Yeah – please do raise your hand. You are a techno-geek with all of the goodies and know how to use them. And (more than anyone else) you know it isn’t the goodies that make good video…it’s the mind and eye behind the camera.
How many of you have this fun rush every year (details may vary, depending on location, state, time of year)? Mine is called senior project…and I should have seen it coming last year when we produced our very first senior class at McNair High School. Each senior is responsible for a research paper and a physical product. The latter means show something that proves you learned a skill, a concept…whatever.
So last year a couple of seniors in my broadcasting class used video in their projects to demonstrate what they had learned. They realized the potential of video as a tool.
A few weeks ago I meandered through the admin part of the school and was cruising through this year’s crop of posters produced by seniors…posters had the name of the project and how they would prove what they learned. Oops. In a casual count, about 1/4 or more were making videos. I could see the tsunami heading my way, so put out a quick advisory to senior teachers. Do NOT even ALLOW your seniors to come to me on short notice expecting to borrow equipment or learn what I teach in one day.
But (not wanting to be a total spoilsport) I did demur. Next week during fall break I’m putting on a workshop for seniors only – a basic video production for dummies on how to pull off making a quick and dirty video with minimal gear. Will repeat after school later in October.
So why soften up? Reality. The kids are gonna make the videos – not matter what. Then when it looks bad or they just can’t figure it out, they’ll turn up on my doorstep, one by one, with big brown eyes pleading for help. The only sensible way to do this is to simplify and make them responsible. Give them the basic information they need so they can have some kind of success. And keep it simple. Students need to realize there are limits – they need to set realistic goals.
Not that I’m against setting high goals. But if you barely know how to run a camera and have no concept of production values, keep it simple. Know what your gear (and you) can do. And please keep your audience in mind and be kind.
Yeah…I’m one hard case all right.