Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Video Generation

In this issue of Sound Off, we're excited to be able to offer a multimedia example of what kids are doing with video these days. Meet the WJAM News correspondents--a group of CHRHS seniors and one junior who use the school's film/video department to deliver the daily morning announcements. But these are no ordinary announcements. They use all of their creative skills, technical knowledge and artistic vision to put together high-concept, film-school quality video segments called "intros"--and they only have 80 minutes every day to do it.  
WJAM News correspondents (l to r) Eliot Grigo, Brendan Carey, Jordan Knowlton, Emily Ruger, Alex Smith, Kristina Alex

The above video clip is one of their produced "intros" and a story within itself. You'll find out why they got in trouble for riding bikes in the hallways of the high school in Pen Bay Pilot's feature, "Attention students, this will not be boring."

Every week, the students rotate their various roles so they have experience in front of the camera and behind the scenes. These roles include script editing, audio and video switching, and management of the daily video broadcast.

“This class teaches them a number of ways to increase their technical abilities. They learn Final Cut Pro (a video editing program); they learn how to edit video, how to manage a digital switcher from a video standpoint. They also learn how to use a mixing board for audio," said teacher Chris Walker-Spencer. "The other piece are these little mini film projects they work on, which we call “intros”. It's really Film Class Lite. They get to spend maybe 20-30 minutes a day doing it, not a ton of time but they get to work together and become more independent as the semester goes on."

In addition, the students rotate being on-screen talent, where they have to get over their fear of public speaking and read the news from the teleprompter.

Meet the WJAM News team and what they are getting out of this entire experience. 

Q: What is the best thing you’ve gotten out of this class and do you think you want to do live broadcast TV or the news for a living?

Jordan Knowlton, Senior
“I am not interested in this as a career, but this class has helped me a lot with public speaking  and being in front of an audience. Everything in this class has helped me in every other class I have, including technology.”

Emily Ruger, Senior 
"I’ve actually never thought about it. It’s kind of fun being the talent, but my public speaking has gotten so much better. Before this class, I was like ‘I’m not going to be on camera,’ but now it’s one of my favorite jobs because it’s the easiest. You just read off the screen.” 

Kristina Alex, Senior 
"It’s not really something I’d like to do for a living. I want to do something in the medical field. I came into this class not knowing anything about computers or anything like that. But, it has really helped, like making the intros. I now know how to use that software. Also, I do talk really fast and slur my words, so having to sit here and go over the teleprompter and really engage the audience by speaking slowly and stuff like that has really helped."

Eliot J. Grigo, Senior 
"Probably my favorite part of this class has been around being around film equipment. It’s also been fun to be around a bunch of seniors who want to do some good work, but also want to have some fun. Probably my public speaking has been most improved. I know most of us weren’t that good at public speaking before this class. I’m taking another film class, “Intro to Digital Filmmaking” and with the combination of these two classes, I’ve learned so much about filmmaking and editing, shooting and planning. As far as a career, I am interested in going to film school and have already applied to a couple."

Brendan Carey, Junior 
"It’s definitely not something I want to do for a living, but it was cool to see how it all works and I got to use the editing programs. I liked editing the videos the best. I use it if I need to for a school project."

Alex Smith, Senior 
"I’ve always enjoyed public speaking and I’ve been involved in a lot of theater. It is really interesting doing something like this because the first time I came into class, I was a little nervous talking in front of the whole school, but I was really excited about it. I’ve really enjoyed this class. It’s been really fun to be on both sides of the camera, because I’m so used to being on the talent side. It’s just interesting to see how things work. Probably I won’t do this for a career, but I just like being on the other end of the camera more."

Teacher, Chris Walker-Spencer 
"They’re always working on ways to improve their own work or try new things. It all depends on who you have in your class. Elliot probably came in with the strongest skills, certainly in photography. He’s planning on going to film school. But the other students work well as a group and by the end of the semester, they were making their own films too.  This group’s strength is their collaboration. They’ve really gelled and not every group does,. They have differences in opinions and styles, but they’ve learned how to mesh together."

To submit something to Sound Off, email editor@fivetownctc.org, call (207) 236-9800 or mail to: Five Town Communities That Care, P.O. Box 1135, 219 Meadow Street, Rockport, ME 04856. Please include a real name and a phone number/email address so we can get in touch with you for editing purposes.


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