Video production

New video production program and studio give students tools for a digital world

Today’s college students have grown up immersed in digital technology and surrounded by media on large and small screens, from televisions to laptops to cell phones. So it’s only natural that this generation wants to learn how to create video content, not just consume it.

That’s the goal of an innovative new two-year video production program at All Saints Catholic School in Manassas. The program begins in seventh grade by introducing students to the fundamentals of video production, then steps up a notch the following year. Starting this fall, eighth graders will use their video skills as members of a student-led morning news crew that will produce a Deadline news show each morning. It will be broadcast live to every classroom from a new video production studio in the parish activity center.

The new studio, slated to open mid-June, features a long green wall, to be used as a built-in ‘green screen’, which allows for the addition of digital background effects. The space is large enough for several students to appear together in front of the camera. The studio will be equipped with the latest technology, including energy-efficient LED lights that are bright, but stay cool so as not to heat up the workspace.

In today’s world, technology and communications are considered essential skills. The program is therefore not optional.

“Every seventh grader is automatically enrolled,” principal Dave Conroy said. “It exposes them to different technology platforms and encourages high-level thinking and opportunities for collaboration,” he said.

This collaboration was on display one recent morning as several teams of students scattered around the yard to shoot commercials. After recording a test video using a small tablet on a tripod, a group gathered around the screen to review the results and make suggestions for revisions. All of the students seemed comfortable with the technology and very engaged.

Although the program is considered a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) initiative integrated into the seventh-grade technology program taught by Tina Pettyjohn, the scope is much broader, said Janis DeVore, director of marketing and development. of All Saints. , which also helps with video production classes. She said lessons built on language arts, writing and faith components as students focused on storytelling and content creation.

DeVore said the program’s “hands-on, project-based learning” covers many aspects of video development, from research and pre-production planning to scriptwriting, live streaming, operation camera, lighting techniques, audio recording, computer graphics and post-production. manufacturing assembly. Equipment provided includes professional-grade video cameras and audio equipment, iPads, Chromebooks, laptops, and video editing software.

In addition to the commercial they shot in the yard, the seventh graders worked on other video projects and offered to help with the school’s annual fundraising video. They also worked with the National Junior Honor Society to promote the All Saints’ Bread of Life food drive.

The idea to create the video studio grew out of the efforts of All Saints pastor, Father Lee R. Roos, to raise funds in 2020 to provide high quality live Masses during the pandemic, and then to develop campus-wide video production capabilities. “From there it just morphed into other apps,” which were rolled out in phases, DeVore said.

Donations from parishioners and additional funding from the school’s annual fund helped support the video initiative, which was guided by parishioners who work in the video and audio industries.

As students learn practical skills for the digital age, they’re also learning something even more important, DeVore said. “They gain an understanding of the impact of the media and their function to inform, instruct and entertain”, as well as “the opportunity they provide to share the good news of our faith using digital technology “.