Seeing where the magic happens in film

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 8, 2014

Recently, the Nims Film Center in Harahan opened its facilities to local high school students interested in careers in the film or television industries. A group of Advanced Television Broadcasting, Interactive Media and Digital Media Team Members from the St. Charles Satellite Center were among some of the students that traveled there to tour the studios and learn about the services offered to the local and national film and television industries.

The Nims Center is a division of the University of New Orleans Foundation and is operated in conjunction with the University of New Orleans. It is a 70,000 square foot production facility with three sound stages, a scenic shop, production offices and learning labs. The Center works directly with UNO’s film and video program by providing professional and economic partnerships with national and international producers of film, video and multimedia.

The tour began with a few short talks given by a graduate of the UNO film program, one of their film professors, members of the UNO Admissions Office, and the director of the Nims Center.

After the brief overviews, the team members began touring the facilities and various sets at the Nims Center. One of the sets that they toured was for an in-production television series called “Star-Crossed” for the CW Channel. The series chronicles the life of teenage humans and aliens co-existing in high school. One of the sets was designed to look like a real high school, the other like a futuristic Cajun restaurant, and the last was like the interior of an apartment complex constructed of corrugated shipping containers. They also visited the set decoration storage area for the show. The set decoration area contains thousands of items used to decorate the sets of the show.

After the set tours, the group visited some of the Nims Center’s audio production rooms. The rooms are used to edit audio recordings and to re-record actor’s speaking parts.

The tour concluded in the state-of-the-art viewing room used by directors to review daily screenings of the work that was filmed each day. In the screening room, the team members met with the vice president of communications, public relations and marketing for UNO. He showed the team members a recruiting commercial for UNO that was created entirely by current UNO students and graduates. He explained the process his department used to come up with the concept for the commercial and the different steps they had taken to complete it.

After the tour, the team members were invited to eat lunch in the commissary area of the Nims Center. The commissary is where all of the actors and production workers eat lunch, breakfast and dinner.

When the team members returned to the Satellite Center they reflected on their experience and discussed what they learned about the Nims Center, the UNO Film Program, and the vast number of careers in the film and television industries.