Still of Jackson, a Notre Dame Student. 


A Case Study On Unique "Brand Films" for the University of Notre Dame

The key in collegiate video production is to always use authentic people to tell the university story.  Real students, professors, administrators, and alumni are a fertile land of stories to tell your unique story.  For these particular brand films, the office of Student Affairs wanted to make sure all first-year students who come into the university were receiving one message:  By adding your story to Notre Dame, you ARE Notre Dame.  

The landscape has changed drastically since the days of Rockne, Rudy, and a men's-only-university. Now, Notre Dame is a diverse, vibrant mix of top undergrad students and the brightest graduate researchers at this US News and World Report's #16-ranked academic institution.  To reinforce this reality, we were asked to visually tell the stories of three Notre Dame students with only this starting mantra, "My name is ______, and this is MY Notre Dame" 

Read below for a Case Study on how we produced the "My Notre Dame" higher-ed videos.

The University of Notre Dame molds around the people who give it breath.  More than the stories of alumni past and yes, even the traditions which make for great football advertising, the real story of Notre Dame is that of a vibrant, diverse community held together by more than just a spiritual bond, but by the greater, accepting bond of humanity...regardless of color, gender, creed, or religion.

We know this to be true because we shot a Muslim prayer ceremony at the University of Notre Dame years ago.  What a welcome surprise.

“What once was a litany of obscure collegiate verbage and stats has now become an opportunity to tell real stories, and engage higher-ed students on an authentic level.”

When planning a higher-ed video project, we would normally start with a meeting or conference call with the advertising agency, but with the University of Notre Dame, we work directly with their internal marketing and brand managers.  They know their product and the latest research on how this brand is being perceived, and we strategize on the messaging we need to communicate.  The market we are trying to inspire and persuade.  And most importantly, the feeling we want to leave our viewers with after they watch the higher-ed brand films.

We collaboratively decided on the creative for "My Notre Dame" based on the idea that we wanted real students to tell their stories, but we didn't want to feature talking heads, or have the students delivering lines written for them.  Instead, we held a contest where students submitted their own ideas on how they make Notre Dame 'theirs'.  Our three top students got the opportunity to deliver their actual words as narrators cut over footage of a day in their life.  The results?  Judge for yourself.  What once was a litany of obscure collegiate verbage and stats has now become an opportunity to tell real stories, and engage higher-ed students on an authentic level.

After deciding on the creative in a collegiate video production, we plan a shoot day.  Once our authentic people get in front of the camera, everyone becomes "talent"...and we find all talent can channel their university video stories because the stories are true. They are authentic.  And they are culled from a lifetime of experiences.  For this project, we were able to shoot 3 students over the course of 2 days.  In class, playing music with friends, dancing, practicing meditation, and doing whatever it is they do with their day.

After we shoot or film our handcrafted commercials we bring the footage to a post house to edit the video for the commercials.  Because Explore Media is a full-service video production company, we often will post the TV ads in our video editing suites.  Our 4K HD editing capabilities means the footage we capture will look as beautiful as planned by our director and shot by our production team. After we deliver a rough cut (1st pass) to the advertising agency or in this case, the University's Marketing Department, we make changes based on notes.  Then we deliver a 2nd rough cut, and if needed a 3rd rough cut, each version being taking a more defined shape.  At the point all parties deliver "Picture Lock", meaning the shots are all approved, we send out Music + Voice or Narration for a Mixdown and Sound Design.  At the same time, we send out the 4K video images to be color corrected in a professional color grading system like Da Vinci.

Finally, we assemble all finished pieces into a beautiful looking, rich-sounding visual explosion -- a Higher Education Video Campaign! See the results of this project below in three different videos, "Mylan", "Pete" and "Jackson."  You'll also see other tv ads for colleges, including a National TV Spot which aired during the BCS College Football championship game to over 30 million viewers.

We hope you enjoyed this look into how we produced higher-education videos and tv commercials.  This particular project was shot in beautiful 4K, 2:1 aspect ratio using Sony Cameras and Angeniuex & Cooke Lens systems.

To read more Case Studies, scroll to the bottom of this page.

"My Notre Dame" video credits

Client - University of Notre Dame

Production Company: Explore Media
Director: Jeremy Pinckert
Cinematographer: Jamieson Mulholland
Assistant Director / Producer: Quinn Wilson
Gaffer: Mark Barry
Assistant Camera: Allen Lee
Wardrobe/Makeup:  Bethza Semanario
Grips: Ben Gershman, Ryan Kolegas
Location Audio:  Dana Mroczek
Composer: Devin Delaney
Editor: Michael Schmalzried
Sound Design:  Stosh Tuszynski
Color Correction:  Kelly Armstrong

Read Other Case Studies