My last week at ITProTV was a special one! Since I was not a permanent editor and switcher they needed to hire someone to replace me in my absence. For my final test, so to speak, I had to train the new switcher and teach him everything I knew. I had never had to train someone before and it was a learning experience for me as well as for the new guy. I tried my best to articulate everyday tasks that had become second nature to me and I no longer thought about. On his first day in the office, I was so used to flipping the switches on the breaker connected to the studio lights that while my supervisor was showing him how switching worked I had actually turned them off. I was so used to being there first and turning everything on myself, I just flipped a switch and didn’t even think about which way I was flipping it. That was the only time I made a silly mistake like that but I found it humorous and a true example of how robotic my movements had become. On Tuesday of my last week we had some new t-shirts delivered and we immediately shot a commercial to advertise them. My supervisor asked me to be in it along with another switcher/editor and it was a lot of fun; it was a completely different experience to be in front of the camera instead of behind it, behind a wall, behind a switchboard. Since Pokémon Go is the craze of the summer, the creative director (my supervisor) created a t-shirt design in homage to that and here is the link to the commercial in order for you to see. As for the continuation of training my replacement, he was quiet but inquisitive so I could tell he was truly paying attention and eager to learn. I told him everything I could think of from the technical side of things, such as when and how to mute the audio at the intro and outro of a show, to telling him it is fun to sit on the hosts’ side of the office during a break in order to hear or get in on a fun, intellectual conversation. Since I was training him to do everything I would do I only got to do my job for the first two days of my last week because after training him and showing him how it was done he was ready to take my spot in the switcher’s seat. I did need to sit with him for a while in order to make sure everything went swimmingly and answer any of his questions. On my last day he did not need me to watch or standby anymore and I really had nothing to do but soak in the people and play games. This was nice because I could reflect on my last two months with them, and ask any last minute questions. It was an amazing experience to work with ITProTV this summer, I learned much about video production I did not know before and made some lifelong memories. Below I have attached a photo I took of myself, my supervisor, and my two mentors; I worked closest with them and they were the ones who taught me so much this summer.
Reading previous posts of mine about interning at ITProTV you would know that it is always a fun place to be. That is why I wanted to take the time to write an entire post about the work environment.
The physical aspect of the work environment is simple. It is a quant couple of offices in the back of a warehouse where everyone works together. Pictured to the right and above is an example of how close everyone works together in the main office. In the picture there are cubicles for each host and the desk at the end is for someone in marketing. A prime example of how close-knit the company is with it’s small building. I think the most important part of a workplace environment though is how positive the ambience is and ITProTV has positive ambience galore. The founders are always caring, understanding and patient when something does not go exactly as planned. My supervisor always makes me feel comfortable when learning something new and is always willing to help me out if I need it or if I am confused. As for everyone else I get to interact with, we all can have a fun time whilst making a video on something like “Computing Fundamentals”. Overall, ITProTV has a work environment everyone dreams of, a fun, dynamic, friendly and patient one!
