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Friday’s Castle Challenge to further communiversity A/V partnership

September 18, 2014

castle-challenge-football-1The last time NIU Media Services turned over the live production reins to local high school students – four from Sycamore and two from DeKalb – the Castle Challenge ball was round.

Now it’s a prolate spheroid made of pigskin.

Media Services Director Jay Orbik and his crew will take local teens under their wings Friday, Sept. 19, for the football version of the Castle Challenge. The DeKalb Barbs face the Sycamore Spartans at 7:30 p.m. inside Huskie Stadium; the sophomore game begins at 4:30 p.m.

High school students will take on tasks such as camera operator positions and utility operations, as well as several control room positions, such as video switching, camera shading and video playback.

UPDATE! Five full-time staff and four alumni joined NIU Media Services student workers to supervise 13 students from Sycamore High School and seven from DeKalb. Take a look at Orbik’s pictures of the action!

Barbs and Spartans who also are interested in photography can work with Wade Duerkes, a Media Services staffer who supervises several NIU student photographers in covering the games while learning how to shoot with professional sports lenses.

“The goal is to have them shadow an alumni or full-time crew member for a while and then take over control by themselves with an NIU student mentor,” Orbik said. “We try to get everyone involved in the game day production experience and get them all some hands-on time with the various production equipment. It’s all about teamwork.”

castle-challenge-football-2Football is a little trickier than a basketball game, he added.

“There are some crew positions in Huskie Stadium and some in the Convocation Center,” he said. “We will have to keep shuttling students around to make this happen.”

Students who participated in the Feb. 7 “intern” crew for basketball received a crash-course introduction on the equipment and rotated through several stations, including operating the cameras and pushing buttons and sliding faders on the control room board.

Only three full-time employees worked the hoops contest.

“The rest were our NIU students and high school students, working and training together. The students, working together, actually ran the whole show,” Orbik said in February. “This was one of the proudest moments I can remember in my 26-plus years here.”

Instruction is Orbik’s goal.

He originally became involved with the Castle Challenge a few years ago to provide more hands-on learning opportunities for the college students working for him.

“All of this dovetails nicely with Presidents Doug Baker’s ‘Student Career Success’ model,” Orbik said. “We want students to get hands on experience as early as possible so they become passionate about their studies in their chose career fields.”

The Castle Challenge was created in 2000 by Gary Evans and Ron Bemis, employees of Castle Bank, to increase attendance at athletic events, raise funds and enhance awareness of the local sports booster club organizations.

Local businesses, organizations and individuals are “Challenged” to help raise funds that will help support school athletic programs with net proceeds being distributed to the school’s booster clubs. Combined, the Castle Challenge programs have raised more than $1 million for their school’s athletic programs.

Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for students, and can be purchased at Castle Bank, all schools, the Kishwaukee YMCA and from student-athletes in the community.