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High School

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Stephen Smith
High School
on Apr 13, 2009 at 9:35:25 pm

The question of "collage" versus "on the job training" seems to come up a lot in this forum. I was wondering more along the lines of who was on their High School TV station or AV club. This comes to mind because Clueless was on and one of my favorite lines is, "That's the AV club, they think the world revolves around them." I image whether you went to collage or jumped into the field you still made videos for fun in your back yard while in high-school. So my question is, where you on your High School's AV Club/TV station?



Stephen Smith
Salt Lake Video

Check out my DVD Money Making Graphics & Effects for Final Cut Studio 2


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grinner hester
Re: High School
on Apr 13, 2009 at 10:04:51 pm

lol
such things didn't exist when I was in high school. At least not in Lubbock, TX.
I made little movies on my own beginning at 14 though... when vhs camcorders became available on the consumer market. I edited not knowing what an edit was. I took my raw tape out, played it on the tube tv, put the ole Quazar on some books and recorded/paused as needed to line up shots. Name keys were lieterally done with markets and transparencies I horked from the school's overhead projectors.
I never saw an edit suite until I started college. 3/4 inch wonderland with an ADO100 and a GVG switcher. Looked like a space ship. lol



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Stephen Smith
Re: High School
on Apr 14, 2009 at 3:08:33 pm

[Grinner] Looked like a space ship

Hopefully a better looking one then Captain Video's.



For those who have no idea as to what I'm talking about: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Captain_Video

Thanks for the input.



Stephen Smith
Salt Lake Video

Check out my DVD Money Making Graphics & Effects for Final Cut Studio 2


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Mark Suszko
Re: High School
on Apr 14, 2009 at 3:14:22 pm

Short version:
First, the Earth's surface cooled....


(skipping ahead a bit)
:-)


I pretty much had editing and directing in my blood, I guess. We have old 4-track RTR family audio tapes of me directing my dad on how to record me singing made-up songs with self-supplied sound effects and etc. around 1963 at three years of age.

Later, they let us make what I now know were primitive "photomatics" using a then-expensive Polaroid camera to shoot key frames of a "Dracula" story, kind of in comic-book style, though I didn't get to see comics until a decade later. This would have been around 1965.

In junior high my folks sprung for an 8mm camera and projector so I could take a filmmaking class. I did pixelation type stop-motion, my hero later was Mike Jittlov's Wizard of Speed and Time. I still have the reel of our version of "Hot Rod Lincoln"; with the Commando Cody song as a sound track, hand-synched on a cassette player during playback, we shot ourselves stop-mo sitting on the sidewalk and "driving" invisible cars in a "Death Race 2000" kind of wacky race... I got that inspiration from some Oil Company TV commercials of that era, I think maybe Shell did them. Loads of fun.

Junior high also had a primitive B&W TV setup, porta-packs and huge heavy carts to carry everything around the school, this was maybe around 1974. EIAJ half-inch reel to reel video decks and Sony or maybe Hitachi porta-packs. Your max run time was ten minutes on tape and five on batteries:-) Your editing was done on the fly with a stopwatch and a pot of coffee: you would mark your tape in and out points with a grease pencil, back-wind the tapes, try to fire the source and record decks off together, watching for the grease mark to pop past you, then, counting down the seconds, you punched-in to the record machine manually and hoped it wasn't between two fields on the same frame, because there was no un-do, if you messed up, you had to go back to the begining and re-start everything or live with a massive dropout. That was hard enough, one guy did stop-motion cartoons that way, shooting on "eights", he eventually turned to drugs and went nuts.

I did a 10-minute mini documentary using this gear on the new trend of generic foods at big supermarkets (we were in a bad recession/inflation period at the time). The school actually used it as an in-class instructional for a semester. Another time, I borrowed the gear to make a sci-fi drama: I had found a short story in Asimov's or Astounding SF magazine that was one person and a computer, set in a tiny space lifeboat pod. Brilliant, I thought, I just need one actor and one set, I could do it all myself like Orson Welles... but darn it, I couldn't act and shoot at the same time. I built a 3-sided set out of huge sheets of gray cardboard from the school art department, sewn together with package string like a giant summer camp wallet, and it could fold up into one neat stack between shoots... the seams covered in silver duct tape, to the B&W Plumbicon, it looked like curved metal panels. For the readouts and displays, I used blinking xmas tree lights set behind cut-outs with translucent tracing paper diffusers, looked pretty good in the viewfinder. (ironically, my set and art budgets have never really gone higher than this in my entire career:-) ) Cut-out lens ports in the walls, disguised as maintenance panels, or lifting away the light panels to shoot thru, let me get reverses and different angles "inside" the half-pod. The best part was as the Director/Producer/Editor, I also did the casting and cast as my "star" a girl I was interested in romantically. This is as far as I've ever gotten to going to Hollywood:-)
It was like two days shooting and a week editing, the thing was rather boring after it was all done, I had just slavishly shot the book without adapting it for the camera, so the pacing was dull. Impressed my friends a lot, but I never did get the girl. No loss, she wasn't a great actor, she was like 14 or something, got engaged at 16.

Senior high we had multicam black and white with a 3-banger switcher/fader, you did luma keys off black and white cards for all your titles and your graphics, and rolls were actually on a roll of butcher paper you hand-cranked past a lens. There we were goofy nerdling teen boys and all about Monty Python worhip, but one friend and I did a pretty good parody of the Nixon/Frost interviews with me as Frost.

