Ben’s animated views

Ben Whiteley and Caitlan Wright

Published on 04 February 2019

Every year the University of Sunderland runs Survey US, a chance for students to feedback and give their views on the University, how well their studies are going, and what can be improved.  This year student Ben has brought the survey to the small screen and social media with his 35 second video.

Ben, 20, from Benton, is in the second year of his BA Graphic Design degree, was chosen by a panel of student judges and marketing experts from dozens of entries for this year’s competition.

Ben’s video incorporates film and animation to encourage students to get involved and share their views, with the help of fellow Graphic Design student Caitlan Wright.

“For me it was important that students should be the main focus of the video,” says Ben. “I felt this was best achieved by having live footage of a student saying how people feel surveys may be a waste of time, and then transitioning into animation to show how students’ opinions can open a door of opportunity.”

Ben’s prize is to spend a week working alongside the professional filmmakers in the University’s award-winning Digital Team – but he says that the process of making the video has already had a real impact on his professionalism.

“I learnt a variety of new techniques when animating,” adds Ben, who hopes to go into animation and 3D design after university. “This will undoubtedly be very useful in future.”

Fellow BA Graphic Design student Caitlin Wright, 20, from Carlisle is the star of Ben’s video – first appearing in person, and then transforming into an animated version of herself.

She said: “It was interesting to see how Ben used his skills to animate a character that was me. It was a fun and exciting experience.”

Survey US runs from 4 February to 17 May, and takes place in Sunderland, London and Hong Kong.  In 2018 almost 5,000 students filled in a survey, directly influencing new initiatives including the introduction of 20% fee discount for students moving on from undergraduate to masters study, and the introduction of free guest tickets for graduating students.  At the University of Sunderland 88% of students’ fees are reinvested in enhancing the student experience.

You can view Ben Whiteley’s video for Survey US 2019 here.