Video award-winner

Henry County’s Powell honored
for documenting local history

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

EMINENCE, Ky. (January 2003) – Henry County, Ky., native Jim Powell has spent more than 30 years in the field of communications. A veteran video producer, Powell’s latest endeavor is a documentary titled, “The Arnold’s of Owen County.”
This video strikes a personal note with Powell because it is about his own ancestors.
“In recent years, the history of the area has become a curiosity of mine, plus I had always wondered how long our family had lived in North Central Kentucky,” he said.

Jim Powell

Jim Powell

By chance, he met a distant cousin several years ago, and they struck up a conversation about their ancestors. This cousin, Jerry Arnold, told Powell of a log cabin that still stood in Wheatley, Ky., that had belonged to his great-great-great-grandfather.
His curiosity piqued, Powell decided to see the cabin for himself. It had been sold by his family many years earlier. From this trip, the video idea materialized. It told the story of two brothers, Thomas and John Arnold, who settled in Owen County, Ky., along the Kentucky River in the late 1790s.
A 30-minute video is the result of his labors. Powell himself gives the viewer a tour through the original log cabin, beginning at John Arnold’s gravesite, 75 feet from the cabin door. The frame of the cabin was made from 18-inch to 2-foot white poplar beams.
Jerry Arnold, now deceased, conducted some of the necessary research for the project. “For the most part, information has come through records my mother received from the Hance family in Lockport,” Powell said.
Powell added that genealogy is not really one of his hobbies. “My major focus is video production. I enjoy documenting historical sites and trying to conceive what life was like in those times.”
A 1967 graduate of Eminence Independent High School, Powell majored in mass communications at Kent State University and electronics technology at United Electronics Institute.
He has worked in radio, TV, broadcasting and corporate television as an on-air talent, programmer, writer and director. Powell travels the United States working as an on-camera and voice-over narrator.
He said he caught the acting bug while in high school. One of his teachers, Mrs. Terry, asked him to be in a school production, and “from then on, the ham in me was born and continues today.”
He still does a moderate amount of on-camera work in commercials and for training and marketing videos. He mainly performs voice-overs for those types of productions as well as shooting and producing.
Seeking an alternative to limited radio station studio facilities, Powell created Sound Booth Studio in Birmingham, Ala. He started his communications career in radio broadcasting at WSTL in Eminence in 1966, at a time when creating complicated productions was unheard of.
“In 1971, while working in Nashville, I decided to build my own studio to do better audio production for on-air,” he said. At that time, equipment choices were more available in Nashville.
Today, he records mostly voice production that is sent via CD or over broadband throughout the nation. Sound Booth Studio is a full production including sound effects and royalty cleared music.
Powell is also a writer, having penned “The Business of Talent” in 1998. This publication aids directors in gaining the most efficient and highest quality performance from their talent.
He has written numerous articles and newsletters centered on the idea of working with and developing talent in narrators and actors. His vast knowledge of experience has prompted him to give numerous lectures as well.
Powell said one of his most important current projects is being a life member on the national board of directors for the Media Communications Association International, formerly ITVA. Due to changes in the corporate structure of the industry in which he works, Powell said, “Our goal is to provide as much leadership and direction to members who have had to face working on their own.”
In the past, members (producers, writers, craftspeople) were employed full-time by companies, but the majority now work independently of these companies.
Powell has been honored with TELLY and Videography Awards for “The Arnold’s of Owen County.” His directing and videography of a recent video for the U.S. Space and Rocket Center’s Space Camp has also earned him a TELLY Award.
The TELLY Awards were founded in 1980 to recognize outstanding non-network and cable commercials, including film and video products.
For the latter project, he spent six days following 11-year-olds around Space Camp and the flight counterpart, Aviation Challenge. He recorded each of the events that a single group of campers went through, from the first day of arrival through flight simulation to graduation.

• For more information about Powell, call 1-800-283-7686 or go to www.jimpowell.com.

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