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"Shimmer" helps student win MIRC award

Oct 3, 2011 12:00 PM

A short film by senior Brock Henderson is the newest winner of the Moving Image Research Collection (MIRC) Award for Creative Editing (ACE). The award celebrates innovative use of archival film footage in Media Arts 371: The Moving Image, a course that introduces undergraduates to all aspects of film and video production.

Once he got over the surprise of winning, Henderson reflected on why his film may have been chosen.

“There were a lot of students in that class who had taken other film classes before this one, and I guess in my head I was expecting one of them to win,” said Henderson, a visual communications major from Lexington, S.C.           

“My film was different from what everyone else did,” he said. “I took advantage of a lot of different effects available in Final Cut Express, the professional film editing software we used. I had never used it before, so I learned to use different colors, a shimmer effect, mirror effects, a vibrate effect. I also overlapped pieces of film together and offset them so that they looked kind of blurred. I just played with everything until I found effects that fit together and seemed to work. And I think the music I used was effective.”

The course assignment is about learning how to make connections visually, said Dr. Jennifer Tarr, who was Henderson’s instructor.

“We want students to learn to use formal elements, as well as rhythm and motion, to make connections between the different pieces of film,” said Tarr, who has taught the course for five years. “Each student is given the same archival footage to pull from: a variety of images from the University’s Fox Movietone News Collection. Then they complete films of about a minute in length.

“There are several faculty members who teach the course,” she said. “Each teacher chooses three or four films from each course section they teach to enter in the MIRC competition.”

For Henderson, the project itself and then the award have helped to cement his career goals.

I think that with my ability to put graphics and music together, the music industry would be a good place for me,” he said.

Henderson’s film can be viewed at

Read more about the University Libraries’ Moving Image Research Collection, and view archival film clips, at