You wouldn’t be wrong if you thought of this year’s AAPG Student Chapter YouTube video contest as sort of a geoscience department “selfie” – and we all know how fun and popular those creative bursts can be.
In order to foster both excitement and pride in the work being done in geology departments on university and college campuses, the annual student chapter video contest – now in its fourth year – has become a way for these student organizations to highlight their commitment to geology.
And, in the process, if they also prove they’re not master filmmakers, well, that’s part of the fun.
But don’t just take our word for it. Consider 2015 participant Alyssa Charsky, from the Colorado School of Mines, who said it’s exactly the kind of effort that AAPG should be encouraging.
“I think that the YouTube video contest is a great way to showcase the yearly accomplishments of each of the student chapters,” she said, “and for each chapter to take pride in their organization.”
To see these videos is to see the study of geology from those most affected by it – the students.
These short videos, at their best, can be seen as promotional pieces for their individual departments – often quirky and serious with some great musical beds – but also as an introduction to the future leaders of the profession and industry.
It is, in many ways, an overview on the work being done and the work they hope to do, as well as their philosophies at this moment, goals and rationales.
Lights, Camera …
Participating teams in the video contest were asked to submit no more than a three-minute video. Once the chapters – and this year, there were 18 in all – submitted their videos, each participating school got to vote on whose was the best.
Then the fun began.
Once the schools voted, the videos were posted on Facebook and YouTube, where the number of LIKES also were tabulated. From all three sources, a winner was named – University of Pembangunan Nasional Veteran. The University of Bandung and Brawijaya University won 2nd and 3rd, respectively.
Specifically, for the Colorado School of Mines video, Charsky said part of its approach was to determine what other schools would be presented – and to do something else.
“For our video we wanted to highlight the diversity of our community and events we hosted. We chose to interview a number of professors and students and included sound bites from each of them to make our video more personal and show how the organization has positively impacted these individuals. We thought that this was a more effective way to communicate the successes of our chapter than by only using text overlays on images as some schools choose to do.”
As mentioned, seventeen other schools entered this year’s contest, and the videos were featured in Denver during ACE. You can see their videos online.
The videos, as you can see, reveal both an excitement to the world of geology and an expectation to how that world will be molded in the future. (You’ll also notice different fashion choices, from unisex uniforms at some schools to what can best be described as dorm chic at others.)
Charsky is well aware her chapter’s entry was not world-winning cinematography.
“The most challenging part of this contest was realizing the level of video-making expertise that other schools had available to them, and that none of our video team members had any formal video editing filming or training. While we stand by the content of our video, I feel that we could have benefited from a better editing software or someone with more filming/editing experience – especially since a few of the winning videos the past few years looked like they had been professionally made.”
Since 2008, the YouTube student video contest has grown exponentially and, according to Bryant R. Fulk, an AAPG member, who started his AAPG career at San Diego State University (which has won the contest the previous two years), and who now heads the Student Chapter Committee for AAPG, sees the quality of these videos – and one imagines the chapters, as well – improving yearly.
“My impressions,” he said, after viewing this year’s submissions, “are that the students continue to compile an amazing deliverable. Every year the videos improve in quality and most importantly the kinds of events that the student chapters are documenting are broadening in their impact. The top videos are clearly work intensive and AAPG appreciates the students sharing their experiences through this media.”
All in all, Charsky added, “I enjoyed being a part of our video team this year because it made me really appreciate the dynamic community that AAPG has created on our campus – we interact with and influence more than just petroleum geologists.”