CU Boulder’s New Venture Challenge

CU Boulder’s New Venture Challenge is an annual interdisciplinary competition, where students and members of the Boulder community have an opportunity to take their innovative ideas and develop them under the mentorship of successful entrepreneurs and experts in their respective fields. The NVC program consists of several key components, which include workshops, mentorship and competition. Each year, the teams with the best ideas go on to the finals, where they pitch their ideas to the judges and compete for a chance to win monetary prizes that can help them further to reach their goals.

NVC reached out to me last year to produce a new promotional video for the program. All of the footage in this video came from two events – the Mentor Matching Night and the 2015 NVC Finals. The promo highlights some of NVC’s key elements and gives the viewers a glimpse into what the challenge is all about.

It was a pleasure working with CU Boulder NVC to produce this video, and it was great to peek into the world of budding entrepreneurs and cutting edge innovation! Boulder is truly a magnet for high-tech startups and innovative businesses, and it seems that NVC helps contribute to that.

Technical info:

Most of the video was shot in a run-and-gun fashion during NVC events. The mentor matching event, in particular, was a very electric and even chaotic at times. I was maneuvering through a room of dozens of people, so I quickly abandoned the idea of using a tripod and shot much of the B-roll handheld. I was using my Panasonic GH4 with a Lumix 12-35mm f/2.8 zoom, and the optical image stabilization on that lens was a life saver. Shooting handheld with such a compact setup also freed me up to move around and get a variety of angles very quickly.

The interviews with brick wall background were shot right after the mentor matching event in a tiny room adjacent to the main area. The lighting in the room was pretty dim, so I used my trusty HDV-Z96 camera-mounted LED light for fill. There simply wasn’t enough time, nor even space to bring in and set up larger lights, but I think it worked out well. Other interviews were shot on-the-fly at a mixer after the NVC Finals, so as you can imagine – it was loud! I just miked people up with a wireless Sennheiser G2 kit and grabbed quick soundbites from them. I basically approached it as a broadcast news report, from a technical perspective. Sure, there was background noise, but you can tell the video is shot at an event, so it works fine within that context.

When it came to editing the video, the biggest challenge was taking half an hour of interviews and condensing it down into a 3-minute video, crafting an overview of the program and giving the viewers enough information about NVC to peak their interest, but without unnecessarily dragging it out. Although I had an idea of what was needed, none of this was scripted, so I essentially discovered the story and soundbites as I was editing.

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