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Mark Nitta - making a success of the
HPU Video Communication lab

by Mohammaed Faisal, staff writer


Mark Nitta is no stranger to HPU students. His quiet personality doesn’t stop him from being a powerful force in the school as he almost single handedly runs the school’s Video Communication Lab. Today, HPU can boast not only of its students’ recent success at the Hawai‘i International Film Festival, but also of building great futures for students with one of the best video production schools in Hawai‘i.

Originally from the Big Island, Mark joined HPU in 1998 when communication instructor Jacqueline Langley and her team put together the Visual Communication program—including the video production courses.

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Situated at the Media Technology Center downtown, the video lab is part of the Instructional Media services, which is directed by Barbara Voigt. Over the years, Nitta has tried to obtain the best video equipment for his students. Today, the Video Communication Lab can boast some of the most high-tech computerized editing equipment (Avid and Final Cut Pro). Three levels of classes (beginner, intermediate, advanced) in the visual communication major have produced successful students who now work in local and mainland companies or have gone on to prestigious institutions such as the London Film School.

The communication lab also has the capability to do professional grade DVDs and software to create special effects, and Nitta and his staff regularly help faculty with special projects.

“My students are successful only if they have a professional attitude and are ready to not cut corners,” said Nitta. He pushes his students to try harder to make that extra effort. “If students are thinking of making this their career, they have to have the passion. Nothing comes easy and so goes Visual communication. One has to live and breathe it, and put in a huge amount of time and effort to get the work done.”

The resources for the communication lab were originally developed with the help of Jacqueline Langley. She had nothing but praise for Mark.

“He is the techi person and my partner,” she said. “I couldn’t ask for a better person to help make the Visual Communication department a success. We have the same work ethics; we both put our best foot forward and push the students to work harder. Some of them say we are mean! But working hard is for their own good. Mark is a valuable asset for our University and will be one of the main reasons HPU has become a top school in the visual communication department,” Langley said.

One of Nitta’s successful students, Fredrik Larsson, is currently studying graphic design at the California State University Los Angeles. After graduating from HPU in May 2001, Larsson worked at the local NBC affiliate, Channel 8. He is grateful to Nitta and the communication lab. “Some of the stuff that I learned at HPU—animation, dealing with computer equipment and editing equipment—is helping me reach my goal of one day becoming a successful film director. Mark is the driving force of the communication lab and has inspired me to work harder.”

Another recent, successful student was also on the Kaho’olawe project. Phil Ajolo is working for Olelo, local public access television.

“The video communication lab and Mark gave me an insight in not only production but also the business aspect of film making. He got me hooked! I never saw him as a teacher. He was a friend who was always on my side when I needed him, ” said Ajolo.

One of the masterminds behind the Kaho’olawe project is one of Nitta’s current students, Jackson Bauer, who expressed similar thoughts. “Mark really goes all out to make sure that students have all the tools to be successful. He makes that extra effort which inspires us to work harder.”



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