Howard Community College's television station earned its first regional Emmy Award for a series of station identification spots that use computerized graphics and unusual perspectives to grab viewers.
In one spot, created by Carl A. Merritt, a video production-animation graphics specialist, a woman appears to reach over the edge of the screen to insert a plug that lights up the background. In another, a man seems to write HCC-TV on the inside of the television screen.
Merritt, of Columbia, filmed his subject against a green background and inserted the setting, logos and other elements with a computer process called compositing. HCC-TV, an educational access station broadcast on Channel 71, has been using "green screen" technology in the past couple of years to make advertisements, announcements and original programs look more professional and polished.
To create the identification spots, Merritt filled the role of producer, director and computer technician.
"For me, it's easier and more difficult" to work on all aspects of the project, Merritt said. It was convenient to be so familiar with the overall vision, he said, but it was important to seek feedback from others to keep his ideas fresh and original.
Margaret J. Kahlor, director of HCC's media arts, TV studio and HCC-TV, said she was proud to see Merritt called to the podium at the June 12 awards gala in Washington.
The other competitors "have a lot more resources than we have," she said. "News is the thing they do day in and day out. We're always switching gears, always coming up with new ideas."
HCC-TV was the only college station nominated for an Emmy in the National Television Academy's National Capital/Chesapeake Bay region. Merritt competed in his category against stations from Baltimore (WBAL) and Washington (WJLA and WBDC).
Kahlor also was nominated in the category of public service announcement.
Kahlor said that having the four full-time staff members do a range of tasks makes them good teachers, which is an important aspect of their jobs.
Merritt will teach Video I in the fall. In the meantime, he has been working on public service announcements for HCC's Grand Prix horse jumping fund-raiser.
He said the nomination would have been recognition enough, but it was fun to experience accepting the award and giving a speech after seeing awards shows on television.
"It was exciting," he said.