ITProTV is a fairly new company, they were founded in 2013 and have been working out of a warehouse since their humble beginnings. During my time with them I have seen how well they use their small space in the back of a warehouse to create great video content. They took these plain, boring rooms and hired a set designer to come in and create an amazing set for their largest studio which is what makes Studio 1 look so great and visually appealing (pictured above). As for the the smaller studio, Studio 2, they set up a blue backdrop and TV that is always displaying the ITProTV logo behind the first host (pictured below, without logo because the TV is off). The rest of the office is behind the walls of each studio, you always need to be quiet no matter where you are in the office while recording because it can be heard. Everything and everyone is in close vicinity to one another which makes it easy to be familiar with all aspects of the company. I enjoyed how small and close together everything was, it was nice to be able to just walk over to the next room and ask about how marketing was going or to the other room to find out what the hosts wanted to do next. However, ITProTV will be moving to a brand new bigger and better building that is not in a warehouse. The building is under construction now and they will move at the end of September, when I will already be gone but I have gotten to see the new building in the making many times. I wonder how that close-knit feeling will change when they move over because the studios will be in the back of the building while the editors will be in a hallway, and the hosts, marketing team, and founders will be in a large room with separate offices in the front. Of course, I do believe this change will make for greater efficiency but I am a little concerned that the homey feel will go away slightly. People will have a space of their own without distractions to get their work done, and all things video, switching and editing will be done on the other side making for less possible interruptions from others. The studios will be very different from the way they are now. There will be five instead of two and all are bigger than at least the smaller one, each will have sound proofed roofs for when it rains and have glass garage doors for getting big equipment in and out but also so any show going can be seen while recording without anyone accidentally interrupting. As for the other side of the building, each office will have glass sliding doors so that everyone can see in and out of their offices making it easy to discern whether or not someone is available to talk to. There are two other spaces in the building belonging to ITProTV which would be the kitchen/lounge where hosts and other workers can relax and have lunch. The other room, of course, is the gaming room. As you know at ITProTV we have a PacMan machine in the office and in the new building they will keep the PacMan machine but are adding an XBOX, Play Station, and possibly a couple more systems; all for relaxing purposes. I am sad that I will be missing out on the new building but they are having a grand opening in October. They kindly invited me to go up for a day so I could be there for the opening; I promptly accepted the invitation.
My second to last week at ITProTV has been the most exciting yet! I got to work closely with my supervisor with an on location project. The project involved interviewing three of the men in charge of setting up all the networking, routers and switches in the new building they will be moving into in September. Along with them we still need to interview the the man in charge of construction to discuss how they are setting everything up to help with that. Besides leaving the office we also had a guest in from Kenya who came to ITProTV to record a course on Computing Fundamentals. This particular guest is an advisor to the president of Kenya for the betterment of those who do not easily have access to technology; his sponsoring organization is called I Choose Life.
On the second day of the week I had just finished a show in the smaller studio and I was sitting in a chair, my supervisor walked up to me and asked “do you want to go over to the new building and work some audio?” I promptly jumped up out of the chair and said “yes!” I might have startled him a bit with my enthusiasm. However, I truly was excited because it was something different than what I had been doing the past two months and audio is one of my main tracks for my major in Digital Arts, along with video. I grabbed a pair of headphones, a lapel mic, cabling, and a Rolls MX34c which is a small portable two channel live mix box. We arrived at the construction site of the new building and began to set up in an area not too noisy but also had something interesting in the background such as network cables, or glass door offices. Since it was a short interview that did not involve much moving around, we only brought a short mic cable that connected to the live mix box, that was attached to me, and so I needed to stand just out of the frame close to the interviewee. However, when we interviewed the co-founder, Don Pezet, he brought a long cable with him because he knew he needed to walk around to demonstrate some activities and this extra long cable was very helpful for that. Interviewing people on location is not something I had ever done before and this was one of the many aspects of the internship I am grateful for that has given me work experiences I desire.
Half way through the week our guest from Kenya arrived after a series of flight connections from Nairobi to Orlando. He was quite tired on the first day were meant to start recording so we just showed him around the building and were willing to let him relax the rest of the day but he insisted on getting started that day. He was going full speed ahead until he hit a wall at around 3pm, this was due to the 7 hour time difference and his body was telling him it was bed time. We shut down early that day and came back early the next morning to make up for lost time. The rest of the week went well and we worked into the weekend where we got the most of the shows done. Our guest, Dr. Tonny Omwansa, was interviewed during his time with us multiple times and one interview was featured in our local newspaper, The Gainesville Sun. There was a lot of excitement having him in town and as for the physical recording side his time with us, everything went swimmingly because he was quite comfortable in front of the camera giving us little to do while we were live or in post.
My second to last week at ITProTV was definitely one of, if not the best week I have had with them. I am sure that my last week will be great as well but so far this has been a great week. From working audio at a construction site to sitting inside and recording as usual, it was all fun in every way but that is to be expected with ITProTV.
