University of Cincinnati Leads the Way in Interdisciplinary Education Project

The Postproduction Master Course: Gold Rush Adventure Race Documentary

Series: Experiential learning in an interdisciplinary environment.


During the University of Cincinnati's debut Fall Semester 2012, students enrolled in Professor Kevin Burke's Postproduction Master Course are partnering with Hyperion XIII Productions to create a documentary series for national cable television distribution.


Educationally grounded, professionally driven, and student-produced, the 2012 Gold Rush Adventure Race Documentary Series is an interdisciplinary project that involves students from a variety of diverse programs from across the UC campus: CCM's Electronic Media and Drama programs, DAAP's Graphic Communication Design program and the Communications and Anthropology programs at the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences.


This collaborative project is supported by a grant from the UC Forward Collaborative, an initiative from the Provost's Office at UC that emphasizes experiential learning in an interdisciplinary setting. The Postproduction Master Course was the idea of Professor

Burke and Brian J. Leitten, a professional television producer and director, both of whom provide the students with professional guidance and feedback during all phases of the

documentary's development.


Professor Burke and Mr. Leitten–a UC Alumnus–are fusing the skills of this disparate group of students around the common objective of the course, the production of a four-part documentary series on the Gold Rush Mother Lode Expedition Adventure Race, held this August in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California.


In early August, five Electronic Media students traveled to the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California to work with Leitten and other production professionals during HD filming of the Gold Rush Adventure Race. The adventure race includes fast packing/trekking, mountain biking, navigating, paddling and cliff rappelling and is part of the 2012 Adventure World Racing Series.


The Postproduction Master Course expands upon the traditional educational model through its use of social media applications. Students are utilizing ONcam(www.oncam.com), a web video conferencing application that has partnered with Professor Burke and Hyperion XIII on the project. ONcam allows the UC students to interact and receive feedback from Leitten–a professional producer/director at the entertainment network, VEVO in New York–during every class session and at various stages of the documentary's postproduction process. The Postproduction Master Course is using its own YouTube channel to upload all video rough cuts so both Leitten and the students can view and discuss each video sequence as they edit. The students have also created their own Facebook group, where they can discuss issues, upload all paperwork, and provide links to the YouTube video rough cuts.


In addition to Brian Leitten, during the semester, professional guest lecturers from various facets of the professional film and television industry in New York and LA are discussing their respective areas to the students–either on-location or through ONcam–during critical stages as the students produce the documentary series. These include:


Sara Hillner, editor and producer on a number of network and cable
television programs that include ABC's Secret Millionaire, MTV's The Buried Life,
and VH1's Rock of Love.


Christopher Deutsch, Vice President for Strategic Alliances and Educational Specialist for ONcam, a web based video conferencing application.


Rochelle Holguin, Senior Director of Creative Music Integration for MTV.
Ms. Holguin oversees the integration of music within MTV’s long form programming and music award shows, working closely with both established and independent artists in expanding the connections and opportunities between music and television.


The Master Course is also having experts from various programs at UC speak to the

students. These include:


Dr. Jeongwon Joe, a musicologist and Associate Professor in CCM's Composition, Musicology and Theory Division, who specializes in twentieth-century music the intersections of opera and cinema, film music, and cultural studies.


Yoshiko Burke, an Associate Professor of Graphic Communication Design, who specializes in narrative design and interactive communication design and has produced interactive web documentaries that have garnered national and international awards.


By incorporating professional, award-winning television producers, directors, and editors–along with expert academicians–to students from a range of academic programs, this high-profile pedagogical initiative will break new ground in both its collaborative structure and its reach, as it showcases the University of Cincinnati as a leader in innovative 21st century education. By creating an interdisciplinary project oriented course that integrates professional, active learning, the Postproduction Master Course ties into the University of Cincinnati's UC20019 Strategic Plan and its vision for undergraduate education, called the Integrated Core Learning initiative.


Quote from Professor Burke:


"In many ways, the Postproduction Master Course is fulfilling curricular learning outcomes in the area of film and television editing that serve as a capstone experience for our E-Media seniors, but it's also providing an experiential "real-world" production setting for students from CCM's Drama department, who will serve as voice-over narrators for the documentary. The collaborative nature of the project involves students from DAAP's Graphic Communication Design program, who are creating all on-air graphic logos and animations for the project, and students from the Anthropology and Communications programs at A&S, who are working as story editors and in all marketing and promotions for the documentary."



Brian Leitten


Brian is an award-winning television and film producer/director who graduated from the Electronic Media Division in 2001. He has produced and directed award-winning content for MTV, Fox Sports Network, Outside Television, NBC, Vh1, FUSE, Atlantic Records and Comedy Central. In 2010 he formed his own production company, Hyperion XIII and served as executive producer and director for the multi-award winning film The Last Wild Race, a documentary about the Wenger Patagonian Expedition Race in Chile. He currently produces and directs content for VEVO.com, the world’s leading all-premium music video and entertainment platform. The UC grant is allowing Brian to serve as Executive Producer for the documentary series and come onto the UC campus several times during Fall 2012 semester with professionals from VEVO, MTV and other professional television facilities to interact with the students.



Kevin Burke


Kevin Burke, Professor in the Electronic Media Division at UC since 1996, is the Principal Investigator of the UC Forward Postproduction Master Course. Professor Burke has over 23 years experience in broadcast, cable and independent television and film productions. His documentaries were nominated for consecutive CableAce awards in 1992 and 1993. His work has earned awards at the Broadcast Education Association’s Festival of Media Arts in 1998, 1999, 2001, 2011, and 2012. He has received national awards from the Telly Awards, the National Broadcasting Society, the Communicator Awards, the International Radio and Television Society, and the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing.


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