The Video Productions program at Hoover High School in North Canton, Ohio, began in the fall of 1998 with the purchase of two digital broadcast video cameras and one Avid Express nonlinear editing system.

Today, Video Production is a multi-award winning two-year, three-credit Career & Technical course exploring the fundamentals and advanced techniques of the television and film industries. In Video Production I, students learn the industry standard techniques of camera operation, audio production and lighting for TV and film, as well as computer based editing on the industries leading software, Avid Xpress Pro. In Video Production II, students apply advanced TV and film production techniques to produce a wide variety of programming genres including: a daily 7-minute broadcast newscast, a long-form documentary, short films, animations, and various multi-camera live and live-to-tape programs that are broadcast to the North Canton community via the district’s educational television channel (NCCS CH.11).

What skills will students learn?
Video Production is the ultimate “hands-on” class. Students gain valuable time management and leadership skills while honing their creativity working on a variety of group and individual projects.
What equipment will they be trained to use?
Students learn and apply proper TV and film production techniques for handling and operating television cameras, microphones and lighting equipment, as well as all of the equipment related to producing television and film in our state-of-the-art editing/studio facility.
What kind of jobs may be available after I successfully complete the program?
Most students who complete the two-year program enroll in college programs related to this course. This Video Production program is a unique Career & Technical course offered at Hoover. Based on its rigorous, college-level curriculum and state-of-the-art facility, students leave the program with skills and experience that would prepare them for TV and film positions like: Camera Operator, Editor, Electronic Graphics Operator, Technical Director, Production Assistant, and Audio Engineer.
High School Credits: Program Total = 6 credits.
Junior Year – 3 credits
Senior Year – 3 credits

With further education, what additional employment opportunities may be available?
Successful graduates are currently enrolled in post-secondary institutions like: Ohio University, Kent State University, Columbia University (of Chicago), Emerson College, University of Santa Fe Film School among many others. With a college degree and further experience, students interested in a career in media have a wide range of career opportunities.

Tom Wilson, Director, spent some time with us discussing how this outstanding program evolved.
SVN: Tom, tell us about your background and how you decided to start teaching TV/Video production?

TW: I graduated college with a teaching degree in Social Studies.  During college I worked freelance as an editor and videographer.  After graduating I started Wilson Video Productions in North Canton, Ohio, which I still own today.  One of my clients was also my Alma mater, North Canton City Schools.  In the fall of 1998 they hired me to start a video program at the High School…the rest is history.

SVN: How did you obtain initial funding for your program? How do you fund the class now?

TW:  The first round of funding came from the district and was enough to purchase several DV cameras, a Mackie Mixer, tripods, and one Avid Non-linear edit station.  The Avid was about 70% of the entire budget, but it gave students the opportunity to produce using the best tools available.  In the long run it really paid off because were able to go to local grant organizations and show what the students were doing to make a difference in their school and community.  We had the curriculum in place, we just need the funds to expand with technology to give more students the opportunity. 

SVN: Did you have equipment available?

TW: For the first three months of teaching, I had nothing more than a classroom, overhead projector, and 13 students wondering why they took the class.  That soon changed as equipment and a textbook started arriving in November.

SVN: How many kids are in the TV/Video Production classes?  How is it broken down?  Is it a multi-year program?

TW: We now have three classes: Video Productions I for juniors, Video Productions II for Seniors, and Broadcast Journalism, a one period elective for Sophomores-Seniors who want to pursue a career in front of the camera.  Each class can have as many as 25 students.  The Video Production classes are a two year Career Tech program worth 6 credits.

SVN: Can you tell us a little more about the sessions:  How long are the classes? How many students? What types of projects?

TW: Students entering the junior year get to learn all the basics of the industry.  We use the Zettl Text Book “Television Production Handbook”.  Students work on short films, documentaries, commercials, News, and just about everything in between.

The senior year of Video Productions is strictly a production class.  Students work on a daily news show that broadcasts 4 days a week.  The show, HVTV is a collaborative production with the Broadcast Journalism class.  They write, produce, and perform on camera, while the video class handles all of the technical demands behind the scenes.  Aside from HVTV, the Video Productions students create a class documentary, work for clients, and produce variety of projects that give them the hands on experience they need to become skilled in the industry.

SVN: How many kids to do the morning news broadcast?  Do you also do a weekly broadcast? Special events coverage?

TW: With both the senior video productions and broadcast combined, there could potentially be 30 to 40 students working on the program at one time.  While half the crew is in the studio prepping and shooting the show, the other half is in post-production creating stories that air during each broadcast.  Studio positions rotate on a weekly basis so they get the full experience of working in a studio.  News packages are shot after school hours and then edited 1st period when both classes are together.  It really is amazing to see a totally student run production like HVTV News.

They also produce a 30 minute news magazine second semester called Vista news Magazine.  It focuses on Arts, Athletics, and Academics in the North Canton Community.  Other shows include “The Book Club”, a half hour reading show, sports broadcasts, and many other live events.

SVN: What jobs do the kids do?  Do the kids rotate through on-air talent and crew positions or are they “hired” for a specific task?

TW: Since students choose which class to take, they remain in their own field.  VP students stay behind the scenes, while broadcast students write and perform on camera duties.  Since students can take Broadcast Journalism more than one time, we often have students’ who get both experiences.

SVN: How long does the show run? 

TW: Students have a 7 minute broadcast for HVTV the goes to the school and community.  Shows can also be viewed online. 

SVN: Do you submit programming to independent contest such as those sponsored by StudicaSkills and SchoolTube TV?

TW: We do submit projects to different contests including the National Student Television Awards, Philo Awards, NSPA, and even the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Lower Great Lakes Chapter.  We recently received our second Emmy Nomination, and will find out September 8th at the Emmy Awards if we will win an Emmy.

SVN: Can your broadcast be viewed outside the school? District-wide?  Local cable access?  On your school/district web-site?

SVN: Do you have an equipment list you can share with our readers?

TW: Studio Equipment: Sony DSR-250 Cameras, Mirror Image TelePrompTers, Jonny Jib, RTS Intercom
Control Room Equipment: Ross Synergy 100 Switcher, Compix Graphics Station, Avid Xpree Pro for Tape Playback and program recording.  Sony DSR-1500 decks.
Post Production: Avid Lashare EX with 3 Terabytes of Workspace.  20 Avid workstations, Panasonic DVX-100B Camcorders
SVN: Tom, do you have any quick start tips!
TW: Be patient.  Collaborate with other departments in your school.  Get the attention of your administrators, and eventually your Superintendent.  Focus on making an impact on your students first, then the school, the district, and eventually the community.  Once you have their support you can seek funding from outside organizations such as local grant foundations.  Over the past five years we have raised over 300,000 in grants and twice that in equipment donations from around the country.  No matter what, make sure that students come first in all situations. 

Book Club Sidebar

Each week we’ll bring you two stories to enjoy. Our guests at the book club are first, second, or third graders from the four elementary schools in North Canton. This show is produced at Hoover High School by talented students in the Video Productions One class, the Broadcast Journalism class, and the Speech Two class. Join us in our make believe club house for stories, fun, and excitement