Two week video production class weblog--Day 1
1) I mean for these notes to supply a running account of what it's like to teach a two week video production class for smart high school students.
2) Class begins this afternoon at 1:30. I have twelve students signed up, four of which have made movies with me before. I don't teach the class in the usual way because I was never formally trained in video production. The class is a workshop geared around producing two practice videos (one basic one to try out the equipment, the other an action video). And then students pitch ideas for a 8-10 minute short with a treatment, screenplay, and story boards needing approval before they can start shooting.
3) As usual, I don't have the greatest confidence in what I'm doing, in part because creative classes tend to have all kind of unforeseen problems arrive. Last year our Premier software for editing kept freezing up the computers until we switched off to Pinnacle, which worked better. Sometimes whole scenes had to be scrapped and reshot late at night in the cold. We don't have the best sound equipment because budget cuts prevented me from obtaining external microphones and booms. Also, the lighting equipment is mediocre at best--mostly work lamps bought at the local Lowe's. Otherwise, the cameras are decent, JVC digital media cameras with 3ccd lenses, and two students will bring better camcorders to the class.
4) I will spend today discussing the syllabus and acquainting the students with the the classic scene sequence and the principles behind mise en scene. We will also look at previous videos made in the class and discuss their strengths and weaknesses. For those who think the class will be easy, I discuss the ten different ways to mess up a shot.
5) We don't have a studio to work with. Instead, I talk about the benefits of the French New Wave techniques and exterior shots. The weather is currently cloudy and wet. I hope it dries up and gets sunny later this week.
6) Any suggestions?