100 years

The Making of Duke's Centennial Celebration with XPL

Myriad worked as one of XPL’s key ‘foxhole partners’ during the centennial celebration for Duke University. This behind-the-scenes film showcases XPL’s efforts to facilitate the Duke Centennial Celebration, and how Myriad had the honor of being one of many partners to help with the production.

XPL, an Experiential Design & Event Production agency, enlisted a handful of 'foxhole partners' to put on a big celebration for Duke's 100 year anniversary. Myriad was one of those crucial partners, with our focus being on video.

Myriad was the right team at the right spot for the right thing we're trying to do.

Kevin White- Founder, XPL

We were brought in to execute a series of documentary style profile videos about notable people at Duke (5 categories - students, alumni, professors, staff and community). We planned, produced and edited interviews and B-roll for each profile video. 

The complexities of the videos were less in the production and more in the characters and timelines around post production. Our goal was to keep the stories simple and authentic, while managing all the players, stakeholders, and logistics of the full production.

We wanted to make sure the stories were coming from the hearts and minds of the subjects rather than scripted. We took an electronic news gathering (ENG) approach, finding the stories in their own words and filmed in their spaces. Our production team needed to be agile to film at a moment’s notice.

The project had a tight turn around and a lot of unknowns. We had to lean on our team’s expertise and experience to come up with creative solutions quickly and continue to move the project forward.

It was very impressive how quickly we were able to get the volume of content digested and arrive at a distilled and simple story.

Daniel Cook - Director, Myriad

We assembled a team of assistant editors to bring Duke’s stories to life. We utilized Premiere Teams as a collaboration tool, making our jobs that much more efficient and effective. 

We worked with the Duke and XPL teams on creating interview guides based on pre-interviews and paper edits. Our clients at XPL also knew what sounded good both on paper and video, which made for a seamless collaboration.

Working with XPL was great because they wanted us to make a creative contribution to the project that was more than just executing the videos. 

Drew Grimes - Producer, Myriad

One of the aspects of this project that made it extra special both on video and at the event, was the original score. The client mentioned original music several times during the production process and despite the massive amount (20 minutes!) of music that would need to be produced in a short amount of time, it was worth the commitment.

It’s tricky to compose original music before getting the picture locked, but Daniel Cook and Autumn Brand from FoxRiot Music & Sound Design got to work on a bunch of composition ideas at the same time that the edit was in progress.

Our approach was unique and the videos brought lots of tears and emotions. By all accounts, this project was a huge accomplishment.

Daniel Cook - Director, Myriad

Several motifs were created that are used throughout the score with complimentary sounds layered on top. Much of the music is orchestral which is a big feat in a short amount of time. Scoring and recording several cello and violin tracks. Mixing them all to make it sound like proper music. It was an ambitious undertaking as a whole to meet the short deadline.

Structurally, the score was based around a crescendo that ended with Duke’s chorus singing ‘Rise Up’ at the end of the ceremony. Therefore, the score had to be reverse-engineered, starting at the crescendo point and working backwards to design the music to build and seamlessly dovetail into the finale.

We needed to find somebody that can get this project to the next level and we found Myriad.

Neal Shaffer - Strategist, XPL

Our philosophy when we are in that mode is to ‘keep it simple stupid’. We tried to make sure we were not overcomplicating the project and brought a unique, clear perspective with a human touch.

The event that XPL pulled off was top-tier professional. XPL knew exactly what they needed to put together a beautiful event with a great list of partners (Quince, XPL, Myriad and others). As a partner, Myriad was able to accomplish a lot end to end from creative, production, post and original score.

XPL liked our creative prowess and ability to accomplish in house what it would take multiple other vendors to do.

Daniel Cook - Director, Myriad

The videos we made for XPL and Duke are meaningful and fun to watch. They are a celebration of the impact that Duke University has on the world and our community. They highlight the great work of Duke does and the people that make up the organization.

This project also highlights our continued work in the university sector, including work with UNC, NC State University, Carolina Performing Arts, and UNCSA among others.


  • Daniel Cook - Director, Writer, Editor, Composer
  • Drew Grimes - Producer, Assistant Editor
  • Max Zampieri - Director of Photography
  • Tony Cope - Camera Operator
  • Rachel Schwerin - Writer
  • Spike Hoban - Assistant Editor
  • Emily Mormann - Assistant Editor
  • Zan Gantt - Assistant Editor
  • Autumn Brand - Music Composer

24 Jul 2024