Lights, Camera, Action! It's 'Baylor 2000'

Oct. 7, 1998

by Colin M. Witt

Dubbed the "Baylor 2000 Project," the program will premiere at Homecoming '99 and will air on television stations throughout the Southwest in the year 2000. It will give viewers a taste of the future of TV because it is being shot in a digital high definition television (HDTV) format. Television stations in the nation's largest markets will begin broadcasting in digital format later this year. Current FCC regulations call for all commercial and non-commercial stations to broadcast a digital signal by 2003.

Shooting began during Welcome Week and will continue throughout the 1998-99 academic year. Homecoming '98 will play a significant role in the program, serving as a focal point for the telling of Baylor's story from the perspectives of students, alumni, faculty and staff.

"This is an opportunity to showcase the University using emerging technology," said Larry D. Brumley, associate vice president for communications. "It also gives Baylor a chance to demonstrate the talents and skills of our students and alumni."

Fred Miller, a 1965 Baylor graduate and a member of the Dean's Advisory Council for the College of Arts and Sciences, is producing and directing the Baylor 2000 Project. The Austin resident has worked on projects for Bill Moyers and in 1989 served as executive producer for the documentary For All Mankind, an account of America's first Apollo missions to the moon. The film was nominated for an Academy Award and won the Grand Jury Prize at Robert Redford+s Sundance Film Festival. It is now in distribution by National Geographic.

"I am very excited to be working on this project for Baylor," Miller said. "It's an honor to come back and do a production like this for your alma mater. Some people have an impression of Baylor that is outdated. This program will give us an opportunity to show people what Baylor is today -- which is one of the top institutions for the money in the world -- and where it is going in the future."

Miller last worked on a Baylor project in 1974, when he produced and directed a film about the University that aired on national television.

Students gain experience

More than 30 students of Dr. Michael Korpi, professor of communication studies and director of telecommunication, are serving as camera, sound and lighting assistants. They also are helping build a computerized library of all the images shot during the project. Graduate students Michael Bettersworth and David Cox are serving as production assistants and are coordinating the student interns.

"We are always looking for opportunities to give our students an advantage over the competition," Dr. Korpi said. "This project is great because it gives students top-level professional experience right here in Waco, and because the students are working with equipment that most network crews haven+t even touched yet."

"Dr. Korpi is on the cutting edge of where film and television are going, and he was invaluable in assembling the team of alumni who are helping with this project," Miller said.

Randall Dark, president of Dallas-based HDVision, one of the world's leading producers of high definition television programming, is serving as director of photography. He is being assisted by Kristen Cox, a 1994 Baylor graduate who is serving as the Dallas producer for the project. HDVision has shot numerous documentaries for PBS and several PBS affiliates such as WETA in Washington and KCTS in Seattle, and for the Japanese network NHK. HDVision is the first company to produce Major League Baseball on high definition television.

Other Baylor alumni who are working on the project include art director Kirk Cameron, a 1988 graduate who works with The Picture Mill in Hollywood; script consultant John Lee Hancock, BA '79, JD '82, who wrote the screenplays for A Perfect World and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and is writer-producer of the new CBS drama L.A. Doctors; and scriptwriter Robert F. Darden III, '76, a Baylor adjunct professor and journalist/author.

Others include editor Don Howard, '79, an Austin writer and director who produced Letter From Waco, a documentary aired nationally last year on PBS; line producer Nancy Parrish, BA '71, MA '80, who has worked for Disney; sound mixer Wayne Bell, who attended Baylor in the early '70s and has worked on a number of PBS documentaries and Disney movies; and camera operator Donald Howe Jr., a '95 graduate who has worked on several television and film projects.

Looking for more news from Baylor University?