NO EXPERIENCE REQUIRED! That’s about how we started.
As an Art Teacher I had experience in Adobe Photoshop and a working knowledge of Adobe Premiere…but no real experience in teaching Video to high school students.
Late in the Spring of 2015 I was asked to work on some video projects for our high school graduation ceremony. You know the ones, they are, “no big deal” until a parent or two feels their kid was overlooked or neglected. I always like a new challenge (if you do then video is a good place for you!) so I jumped in with both feet.
Fast forward to summer school. Art was offered as an elective, so with my new interest in video, I challenged my students to create a video at the request of our administration. They wanted a video to demonstrate effective staff-to-student relations. Again…challenge accepted. As I saw the interest of the students, my interest in teaching video grew.
Within each district is someone who installs or maintains projectors, desktops… a digital tech of some sort. Conveniently, during this time period, one of these people had a son that had been in my class. BOOM! Instant support personnel. After having a couple conversations about, “what if?” Mr. Pietz donated his old Tri-Caster and we were off and running. We had NO IDEA what we were doing! Our first effort to stream a football game was…well, low quality. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IiTjfbKhvzk&t=82s) We used audio from a local radio announcer who was generous enough to help out. I think the resolution was 480…maybe. Kids had no experience in a live situation with cameras or switching. But it was FUN!!! Now we had an applicable situation to real-life career opportunities. The kids were hooked and so was I.
The following summer school (2016) we purchased a full-blown switcher and some used Canons from Amazon. Our total investment was about 10k. The administration knew that video was coming and that social media was the new form of communication. Live steaming feeds both of these perfectly in so many ways that it was an easy pitch. We created a YouTube channel and were off and running. (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_ZLKpLMO7vkDV_IU4FYXog)
There are technical schools with Perkins funds that can literally build full-blown television studios and sound booths for recording. We’re just a middle-of-the-road high school in rural Missouri without a huge budget. If you want to get your kids involved and don’t know how to start it up, give us a shout. We are the ones that take pride in creating a product that challenges the big budget programs on a shoestring budget. We give back to our community in commercials and PSAs for no charge. Game officials thank us regularly for offering them a way to evaluate their performances as well as the teams and coaches we film. Last year we graduated two camera operators that were approached by an ESPN contractor who immediately hired them for filming college sports live at a Division I school. Nothing is more powerful in a classroom than having relevance for your curriculum.
How did you obtain initial funding for your program? How do you fund the class now?
Initially I submitted a proposal to our school board after discussing it with the HS Principal and Superintendent. Since the initial start-up I have a regular budget that allows for repairs and replacing equipment. Negotiating budget needs never stops.
Did you have equipment available?
We only had some basic tech that was loaned to us from an interested parent/patron.
How many kids are in the TV/Video Production classes? How is it broken down? Is it a multi-year program?
I typically have 2 Video Production I classes with about 20 students each and 1 Advanced Video class that has about 10-12 students.
Can you tell us a little more about the sessions: How long are the classes? How many students? What types of projects?
Video I is exposed to Adobe Premiere and basic editing techniques and tools. Second semester the classes tackle projects from the district or community. Project based stuff. Advanced Video does some Adobe After Effects and works on high-profile projects that require a higher quality product. They also effort commercials, sport promotional videos, player profiles, and graphics for the sport streams.
Do your students capture other school events? Sports? Assemblies? Board meetings? Musical Performances?
We don’t typically do announcements or daily news broadcasts. Our program is more specific to Editing and sports streams. We have done some assemblies and performing arts events, but mostly athletic events. We also travel to away football games which adds a new dimension to creating a product.
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?
Our product is typically 100% student created and driven. If everything is as it should be (most of the time) I simply witness what is happening and troubleshoot if necessary. The kids do rotate out occasionally, but typically they have one or two jobs that they do for the year.
Do students audition for on-air positions?
No…but we have reached out to our speech and debate program for talent.
Do they write the content?
Usually they have at least an outline with some points of interest and weekly news.
Do you submit programming to independent contest such as those sponsored by STN, SkillsUSA, NATAS or others?
Not yet…but maybe in the future?
Can your broadcast be viewed outside the school? District-wide? Local cable access? On your school/district web-site?
Absolutely. RSWolvesTV on YouTube
Do you have an equipment list you can share with our readers?
Not a formal one. Our list changes yearly.
Have any quick start tips?
Ask a lot of questions. Before you spend money on things you won’t need or can’t use ask someone who has gone through the process. So much easier than making costly mistakes!
Our channel is on YouTube