Video Production Steps into the Digital Age


Emily Loughridge

Video-production instructor David Duncan points out key features of the new drones to student Nick Fleckenstein.

Gabi Merchen, Contributing Writer

Students at USAO are getting an exciting upgrade to their video production experience. Largely thanks to the efforts of David Duncan, USAO’s instructor of digital media technology, the university’s Communication program has ascertained the funding for a barrage of new video technologies, including cameras, state of the art audiovisual equipment, and drones for aerial videography.

“I’m a drone fanatic,” said Duncan. “They are literally crash proof. The images that the students are getting out of these are incredible. The record at 5.1 k, and it’s absolutely phenomenal what these drones are able to do for us.”

The purchased drones also include a video-game-like flight school, allowing students to learn the technology and hone their skills. Once they reach level ten, they will have the opportunity to take a solo flight with Duncan. After their successful solo flight, students can then check out the drone like they would a camera.

The special program that Duncan learned about from Sid Hudson, the Vice President of Initiatives and Innovation, has already paid out $50,000 of Duncan’s $230,000 ask. While the total may seem ambitious to some, Duncan is hopeful that at least another $100,000 is on its way to the program.

Duncan’s efforts to secure funding for the new technology have paid off, and the students are reaping the benefits. They now have access to cutting-edge equipment that will give their projects a competitive edge.

“It helps them do it better,” said Duncan of the new technology. “The gear is absolutely state of the art. There are creative elements in this equipment that allow them to do more.”

Alongside Dr. J.C. Casey, head of the Communication department, Duncan is working to capitalize on this new technology by creating a video production minor, and eventually a major. There is already an aerial videography class in its planning stage, and, in the advanced video production class, students can actively work toward obtaining their commercial drone pilot’s license.

“We are developing new classes based on new tech, because it’s such a great opportunity to expand what we’re doing,” said Duncan.

The funding opportunity has already generated a lot of interest and excitement among students, and many are eager to take advantage of the new program. The video production program is just one example of the many initiatives that USAO is undertaking to provide students with the best education possible.

“Because of the increase in student interest, we’re putting Final Cut Pro on some of the computers, so our students can go up there and not be limited to our lab down here,” said Duncan.

The Communication program is also growing to include a podcast studio, utilizing much of the same recording technology that Duncan is using for video production. With the help of this new funding, USAO hopes to build a professional quality video production program to enhance the students’ experience and make them more competitive in the job market.

“A lot of students want to go into television and even cinema production, and this technology helps us to give them the tools they need to succeed in those fields,” said Duncan.

USAO is now poised to take the next step in its mission to provide students with a top-notch education as well as real world experiences that not only help aid in academic success but also the professional careers students are training for. Duncan and Dr. Casey said they are confident that the new video production program will help to prepare students for the future and equip them with the skills they need to succeed in the digital age.


Gabi Merchen is a third-year Communication major at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.