“Although the contest came out of the blue, I saw it and thought, that’s right up my alley,” Depke said. Depke had previously placed second in a National Geographic environmental video contest.
The contest asked contestants to illustrate how chemistry relates to the future of energy and the economy. Depke’s video features the importance of recycling plastics, as well as chemistry’s involvement in increasing efficiency and creating new jobs in the natural gas industry.
Using stop motion technique, Depke employed 4,000 still photographs to create an animated video. He chose stop-motion animation because of the simultaneous simplicity and visual shock that catches the audience’s attention.
“Stop motion engages the viewers,” Depke said. “You want to convey the information, but you also want them to pay attention, have fun, and experience the information.”
The ACC judging panel agreed, “The video really holds the viewer’s attention from start to finish — a difficult thing to pull off with this kind of subject matter.”
Depke’s interest in video had a pretty unconventional start. The freshman class at Hope College, where he spent his undergraduate career, had lost a long-standing tradition of tug-of-war, so Depke made a video to motivate them for the next year’s contest. When he showed it to the team everyone burst into tears.
“I didn’t realize it was that powerful,” Depke said. “It made me realize what a strong medium video can be to convey information, communicate with people and elicit emotions.”
Since then, Depke has been doing video and photography whenever he can.
His graduate worked focused on geomorphology and remote sensing; he took oblique photographs of the Uncompahgre River to quantify changes of a gravel bar.
“The study combined my interest in photography and visual media with spatial analysis of a geologic process,” Depke said.
Depke, who graduates in May, isn’t completely sure what is next.
He is currently completing an internship in Dallas doing IT work, environmental consulting, and video production and has another internship planned with Exxon Mobil.
“I guess I’m in between two different routes,” he said.
One thing is for sure. He hopes to continue making videos, wherever he may be.
by: Katy Ralston
Contact: Karen Riedel, 979.845.0901,
Photo courtesy of Danny Boyle at photos-db.com