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Meet: Ben Hartzell’10, the man behind the camera

January 30, 2012

Ben Hartzell

Name: Ben Hartzell'10
Videographer with the office of Communications and Marketing. It's my job to create motion-picture evidence of the awesome things Beloiters do around campus.
I grew up in Seattle, spent my teens in Gettysburg, Penn., now live here in Beloit, and have plans to move to Minnesota in May.
You may have seen me:
Just about anywhere on campus, usually brandishing a camera very near to where you happen to be minding your own business and not expecting to be immortalized on the college's YouTube channel. If you notice you're on camera, bust some moves! You never know when you might de-throne cats as the most excellent thing on the Internet.
What are a few of your favorite things?
I get really excited about film sound, which is partly to say that I'm fascinated by the making of sound effects. I do a lot of sound design work for radio and film, and I have a blast with it. I'm also a big fan of crackly old radio theatre from the ’40s and ’50s.    
Favorite meal?
Probably as a result of growing up in the Pacific Northwest, I've got a real fondness for salmon.
What do you do in your free time?
I dabble in photography, work on personal film projects, and bicycle all over the place. I also go field-recording and hunting for weird sounds that catch my interest. Since I end up needing just about everything I record for one project or another, it's a very worthwhile activity for me.
What gets you up in the morning?
Getting to work on nutty media projects! One day I'll be crawling through shrubs, interviewing squirrels, and the next I'll be shooting footage of President Bierman levitating outside his office window. Every day is a different adventure.
Which talent would you most like to have? 
I'd love to be able to draw really, really well. I can always envision things clearly in my mind's eye, but I'm terrible at rendering those things by hand. I'm unspeakably envious of talented artists who can just make anything they can imagine.
What’s your favorite hidden gem here in the area?
 West St. Lawrence Avenue. A few miles outside of town, the homes give way to rolling cornfields and long stretches of open road. It makes for a pretty majestic bicycle ride when the weather's good. I'm also a big fan of the echo-y staircase in the back of Pearsons. The acoustics are a lot of fun, and we've recorded many radio plays back there.