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Equipment Donation Will Aid Film and Electronic Arts’ Students

Published: October 3, 2011

The chance for more lights, cameras and action in the Film and Electronic Arts Department (FEA) improved recently with the donation of two Panasonic HD camera, three lipstick cameras, an assortment of lenses, a Steadicam harness and camera arm, a mini-DV recorder and a 15-foot studio camera jib, provided by The Famous Group and valued in excess of $31,000.

“With over 100 student films and television productions being made in our department this semester alone, the demands on our equipment are substantial,” said Tom Blomquist, who joined the university in 2004 and was promoted to assistant professor in 2007. “This gift will be a big help in alleviating some of our scheduling logjams.”

“The faculty, staff and students of the Department of Film and Electronic are thrilled that The Famous Group and its president, Greg Harvey, chose to donate the production equipment to help us fulfill our mission of providing the best, most cost-effective media production education in the CSU here at Long Beach State,” said department chair Micheal Pounds. “We are delighted to accept these important gifts as Mr. Harvey’s recognition that Connor O’Brien, his company cinematographer and FEA alum, is a valuable and time-tested contributor to The Famous Group’s success.”

For several months, O’Brien, staff director of photography at The Famous Group in Culver City, and Blomquist discussed the possibility of his company making an equipment donation to the department.

“As is the case with several of my FEA colleagues, I enjoy staying in touch with our young alumni,” said Blomquist. “Connor O’Brien was a particularly good student and his success in the industry has been a source of pride.

“At the beginning of the year, Connor’s employer, company president Greg Harvey, agreed to donate a Panasonic HD camera to us from his inventory,” said Blomquist. “The Famous Group provides production services to the National Hockey League, the National Football League and large advertising agencies, among others.”

Then in February, things changed in a big way. “Greg and I spoke on the phone and, after commenting on his high regard for Connor’s work at The Famous Group, he said, ‘If you guys trained him, then I would like to do something nice for you,'” said Blomquist. “That was followed by the revelation that he would be sending a truck filled with equipment for use by our students and on one afternoon, Connor arrived with Greg Harvey’s generous gifts.”

Archive Of Former Gov. Deukmejian’s Historical Documents Come To CSULB
PHOTO COURTESY OF CSULB COLLEGE OF THE ARTS
CSULB alum Connor O’Brien (l) and Tom Blomquist (r) with students and the equipment presented to the Film and Electronic Arts Department recently on behalf of The Famous Group.

Blomquist praised O’Brien for his contributions. “Connor then proceeded to conduct an impromptu clinic for our equipment room staff on how to assemble and operate the jib,” Blomquist said. “It was extremely gratifying to see how far someone who has only been out of school for two years has come. He also stopped by the lighting class that he once attended to meet the students and say hello to his cinematography mentor, Professor Jack Anderson.”

Blomquist believes the value of the gift cannot be determined in dollars alone.

“In addition to cameras that our students need for their projects, which we would have been unable to purchase in these difficult economic times, Greg also provided us with some new tools for narrative and documentary storytelling, including the Steadicam, studio jib, and lipstick cameras,” he said. “My advanced television production students will be providing multiple camera television coverage of an upcoming Cole Conservatory symphony concert at the Carpenter Center, for example, and I plan to show my students how to incorporate each of those into their production.”

–Richard Manly