Kid Flix is an extra-curricular, video production activity at Placerita Junior High School.
This program offers a unique opportunity for personal and cultural expression, within a cooperative team-oriented setting. It provides a chance for students to excel beyond their core classes and in a variety of hands-on activities that put their academics skills to immediate and practical use. All productions by Kid Flix are students produced. A student crew organizes, writes, prepares, films and edits all productions.SVN: Tell us about your background and how you decided to start teaching TV/Video production?
Paul Kass: Video production was a hobby and when I arrived at Placerita Jr. High, a co-worked and I wanted to do more with technology and thought a video club would be fun. Normally, I am a full time math teacher and technology coordinator.
SVN: How did you obtain initial funding for your program? How do you fund the class now?
PK: Initial funding came from our GATE programming. Now all of our funds are self-generated through grants and fundraisers.
SVN: Did you have equipment available?
PK: No equipment was available. We purchased 2 VHS camcorders and an Apple Mac II computer.
SVN: How many kids are in the TV/Video Production classes? How is it broken down? Is it a multi-year program?
PK: At Placerita, the program is actually an extra-curricular activity. We typically run about 30 to 40 students per year. Students can be a part of the program for their 2 years at the school.
Can you tell us a little more about the sessions: How long are the classes? How many students? What types of projects?
PK: Kid Flix, the name of our program, meets every Monday morning for a production meeting. The meeting typically lasts about 35 minutes. Kid Flix is responsible for producing our live daily announcements, documenting all school activities and competing in the Student Television Network contests.
SVN: How many kids to do the morning news broadcast? Do you also do a weekly broadcast? Special events coverage?
PK: Our students are broken up into 4 different crews with about 10 per crew. Each crew is responsible for one day per week and then they rotate thru on Mondays. We are hoping to do a monthly news magazine next semester. Student will cover special events as we hear about them.
SVN: Do your students capture other school events? Sports? Assemblies? Board meetings? Musical Performances?
PK: Kid Flix crew members capture a lot of different kinds of events. They include: Intramural sports, Magazine Drive assembly, Counseling presentations, Parent Advisory Council meetings, Student of the Month Ceremonies, music, drama and dance performances.
SVN: 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?
PK: The jobs in our studio include: Student producer, Tech Director, Audio Director, CG Operator, Roll-In Operator, Teleprompter, Camera Operator, Floor Director and Anchor. At the beginning of the year, crew members are required to learn each position, therefore they rotate thru them during our first quarter. After that, they can select which ones they like the best to work with.
SVN: Do students audition for on-air positions?
PK: On-Air positions are voluntary. As long as they do a good job, the cannot be “fired” from the anchoring position. Anchors usually rotate each week since we have many students who like to be on-air.
SVN: Do they write the content?
PK: Most of our morning show is announcement based and therefore sent to us. Student do write their own introductions and endings for the show. On occasion, they will write their own content and even have to ad lib.
SVN: How long does the show run?
PK: Our show will run between 5 and 10 minutes daily. Most times will will be around 5 minutes.
SVN: Do you submit programming to independent contest such as those sponsored by StudicaSkills and SchoolTube TV?
PK: Some programming will be entered into contests sponsored by the Student Television Network.
SVN: Can your broadcast be viewed outside the school? District-wide? Local cable access? On your school/district web-site?
PK: Our broadcasts are recorded in house and then uploaded to our space at www.useducationtv.com
SVN: Where do you post programming? YouTube? Vimeo? SchoolTube? SVN-TV? Other?
PK: We post programming to our web space at www.useducationtv.com
SVN: Do you have an equipment list you can share with our readers?
PK: Currently our studio is running the MX-DV Pro Tech board, the Compix CG system, A Mackie 16 channel audio mixer, a mac book for our teleprompter, a mac mini for roll-in, and 3 Sony DSL-250 DVCam video cameras. We are hoping to update some of our equipment this year.
SVN: Have any quick start tips!
PK: Our morning program is now in its 15th year. We started with a video camera and a cart that we rolled around the school. Back then, the technology wasn’t as advanced as it is now. Start small, and see what your school will let you do. Don’t be afraid to push the limits of broadcasting your show, either live or recorded.