Students spearhead new film-making organization

 Logo Courtesy of Roberta Green ’19

Logo Courtesy of Roberta Green ’19

BY ANNA KANE ’20

Mount Holyoke Broadcasting Channel (MHBC) is a new student organization and a filmmaking resource on campus. Students can create films to use as informational or promotional material for the student organizations in which they are involved. 

The idea for the new organization started in December 2016, when founder and chair Bobbie Green ’19, a film studies and politics double major, was talking with friends who were also involved in filmmaking and interested in creating a Mount Holyoke TV channel. 

“I kind of built off of it from there. So instead of a TV channel that is exclusively a news or journalism type of channel, I thought it would be more interesting to involve even more student organizations on campus,” said Green. 

Bernadine Mellis, the Five College senior lecturer in Film and Video Production and faculty advisor for the Mount Holyoke Broadcasting Channel, said that the organization provides a space for students to work on their media production skills.“Increasingly, students from all majors want to learn media production skills. I love the idea of a space where students can teach each other production skills, develop collaborative projects, and share their work with a broad Mount Holyoke audience,” said Mellis. 

After a long process of working to become an official Mount Holyoke student 

organization, the Mount Holyoke Broadcasting Channel was approved in October. 

Last spring, Student Programs created a new Student Government Association committee called the Committee on Student Organizations and began a new policy for the creation of student organizations. Green drafted a constitution to share with Student Programs and was asked to fill out an application and wait a few weeks for a review by the committee. 

“We had three meetings with the committee by the end of the semester. We were told that we can do this review process over the summer, and they’ll submit the review by the end of September,” said Green.

The Mount Holyoke Broadcasting Channel had to prove to the committee that they are different from the Mediated Educational Work Space (MEWS), which teaches students how to use computer software in LITS. They also had to determine how to fund the equipment and space needed for the organization through both fundraising and money allocated through the Student Government Association.

“I have never seen something like this outside of basic video production classes, and there really wasn’t ever opportunities at Mount Holyoke for those students to practice film and video production,” said Kate MacPherson ’18, a film studies major who is the content manager for the Broadcasting Channel.

“It’s the first org of its kind to sell itself as a film production group. Rather than this club being its own thing, we are constantly collaborating with other organizations,” MacPherson added.

The Mount Holyoke Broadcasting Channel has started working with Mount Holyoke Climate Justice Coalition to create a series of videos that inform the student body about their initiatives and the divestment from fossil fuels campaign.

“They have their own presentations they have already made for their teach-ins that we’re translating to video right now,” said Green.

The Mount Holyoke Broadcasting Channel is currently advocating for a studio space to work in on campus. In the meantime, they are searching for a place to store equipment. They are also in the process of requesting funding for cameras and editing and lighting equipment, according to  Green.

“I envision MHBC having a fully functional studio space in the future. I hope many orgs will be reaching out to make content, and that we will have the space to be able to work efficiently,” said Jennifer Harley ’20, a Frances Perkins scholar who intends to major in film studies and is Head Editor of the Broadcasting Channel.

MacPherson feels that having a studio space is important, especially at a historically all-women’s college. In 2016, women comprised only 17 percent of all directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors and cinematographers working on the top 250 grossing films in the United States, according to a study done by the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film.

MacPherson remembers being one of the only girls in her video production classes in high school. “If that doesn’t tell you what it’s like working in the industry, I don’t know what does,” she said.

“For now we’re using whatever space we have on campus. A lot of people in the org are very into video production and they all have their own cameras. So we all just kind of run around with our little Canons,” said Green.

Mount Holyoke Broadcasting Channel is currently broadcasting out of Skinner Hall, room 216 during their weekly meetings on Fridays at 3 p.m. The new organization has a Facebook page and an email list and is in the process of designing a website. At a recent meeting, E-board members brainstormed ideas and created a script for a promotional video to appeal to other student organizations. 

“Since we’re brand new, we want our first video to be about us because no one really knows exactly what we do,” said MacPherson. 

“I think our goal is to help anybody and everybody on campus make and learn how to make videos. So we have a multi-step process,” said Green.

This multi-step process includes walking students through scriptwriting and storyboarding, filming or animating cartoons and post-production such as editing footage. Not only does Mount Holyoke Broadcasting Channel make videos according to students’ specifications, but the organization also helps students learn how to produce videos themselves. 

“And at each step, you learn how to do it, unless it’s animation because that’s just a lot of work. Each step we’ll say, here’s how to hold the camera and frame the shot. We’re happy to walk you through post-production and the editing process,” said Green.

“I think one of the things I’m really passionate about is how much this org could change the school,” said Green. “It’s hard to see right now, but I think it could really upgrade the kind of quality of videos that people release right now. So hopefully, departments and student organizations can use us and our resources.”

“In two years, by the time I’m gone, we can have really active participation throughout campus and kind of be known as a video resource. I think it could take a lot of pressure off of student organizations who don’t really know how to work video equipment or make a film and they can kind of learn how as we’re helping them,” said Green. 

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