In College I got into the Loyola radio stations as a freshman and did air shifts plus all the ad and promo production, doing ever more elaborate comedy and theater of the mind type stuff with Stan Freeberg, Firesign Theatre, Dicky Freedman, Mal Sharp, Tom Lehrer and Loyola alums Bob Newhart and Don Novello as inspirations. By my Sophomore year, I'd worked my way up to station manager of the FM and ran it all summer, doing 6 to 8-hour airshifts at times. Glory days. Then I got fired in a coup by new college management, so I joined student government as their promo guy and by senior year was student government president. I guess I always peak early:-)_

You couldn't get into the TV program at Loyola then until your last 2 years, you had to work thru core curricula first and get some ground work done in the textbooks, a policy I chafed under but now recognize added needed discipline, as well as weeding out the uncommitted to leave more studio time for the rest of us career-oriented folks. The lab had a B&W studio with broke-*ss Hitachi's with the trombone- zoom focus rods,(some idjit always hung his carbon mic headset on the rod and bent it the first week of any semester, so you could never pull a non-sticky zoom) and a nice color studio downstairs for the seniors and post-grads that was mostly off-limits because it was so expensive. And I transitioned into that and had a lot of fun, but we didn't do much editing there, it wasn't practical with the number of students and the long time it took to do linear cutting on reel to reel gear, everything was live-switched to tape, in the style of the early "Golden Era" of Chicago national TV production. I continued to make really, really horrible videos. But I was learning a lot of what not to do:-)

But Loyola got me an internship at Continental Cablevision, the year MTV first came out, and a world opened up to me: I got to do extensive editing, field news production, remote van work, studio production, and really everything you can do at a station except run the head-end dishes. I left there with producer credits, good skills, and a pretty fair demo reel to show. I was hireable and skilled at age 22.

I'll save the rest of the biography for the eventual AFI memorial reel, but I was happy I got a LOT of media training out of my school education, most of it self-directed, hanging out in the facilities and playing with the gear any time the place wasn't locked up or in use by others. That was the real key: you had to aggressively TAKE the education you wanted, squeezing the profs for answers and info and grabbing all the hands-on time you could, if you sat around passively, you got a diploma out of the experience but little else.




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Matt Sepeta
Re: High School
on Apr 14, 2009 at 3:02:19 pm

Lucky for me, a neighboring highschool had a decent "Video Production" class that I took for two periods a day all year. Beyond that, I was involved with our DECA chapter, making a few promo vids for their contests. Not involved in AV club though, Those kids were weird ;)

Good Day


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Mark Suszko
Re: High School
on Apr 14, 2009 at 3:25:27 pm

Me neither, nobody wanted to be the AV club guys. In our school, all they did was deliver projectors and splice broken film, and they never watched or made anything, just liked handling the projector. Maybe those were the guys that went on to the engineering track, instead of production:-P
(I'm KIDDING!!!)


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Micah McDowell
Re: High School
on Apr 14, 2009 at 3:12:01 pm

My high school had a video production class for a while, but by the time I had a chance to take it, they dropped it. They had no clue what they were doing anyway.

However, my senior year I decided to go to the local vocational school's broadcast production class which would take up half of my high school day. It's one of the best decisions I ever made.

I learned many times more in that one year of class than in the four subsequent years of college as a video production major. Oh well...


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Richard Herd
Re: High School
on Apr 14, 2009 at 5:11:22 pm

No time, as I was a varsity wrestler.


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Andrew Kimery
Re: High School
on Apr 14, 2009 at 7:34:51 pm

My long story short, no. I was more interested in writing (the only video related thing I'd done was a short monster movie in elementary school). My first year of college I couldn't decide what to major in (I was looking for something to get me a 'day job' until I could make a living writing) so I went to a professional career specialist and he basically said I was most like people that worked on movies/tv shows. So armed w/that knowledge I transfered to the university w/the best video production program in the state and jumped head first into production and post. I fell in love w/shooting and editing and that's how I got on the path that I'm still on today.


-A

3.2GHz 8-core, FCP 6.0.4, 10.5.5
Blackmagic Multibridge Eclipse (6.8.1)



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Andrew Bennett
Re: High School
on Apr 22, 2009 at 3:08:12 am

Nice thread!

I am only a Freshman in college (Western Kentucky University) my high school in Tennessee had a video production program. You could take 5 classes over your 4 year time at the school. All the other county schools had the same program as well. I started as freshman after having been in involved with my church helping to run sound and set up audio/visual equipment from week to week. I taught myself to edit in Final Cut Pro as a freshman, and landed my first job/internship at local government and educational access station as sophomore. While working there I did a lot of freelance gigs around town running sound and lighting for dance recitals and theatrical performances. As a junior in high school I won my first award for filmmaking at the statewide SkillsUSA video production competition. Later that year I won two High School Mid-South Regional Emmys (one for writing and the other for best documentary). As a senior I won another SkillsUSA video production competition and competed in DECA in the public relations contest finishing 11th in the nation out of 160 something students. I also produced, wrote, and edited my own half hour football coach's show. That aired weekly on local cable.

All that to say the video production has grown rapidly with pro-sumer level equipment becoming much more affordable. My school had 6 Final Cut stations as well 4 Panasonic DVX-100bs and a couple Sony XL2s. There are tons of competitions offered by local, state and national committees for students. The Emmys hold a high school regional in each market and all winners advanced to a national competition with the "head judge" being AV Westin. Its really quite remarkable all the opportunities available for students.

Now days at WKU I am 1 of 5 student producers working to produce a weekly sportscast. I also have a scholarship shooting and editing highlights for our football team. Both have been a great experience.

To any high schoolers reading this forum, my advice to you is to work. Work everyday at honing your skills. Work to get your name out into the community. It will all pay off some day, I promise!


__
Andrew Bennett


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