October 26, 2014

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Medina native editing videos for U.S. Open

Nathan Chojnacki has his work cut out for him before Aug. 18, when he returns to New York for the U.S. Open.

He’ll be editing clips for eight athlete profile videos that will air on the big screens during one of the biggest events in tennis, which begins Aug. 25.

Chojnacki, who was born and raised in Medina, is a freelance animator and video editor in Queens, New York. Most of the work he does is for major sporting events.

From left, Jonny Greco, former director of video production for the Cleveland Cavaliers; Nathan Chojnacki, former producer from Medina; and Alex Johnson, director of video production, hold up awards in July 2012 in the control room of Quicken Loans Arena. The Cavaliers’ production team won two Emmy Awards, two Information, Display and Entertainment Awards and one Telly Award in the seven years Chojnacki spent with the team. (PHOTO PROVIDED)

From left, Jonny Greco, former director of video production for the Cleveland Cavaliers; Nathan Chojnacki, former producer from Medina; and Alex Johnson, director of video production, hold up awards in July 2012 in the control room of Quicken Loans Arena. The Cavaliers’ production team won two Emmy Awards, two Information, Display and Entertainment Awards and one Telly Award in the seven years Chojnacki spent with the team. (PHOTO PROVIDED)


He travels often for work but comes back to visit his father and his hometown every two months.

Some of his biggest contracts and his most faithful sources of income are the projects he’s done for Van Wagner Big Screen Network Productions LLC, an entertainment production company most famous for the in-stadium productions for the Super Bowl, Olympic Games, World Series and U.S. Open.

Chojnacki said Van Wagner producers contact him for animations, athlete profile videos or other promotional videos for major sporting events.

So far, the biggest event for which his work was used was the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Russia.

Chojnacki said although he didn’t get to go to Sochi, he edited and animated every headshot video clip for every snowboarding or skiing athlete at the Olympics.

Chojnacki said his interest in media production began his senior year at Medina High School in a television film editing class taught by Alex Gabrielsen.

“Mr. G was the best teacher,” he said. “Even as a kid, I was making short films in the basement with my brothers. I always wanted to be involved in the entertainment and presentation of live sports.”

Chojnacki graduated in 2000 and studied mass media communications at the University of Akron.

While at Akron, he worked in the James A. Rhodes Arena doing animation work for the big screen during sporting events.

“The Cavaliers came to the arena for a team scrimmage and I was the only one who volunteered to work the game,” Chojnacki said.

Afterward, Chojnacki decided to submit his resume to the Cavaliers’ production team. He was hired as a producer six months before he graduated from Akron in 2004.

For seven years, he was one of five members of the production team and his work included shooting, editing and animating video clips for the Cavaliers.

During those seven years, the production team won two Emmy Awards, two Information, Display and Entertainment Awards and one Telly Award.

Chojnacki said he left the Cavaliers in 2012 because the work he did was very repetitive.

“I used the same three colors in all of my animations,” he said. “There were so many other things I wanted to do, but wasn’t able to do them with the Cavs.”

He said he started doing freelance work because he wanted to experience getting paid per project instead of a salary.

Although most of the editing work he does is sports-related, Chojnacki also has done a music video that premiered on Spin.com, a Red Bull commercial and a promotional video for Cleveland Cinemas, he said.

One of his goals is getting to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. He also is in the market for an assistant.

“There’s so much work that comes in. It’d be great to have an assistant to help me,” he said. “The biggest thing is figuring out how to find people with the skill set to do what I do who are easy to work with.”

Chojnacki said this will be the second year in a row he’s worked the U.S. Open.

“So, if you’re wondering what I’m doing between Aug. 18 and Sept. 6, I’ll either be in a hotel room or sitting in a trailer just outside the venue editing,” he said.

Contact reporter Katie Anderson at (330) 721-4012 or kanderson@medina-gazette.com.