‘Vermont Sampler’ video project gives students valuable insights, production work

The street noise is in the background and the golden dome of the state capitol is reflecting bright light into the lens of the camera. With the maroon Norwich van behind them, television students prepare for another “Vermont Sampler” shoot.

Vermont has been showcased many times, but the communications majors at Norwich University try to go beyond the generalized look and peer deep into what makes Vermont special.

Every year the “Vermont Sampler” adds a new episode that presents the best attractions in the Green Mountain State. The sampler project itself has been continued for over 20 years.

“It’s a documentary about different parts of Vermont,” explained Lindsay Evans, 21, a communications senior from Canterbury, N.H.

This series of videos represents a large portion of the creative populace in a state where the arts is part of its history and culture.

“It’s just trying to show Vermont in a good light,” said Evans, “and show all the things you can go see and do.”

Businesses the “Vermont Sampler” has covered include Ben and Jerry’s, Cabot Creamery, Burton Ski Program, and many artists.

“It’s stories about local businesses, putting them into the spotlight,” said Dan Brouard, 21, a communications senior from Richmond, Vt.

A review of “Vermont Sampler” programs reveals Vermont as a state where people have maintained their culture and express it through their daily work. Noted Dong Bin Kim, 20, a communications major from Acton, Mass., “We interview an artist whose painting was worth $300,000.”

Making a video project of this size is no easy task. “It’s very hard to do,” said Kim, “because it’s tedious work and you have to be precise.”

As an educational experience, students who work on the “Vermont Sampler” gain an insight on how to produce, shoot, and edit material for television.

“It’s great to work with other students to collaborate and see what other creative ideas they have,” said Brouard.

Many hundreds of hours are put into the making of just one episode. There is a defined process with which the “Vermont Sampler” is made. First, research is done into which artist or business to cover. Once a potential story is discovered, the Norwich television team has to schedule an interview.

The sampler project encompasses many aspects of Vermont life including artists, business executives, and companies. Interviews can make for a long day, sometimes taking up to 6 hours. With the interview has to come extra photos and video to add to the background of the project to keep the audience engaged.

“Some can be really thrilling, some can be a pain in the butt,” said Evans. Sometimes the crew leaves a shoot without getting enough information and has to return to get more.

Though a lot of hard work goes into the making of the show, students express their love for the job and creating the videos. “It is definitely fun,” said Brouard. “I actually enjoy doing the ‘Vermont Samplers.’”

In addition to being posted online on Norwich Television’s Vimeo, the “Vermont Sampler” airs once a year on Burlington’s WCAX.

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