Transforming livestream events for prospective students and families

Travis Worrell

Editor’s note: Duck of the Week is a section in Around the O Workplace that highlights UO employees and their work. Each story features an interview with one employee, in his or her own words, with light editing for clarity and length only.

Travis Worrell
Photographer and Videographer

How long have you worked at the UO?

A little over four years.

Tell us about your work:

I am the lead videographer for Student Services & Enrollment Management. My unit provides the video, photo and livestream assets for enrollment management. I would say up until the last month or so, we’ve been primarily doing broadcasts for our prospective students. Duck Days and Duck Preview are traditionally in-person events that have potential students come and experience campus. They go to presentations, talk to faculty members and other staff about how to enroll. Because of the pandemic, we had to shift all those events into a virtual sphere. With that, we basically had to create our own streaming broadcast studio, which is something I wasn’t hired to do. We had to build it from things we already had, and learn about this process by grinding through it.

What does your typical day look like?

Things are starting to shift now because we’re opening back up, which means our broadcasts are shifting down. In terms of what I used to do, my typical day would consist of prepping the studio for the live broadcasts of the day, organizing with talent to make sure when they’re arriving and getting them set up to make sure the broadcast can work live.

With the COVID-19 protocols in place right now, I can’t be in the room when they have their mask off. I have to partition the whole wall so that I’m in a separate room with my mask on. Then, we would transition into firing up the system to get the broadcast prepped. We created this whole run of show system so I could easily follow things during the broadcast. I’d also work with our remote guests, so a lot of guests would call into our broadcast to interact with our live guest here, just like ESPN does. That means that someone could actually join our system remotely and interact with a live person here and vice versa. We also had live music performances, so we had to coordinate with the music artist to tell them when they’re going live and how they sound when they do. And then after the broadcasts are done, I’d have to power down the story studio, wrap things up, and send out the recordings we just had because we’d be sending that recording out to everyone who missed the event that next day.

What do you like about working at the UO?

I would definitely say the people. I love working with students and the other staff members. The UO constantly changes in terms of doing things we’ve never done before, so we’re trying to innovate all the time. That creates a ton of stress, but on the flipside, it keeps things interesting. We’re always changing the way we’re approaching things, and we have a great social media following so my work is being seen.

I'm also a local. I didn't go to school here, but I was born and raised here. With Eugene as my hometown, the Ducks have been a part of my whole life. I’ve watched the campus change a ton, and remember when Matt Knight Arena was Franz Bakery.

What keeps you motivated?

The skills I’ve learned from live broadcasting are really exciting because they’re translating into what I used to do. With the president’s remarks, we completely revolutionized the way we did teleprompting with this live broadcasting and now I can have a producer come in remotely on top of that. Basically, the innovation is keeping me motivated because this is something we never could have dreamed of before.

What is something people may not know about you?

One of the biggest videos we ever did here was Star Duck. We did this Civil War video two years ago that was a spoof on Star Wars and I made the Duck Vader costume. Something that people might not know about me is that I make the props that are in some of the videos.

Travis Worrell is part of Student Services and Enrollment Management and University Communications.

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