Baylor's High Definition Documentary Returns For Homecoming

Nov. 3, 2000

by Larry D. Brumley

After playing before more than 10,000 people during its yearlong 12-city national tour, Baylor University's groundbreaking high-definition documentary, A Most Significant Journey, returns to campus for a special Homecoming engagement Friday, Nov. 10.

The 38-minute production, shown hourly from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. in Jones Concert Hall in the Glennis McCrary Music Building, will be projected on an 18-by-32 foot screen using state-of-the-art BARCO SXGA projectors that feature Texas Instruments' DLP technology, one of the driving forces behind the advent of digital cinema. Admission is free.

Believed to be the first university production of its kind, A Most Significant Journey premiered Nov. 11-12, 1999, during Baylor's 90th anniversary Homecoming. Since then, thousands of alumni, parents, prospective students and donors have experienced Journey during tour stops in Austin, Dallas, Houston, Tyler, San Antonio, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Atlanta, Nashville and Kansas City. Remaining premieres are scheduled for Nov. 16 at the Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City and Nov. 12 at Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth.

The video, which won a Gold Award in the 2000 Houston Film Festival and the Gold Award in the 2000 Aurora Film and Video Competition in Salt Lake City, Utah, also is airing on digital-capable television stations around the country, including Washington's WETA.

Drawn from more than 80 hours of high-definition images shot over 15 months, A Most Significant Journey tells the story of the impact the world's largest Baptist university has on the lives of its students. The production's freshness and appeal are in the frank, spontaneous reflections of the students, faculty, staff and alumni who are featured.

Segments taped during the 1998 Homecoming parade reveal the students' great devotion to Baylor, their dogged determination and their ingenuity in the face of adversity. Unscripted "on-camera" interviews with President Robert B. Sloan Jr. and other members of the faculty portray their hopes and aspirations for Baylor and its students in the coming millennium.

Breathtaking aerial shots highlight the excitement of Baylor's traditions and the beauty of the campus. Classroom, study and research footage illustrate the scope and strength of the University's academic programs, while scenes shot during extracurricular activities show the hands-on application of Baylor's stated mission of balancing success with service to others.

Of the more than 120 individuals who worked on the production, all but a dozen are alumni, faculty or students. The program was produced by award-winning filmmaker and Baylor graduate Fred W. Miller of Austin and the Dallas-based high definition production company HD Vision Inc. Randall P. Dark, HD Vision's president and CEO and a pioneer in high definition programming, served as director of imaging for the project.

"When we conceived this project three years ago, we planned to shoot it on Super 16 millimeter film," said Larry D. Brumley, the project's executive producer and Baylor's associate vice president for communications. "But after being introduced to high definition television, we decided for several reasons that it made more sense for us to tell our story using this medium. First, Baylor's telecommunication division has been conducting research on high definition television for 10 years and the university has representation on the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC), so we know something about the technology. Second, the timing of our release coincides with the increasing adaptation of HDTV in the broadcast industry."

Veteran producer Miller, whose projects have won Sundance Film Festival awards and an Academy Award nomination, worked with high definition for the first time on Journey.

"I was surprised that it was so much fun," Miller said. "But what struck me the most were the vivid images I saw. I started to look at the campus differently, seeing how beautiful and photogenic it is --áwith the help of some very good camera operators who have mastered the techniques. You really haven't seen Baylor until you see it on HDTV through the eyes of Randall Dark."

"The images I have seen in HDTV are the most stunning I have ever seen captured in electronic form," Brumley said. "The footage has a live feel to it, and it is enthralling when it is projected on a large screen. When you put the crystal-clear images and the CD-quality soundtrack together you have an uncommon sensory experience."

Filmmaker Don Howard, a 1979 Baylor graduate from Austin who wrote, produced and edited the acclaimed PBS documentary Letter from Waco, served as editor for the project. Original music for the video was written and arranged by Joseph Martin of Austin. Narration is provided by Will Lyman, a veteran of PBS programs NOVA and Frontline. Kristen Cox, a 1994 graduate and former producer with HD Vision, served as high definition producer, and Kirk Cameron, a 1988 graduate who produces motion picture credits and trailers for Picture Mill Inc. in Hollywood, served as art director. Sound editor was Baylor alumnus Wayne Bell. Location

manager and line producer Nancy Parrish is a 1980 Baylor graduate.

VHS and DVD copies of Journey can be purchased online at www.significantjourney.baylor.edu and will also be on sale at the screenings. Both versions have an additional 50 minutes of video in addition to the 38-minute feature presentation. Bonus footage includes campus scenes, interviews with President Sloan, faculty members and students, and the Baylor Chamber Singers performing "Blessed Son of God" in the Armstrong Browning Library. The DVD also includes interactive admissions information.

For more information, visit the Journey web site at www.significantjourney.baylor.edu.

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