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Rainy, On-Location Learning

IPR students work on new Polaris RZR commercial

Bursts of rain fell all day; mud was flying everywhere. Two IPR students and an instructor huddled in the woods, trying to stay warm. And they loved it — because although this was far from the classroom, students Ian McClintock and Jennilee Park were getting the best lesson they could for a career in Sound Design For Visual Media.

IPR students Ian McClintock and Jennilee Park work with SDVM program chair Jeff DesLauriers on location

Ian and Jennilee had been asked by program chair Jeff DesLauriers to assist with recording audio for a Polaris commercial that he’d been hired to do. The spot promoted Polaris’s new RZR model and featured ultimate fighter Adam MacDonald tearing through mud, woods and fields in super-slow motion. There was a New York film crew, catering, paramedics — everything the classroom can’t prepare you for.

“Working as a team was definitely one of my favorite things about this commercial shoot,” Ian says. “While Jeff was ultimately the boss, the three of us would discuss how to approach different shots and throw out ideas to solve some problems, such as placing one of us where we wouldn’t be in the shot.  Since a lot of our work at school ends up taking place isolated in a studio, working with other sound people in the field was a nice change of pace.”

Plus, students learned set etiquette, DesLauriers says, which “you can’t learn in the classroom — it’s got to be trial by fire.”

In addition, throughout the two-day shoot, the students also learned proper techniques for operating and organizing equipment, as well as how work flows on a production set. And here is the important distinction from the classroom: In real-time, students have to understand the order of work flow and the dynamics of working with multiple teams and players.

“They definitely got a taste of New York film crew,” DesLauriers says. “They’re just go-go-go, fast-paced.”

Smaller lessons, too, come out of applied learning experiences like these that can’t be grasped in a class setting. The respect and care given to the “talent” (meaning the actor), the impressive spread of the catering company, and the ever-presence of the paramedics on set — seeing all of this firsthand means students will know what to expect when they land their first job.

All of these intangible lessons are in part why IPR believes so strongly in an applied learning approach to classes. Whether students are learning by doing in a workforce situation, making connections with global applications, applying their knowledge to a nonprofit service or working on hands-on projects in the classroom, they’re headed toward fabulous careers in industries they love.

“I can now say that I have experience,” Ian says. “The hope is that this will make me more attractive to the places where I want to work.”



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