Student production class makes video for local singer

Student production class makes video for local singer
Photo courtesy of Keri Drake

Students scatter through the room as they adjust lights and cameras. Behind the scenes, more students are hunched over a recording booth as they work the switches. Lanecha Turner sits in the middle of the studio room staring into a camera. 

With the sound of a clap, Turner clears her throat and begins to sing. Her voice fills the room with ease. 

“Any chance to sing and I’ll do it,” Turner said. “I’ll hop right on it.”

Turner has returned to Tuscaloosa to help out the only multi-camera production class at the University. In the process, Turner has also worked on recording an audition tape to use to apply to the Florida State graduate program for vocal performance. 

“In order to apply I had to have a video of two songs, an art song and an aria [operatic],” said Turner, who was also required to sing in a foreign language. “So, my vocal coach at Mississippi State picked the two songs for me because he knows a little about the grad program at Florida State and he knew what would impress them.”

To help out the multi-camera class, Turner shot other videos so students could work on lighting and camera angles. To do this, Turner was responsible for finding music that matched the settings the students created. These settings varied with the use of fake candles, Christmas lights, a stool and colored or moving lights. 

Turner said this was a new experience for her, but she meshed well with the students working on the set. 

“This is actually my first time in front of a camera doing a studio set and not in a lab recording studio, so I enjoyed being able to see myself actually perform and how I looked or what I did,” said Turner. 

The professor for the class, Teresa Gawrych, had Turner as a student at Mississippi State until she transferred to The University of Alabama last year. 

“I knew she had won singing contests, and I needed someone to kind of help us out,” Gawrych said. “She has come multiple weeks for us, which has been great, and the students love her, the way her tone is, and her musicality.”

For the videos shot for the class, Gawrych said they were going for an "MTV Unplugged" artist vibe in the studio since it hadn’t been used that way before. Turner will be singing more pop songs from Childish Gambino and India Arie for these videos. 

Turner does not write her own material but does mashups and popular songs. Gawrych said this gives the students an opportunity to figure out how to tell a vocal performance story with multiple cameras.

“She kind of has an Erykah Badu style and a jazzy, soul sound to her voice,” Gawrych said. “But she is willing to perform outside her comfort zone for us so we can try slow and fast songs.”

The students have also enjoyed working with Turner and seeing all that she has to offer. Junior Keri Drake, majoring in communications as well as telecommunications and film, said she had a real connection with her when they first met.

“She’s very down-to-earth and she’s comfortable with the skin she’s in, so she doesn’t try to be something she’s not,” said Drake. “Her style is so different, but she can include it with anything since she’s very genuine.”

Drake has worked as a technical director for this project. As technical director, she calls out which cameras they want to use for a particular shot. Drake said she has also been working with the cameras more to improve her skills. 

“This class has been quite an experience and has made me grow to like my major more,” said Drake. “It’s also helped me decide what I want to do with my future.”

Two other students, Kacy Tanveer and Hunter Stutts, both senior telecommunications and film majors, praised Turner for her talent and attitude.

“A lot of the time it’s Turner just sitting in front of the camera since we are adjusting cameras and dealing with problems that arise for most of the class,” said Stutts. “So she is very patient with equipment issues.”

Tanveer said they have done two completed pieces with Turner and that there had been several times when Turner came in for them when she wasn’t supposed to.

“She is just open to everything we’ve thrown at her, and we have thrown a lot at her, honestly,” said Tanveer. “But I do think her style is perfect for what we’ve been setting up for.” 

While Turner’s time helping out with the class will be coming to an end as the semester finishes up, Gawrych said she is hoping to do a music video for next semester. 

“It’s been really great to see the students pushing the studio into a different direction than it’s been used in the past,” said Gawrych. “For next semester we want to push even more and are looking for a local musician or singer to perform in studio.”

Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Crimson White.