Three weeks ago today, over 500 CC students became CC graduates on Armstrong Quad under a tempestuous Colorado sky.


The class of 2016 throw their caps.

Regardless of the unpredictable weather, Commencement and the preceding Senior Week is one of my favorite times of the year. From start to finish, it’s a mad dash for my colleagues and I, as we do our best to capture the experience for the grads, their families, the campus community, and more. This year, a team of three, including myself, covered Senior Week for video. We tweak our approach every year (since every graduating class is different), but it usually goes something like this.

Wednesday (the last day of the block)

Video/Digital Media Specialist Arielle Mari with two members of the class of 2016.

Video/Digital Media Specialist Arielle Mari with two members of the class of 2016.

The strike of noon finds us at the Earle Flagpole, cameras wrapped in plastic, as seniors pop champagne to celebrate the end of their CC academic career. This longstanding tradition signifies the beginning of Senior Week. We post the below clip to Facebook and Vine.


The final touches are made to the setup on the quad, and we experiment with drone cinematography to catch the perfect symmetry of our Facilities crew hard work.

Empty chair on Armstrong Quad await Commencement, with Pikes Peak in the distance.

An aerial shot of the empty chairs on Armstrong Quad awaiting Commencement, with Pikes Peak in the distance.


Friday is graduation rehearsal, and we capture a bit of the proceedings with a 360 camera (more on that below!).


The Commencement dance on Saturday night is one of my favorite events. A new tradition sees student bands play on one stage, while a DJ plays in another.

Sophie Javna '16 of student band Ursa Minor performs.

Sophie Javna ’16 of student band Ursa Minor performs.


Sunday is the beginning of the final sprint, with Baccalaureate and multiple department receptions on top of one another. This year’s Bacc speaker, professor Idris Goodwin, knocks it out of the park.


Commencement day dawns, teetering between rain and shine. We interview grads as they line up in Palmer Hall, and ask them about their CC experience, what they’ll miss most, and what the best part of the last few days have been.

Once the ceremony starts, we float around the Quad and capture as many special moments as we can, from grads celebrating as they cross the stage to their families cheering in the audience.

The day goes off without a hitch – and not 10 minutes after the cap toss, thunder crashes and rain starts to pour! The timing could not have been better.

Later that day, we post a 360 summary to social media.

Tuesday – Thursday

I do my fastest editing work of the year, and put together a summary video from the week’s events, combining all the interviews, b roll, and various speeches captured. We share it with grads and the general CC community.

And with that as the final piece, Commencement is done for the year. Now it’s time to start planning for 2017!