Case Study: Creativity: Clemson Engineering – Haiti Water Story

Creativity | Community | Clients: 3C’s Case Study
This is a 3C’s Case Study examining the needs of our client Clemson University Engineering, Computing, and Applied Sciences (CECAS) and how to use storytelling to achieve the enrollment and awareness goals.

In this 3C’s Case Study, we take a look at one of our most dynamic projects. Using a blend of documentary and cinematic storytelling techniques, we helped Clemson University’s College of Engineering with their recruitment and outreach initiatives.

Client Overview
The Public Relations, Outreach and Media Opportunities (PROMO) group has long been the creative fulfillment team for CECAS. Through various intersecting initiatives, the PROMO group works directly with the Dean to expand and improve the marketing and public outreach of the college. The PROMO group draws upon the diverse talents of it’s members, who utilize equally diverse fields such as communication, technology and media to fulfill their passion of promoting the college and its departments.

Goal Of Project
The goal of this project was to visually showcase a department of the College of Engineering for promotional purposes. The PROMO group first partnered with Rettew Creative to perform a year long audit to identify creative narratives that would appeal to multiple target audiences for the purpose of increasing enrollment and providing value to the engineering degree.

Rettew Creative identified numerous storylines including a water project in Haiti spearheaded by Clemson Engineers for Developing Countries (CEDC). This group appealed to us because of the amazing work they were doing in regards to water purification efforts in a small village of Haiti. Since we were producing a cinematic piece, we believed the rich landscape of Haiti and the nature of the work involved would offer us ample visual opportunities. Bottomline, the main goal was to create a visual story showcasing Clemson students working in Haiti as they continued the water purification efforts. We wanted to capture a theme, the steps Clemson students were taking to change the world.

Click Below To Watch The Final Project

This production was to take place in a small village in the mountains of Haiti. It required two trips for both pre-planning, scouting, and final production. The primary challenge; capture and create a narrative that could simultaneously appeal to parents and students. For this case study we will focus on the technical aspects of the production.

The footage was capture using multiple camera systems including. This production choice was based on flexibility, mobility, and battery efficiency. There was lots of hiking up and down mountains, so we needed portable equipment that would travel well through a third world country and their customs along with being light enough for backpack hikes.

Here is what we used for this production:

  • Canon C100 Mark 2
  • Canon 5D mkiv
  • Canon 5D mkiii
  • DJI Osmo
  • Canon Lens
    • Canon EF 50mm f1.2
    • Canon EF 24-105mm f4
    • Canon EF 16-35mm f2.8
    • Canon EF 70-200m f2.8
    • Rokinon 35mm T1.5 Cine AS UMC Lens
    • Rokinon 85mm T1.5 AS IF
  • DJI Mavic Pro
  • DJI Phantom III
  • Dracast Lights Silkray 400 Bi-Color LED Round Light – Battery Powered

The footage was captured in a methodical manner using the “shot sheet” generated from the original storyboard. During the two trips and in partnership with PROMO staff, cast, crew and Haitian locals; we successfully captured all the required footage over the course of 5 days.

With a large emphasis was placed on portability so that we could be flexible and make creative decisions while navigating the rugged Haitian landscape. Using a two man camera team with different setups, we could quickly work through the shot list without sacrificing quality.

The final video was “premiered” to the Dean, PROMO staff members, Clemson University Board of Trustees, Governor of South Carolina; and then later used to show all protective students and families during their campus visit. The initial reception was overwhelmingly positive. The final product exceeded the expectations of staff, who were eager to begin using the video. As time went on, the video was shown hundreds of times by the Dean in various settings, and also used by the PROMO group in various online promotional campaigns.

From the Client: Dave Lee / PROMO Associate Director / College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences

The College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences hired Rettew Creative to produce a promotional video for our Clemson Engineers in Developing Countries program (CEDC). We never could have predicted the impact—both direct and indirect—this video would end up having.

CEDC is a student-led organization that focuses on sustainable solutions to improve the quality of life in countries like Haiti and Guatemala. Our expectation was that this CEDC video might contribute to an uptick in college applications, and more interest in the program. The outcome ended up being far greater. From the first time we shared the video in a public setting, it’s emotional impact on the viewer was evident. Tears and sniffles from the audience were common. Rettew Creative’s storytelling, coupled with outstanding visuals, resonated with our viewers on a level we never anticipated.

The video has been shared with thousands, and used within some of the college’s most important presentations (e.g. The Board of Trustees meeting), and recruitment efforts. Indeed, enrollment in the college has steadily grown, and CEDC is now stronger than ever. But more importantly, this video has enabled the college to make a lasting, emotional connection with our constituents while simultaneously raising awareness of the outstanding work being done by the students in CEDC.