Behind the music

Student’s bustled around the Leavenworth TV studio, climbing ladders, adjusting lights, testing microphones and locking down camera angles with the strumming of an acoustic guitar in the background.
The studio played host to a music video shoot last Tuesday as students of Professor Bob Gershon’s video workshop class produced, directed and recorded a video of Ryan Ackerman and Ali Flewelling’s music.
Ackerman is a senior at Castleton and Flewelling is an alumnus. The couple has played at venues across the state, Flewelling singing and Ackerman accompanying her on guitar.
The video class typically produces a biweekly news show, The Castleton Video Magazine, but once a semester they have the privilege of recording live music.
In years past, they have had Castleton professor Robert Wuagneux with members of local band Twiddle, but when Gershon saw Ackerman and Flewelling play at a local venue, he knew they would be perfect for the next music shoot.
“I knew Ali was good by word of mouth, but I had never heard her sing. She just blew me away, and Ryan’s a hell of a guitar player,” Gershon said.
Student director, Christopher Williams, had creative control of the shoot. He instructed his camera operators and lighting directors on exactly how he wanted the shots to look.  

After a lot of preparation, the students were ready to shoot and took their places. Ackerman and Flewelling covered two tunes, “Wagon Wheel” by Old Crow Medicine Show, and “The Weight,” performed by The Band. Flewelling had an old fashion country twang with a raspy rock edge, reminiscent of Janice Joplin.
Between takes Williams made adjustments to the lights, audio, and camera transitions, trying to get everything just right. After four takes it was a wrap. Ackerman and Flewelling threw in one bonus song for fun at the end of the last take.
According to Gershon, the shoot went smoothly compared to some in the past, and they finished ahead of schedule.
Flewelling graduated from Castleton in 2011. Her class was the first to use the new studio, and she was very excited to return.
“I actually got a half day off from work today so I could come do this,” Flewelling said.
When Ackerman graduates this spring the couple will be relocating.
“We’re moving, so we’re going to be playing music in a whole new place, and now we have these legitimate recordings to show people,” Ackerman said.  

All of the projects from the video workshop class can be found on the Castleton Website, and the class’s video of Ackerman and Flewelling’s performance can be found on our website,

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