September 24, 2023

Picture Perfect

Pressing ‘record’ on his video camera, Nico Noel De Ocampo pushes off the pavement and propels his longboard forward. Gliding down Campus Walk, his lens captures students walking by the benches and foliage lining the historic brick pathway.

Along with fellow UMW graduate Mason Carlton, De Ocampo is on assignment to document the sense of community at the university they called “home” for four years.

Two months, eight interviews and 25 hours of footage later, the business majors-turned-business partners produced UMW’s first official video for incoming students. The newly minted alumni found the assignment the perfect launching pad for a career—as co-owners of the videography company known as Fishtank Media.

Mason Carlton and Nico Noel De Ocampo
UMW alumni Mason Carlton and Nico Noel De Ocampo

Looking back, fate seemed to intervene when Carlton and De Ocampo were partnered in Assistant Professor Kashef Majid’s marketing course. Assigned to create a marketing video for UMW’s graduate programs, the business majors didn’t realize the project would eventually spark a business.

“Professor Majid gave us a project that helped us find something that we love,” said Carlton. The course turned their hobby into a passion. Afterward, Carlton interned with UMW’s University Relations team, creating branded videos for the Great Minds campaign; De Ocampo worked with UMW Athletics, creating a “You Can Play” video that broke social engagement records for the department.

Then they got a phone call that would give them a chance to hone their business savvy and videography skills in a big way.

Student Affairs Vice President Juliette Landphair contacted the duo about the possibility of creating a video for new students. “I was walking out of the classroom where I had just learned about negotiation and into an office where I could apply those skills first-hand,” said De Ocampo.

The videographers rolled up their sleeves and got to work – interviewing students, alumni and staff to capture the stories that defined the UMW experience they were just wrapping up.

“These aren’t just the faces of UMW marketing, it’s all real,” said De Ocampo, explaining how he personally knew each of the people interviewed in the video. “I played rugby with Connor, I go to the gym with Christian and I see Haley at the library.”

The compelling and emotionally charged video that resulted was viewed by hundreds of freshmen and transfer students as they arrived on campus in August.

“Relationships have been a core part of the Mary Washington experience,” said Landphair. “And Mason and Nico were really able to capture the power of those relationships having just been through the UMW experience themselves.”

It was a moment that sealed the UMW experience for the new alumni.

“UMW prepared us to venture out and do something we’re passionate about,” said Carlton. “We feel lucky and blessed to have found something we love to do.”

“Welcome Home” video produced for UMW by Fishtank Media 2016.