Workshop with Canon exposes video production students to latest camera technology

Company also provides free use of high-end cinema camera, lenses for a month on campus
Video production majors at UW-Stout use a Canon camera during a recent daylong workshop on campus with the company. / UW-Stout
​Jerry Poling | December 20, 2021

As a senior in the video production program at University of Wisconsin-Stout, Claire Taubel is looking forward to starting her career, which she hopes will take her into films and television.

Taubel has a better sense for what lies ahead in the industry after one of the world’s leading camera companies, Canon, held a daylong workshop for students majoring in video production. Then, the company provided about $100,000 worth of equipment for them to use for a month.

“We’re absorbing a lot, but it’s also information we’re excited about. When you get your hands on these cameras, it’s really awesome,” said Taubel, who is from Necedah.

Assistant Professor Keif Oss, left, talks with students during the workshop about using Canon camera.
Assistant Professor Keif Oss, left, talks with students during the workshop about using a Canon camera. / UW-Stout

“I haven’t touched expensive equipment like this, like the cinema camera,” said Taubel, noting the $26,000 piece of equipment. “It’s really helpful, encouraging and inspirational.”

Students used the equipment, including 24 high-end lenses for video and photography, in November and December as they wrapped up projects in their Advanced Video Production class.

Workshop coordinator Keif Oss, an assistant professor who teaches the class, believes Taubel’s impression of the day was typical among her classmates.

“From my observation, students were blown away,” Oss said, noting that students received training on Canon C300 series cameras and zoom, prime and cinema lenses.

“These are professional grade broadcast and cinema cameras and lenses that students don't touch every day. Fostering experiences and supported projects like this allow our program to be both cost-effective and experience-rich for students,” he said, while thanking multiple faculty and staff who helped make the event happen at Sorensen Hall.

“The result is a professional experience for students that does not impact the university budget or require travel. It's a model that's also nimble regarding technological changes” by exposing students to the latest equipment.

A student films other students as they try a camera on a tripod outside during the workshop.
A student films other students as they try a camera on a tripod outside during the workshop. / UW-Stout

Canon is hoping to repeat the workshop annually at UW-Stout, Oss said.

“The result (of the industry partnership) is a win-win-win for the students, university and manufacturer,” Oss added.

Oss said he and Canon representatives began discussing the workshop about two years ago, before the pandemic, when they met at the National Association of Broadcasters trade show, which he attended using UW-Stout professional development funds.

Dirk Fletcher, a Pro Market specialist for Canon U.S.A. near Chicago, was excited not just to teach students how to use the equipment but to see them actually use it. As part of the workshop, students tried out the equipment indoors and outdoors before the eight-hour workshop ended.

Students discuss a camera during the workshop.
Students discuss a camera during the workshop. / UW-Stout

“It’s one of the only places where we do this,” Fletcher said. “You can read things all day long, but it’s not until you actually use it that you understand it. It’s tactile learning.”

UW-Stout’s program curriculum includes still photography along with teaching video skills, something Fletcher supports because students are learning a holistic approach to imagery.

The workshop was coordinated by Lisa Gualtieri Alford, a strategic relationships account manager for Canon in Melville, N.Y.

Taubel called it a “big deal” for Canon to come to UW-Stout and provide, essentially, a trade show quality workshop to students — plus extended use of the equipment — for free.

“That’s what makes Stout different. Classroom learning is not the same as hands-on experiences,” Taubel said. “The experience you get with getting your hands on these cameras is inspiring me to envision what my future could be in video production.”

Providing students with cutting-edge technology is part of UW-Stout’s FOCUS2030 strategic plan.


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