The Covid-19 Pandemic in the spring of 2020 required colleges and universities across the United States to innovate new ways to provide a commencement experience for graduates while campuses were closed. The University of Illinois at Springfield collaborated with The Storyteller Studios on their own virtual commencement. It was posted on May 9, 2020 and received 20,000 views in just one week on FB alone.
“We weren’t looking to make any metrics goals, as the primary focus was honoring our grads and conferring their degrees, but that’s VERY good exposure for our university.”— Kelsea Gurski, Associate Chancellor for Public Affairs and Chief of Staff to the Chancellor
“We knew that we didn’t want to replicate a traditional commencement ceremony. Our students told us they did not want a substitute for the real thing. So, our goal was to celebrate the class of 2020 with scenes from campus life at UIS and a moment when their degrees were conferred. The outcome was a beautiful, unique video that was emotional and served our intended purpose. A total home run.”— Kelsea Gurski
The video, which was shot on May 1st, 2020 on campus at the University of Illinois at Springfield, features a distinctive sequence that provides a virtual, first-person perspective of a graduate walking across the stage to receive their diploma as the President of the University of Illinois System, Timothy L. Killeen, formally confers the degrees of 2020 graduates via voice-over. The effect is powerful.
“We wanted to capture for graduates, as best we could, the true feeling of walking across the stage to receive their degrees that they’ve worked so hard for. We wanted them to be able to easily imagine themselves there as they watched. Through the magic of film, we wanted to serve the class of 2020 their unique moment.”— Josh Hester, Principal & Executive Producer
“We shot at a high frame rate so we could slow the footage down in post, giving it that slow-motion, dreamy effect. We placed an actual student in the frame, but aimed to keep them as anonymous as possible so that the graduates could imagine themselves in her place. They key to the sequence were the POV shots where we directed the faculty to actually address the lens itself, as if they were addressing the students directly.”— Chris Costello, Producer, The Storyteller Studios
“I think The Storyteller Studios has a unique understanding of how to use professional-level visual storytelling to meet an organization’s communication message. Their attention to detail, how they arrange camera angles and combine it with compelling interviews, music, and b-roll is second to none. And their customer service is incredible.”— Kelsea Gurski
Watch the video below: