Alpharetta High School was founded in 2004 and had a media program built in from the start.
Fulton County is very supportive of the Career Tech Pathways, one of which is Broadcast Video. The studio has gone through some transformations with regard to function due to the advances of technology.
To begin with, the studio no longer broadcasts live, but rather hosts many productions that are stitched together to form our award winning show. The removal of old equipment has allowed us to install more editing suites, thus adding to the overall production value of our show.
Tracy Misner joined Alpharetta High School in 2009 and quickly went to work on transforming how the Morning Show is produced. He opted to go with a virtual set (ala greenscreen) which enables quick change of backgrounds to highlight such events as Breast Cancer Awareness, Holidays, and other key moments of the school year.
The Morning Show grew from the idea that students wanted more entertainment along with their usual morning announcements. This concept allowed our students the creative concepts of segments such as App of the Week, The Edit Bay (a short comedic look into the broadcast world), Alpharetta Rides (student owned cars here at Alpharetta High School) and other student interest videos.
We are currently working on two new concepts, The Saturday Morning Show (enables us longer programming) and a talk show based show. The ideas never stop at The Morning Show....that's what keeps us going.
Tell us about your background and how you decided to start teaching TV/Video production?
My background is originally in recording engineering, but I started a video production company in 1993. Around 2006, the high school (Alpharetta High School)I now teach at placed an intern in my studio….fast forward to May of 2009, Alpharetta High School called me to see if I was interested in teaching. While looking at the classes, several students connected with me and asked the principal if I could stay on to teach. The school hired me to start that following August 2009.
How did you obtain initial funding for your program? How do you fund the class now?
Our program has a small budget via Perkins Money as I am in the Career Tech program. I immediately reassessed the program and began a methodical replacement of all equipment via class budget, mini grants, fund raising, and donations from parents. I am currently developing a booster club that will enable me more flexibility in terms of corporate donors.
Did you have equipment available?
I originally walked into a program with only 4 iMacs and Screenplay editing systems and some cameras that shot on mini dv….I have since replaced all the original equipment from 2009.
How many kids are in the TV/Video Production classes? How is it broken down? Is it a multi-year program?
My program is yearlong with 4 levels. I currently teach 3 classes of level 1 with about 25-30 students per class, 2 classes of level 2 with 25-30 students per class, level 3 and 4 together with 30 students in that class. Level 3 and 4 is my upper level class that also produces two Morning Shows each week with plans on producing a Saturday Morning Show to highlight all the segments that are too long for school programming. Currently 4 students in my upper level class produce a “Morning Show” for Alpharetta Fire and Police Departments with several other precincts wanting our services.
In addition to those classes, I also teach a recording class during a “study hall” time two days per week. During football season we produce live 4 camera switch with live instant replay for our jumbotron.
Can you tell us a little more about the sessions: How long are the classes? How many students? What types of projects?
All classes meet every day for approximately 1 hour, however, many of the “Morning Show Crew” stay on during lunch to continue production.
Level 1: These students learn the basics of video and shot composition. They learn the fundamentals of editing and uploading to vimeo. Students will also produce a lip synch music video. They will also produce a 12 page business plan.
Level 2: They produce :30 spots on products, on classes, psa, all video contests.They learn the fundamentals of audio, video production, how to conduct interviews, they also produce a 5 minute info video on a chosen group or organization
Level 3 and 4 produce a bi-weekly video news magazine, :30 spots on local businesses, class organizations and groups. These students are also actively producing for Alpharetta Public Safety
How many kids to do the morning news broadcast? Do you also do a weekly broadcast? Special events coverage?
The Morning Show is a segmented produced show that features entertainment, news including school, local, national, world events. The show has an editor, a floor producer, a show producer, a script writer, teleprompter. The segments are produced by groups that provide their segment to the producer who inserts the segment into the body of the show. Segments can range from :30 to about :90 seconds and can vary from sports, to human interest, to comedy, to music.
Do your students capture other school events? Sports? Assemblies? Board meetings? Musical Performances? We are often asked, but can rarely comply due my schedule and class demands. I often produce videos for our principal.
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?
Because of the nature of our program, each segment is produced by groups of 3-4 people. Sometimes they “hire” out a VO if they need or an After Effects lead in or perhaps an on-screen talent.
Do students audition for on-air positions?
There are no formal audition process..some just develop over the year as they are inserted in small group segments.
Do they write the content? Yes
How long does the show run? 10 –13 minutes each two times a week
Do you submit programming to independent contest such as those sponsored by StudicaSkills and SchoolTube TV? Not at this time.
Can your broadcast be viewed outside the school? District-wide? Local cable access? On your school/district web-site?
Our show is located on our website and viewed at the viewers’ demand. Currently we are getting about 10,000 hits per month.
Where do you post programming? YouTube? Vimeo? SchoolTube? SVN-TV? Other?
Our program is uploaded to vimeo and hyperlinked to our website www.ahsvideo.com
Do you have an equipment list you can share with our readers?
We have 17 final cut pro stations on iMacs.
We have 9 private edit bays that also have professional voice over mics installed.
We have 15 canon vixia cameras, 8 Canon T3i
5 glide tracks
6 DSLR camera rigs
2 iPad teleprompters
Full outboard gear for digital recording studio
Have any quick start tips!
My Biggest advice is to never stop learning; build a good website to interact with parents, industry, and administration. Always promote your program and build your program…if you’re not moving forward with new innovations in the best time to be in video, you’re moving backwards! These students are hungry to learn from you…teach…that’s an honor and a privilege that very few people get.