It’s easy to talk to Nick Kibbey; probably because talking to people is an essential part of his job. The 2014 Digital Cinematography grad is a Broadcast Journalist for the United States Air Force. From his current station at a base outside of Washington D.C., he directs news and feature segments about life in the U.S. Air Force.
“I make military stories for military people,” says Nick, “and to share with the rest of the world what we’re doing in the Air Force, and why it’s important.”
Nick spent his first eight years in the Air Force repairing air traffic control equipment before exploring an interest in broadcasting. “My father-in-law works in audio production, and I remember him telling me about his work and I said, ‘I wish I could do something like that,’” says Nick. “He said, ‘Why don’t you look for something in the Air Force?’”
Shortly after that conversation, Nick saw an opening in the Air Force’s broadcast journalism department, submitted a voice audition package, and got the job. As soon as he received his new assignment, Nick found and enrolled in Full Sail’s online Digital Cinematography program. The military provided training for its broadcast journalists, but Nick knew he wanted to receive even further specialized instruction to become a better videographer.
He took classes from Ramstein Air Base in Germany, where he was stationed and working with the American Forces Network, the military’s radio and television service that entertains and informs U.S. servicemen, women, and civilians based overseas.
“I was triple full-time: full-time student, full-time dad, and full-time military,” says Nick. “It was tough sometimes not being able to be in a classroom, but it really forced me to have to figure out everything on my own. It definitely takes a lot of self-discipline.”
As a director and cameraman for the network, Nick did everything from filming promotional spots and commercials to directing live event coverage. He remembers one highlight as getting to travel to Brussels, Belgium and direct the Secretary of Defense’s press conference from NATO headquarters. “We had a normal crew in the truck – CG people, audio guys, technical directors – and I loved getting to direct.”
He won a Best Spot Production award from the AFN in 2012, further confirming his passion for the production side of the industry. Meanwhile, in his digital cinematography courses, he was learning how to up the quality of his work.
“News has a very set way – you know the shots and the sound bytes you need to get,” says Nick, “but when it comes to filming, I can take the things I learned in class to make my shots more aesthetically pleasing. I can use foreground framing to give depth to my picture or shoot from a different angle to make the shot more interesting; you can use these things in the news as a way to make your shot more beautiful.”
Today, Nick still covers the news, but prefers to produce feature stories for the Air Force’s information channels. He’d like to get into more film work outside of the Air Force, in a freelance capacity or on the set of an indie film.
“I think I have the best job in the military,” says Nick. “I went to the Super Bowl this year with the Air Force band; I’ve been all over the world, and I probably would have never got to do that otherwise. Whether it’s for five minutes or a week, I get to meet people, live their jobs, and understand their experiences. What other job can really say that?”