Inside DELTA: 5 Questions with Arthur Earnest

Photo of Arthur Earnest in The Court of North Carolina on NC State's campus.

Photo of Arthur Earnest in The Court of North Carolina on NC State's campus.

DELTA is composed of four units and almost 100 staff members, each with a unique set of skills and talents. The series “Inside DELTA: 5 Questions with DELTA Staff” is dedicated to learning more about the individuals who contribute to achieving DELTA’s mission. Each month a feature will unveil the life of DELTA staff in their day-to-day work routines and their interests outside of the workplace.

This feature highlights Arthur Earnest, who began his career with DELTA in 2008.  The NC State alumnus graduated with a degree in sociology and a minor in film studies. Earnest started working with Video Communication Services (VCS) in 2008 recording classroom lectures. This has led to his current role with DELTA as a team leader of the production side of VCS.

360° Spherical Photo of Arthur Earnest taken by Michael Castro
360° Spherical Photo of Arthur Earnest taken by Michael Castro

Earnest is also a video producer who works with 360° technology to showcase unusual spaces in the local Raleigh area. His work was recently spotlighted in the 2016 Hopscotch Design Festival, a festival attracting many artists and designers.

If you were explaining your position to someone unfamiliar with DELTA, how would you describe what you do?

In the DELTA Staff Directory Arthur Earnest is listed as a Technology Support Technician but personally Earnest considers himself a storyteller.

Instead of working in the classroom, Earnest now works directly with instructors to make instructional videos outside of the classrooms.

Recently Earnest has begun working with 360° video technology. The technology allows for cameras to film in a 360° sphere, similar to a panoramic photo but with video instead. This 360° technology is used in online classes such as Fire Ecology, specifically to showcase virtual field trips.

“The 360° technology is a different way to tell the story. It is an immersion into a time and place. Right now it’s so new. The language is still being developed,” said Earnest. “The viewer isn’t confined to a frame like in a photograph or a traditional video. As a filmmaker that forces you to think past what you would normally show.”

Earnest explains the process for working with the 360° video technology. “We use a ball of cameras which shoots the entirety of the area — up, down, left, right. All put together it’s almost like a quilt in a way, you’re taking all of that footage and putting it into a sphere.”

What has been your most recent favorite project you’ve worked on?

“Each project is different, all the instructors are really cool to work with. You get to become an expert in whatever you’re trying to make a video for,” explained Earnest. Notable classroom videos, as a result of the DELTA Grants, included mini documentary style videos about community centers for a Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management class and an instructional online backpacking course for the Health and Exercise Studies department.

What awards or achievements have you received?

Earnest has received two awards from the Media Communications Association—International. His entry titled “Ashley Simons-Rudolph” won a Silver Reel award in the International relations category. He was awarded a Bronze Reel for his work of the course “Backpacking—Map and Compass,” that falls under the Training/Educational category. Earnest also received a Telly award for an online promotional piece for education with video for the Entrepreneurship Initiative.

Earnest was also a recipient of the 2015 Pride of the Wolfpack Award, which recognizes NC State employees for a special or unique contribution to their college, unit or the university as a whole. The award winners were nominated by coworkers who have witnessed the staff members’ dedication to their job and felt they should be acknowledged for going above and beyond what is expected.

What makes your job special? What do you enjoy most about your job?

“One of my favorite things about working with DELTA is just being on a college campus. When I first started with the more in-class lecture recordings, it was basically sitting through a whole semester just like the students were doing. Whether it was a high-level civil engineering course or a foreign language course, you couldn’t help but walk away having learned a couple of random facts from the class,” said Earnest.

“These days I usually work directly with the faculty or instructor when producing the videos, so usually I learn more about the concepts in order to make sure the correct message is there as I’m shooting or editing,” he added.

During his work on a project for the Entrepreneurship Initiative, Earnest read up on the mindset that connected entrepreneurs and then helped on a fire ecology shoot. Soon afterwards when visiting friends in Texas, Earnest found himself comparing the trees in Texas to the trees in North Carolina.

“It’s stuff like that, that you’re able to randomly pick up by working with these people. I like that even though I’m not technically a student I still get to learn about a bunch of stuff that I probably wouldn’t if I didn’t work on a college campus,” said Earnest.

What do you like to do in your spare time/outside of work?

Earnest enjoys his work through DELTA and outside of work he also enjoys making his own videos. He has made short films and documentaries that have shown in film festivals, local and national.

His work with 360° video technology is anything but generic. Focusing on unusual or hectic places, Earnest has created videos showcasing an art studioa radio station and even a busy sidewalk.

Walking to and from work every day has become an inspiration to Earnest. Walking allows for a different perspective of being a part of your environment rather than stuck inside a car. He has spent time previously working at a newsstand, a movie theater, a printing shop and even as an English teacher in Japan.

“Anyone can answer the generic questions but I want to find what makes people interesting,” he explained. “Right outside your door is story to tell.”