UPAA Blog 2022-23 #1 - 9/1/22

(photo by Matt Cashore) Aquinas College videographer and photographer Matt Yeoman leads the "Video Q&A" session, part of the 2022 Symposium video track.

The 2022-23 contest season has just opened and there's a new kid at school! In this article UPAA President Glenn Carpenter details the new Narrative Competition created with video and multimedia storytellers in mind. Also in this article, one of UPAA's video storytellers details his experience at the 2022 Symposium. -Ed.



By Glenn Carpenter, UPAA President

For many years UPAA has seen the evolution and combining of video and still photography. In order support these changes we began talking with the a group of video producers in higher education. At the 2022 Symposium we introduced a separate video track and created a Video Producer membership to test the waters of incorporating video professionals into UPAA. With the help of the UGA team we put together enough programing and to support the initiative.

The Multimedia Competition was transformed in to Narrative Series Competition with 3 categories to reflect the changing role of video and still photography. The On-line Photo Essay category is for Spark and Exposure type presentations, the Social Media category is for video productions intended for distribution on social platforms, and the Video/Cine category is for the longer form production intended for broadcast or other formats.

One competition hardly seems equitable for those members tasked with producing content. With that in mind the board developed the Quarterly Narrative Series Competition. This competition well occur 4 times throughout the academic year, providing peer review for our members that are tasked with producing content of this nature.

The new competition is part of the process the board is undertaking to determine if we should permanently include video producers in the organization or help them create their own organization. Along with input from the membership, we will be looking at participation in this new competition to help inform our decision.

The first competition will begin on 9/1 for productions created from June through August. The competition will be accessible from your member dashboard and complete rules can be found at Quarterly Narrative Series Competition.

The 2022 UPAA Symposium: A videographer's perspective


By Alfred Greenbaum

Alfred Greenbaum is a full-time videographer at Lafayette College, a 2500-student liberal arts college in Easton, Pennsylvania. Alfred was a first-time Symposium attendee, primarily drawn by the video options at the 2022 Symposium. He made the most out of his week in Athens, winning the inaugural Roberts and B&H co-sponsored video shootout. This article is an expanded version of Alfred's sidebar in the 2022 Contact Sheet.

As I boarded the plane from Philadelphia to Atlanta in the early morning hours of June 20th, I was filled with a mix of excitement and nervousness. My perception of UPAA coming into the week was only what I had seen on the Facebook page: a supportive community of members around the country posting on a pretty regular basis about ideas, struggles, and industry-related news that I wouldn’t otherwise see on my social media feeds. I definitely got the sense that this was a close-knit group, but I was still incredibly fascinated by what I saw on the first day of the symposium. Each person I met was incredibly friendly, welcoming, and willing to talk about anything and everything related to our industry. It was like a big family reunion that I had just walked into, but I very soon found myself to be one of the family.

Coming from a videography background, I heard from my director Adam Atkinson that this symposium would be beneficial for the both of us as first-time attendees due to the inclusion of a video track in addition to the traditional photography elements. We gathered in one of the atriums of the UGA center for the New Member Orientation, and one of the first things Jason Halley had us do was raise our hands to identify whether we were photo-only, video-only, or a hybrid of the two. When I raised my hand for video-only and looked around the room, there weren’t many other hands in the air. I made sure to make a mental note of who those people were, as they were the ones I was most eager to meet and find out more about their way of doing things. Lafayette College is a small liberal arts school in Easton, PA, about an hour from both Philadelphia and New York City. With only about 2,500 students on campus, I figured we were on the smaller end of the scale as compared to the other attendees, but to know that the overwhelming majority of the group was a photo/video hybrid or photo only was pretty eye opening.

(photo by Matt Cashore) UPAA Board member Jason Halley leads the orientation session for new attendees on the first day of the Symposium.

One session that was especially impactful was Nick Bragg’s “Anatomy of a Short Doc” where he broke down his approach to telling longer-form stories effectively by using an engaging hook right at the beginning to captivate the audience and encourage them to watch the video in its entirety. The goal of everyone in our field should be to create content that can be enjoyed by as many people as possible, and his techniques for building an effective outline, brainstorming visuals, and putting together a cohesive finished product were very inspirational, and I have already begun to put what I learned into practice at Lafayette. Another great video session was Andre Costintini’s discussion on “The Inspired Videographer” presented by Tamron. Andre showed us some really powerful examples of his work, echoing Nick’s point on the importance of creating a good hook for your film. I made sure to find each presenter on social media afterwards and follow their pages for more great inspiration.

