a well-done piece while balancing academics and having a social life proved to be a little stressful.
Lewkowicz said he seized every opportunity he could to shoot some footage.
“Before or after classes, in between projects and homework, any time I got a chance to go out and shoot footage, I would,” Lewkowicz said.
Inside the editing room, Lundy and Laux worked just as hard editing sequences and creating the finished product. They set aside as much time as they could to foolproof the piece.
“I think that the most difficult part of the project was having so much beautiful footage and only being able to showcase a fraction of it to fit the needs of this particular video,” Lundy said.
With hours of footage, they had to make sure the video was representative of all the departments, activities and groups on campus.
“We wanted to make sure everything was absolutely perfect and I think we got pretty close in the end,” Lundy said.
But one of the greatest parts of this video, Laux explained, is that the way it was edited can allow them to go back and make newer versions as time goes on —and they already have ideas on how to improve it.