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UC Davis Centennial
100 years of service, solutions, impact

Celebrating 100 Years of UC Davis
(Flash video, 6 min 54 sec)

Director/videographer: Whitney Ferris
Soundtrack: Adam Cobb

Download Adobe Flash (free)

Student team also produces book

Graphic: UC Davis Centennial book cover

In fall 2007, six students proposed an ambitious idea for their senior project …

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Our identity on video

Student takes on yearlong project to promote UC Davis

The UC Davis Centennial celebration was brought to my attention through the Davis Honors Challenge last academic year as our student group entered our fourth year of college.

We were told that Patricia Turner, the vice provost of student affairs, wanted to create a historical narrative in celebration of our past. My team and I were charged with writing a book based on the accounts of alumni undergraduate experiences at UC Davis.

We came up with the mission statement, “To show the uniqueness in the UC Davis campus by creating a lasting publication that will promote spirit and pride.”

From our mission statement I believed that we were essentially promoting the school. I have a background in film as well as advertising and marketing and so I thought that a promotional film could serve the school well.

As a prospective student I had wished that there was some sort of a film or online interactive site that could show me why Davis was so special.

Showing the sense of pride

During my time as an undergraduate, I feel I have truly become an Aggie and have a real sense of pride in the school. I wanted to portray that unique feeling in a film so that others could feel the same sense of pride.

The film was a yearlong project to gather footage and images that would create a five-minute film that would be exciting and fun to watch. Our deadline to finish shooting was Picnic Day, which gave me about a month to edit the film together, which was a real challenge.

It was difficult to figure out how exactly one can portray a feeling to complete strangers through images, so I started with the special effects since I knew what I wanted the slogan to be. While I worked on text I researched the centennial and how others felt about it, finding the mission statement for the schools’ centennial.

Backward storyboarding

I used this to create a narration for the film, which provided me a backward way of storyboarding.

‘As a prospective student I had wished that there was some sort of a film or online interactive site that could show me why Davis was so special.’

— Whitney Ferris, fourth-year UC Davis communications major

Usually storyboarding comes first in the film/idea process to map out the shots that you need to best tell your story. In this case, I began gathering video in the fall before I was quite sure of the story narration. Once the narration was complete, it was simply a matter of matching still and moving footage to it.

The sound was a completely different challenge. We were not allowed to use popular music because of copyright infringement so instead after researching royalty-free music, a friend of mine stepped in and we created our own soundtrack using Garage Band software, which ended up suiting our piece better than any prerecorded music.

After a year of working on this film, I am very proud of it. I think that it captures the spirit of UC Davis and promotes Aggie pride.

UC Davis gave me the opportunity and support to do something that I loved, which turned out better than any of us on our Davis Honors Challenge team imagined. I hope you enjoy it.

Whitney Ferris, who will complete her undergraduate degree this fall, is a managerial economics major with a dramatic art minor from Piedmont, Calif.