Donal Young is a lecturer at the University of Michigan-Flint where he teaches Video and Audio production at the University of Michigan-Flint. He instructs students in the Visual Arts and Communications programs of the university. He earned BA in Mass Media Communications, at The University of Akron, and an MLS in Interdisciplinary Technology, from Eastern Michigan University.
But there is more to this man than his education credentials. He is out in the world, and he is doing some things that others never do, but wish they had. He goes out where news is happening. He uses video technology to frame reality with a camera, and uses it to inform people across the world.
Using video production for teaching
Teaching at the university provides a structure for his work week, but Don is often out of the office, and working on shoots, in locales where news or events are happening. His discipline is mass media. And that is a massive undertaking, at times.Don has created video tutorials for General Motors Tech Library, so as to teach technicians how to do repairs. This required paying attention to lighting, content and efficiency in brevity. Don points out that video production is great for creating tutorials.“I think that for training purposes, seeing it done is much more powerful that reading it.”Don also points out that pacing is very important when it comes to video production for teaching.Don teaches Audio Production, Video Production and will begin teaching a new Documentary Production class this September at the University of Michigan-Flint.
Technical aspects of video production which affect education
Don states, “If you’re holding a shot for too long on something that’s not really doing anything, then the audience’s attention starts to wander.” He says that it’s about knowing how long the shot should be held, as well as how fast to talk in the delivery for a script that keep the pacing in good measure.Watching for redundancy in content—making sure it isn’t present, is vital to the production. It’s about making sure there are no repetitions in visual shots, as well as repetitions in the script.Pacing is big. You want the pace to move along just fast enough to keep the audience interested without moving beyond their threshold for learning.When you try to take a complex scientific idea and get the idea out to the lay person, the way you show it, your approach might make all the difference in the world. Perhaps you may want to use animation to illustrate scientific principles—You do what you have to do to connect with your audience, which is the goal of any video production.Lighting introduces a third dimension of depth when you use it to facilitate your video production. Where you place things in relation to the camera is critical.Audio is often overlooked in video production. Audio is critical! It is at least half as important as the video track. Don points out that audiences are more willing to watch bad video longer than they will listen to bad audio.
Donal loves music
Don has played guitar since he was 10 years old. He started playing with his family, and he says it’s a Southern tradition to play music, both with the family and in church. As a child, his family would visit with his aunt and uncle on Sundays, and they would all get together and play. He says that his uncle was the first person that he saw play a guitar, and he thought that was amazing! His mother played piano, and his best friend when he was growing up, played guitar, so his friend had an influence in getting Don started in playing guitar. Don was influenced by Bob Dylan in terms of writing music. Don worked at a record store when he was younger, and says that his work there gave him a solid music education. He loves to experience live music, like in dance halls. He talked fondly about visiting a dance hall in Texas and how everybody got up and danced, and how it was nearly a religious experience. Don sees music as a spiritual experience. It is probably true that this spiritual dimension helps to shape his audio tracks in his video productions.
The cherry on top
Don is looking forward to seeing how the media’s bias is going to affect the presidential election, this year. In the past, you might have found him on a shoot with the Smashing Pumpkins, when they did their first internet broadcast in Detroit. He participated in a shoot for General Motors, when they announced they were going to buy the Renaissance Center in Detroit, and he was excited by how the company kept everything shrouded in mystery, and let Don produce the big reveal. He says his strength in the industry is preparation. He is always ready to go and take whatever he needs. He is good at what he does, too: He won an Emmy award for a video production he produced for Michigan Public Television, on the Detroit Zoo polar bears.