Behind the Camera with Michael Murphy
By Madison Kobe ’18
There is a plethora of events happening at Carthage every week, whether it is a theatre production, a choral or orchestral concert, or an athletic event. However we all know the life of a student is full of studying for a test, writing a paper the night before it is due, attending a sorority or fraternity event, and personal events, so you might not be able to attend every event and performance. Luckily, Carthage offers a free live streaming service to Carthage students, families, alums, Kenosha community members, everyone so that you can watch these events from anywhere. Michael Murphy, the media producer at Carthage, was kind enough to give me more information regarding the live streaming service, and how beneficial it is to the Carthage community.
How recently did Carthage begin live streaming events?
Live video streaming began at Carthage in fall semester of 2009, with the webcast of a CCIW Women’s Volleyball Tournament semi-final match between Carthage and Elmhurst. Last year we streamed around 150 events; that included concerts, plays, sports and special events like Commencement, New Student Convocation, and more!
Was the transition difficult for people to accept, or was the idea well received?
I believe the Fine Arts and Athletics departments were enthusiastic about live streaming events. There was initial reservation regarding the potential for diminishing attendance at programs but, in actuality, live streaming allowed for an increase in viewership. Performers and athletes families who are not able to attend the events can still watch their student via the live stream.
Why do you think it is important for Carthage to take this step in keeping up-to-date with technology?
We currently have a four camera video production system in the chapel, with video cameras in the balconies and on the floor. We have a group of about 21 students who stream and record events on campus. Live streaming of concerts allows video production students a unique and creative opportunity to compliment the musical performance with a creative visual expression of the experience. This is a significant, and sometimes challenging, task that students in some larger institutions would not encounter.
With live streaming of events, Carthage is able to reach out to parents, friends and alumni who wouldn’t be able to attend these programs. Though it is not the same visceral experience as being in the audience at a concert, we provide a viewing opportunity that didn’t exist 10 years ago.
About how many viewers are there for major performances, such as Christmas fest?
If you add all three Christmas Fest performances, last year we had a total viewership of 2724. These aren’t exact numbers but a close estimate. We stream concerts on two venues, UStream, which viewers can watch on live.carthage.edu, and YouTube, which viewers can access on the Carthage YouTube channel youtube.com/user/carthagecollege.
How does the Kenosha community benefit from events being available for live streaming?
Live streaming of events allows Carthage to reach out to the Kenosha community and expose Carthage as an exceptional fine arts center. I think Kenosha recognize what Carthage has to offer based on the Christmas Festival attendance each year. This year, the festival was sold out after barely two weeks! Now, through live streaming, we can reach those who couldn’t attend or didn’t want to brave the weather. I hope that viewing the Christmas Festival becomes a holiday tradition in many Kenosha households.
How would you like to see the streaming of events grow in the future?
We are constantly upgrading our equipment and learning to improve our live streaming productions. I would love to be able to add moving cameras on jibs and employ 360 degree cameras, which we tried for one concert last year. But, sometimes logistics won’t allow too much experimentation. We also study concerts from other colleges and universities for inspiration and ideas. I would also like to expand our viewership numbers with increased outreach and marketing, especially to alumni and parents of students.