Here at Saline High School 3 outstanding video classes run throughout the school year.
With approximately 225 students flowing in and out of the Video Production 1, Video Production 2, and SHS Today (TV Broadcast class) classes, students are getting a look into the video editing and producing world. The video production classes are 1 trimester (12 week). SHS Today runs over the course of 2 trimesters, though it will be converted to a vocational class, running a full year starting in the 2011/2012 school year.
Video Production 1 covers basic camera techniques and editing in Final Cut Pro. Students create commercials, public service announcements, music videos, and learn to work with a green screen; creating a green screen video project. Video Production 2 dives deeper into the editing software using Final Cut Studio creating Motion projects and DVD authoring. With 28 students per class, students receive a lot of advice from the man behind all the classes, Mr. Bush. Mr. Bush also runs the SHS Today class, consisting of 24 students. The class turns out a new broadcast every Friday through Vimeo (www.vimeo.com/shsvideo) and our local cable access channel; the Saline Community Television Network SCTN. The weekly show is shot in our state of the art studio and written by the SHS Today students, with a run time of about 5-7 minutes.
Saline High School’s SHS Today students deliver an impressive production. All classes tape special event coverage of plays, sports, graduation, etc.
One morning while talking with Mr. Bush in my video production 1 class, the idea of a Lipdub came to mind. We both thought it would make a perfect debut on the night of graduation and also double as a product that would showcase the facilities of our school. The next step was to actually put the idea into motion.
With myself covering publicity and Lucas on the tech side we covered all bases. We just needed the school behind us. Meetings were set up with our administration, where we presented logistics to them; song idea, maps of the route, dates, and times. Once we gained their support we just needed the student body involved. What’s the easiest way to contact teenagers? Facebook. Our ‘SHS 2011 Lipdub’ page was created and sent out fast. Soon we had over 200 ‘likes’. For a project this big organization is the key. A sign up sheet was created on Google Docs for easy access to sign up. With names and information flowing in, we were able to quickly organize and station students through association with clubs or sports teams. We then assigned individuals to locations throughout the route and their section of the song. Seniors had priority to lip synching while underclassman would fill the school.
At each of these sections there were ‘section leaders’, their job was to keep that section in check, they would also be in contact with the film crew as they traveled through the route on film day. This gave participants a chance to prepare for their part, this method helped the process flow smoothly.
The next step was to take all of our planning and preparation and put it to the test. Rehearsals were scheduled over multiple days, working with one section at a time. Even though a lipdub is a single shot, you don’t have to rehearse everyone at once, you can treat it as different sections, which is what we did. By doing that it gave us more time to work individually with people, this gave the participants more knowledge of exactly what we wanted their section to do.
While figuring all the logistics for organizing our participants, we were also developing a production team and timing the music to the route. It is key to map out a route and lay out time codes of the song. It’s also important to test your route with your song and decide whether any adjustments need to be made to your song to fit your route precisely. With students signed up, teacher and administration involvement, all we needed was a rig for filming. With many test runs performed on numerous cameras and rigs, we were finally lucky enough to get in contact with someone who was willing to let us borrow their glide cam for the day of filming.
On the day of filming the section leaders we had assigned were there to look over their group and prepare them when the camera was approaching. To keep the process flowing we had only 2 people traveling along with the camera while filming; Mr. Stump, our cameraman and Lucas. We had previously filmed our route to mark the exact points coinciding with the lyrics, this video was uploaded to an iPad, which Lucas carried with him to keep the production on track. To help our participants with the timing of their lyrics, we had the song played over the PA system, this gave them assistance for their lines. With each take we learned what worked and what didn't, soon enough we nailed it and the video was wrapped up after five takes.
With filming complete the final step was to upload the video and dub over the song for a clean music video finish. A few color corrections were made on the computer but other than that music video was a solid 1 take. The final product was shown at different school events and burned to a DVD that contained the original lipdub, a ‘best of’ video, behind the scenes shots, and a picture slideshow. This DVD was handed out to all the graduating seniors on graduation day.
Elizabeth Wenner is a Senior at Saline High School, member of the yearbook class, Special Olympics volunteer, and a member of the cross country team. Finding a love for photography her freshman year of high school she became involved in the digital world through photography and video production classes. Over the previous summer, Elizabeth started her own business shooting senior portraits. Next year Elizabeth is attending Michigan State University, majoring in special education with a minor in photography.