Videographer Ray Lucas retires after 35-year UC career
Ray Lucas, senior producer and director of digital media, will retire Sept. 1 after 35 years of UC service, including the last 23 years with UC ANR. In 1984, Lucas joined UC Davis in Instructional Media, now called Academic Technology Service.
“During my campus years, I got to travel to Oaxaca and Osaka,” Lucas said. “Even back then I was working on UCCE programs, cutting Teletips for radio and recording meetings.”
“I remember Ray from the era of slide projectors and screens,” said Dan Putnam, UC Cooperative Extension specialist based in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis. “Over the years, Ray Lucas has made a tremendous contribution to the education of thousands of farmers, PCAs and others interested in farming practices and scientific findings. He has been a regular feature, recording and editing the videos from the California and Western Alfalfa & Forage Symposium, which has been held yearly for the past nearly 50 years. Ray's skills in putting together the videos and electronics is unparalleled. These videos have been posted and are widely viewed by those who attend and many who don't attend these meetings. You can still see them at http://alfalfa.ucdavis.edu.”
In 1997, Lucas moved to UC ANR to lend his videography skills to Communication Services.
“I really enjoyed working with Ray because he was as comfortable working inside, covering meetings, as he was in the field,” said Rachael Long, UCCE advisor in the Capitol Corridor. “Thanks to Ray, we have lots of top-notch UC IPM YouTube training videos for managing pests in crops! Ray always made all the time in the world to create great videos with superb videography skills, utmost patience and dedication. He'll be missed!”
Lucas traveled throughout the state to assist UCCE colleagues with digital communications outreach.
“Ray helped our UC ANR Urban Agriculture team make our materials accessible to a much wider audience,” said Rachel Surls, UCCE advisor in Los Angeles County “He came out to workshops that we put on around the state and filmed them and edited them in a way that made them helpful and user-friendly. I felt like he always went the extra mile for us – once he even made us a surprise video promo for us to use to promote an upcoming workshop series. I will miss having him as a resource in our organization.”
Over the course of Lucas's career, technology has changed communications.
“We used to do live satellite teleconferences from the Sacramento Hilton, Fresno Convention Center and LA, and now you have Zoom,” Lucas said. “I used to carry around a heavy camera with a recorder, now you can whip out your phone and practically shoot, narrate and edit a video on own your device.”
As camera technology evolved to make it possible for more people to shoot videos, Lucas began training employees how to shoot their own videos.
“Whether in the field or in the studio, I have always learned something new when working together with Ray,” said Petr Kosina, content development supervisor for the Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program. “He was always ready to accommodate last minute requests, always had all possible equipment needed with him and was willing to experiment with unusual ideas for recording and editing, and to share his perspective and experience.”
In later years, Lucas began working with Strategic Communications, shooting and producing videos to complement news releases and promotional videos such as “For you, California.” He also coached academics and program representatives on how to set up demonstrations and props for TV news interviews.
“The value of Ray's contributions to the Master Gardener program in Sacramento County is difficult to capture in words,” said Judy McClure,UCCE Master Gardener Program coordinator inSacramento County. “His videos shot at the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center are a wonderful display of his impact. While using his technical expertise, he transformed himself into a Master Gardener volunteer to capture the essence of our outdoor classroom. The colors of plants, the movements of insects and the expressions on visitors faces all work together to transport us away from the computer out into the garden. Over the years, the resulting videos have become a valuable part of both our external promotional materials and our internal volunteer recognition activities.”
Looking back over his career, Lucas said, “I was fortunate to get a behind-the-scenes look into California's agriculture and view some of California's hidden locations – like the Natural Reserve System.”
After many years of collaboration with Lucas, Kosina said, “In UC IPM, we will miss Ray a lot and will have to step up our game to continue producing quality instructional videos and video components of our online courses.”
Putnam added, “Many thanks to Ray for many years of loyal service to the farming community.”