Mixed Bag Media has been producing promotional videos for Georgia Tech’s Capstone Design Expo for nearly a decade, and we’ve always loved the energy, excitement and enthusiasm of student teams coming together from across campus, new ideas in the air, and the promise of groundbreaking technology.
This year Amit Jariwala, the Director of Design & Innovation in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, asked for our expertise and advice on how to produce a video that captured a new kind of Capstone Expo, one that is called for by the unique circumstances we find ourselves in. Since an in-person Expo was not an option it was decided to create, for the first time ever, a completely virtual event.
The first thing we had to figure out was how to translate the new Expo experience into a video – an event that was occurring simultaneously in two places: individually with each participant and in a shared virtual realm. Because of our previous experience producing videos remotely we knew that having people film themselves with their phones can create footage that works well in conjunction with other assets, such as screen captures and graphics
By partnering with Gatherly, an online convention and expo app, and Rocket Judge, a judging app, the event organizers were able to pull off a seamless, first of its kind virtual event.
The Gatherly app gives participants and judges the feeling of really being at a convention or expo – there are different exhibition floors, each with booths dedicated to a different team. Expo-goers are able to pop into any booth and hear the team members present about their idea. Judges can watch videos, look at informational poster graphics, and ask questions of the team.
The challenge for our team was to present this new reality in a way that communicated the same energy and excitement as the “brick and mortar” Expo.
We worked through a few different scenarios and decided to use all the technology available to capture different aspects of the Expo as they happened in real time. Certain team members, as well as a designated judge and Expo attendee, recorded themselves at home with their phones as they participated in the event.
At the same time phone recordings were being made, we were recording the interactions of the teams and judges online. By combining these clips with team presentations, video previously shot by the teams, and graphics, we created a video that captured and communicated the experience of a new kind of Expo.
This year’s Capstone video told many stories: the usual great story of youth, innovation, and high tech, the story of how Georgia Tech rose to the occasion of these unprecedented times and continued a tradition of excellence and innovation in higher education, and finally a story of the ongoing learning curve we’re experiencing as we continue to think on our feet and develop new ways to pull off remote productions in the era of Covid-19.