Each year, Samford’s Step Sing shows sell out almost immediately. Many students, faculty and alumni want to watch the show but are unable to get tickets. The scarcity leads to thousands of people watching the Step Sing livestream instead. This is why the annual livestream of the event is so crucial to Step Sing.
Step Sing 2023 was the first year that a journalism class was allowed to help produce the livestream. Usually, staff from Samford’s media center, as well as professionals from High End TV, oversee this side of Step Sing. However, now that the journalism department has invested in new equipment for their own studio, the show was broadcast from the studio in Orlean Bullard Beeson Hall.
Danielle Deavours, a Samford broadcast professor, had her JMC 422 class help with this year’s Step Sing show. Some students worked from 3:00-11:00 every night, while others who were not available for every night’s production shadowed the High End TV team. The team for the livestream production was half student-led, which is an amazing feat.
“It’s very important to have that kind of hands-on learning experience. That’s insight that you can’t really get from a classroom until you watch the production.” Deavours said. “Step Sing is a wonderful learning opportunity for a variety of different venues and career opportunities in the future.”
Just like the Step Sing groups themselves, Deavours students have been preparing and training for this livestream since January began. They were taught how to use the different equipment necessary for the show, and they were shown different roles each student could have and what those positions would entail.
Macrae Smith is a Game Design and 3D Animation major and the producer of the Step Sing livestream.
“What’s cool about our job is that Step Sing becomes more than the three-week event that it is for most students. We’ve been preparing for this since the end of last year’s Step Sing,” Smith said. “It’s been a cool process being in meeting with full-time faculty, talking about what we needed to make this happen.”
According to the technical director Chris Todd, it was a unique opportunity for students to be able to run a live show, without edits or corrections. It gave students the chance to learn from professionals while still having the hands-on experience needed for learning.
“With live production, it really helps me to see how the inner workings.” Todd said. “I have technical skills that I wasn’t planning on having, but now, I have these skills in my back pocket. I know how a livestream works, how to switch camera angles and how to hook everything up. Even if I’m not doing that full time, I still understand how all of it works.”
As Step Sing is a student-run event, Deavours said she was hoping that, in the future, students could fully run the production on their own.
“I’m incredibly proud of my students for stepping up and being able to do a production of this size.” Deavours said. “They did so well and made the university proud. We’re going to continue to develop those relationships and partnerships with marketing and Step Sing so that we can make the production even more professional overall for the viewers but also an even better learning experience for our students.”