Initially, I was under the impression I would be doing a lot of editing when I first arrived at ITProTV but then I was told that I would only be doing switching (switching camera angles during live shows, setting titles, and taking notes) but now in my second month I have been able to edit multiple videos. In the beginning I was supervised but now they let me edit freely and review it afterwards. I like that they review it afterwards because the process in which they edit is different from any that I ever done before; there is more of a structure and a rhythm.
In my first year at Stetson I learned Final Cut and Premiere Pro learning the basics and then got more advanced in my second year. This has proved helpful when I do get to edit for ITProTV. To start, we take the file name for an episode and we set the scratch disks to the corresponding folder. Once everything is set to the correct folder we import the clean feed and program feed of the shows into the project. The clean feed is the recording that only has the camera shots of the hosts. The program feed has the ITProTV logo in the bottom left corner and includes all effects created before shooting. Depending on whether the episode had any mistakes during shooting or not, we place the program feed into the sequence and if there is a problem we can use the clean feed to fix any mistakes that involve effects. For a show that has no mistakes in it, we simply cut the front of the clip off right before the intro starts and cut off the end after the outro. At the end of the outro we set the default transitions on it to black out. After we fix the beginning and ending, we need to take two screenshots, one of both hosts smiling at the end of the show looking at the camera and another one of the host who is teaching the lesson in an action motion. When it comes to shows with multiple edits it is a case by case basis on what we need to do and that is where our editing skills come in.
I was not used to such structure to editing videos, I usually do whatever I can to get the desired effect and look but now I understand why it is necessary. If we did not have a set way to edit for ITProTV videos there would be no possibility of a good, healthy work flow where we can get everything done in a timely manner.
I am a little over half-way through my internship now and I am still enjoying every aspect of working with ITProTV. This past week we have had a guest instructor in to teach about Adobe Premiere Pro CC who is an expert in this program. Along with our guest we were finishing a couple of important shows on the Cisco CCENT exam and Microsoft 10.
Time has gone by quickly interning here, and I think it is because of how much fun we all have together. The Premiere Pro expert we had come in to teach a beginners course on the program was a very kind, and hilarious professor from The University of Georgia. Myself, and the other two editors/switchers were drawing straws to see who would get to work with him. In the end we decided on changing jobs throughout the week so we all had the opportunity to learn from him and work with him. Since editing is important to me, this was a treat to have been in the presence of this natural born teacher on the subject. If I have forgotten to mention previously, I have been given the opportunity to edit videos by myself for the company and I am very proud that they have entrusted me with the task when they need it. While recording the Premiere Pro course, I learned many new shortcuts to make the editing process go much smoother than usual.
The other shows that occupied my time this week were less of an interest to me but the people teaching them are fun to listen to always. One of the hosts in particular asked me if I could stay with them forever because I do such a good job with them and that made me quite happy. If I did not have college to go back to in the fall I would love to stay at ITProTV as long as I could. As far as the technical aspects of my job with them nothing has differed; I adjust cameras, lighting, sound, and direct the show I am switching for. The work has become second nature to me now which is a satisfying feeling to be so comfortable in my work environment. By the time Friday rolled around we were finishing up the shows and during breaks we hunted for pokémon or ate donuts; it was the perfect end to the week with my wonderful co-workers.
