College’s video production program ranks among top 100 in the nation

07.07.2013 | By Rob Vanya

San Jacinto College video and film professor Billy MacTavish (standing) helps students Ayla Bly and Claude Morris II with a class project in the College’s well-equipped video production lab. Photo credit: Rob Vanya, San Jacinto College marketing, public relations, and government affairs department.

College’s video production program ranks among top 100 in the nation

Rob Vanya -- July 10, 2013



PASADENA, Texas – After only two years of operation, San Jacinto College’s video and film production program recently ranked as one of the Top 100 Video Production Degree Programs in the nation by Koyote Software, a leading provider of audio and video software.

San Jacinto College’s program ranked 37th on the national list, and was the only Texas institution listed. Koyote’s selections for the Top 100 list were based on depth and breadth of educational offerings, including access to multi-disciplinary opportunities for students. Koyote stated that a key reason San Jacinto College was chosen was because “the associate of arts program is the only one of its kind offered in Texas. Students are prepared to direct, construct and perform in stage productions as well as write and produce their own videos.”

The program was designed from the start to provide students with well-rounded training featuring plenty of hands-on work, according to Dr. Jerry Ivins, department chair of the San Jacinto College theatre and film program at the Central Campus. “Practical skills in the areas of performance, education, and film production prepare students for film careers such as acting, directing, video production, cinematography, digital editing, film lighting, sound production, special effects production, makeup design, set construction, and work as casting agents,” he commented.

Billy MacTavish, lead instructor for the program, aims to have graduates career ready in just two years. “People who major in video and film production generally do not expect to land full-time positions until they have at least a four-year degree,” commented MacTavish, a veteran film director, writer, and producer. “I believe our program can have graduates ready for full-time work in two years because they get hands-on training from the first day of class.”

San Jacinto College student Abby Thigpen, a graduate of Deer Park High School, says the intensive, hands-on training of the program will enable her to be career ready in just two years. “I’m not planning to attend a university after graduation,” commented Thigpen, who will earn an associate degree in video production from San Jacinto College in December. “I know a producer and publicist in L.A. who already has job opportunities waiting for me.”

Thigpen’s ultimate goal is to become a director of video photography. “My interest in video work grew from my interest in photography, so I think it’d be a great job for me because it’s a combination of the two arts,” she remarked. “San Jacinto College is a great place to study film because the classes are small and everything is hands-on. We learn how to work with cameras and lighting, screenplay writing, and post processing. It allows us to explore our imagination and express it on the screen.”

Students in the program are immersed in film and video training. A group of students videoed documentary footage of the Spring Board South Music Festival, held recently at Warehouse Live in downtown Houston. This summer, a group of seven students are working as interns on a production called “Small Talk,” a series of training videos in which children learn how to speak Mandarin Chinese and Spanish.

Many training projects are planned for the 2013-2014 academic year, including a 52-hour “film race.” “A film race is actually a contest,” explained MacTavish. “Contestants will be provided a prop, such as, say, a dollar bill. They also might be given a certain line of dialog. They will have 52 hours to produce a finished video centered around the prop or the dialog.” The film race is open to anyone in the community, but will target high school students who may be considering enrollment in the San Jacinto College video production program. In the fall, students will produce a series called “The Room at the End of the Hall,” a YouTube project about a magical room in a cheap hotel where anything and everything might come to pass.

Another program highlight is collaboration with other departments. “We’re working with the College’s journalism department as they transition from newspaper to digital,” MacTavish said. “In the industry, the process is known as Electronic Field Production. Our video production students team up with reporters on assignments to produce news reports that feature videos and are distributed electronically instead of as a traditional newspaper.”

Video production students also collaborate with the College’s theatre department to provide acting students opportunities to learn the subtle differences involved in acting for film as opposed to live stage acting. They also collaborate with the College’s audio engineering program for production of music video projects.

San Jacinto College offers a wide range of courses and degree plans in theatre at the Central and South campuses. The Central Campus houses the associate degree program in video and film production. For more information, please visit Theatre & Film.

About San Jacinto College

Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for more than 50 years. The Achieving the Dream Leader College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of 30,000 students in more than 200 degree and certificate options, including university transfer and career preparation. Students also benefit from the College’s job training programs, renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $630 million each year to the Texas workforce. San Jacinto College. Your Goals. Your College.

For more information about San Jacinto College, please call 281-998-6150 or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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