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Filmmaking workshop participants in Bristol Campus Center.
Filmmaking workshop participants in Bristol Campus Center.

Hamilton Network Connects Students and Alumnus for Film Workshop

By Holly Foster
Posted May 2, 2013
Tags 2001 Career Center Film GOLD Hamilton Headlines HamiltonExplore

Many Hamilton students and alumni talk about the value of the “Hamilton network” in helping them explore careers, find internships or jobs, or simply provide advice. For nine students interested in filmmaking, that network came alive when Benjamin Eckstein ’01 conducted an intense two-day workshop on the Hill on April 20-21.

Through the Career Center’s third annual HamiltonExplore career shadowing experience in January, Asad Javed ’15 spent a day shadowing Eckstein at his Boston-area video production company, Beryllium Pictures.  “We got to talking about the current filmmaking scene at Hamilton,” Eckstein recalled. “I asked if there would be any interest in me running a hands-on workshop at Hamilton and Asad said ‘yes.’” When Javed returned from winter break he worked with Eckstein and Heather Wixson of the Career Center to coordinate the event.

Eckstein has been shooting, editing and producing in the video/film industry since graduating from Hamilton in 2001. Beryllium Pictures specializes in commercials, corporate videos and broadcast news features. 

The April workshop drew nine Hamilton student participants.  They convened at Bristol, where they became acquainted with the equipment that’s used to shoot professionally. The students learned about lighting, sound and camera angles and the use of equipment such as field monitors, field mixers, boom mics, tungsten and fluorescent lights, sliders and HD cameras.

Along with Eckstein and his colleague Michael Flanagan, the students then shot film at sites around campus. Participants took turns assuming different roles on a shoot, including director, cameraman, sound director, actors and lighting designers.

The next day the group edited the footage. The students split up in teams and were each assigned a scene in which they color corrected, edited the sequences, chose the shots, fixed the sound and ultimately exported their final project files, which were screened later.

Javed called the workshop “a remarkable opportunity, mostly because of its broad exposure into how film is made professionally.” He added, “As a film major, my knowledge was fairly limited due to a very small number of production related offerings at Hamilton. To be able to play with the actual equipment and see the role of so many people working on the production was just priceless.”

Eckstein was happy to help fill the void. “I knew that when I was at Hamilton there was a lack of a technical, hands-on education when it came to courses in video or cinema studies,” he said.  “While I love the education that I received at Hamilton, there was a very liberal arts approach to what is a very technical field.  I thought that running a workshop would give students a chance to get hands-on with a lot of the tools used in digital filmmaking and learn some of the concepts of lighting, audio, composition and visual directing for scenes.  Ultimately it was a lot of material to go through in a short weekend, but I think there was a good overview.”

Eckstein said the workshop provided realistic filmmaking experience. “We ran into some great instances of learning how to adapt for things out of your control (like the weather) and it became a good teaching point for learning how to problem-solve and come up with alternatives,” he explained.

Eckstein remarked, “I think students nowadays are very quick to learn the aspects of editing (which was a much more foreign platform when I was a student), and certainly video, in general, is such a common tool.  Hopefully I left with helping to give the students a good platform for how to think differently about tackling future projects,” he said.

Eckstein remarked, “I think students nowadays are very quick to learn the aspects of editing (which was a much more foreign platform when I was a student), and certainly video, in general, is such a common tool.  Hopefully I left with helping to give the students a good platform for how to think differently about tackling future projects,” he said.

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