In the Loop
Student Stories : Dec 5, 2017

DW Student Spotlight: BADAS student Hae-Yang Chang and a summer at the Smithsonian

By Molly Donovan

Every morning this summer, Hae-Yang Chang woke up in a basement with friends in Washington, D.C. The Digital Worlds (DW) senior spent June and July working with the Smithsonian Institution’s Folklife Festival as part of their media team.

As a video intern, Chang helped produce a film called Wonder Is that now serves as the centerpiece of the festival, garnering thousands of views on social media.

He found out about the opportunity through a DW alumna As he applied, Chang thought his chances were slim, but his interest in sound design and video editing pushed him to try anyway.

“It all came together at the end of last semester, and it was the best experience of my life,” he said.

When he arrived in D.C., Chang was paired up with Albert Tong, a UF alumnus and videographer. Together, the two spent weeks and many sleepless nights shooting and editing the video focused on the circus-themed festival.

“I’d never even been to the circus before, and all of a sudden I’m standing in the ring, my mouth hanging open, as acrobats flipped above my head,” he said. “It was so cool.”

The video is equal parts assignment and expression of the sheer wonder he and Tong felt while involved in the circus. They learned the stories behind the performers—everyone from men on 20-foot stilts, fire jugglers, steel drummers, heavily ornamented dancers, and handlers of giant, terrifying props.

Chang said DW gave him the tools he needed to make the video and secure the internship, especially Professor Tim Difato’s class in sound design. He learned essential skills from Difato, including fluency in Adobe Premiere Pro, the program he and Tong used to edit the video.

“Every single sound in the video was engineered post-shooting,” Chang said. “I learned the tools I needed for this project in my classes.”

He said the key to getting an internship like this is to go for it and work your connections.

Chang hopes to return to the Smithsonian after he graduates in May, but for now, he will stay in Gainesville and reminisce about tightrope walkers and sparkling leotards.

View Wonder Is by clicking here.