Every morning I wake up at 6:30am to be at ITProTV by 8:00am. We are all given these funny T-shirts designed by the creative director and we all tend to wear those as a pseudo-uniform but other than that our office is very casual. The creative director takes famous logos and changes them to say ITProTV instead, one in particular looks like the title font for Back to the Future. Once I get to the office it is my job to set up both studios. Setting up the studios involves turning on all the lights, cameras, recording equipment, the live stream, and once the hosts arrive I need to adjust the lights and cameras to be right with their heights, where they stand, etc. At 8:30am, as I have mentioned before, we have a meeting in our biggest studio and go around the circle discussing what each person has accomplished and what they plan to accomplish in the day. Everyday during the meeting the founders have some news about the companies over all accomplishments or the progress with the new building and I am always amazed. For instance, on Monday I found out that Harvard University is a customer of ours and just made a large purchase for content; what an amazing feat! After our meeting I usually play Pac Man just until the hosts are ready to start their first shows. Once we get started at around 9:30am, I sit at the control desk/switchboard where I can see all camera angles, start recording, and fix the audio (this area is pictured below). I then double check all the camera settings, check the lighting depending on the darkness or brightness of a host’s shirt that day. I sit at the desk and I am able to talk to them through the soundboard where I say things like “what’s the title?” “are we ready to start?” or “okay, standby!” they often times make me laugh with their responses. For the next 30 minutes I switch back and forth between whomever is talking and their computer screen; you need to pay attention closely in order to make it as easy as possible for the editors once they get the footage. While taping I take notes on what the titles are, and what might need to be fixed in post. By noon we break for lunch but before I get lunch I need to convert all of the footage from the morning to the right format for editing in Premiere Pro CC, I do that through an app called Handbrake. We all get an hour for lunch and then we are back by 1:00pm. The last week and a half my supervisor has been having me edit small things like fixing older videos to by replacing the old logo with the new logo. Also, I recently got to edit bigger content because one of the editors was away. I am happy to do any of the editing I get there. Editing has been one of my favorite aspects of video since I started at Stetson. The second half of the day is exactly the same as the first half except after we are done with shows I have to shut everything down instead of turning it on. The end of the work day for me is typically 4:00pm or 4:30pm. (Below I have placed pictures of the studio I usually work with, Studio 1)
In my last two posts I have been talking about how great interning at ITProTV is and how proud of them I am from all I have learned since working there. I am sure though, whoever has read the previous posts have been wondering what is ITProTV and what do they do? To start, ITProTV is based in Gainesville, Florida and was officially founded in 2013 by Tim Broom and Don Pezet with a team of highly skilled IT folks. When the two friends recognized there was a need for the creation of engaging content that could effectively provide the knowledge transfer that certification seekers in the information technology world need to be successful they got to work. Together they wrote up a mission statement for their company in its early stages which states that they want to “disrupt the technology learning marketplace with engaging effective content resulting in attracting 25,000 active members by the end of 2018”. I have seen this mission in action as I have been working with them. Every morning the entire team circles up to discuss what they have accomplished, and what they are excited about for the day. As I have participated in this morning ritual and listened to everyone’s daily goals and accomplishments, I have heard how well the company is doing. By the time 2018 comes around I believe they will be well over 25,000 satisfied and active members. For instance, the largest IT educating company in the US has recently asked to have ITProTV to join them on their own mission. What an honor to be recognized by the top people in the industry. This number one IT educating company even admitted that they wanted ITProTV on board with them because ITProTV releases educating and entertaining content everyday unlike them. I am not sure what the founders of ITProTV will decide with that offer but they sure were flattered. Along with the mission statement, Tim and Don wrote out a purpose and core values for the company to have. The purpose being similar to the mission states that they will “empower [their] members through engaging learning of technology”. As a switcher, I have control over all audio, video, and lighting when recording live shows and as I watch these gentlemen that host these shows everyday I find myself learning a lot. I never would have thought an IT show could be capable of being any kind of interesting I have been proven wrong and of course, they are quite serious about what they are teaching but if you ever watch them work you will most likely find yourself laughing during a show titled Cisco CCENT: CCNA Switching & Routing. ITProTV truly does empower people through engaging learning videos on technology. The core values of ITProTV include them existing for their members, working with honor, exuding passion with personality, creating effective content daily, producing excellence through innovation & imagination and finally, willingly facing challenges with optimism. When faced with the drawback of a recording having failed, the co-founder and host, Don, just smiled and said “you know here at ITPro one of our values is to face challenges with optimism and I’m going to do just that. And hey, how often do we get to rehearse a show, now we can make this video even better!” It is a great pleasure to work with those who have such positive values and stick to them through and through. All around the office you can find this Mission, Purpose, and Values poster (attached above) posted on the walls. It is a great reminder to be a better worker everyday and some of the values they cherish are great reminders for life outside of work as well. I hope now that you understand what ITProTV is and that it is as interesting to you as as it is to me!
