EMC alum opens new headquarters, gives back


TNDV: World Headquarters

When you ask Nic Dugger how much the Department of Electronic Media’s TV truck meant to him while a student at MTSU, he responds with a letter he wrote to the world the night he thought he would never see “Old Blue” again.

“Tonight the MTSU mobile production truck – Old Blue, as we know her – will shoot its final project. After 20 years of service to the students and faculty of Middle Tennessee State University, Old Blue gets pulled apart and sold to a make room for a new, fancier model. And I’m downright emotional about it.”

At the time, Dugger was years into a successful career in television production. Owner of his Nashville-based mobile production company, Tennessee Digital Video (TNDV), he already had two trucks of his own and was busy working on national television productions, DVD shoots, and coverage of major political events including presidential inaugurations. Yet, he couldn’t bring himself to say goodbye to the 40-foot vehicle he’d trained on as a student.

So, he bought it.

Old Blue became the third vehicle in Dugger’s fleet, now five trucks strong and still growing.

“The years I spent on that truck as a student were some of the most important years of my life,” Dugger says. “I am proud to say that Old Blue has done over 100 television shoots since being acquired by TNDV.”

A native of Jackson, Tenn., Dugger started his TV career working for TRTV Channel 6 in middle school, and by the time he enrolled in MTSU, he had assisted in well over 100 live sports broadcasts. As a freshman, he quickly became manager of the student television station, but admits he had one goal in mind: to work on the TV truck.

“Some people went to MTSU for a college degree. I went for TV truck school,” he quips.

TNDV faculty in attendance

MTSU College of Mass Communication was well-represented at the launch of TNDV: World Headquarters on May 15th. In attendance were (left to right): Development Director Kippy Todd, EMC Professor Mary Nichols, RI Professor Dan Pfeiffer and EMC Director of Technical Services Marc Parrish.

Thanks to MTSU Professor Mary Nichols, he only had to wait a few months for his first professional MTSU TV truck shoot. By the end of his senior year, Dugger’s experience landed him a TV production job on the West Coast. He skipped his own graduation to drive halfway across the country to Seattle, Wash., to begin work for Media Arts Inc. The job led to opportunities with the Discovery Channel and National Geographic, and Dugger found himself helping with the first live multi-camera production of an active volcano and the premiere of the first live underwater ocean-to-ocean broadcast. When Dugger later returned to Tennessee, he taught as an adjunct professor at MTSU and produced corporate video projects before starting Tennessee Digital Video (TNDV) in 2004.

Now, his company is in its 10th year of business and just celebrated the launch of the recently christened TNDV: World Headquarters, a new facility on Brick Church Park Drive in Nashville. Dugger held a reception and ribbon-cutting ceremony on May 15, inviting a select group to check out the new location that will allow for the rapid expansion of the Emmy Award-winning company. TNDV specializes in live sporting events, broadcast entertainment specials and corporate-event productions. Specialty camera systems are also available with TNDV’s services, including a helicopter drone known as the “Draganfly,” an unmanned aerial vehicle equipped with wireless video and still cameras. The company also offers single camera production, digital non-linear editing, web video implementation and voiceover production.

Vibration interior

Inside Vibration

Despite his  busy schedule, Dugger rarely misses an opportunity to give back to his alma mater. He recently donated a flat screen television to the College of Mass Communication’s  Wall of Fame digitization project. Dugger is currently the youngest member of the Wall of Fame, an annual honor given to select Mass Communication career graduates. Earlier in 2014, he loaned his new state-of-the-art digital audio truck, Vibration, to students participating in the advanced audio and video production courses taught by Professor Dan Pfeifer and Nichols. The classes work together with audio engineering students on the EMC mobile unit to record live performances all across Middle Tennessee. In February, Vibration was used with the mobile unit during a Music City Roots show at the Loveless Café.

“Using Vibration is more like you would find in a normal industry shoot,” Pfeifer explains. “Basically, we run all the audio through Vibration, and then we’ll interface that with the mobile production lab.”

Dugger says hands-on opportunities like this were given to him as an undergrad, and it was extremely important to his success in the real world of production. It’s also why he continues to hire MTSU graduates for TNDV.

“I know how important it is for students to see and try the equipment being used in the real world,” Dugger says.  “TNDV is proud to have a staff full of MTSU grads, so it is important for us to maintain strong relationships with the students who will become our co-workers and clients in the years to come.”

Story by Rachel Helms

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Categories: Alumni, Faculty, News, Partnerships

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