Recruitment Features: Northfield Mount Hermon School - Bronze Award

2008 Circle of Excellence Awards Program
Category 15. Electronic Media: Recruitment Features
Northfield Mount Hermon School
Student Recruitment DVD
Bronze Award

Deborah Holman
Director, Advancement Communications
One Lamplighter Way
Mount Hermon, MA 01354-9638
(413) 498-3376


Deborah Holman Director of Communications
Frank duPont Executive Producer, Winton duPont Films
David Cohen Producer, Winton duPont Films

2006-2007 Admissions DVD, approx. 14 minutes in length


NMH seeks to stand apart in the extraordinary education that the school offers its students. Similarly, the admission DVD, which is often the first significant introduction to the school, must stand apart – in the richness of the educational experience it captures, in the warmth of the community evoked, and in the core values that the students absorb as part of this community.

Creative approach and objectives

We decided to embody, rather than narrate, the educational and student life experience of Northfield Mount Hermon by developing immersive stories of four or five students. In this “people-driven” film, characters were chosen for the passion that they convey, the richness and variety of experience that they reflect, and the transformative journeys they represent. Most importantly, the varied nature of the stories allowed us to cover all or most of the key concepts that an introductory admissions video typically conveys:

Academic excellence
Breadth of educational opportunity
Breadth of extracurricular opportunity
Range of adult or in loco parentis support

In this composite portrait of NMH life, faculty and staff are depicted interacting closely with students – providing both nurturing support and challenge.

The DVD includes four videos, which together provide a complete sense of the school experience. These videos consist of an approximately eight minute introductory video, and three vignettes of 2:30-4 minutes in length. The videos are:

NMH People (introductory video)
Embracing the World

In the introductory, or core video, the students featured take us through journeys of academic challenge and achievement, athletic accomplishment, peer leadership and service to others. We also tap into stories that have a fresh and surprising quality, e.g., relating to the work job and farm activities—aspects of school life that are truly unique to the school.

When taken together the varied stories in this core video evoke a shared experience of self-discovery – of how NMH provides a unique preparation for being citizens of the world.

Planning: production process & schedule
  1. Pre-production Sep. 11-Oct. 6, 2006
    This phase of the project included casting, story definition and more complete outlining of the videos. Casting of key characters was done in conjunction with contacts at NMH.
  2. Production Oct. 9-June 3, 2006
    The production process included eleven shoot days over the school year, encompassing digital video production in the fall, winter and spring. This schedule allowed for five different trips to campus insuring coverage of sports in all seasons, as well as special events that flowed from the characters and stories that we decided to feature.
  3. Post-production May 7-Aug. 10
    The edit schedule encompassed 11 weeks of editing on a non-linear video editing system, with two levels of client review on each of the videos, sound mix and color correction with an output to video masters. Three DVD-Rs of the videos were provided for internal review. Full design of the final DVD, including authoring, encoding, design of the disc and insert, and final mass duplication were covered in a separate budget.

Approximately 8,000 inquiry packages were mailed to prospective students.The admission DVD was attached with a glue dot to the inside cover of the admission viewbook (a photograph was taken of a student holding an NMH admission DVD out to the reader; the real DVD was applied over the photograph). The DVD is viewable on the school’s website.
The admission DVD has also been used by the school’s advancement office to share with alumni and donors.

Budget Summary
  1. Key creative and production personnel $24,750
    Includes producer/director, writer/creative director, and production manager
  2. Preproduction $3,200
    Includes preliminary visit to campus, pre-interviewing, story definition and related expenses
  3. Production $49,150
    Includes shoot crew and equipment for 11-12 shoot days In 24P mini-DV and DVC-PRO 25 formats, travel & expenses
  4. Postprodution $47,900
    Includes non-linear off line editor and edit system, limited use of stock music, two levels of client review on each of the videos, video stock and dubs, sound mix and color correction with final completion on digital video masters with 3 DVD-Rs supplied for client usage.

On campus project manager was NMH Director of Communications Deborah Holman, who negotiated the contract, coordinated casting and scheduling, supervised campus film shoots, and managed review and approval process with school administrators.
Total $125,000

Response and/or results. (Did you meet your goals? How?):

We've received positive feedback from prospective students and their families, our internal community and alumni, and marketing firms that have recognized our DVD as among the best in its category.