Society Spotlight: Trinity TV

Ciara Cassidy explores how Trinity TV still manages to create gripping content

Covid-19 has certainly restricted the number of activities students can do in their spare time. In fact, the whole of Ireland seems to be limited to either going for long walks, undertaking new arts and craft skills, baking, or, of course, binge watching TV. But, I wonder, how many Trinity students passed the long hours of lockdown tuning in to Trinity TV (TTV)? Given that various degrees of distancing measures are likely to linger in our society for the next few years, our predictions are that TTV will go from strength to strength by connecting students from all over the world to their campus.

Founded in only 2009, TTV is certainly one of the newest societies around. Since 2011, the society has created video content, posting frequently on their Facebook and Youtube channel. According to Finn Jaksland, TTV Chair: “TTV is Trinity’s own student-run video making society; we help students make their videos and also upload video content on social media. We host camera and editing workshops, guest speakers, social events, filming sessions and weekly discussions.” Scrolling through their channel, it seems that TTV covers a variety of topics in their videos, ranging in genres from satirical to serious interviews and screening society events, though generally they stay more on the satirical side. Videos with the most views are A tour of House Six, a video testing the flammability of cocktails such as a white russian, the documentation of Body and Soul week and Bess Ball 2016, and clips of interviews with students around the campus asking the very important question: “which country is your least favourite?”

“we have students in our society ranging from editors, actors, musicians, filmers and just general tv show enthusiasts.” 

Though membership is small, averaging around 70 students this year, most of the members are very active. Jaksland highlights how TTV resembles a large, diverse family, one that loves working together and celebrating each student’s unique skills. “We have students in our society ranging from editors, actors, musicians, filmers and just general tv show enthusiasts. There’s a healthy mix between hobbyists and people looking to pursue a career,” he admits. Now a third year Computer Science student, Jaksland recounts why he joined TTV in the first place: “I showed up for a Freshers week Simpsons screening and really enjoyed the atmosphere the society had[…]I did a little bit of editing in my free time before so it seemed like a great opportunity to get more practice doing that. It’s been a blast taking part over the past three years.” Prior to becoming chair, Jaksland began as an ordinary committee member in his first year and then moved up to the society’s public relations officer as a Senior Fresher.

During a typical year, TTV tends to focus their activities around video creation. Each week they would take their equipment outside and allow their members to simply indulge in the joys of filming the historic campus. Jaksland states that a huge perk of this society is that they lend out their filming equipment to their members and other societies for free. Students don’t have to be semi-pro camera-people with all the professional expensive equipment to join this society; anyone can qualify as a member. Moreover, TTV does not set strict boundaries on what students can make videos about: “we give a lot of agency to our members in what they can create.” A noteworthy event hosted by TTV earlier this year was the Phebruary Phone Philm Phestival, an event in which the society sets a challenge for students to create a video only using their phones. Considering the country has been in lockdown for the past year, Jaksland acknowledges that “not a lot of students have access to cameras, microphones, etc, so this event was designed to give all students the opportunity to get into making videos.” This was an event modeled for the students, created so that everyone could participate in film-making on an equal platform. TTV’s latest event was a virtual interview with Irish actor Colm Meaney. 

“[…] not a lot of students have access to cameras, microphones, etc. so this event was designed to give all students the opportunity to get into making videos.”

Many smaller societies have struggled this year as a result of the pandemic. TTV aimed to fight against the challenges Covid-19 posed by debuting the Campanile Crossover Quiz. This was a large and ambitious event where TTV collaborated with 40 societies over two days. Jaksland explains that “essentially it was an online pub quiz held over Zoom where each society wrote their own questions about their field of interest. Each round had a fun themed name that paired up two societies. Over 60 different people were involved in the creation of the quiz, over 400 questions were written by societies and the overall event had about 60 teams taking part with 200 participants.” Despite the immense difficulties that come with any Zoom event, Jaksland says that the Campanile Crossover Quiz was a huge success. “In any other year this event would have been a huge logistics nightmare but we are really proud of how it turned out. I’ve had the opportunity to interact with a lot of other societies I would have never would have considered talking to. Shoutout to the very lovely individuals in the Jewish Society and the Knitting Society in particular.”

Jaksland also mentions how the pandemic has halted many core parts of the society this year. He states that “the video-making side of the society has definitely been a little less active this year. We have been unable to run a lot of the in-person filming sessions and workshops that have been the bread and butter of our society in past years.” Regardless, the society remains positive about their work and the coming year, with Jaksland stating that “[its] something we hope to get back to”. 

TTV wishes to emphasise that they are always open to new members and ideas about creating content. Jaksland states that there is “absolutely no experience required in order to be able to take part and our members are all wonderfully welcoming to new people. It’s a small cosy society with a low-stress atmosphere which is something everyone can benefit from these days.” 

This pandemic has tested the limits of many small societies. However, TTV demonstrates that collaboration, rather than competition, is a way in which all societies can help each other during the pandemic. Furthermore, with their YouTube channel already gaining hundreds of views, combined with the technological knowledge and equipment many of their members acquire throughout their time at university, it is safe to say that TTV will come back stronger after this year.