(photo by Jeff Gage) André Costantini presents "The Inspired Videographer."

When we attended the announcement for the Nikon Photo Shootout and the B&H/Roberts Camera co-sponsored Video Shootout, I saw in the rules that all video submissions had to be filmed on a cell phone or tablet. I had an “I told you so” moment with myself because I debated on packing my phone gimbal and ultimately decided against it. One of my pet peeves is shaky handheld shots, so I regretted not bringing the gimbal, but knew I had to make the most of the situation as we often do in our field. One other obstacle going into the competition was that fact that Adam and I planned on sharing a laptop to save on luggage space, but he accidentally left his laptop at the TSA checkpoint in Philly. I had never used Adobe Rush on my phone before to edit videos, so it was definitely going to be a learning experience with an awesome prize on the line.

After being given the prompt of “light and shadow,” Adam suggested that we team up with some other attendees to work together on the shootout. We ended up forming a coalition with Julia Mothersole and Miranda Daniel from the University of West Georgia and John Joyner from the NC State University College of Veterinary Medicine. We called our tag team Potato Counterpoint and set out across the UGA campus and surrounding town of Athens in search of lights and shadows. Being the only videographer in the group, I didn’t feel any sense of competition with the rest of the group, and I was free to try to execute my ideas while occasionally posing for photos.

"Potato Counterpoint" poses for a selfie.

In terms of my concept, I recall being awed by the beauty of Athens and the UGA campus, and I wanted to find some creative shots and angles that showed off its splendor. Back at Lafayette we have a similarly attractive campus with a diverse range of buildings and wonderful landscaping, so I took inspiration from a video I made last summer showing off the campus. One of my favorite shots that I got was while crossing the street in front of Athens City Hall. It was right as the sun was setting, and the sky exploded with color. I spent the next couple of nights editing on my phone, a skill that I can now add to my arsenal, but not one that I intend to make a habit of. In the end, I was really proud of my finished product, and it was an incredible honor to be chosen as the winner of the shootout.

Above, a frame from Alfred's winning video

Mid-week was filled with even more great speakers, starting with Kevin Liles and his presentation sponsored by PhotoShelter. Before coming to Lafayette I worked in minor league baseball for a few years, so seeing his work as the official team photographer for the Atlanta Braves was really inspiring and gave me some ideas for the next time I cover sports.

(photo by Matt Cashore) Kevin Liles on-field demo at Sanford Stadium.

Kevin Liles’ on-field demonstration on the UGA football field showed how he was able to set up his gear and get a few great shots in a matter of minutes, all while battling the changing light of the sunset. I know I’ve been in situations where time is of the essence when covering an event or speaker, so a big thing I took away from his demo was the intentionality behind deciding what gear to bring to be as versatile and lightweight as possible.

(photo by Matt Cashore) The beating heart of the Symposium: The hospitality suite. Pinatas, no extra charge!

I also attended Graham Sheldon’s production tips presented by Sigma Video. Graham brought his wealth of on-set experience and talked about the best practices to use in order to be a well-respected crew member, as well as some recommendations on gear and mobile apps to make life easier. I next went to Edwin Hammond’s presentation on Advanced Post Production in color using Davinci Resolve. My editing background is in Adobe Premiere Pro, so at first I was shocked at how foreign the interface looked compared to what I was used to. Edwin did a great job of explaining the basic layout for myself and the other attendees who were sharing a look of confusion. I will definitely be downloading Davinci and playing around with it after hearing about all the great tools it has specifically for color grading footage. 

(photo by Julia Mothersole) Alfred Greenbaum in Athens.

As a first-time attendee of UPAA and full-time videographer at Lafayette, I began the week expecting to meet some great people and learn more about how to be an effective media professional in higher education, both in video and photo. My expectations were met even more than I could have predicted, having made friends along the way and adding some awesome prizes to my gear collection. For anyone who may be considering attending for the first time, or any videographers wondering if they can also benefit from this conference, I hope my review has answered your questions and inspired you to attend next year at Notre Dame!


"A bear walks into a bar and says 'I'd like a gin and... tonic.' 'Why the big pause?' asked the bartender. 'I don't know,' replied the bear, 'I was born with them.'" Thanks for reading the UPAA blog. Look for new articles every other Thursday. There are quite a few Thursdays in the year, so that means we need quite a few articles, and it would be wonderful to have a diverse range of authors and topics. So, uhhhh, how 'bout submitting an article or a suggestion? Email editor Matt Cashore, mcashore@nd.edu. And if you don't already, follow UPAA on Instagram!