Mobile production lab a key tool in providing hands-on experience
MANCHESTER, Tenn. — This year’s Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival will be memorable for MTSU student Erin Nicole Moore for two big reasons.
Not only is it her first Bonnaroo, but she’s spending it as the student in charge of logistics for the $1.7 million Mobile Production Lab, the multimedia nerve center of MTSU’s College of Media and Entertainment, deployed at the festival’s Who Stage.
Moore, 20, a video and film senior from Franklin, Tennessee, was a freshman when MTSU began its unique partnership with Bonnaroo that allows students to get real-world production and journalism experience — and college credit — at the festival.
“Everyone was talking about how great of an experience it was to go,” Moore said. “I knew if there was one thing I could do while at MTSU, it would be to take this class.
“Now, as a senior, I finally get to experience this multi-cam rite of passage.”
A short video of their work can be viewed at https://youtu.be/YwAag17c05Q.
Assistant professor Robert Gordon, video and film program coordinator for the Department of Media Arts, said he’s relying on Moore to make sure students are where they need to be and are doing what they need to do.
“Erin has proven herself to be energetic, organized and reliable,” Gordon said.
Moore is among several Bonnaroo rookies on Gordon’s crew, the next generation of video and film students to carry forward the partnership with the festival.
Using feeds from multiple cameras, the crew captures on video select performances on the Who Stage, a venue Bonnaroo devotes to new and emerging artists. The work in the truck for a live show is fast-paced, always frantic and not for the faint of heart.
“We have big shoes to fill from the crews from the past few years, but we are more than willing to put our best foot forward to learn – and have fun along the way,” she said.
Gordon, however, pointed out that there’s a lot of talent in this crew, among them:
• Robert Bagwell, a key member of EMC Productions, the student production team that recently received a national honor for their work for MTSU Athletics. Bagwell was working video production at the CMT Awards in Nashville until the day before Bonnaroo.
• Zach Carpenter, another EMC Productions student, also joined the Bonnaroo crew after working production this week for VER Tour Sound, a Nashville-based company.
• And Jessica Mathis, Jessica Rigsby and Leayn Moyers, some of Gordon’s most advanced students with deep experience in sports and concert production.
“This crew is full of hard-working and talented men and women,” Moore said. “We’re all there to help each other, work hard and to learn.”
Billy Pittard, chair of the Department of Media Arts, formerly known as Electronic Media Communication, said his students “thrive with hands-on, real-world experience.”
“When we can say that Bonnaroo is our classroom, it shows that we understand the importance of breaking out of the confines of old-school thinking,” Pittard said.
“This is real. The intensity of four days of nonstop production takes the experience to a whole new level for the students.”
And, Moore said, it’s very cool.
“It’s no secret that hands-on learning is better than sitting in a classroom,” she said. “I have such love for live production and there’s nothing better than being able to refine our skills in the real world.”