If ever interested in seeing a video for yourself, watching live, or reading the about page for ITProTV, their website is https://itpro.tv/
As my first week came to a close on Friday, July 1st I really felt at home at ITProTV. My supervisor, Peter, and my mentors, Meagan and Titus have helped me greatly in my first week answering my questions, showing me around, and making sure I understood everything I needed to know in detail. I mentioned in my first post that we have a short meeting every morning all together to discuss what we have accomplished and what we plan to accomplish that day. So far this has been a wonderful start to my days, I have learned so much about ITProTV and what they have accomplished since they have started; with everything they have done I will be proud to tell people in the future I interned with them because I know they will continue to do great things in the IT world. Also in my last post I mentioned that no one went over logistics about clocking-in and clocking-out, etc. On my second day, Denise from Payroll came up to me right after our morning meeting and gave me all the necessary paperwork I needed to fill out and by that afternoon I was in the system. I found out during my first week that I would not get to do any editing in Adobe Premiere for their video content. However, my supervisor said he did realize that this internship is meant to be a real life learning situation and told me that every so often I could follow along with the official editors of the company and go through all the processes they go through. I was a bit disappointed that I would not get to edit on my own but it is nice of them to allow me to follow the process. What I will be doing on my own is working as a director/switcher during live shows which is great all by itself. Exciting news would be that by the third day of my internship they entrusted me with directing and switching alone with no one hovering behind me. My first time at the wheel alone was full of edits but they were thankfully not because of me! Of course I did make a couple mistakes but the real challenge was that we had a guest in the studios all during my first week. Being a guest he was unfamiliar with his surroundings and needed to cut often for various reasons. My mentors praised me for getting through my first week under such circumstances, it was nice to hear that I did a good job. When I did make mistakes, the hosts (those of whom are being recorded live) of the show would be very understanding and patient with me which I was highly grateful for. By the end of the first week I made no switching mistakes and I felt in control of my domain. On the Friday before the 4th of July, things began to wind down in the office since it was a holiday weekend, we were still making content but we could laugh whole-heartedly at simple mistakes and then get right back to work. I am quite glad to be working at ITProTV, it’s a wonderful environment and I love how we can have an enjoyable work day together and still get what we need done.
Yesterday was my first day at my internship with ITProTV and it also happened to be my first day back in America from studying abroad in Norway. Everyone at the office was very welcoming upon my arrival which made for a great first day back in Florida! The day started out with an 8:30am meeting with everyone in a circle which they do every morning before they start the day. I really like this aspect of the internship so far because while in the circle everyone in the office has to talk about the successes they have had the day before and what they are looking forward to in the day; it is a very positive beginning to a work day. After the meeting I was shown around the office and shown the blueprints of the new office building they will be moving into at the end of the summer by my supervisor. They have two studio set ups at the moment, a large one and a smaller one (there will be five different studios in the new building) and a couple different spaces for developers, editors, etc. After my supervisor showed me around the office we started getting into exactly what I will be doing soon enough, once I get the hang of things. I shadowed two people who worked with editing shows and who worked at the switchboard during live shows. They went into 90% of what I needed to learn throughout the day (I need to do some shadowing when they are editing next), which was quite helpful because now I am confident I will get used to everything much faster. I learned about how to set up the studios, how to use the switchboard, how to change settings on it, how to take notes while recording a show, how to work with the audio, and what to do when a host during a show or yourself makes a mistake during the recording. Everyone in the office is clearly a passionate hard worker and I love being around people who enjoy what they do while doing it the best way they can. A fun fact about the office when there is downtime (such as when a video is rendering or when there is nothing to do in between shows) they have a Pac Man machine and a freezer full of popsicles to keep up morale. One negative about my first day, however, was that no one went over logistics of clocking in/out, who I speak to if I get sick and need to take a day off, or exactly when the work day is over; I plan on bringing this up on Monday so that I can be clear on the matter. Given all that, I think I am going to have a great summer working with ITProTV!