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Screen Shot 2022-07-25 at 10.16.24 AMIn an earlier post, I discussed ways in which student work can document history (often unconsciously) and some projects may become messages that resonate as testimonials to their time, place, and people.  

In addition, there have been many examples in these pages of how PSAs are strong vehicles for video production tasks in school communities.  With the onset of a global pandemic, our schools have had to confront some of the most distinct challenges faced by educators in a multitude of ways, and here is one example of a series of PSAs made to share with students as they returned to school at the height of the pandemic, before any vaccines were available.  Undoubtedly, this piece and others created during these months and years provide particular testimonials of these contexts in a unique time and place for American public schools.

Screen Shot 2022-07-26 at 9.50.28 AMPostscript: In early 2022, as schools began to shift to ceasing mask restrictions and shifting to fully in-person classroom instruction, the advanced video production class I teach quickly created (two-day turnaround time, in response to a central administration request) a PSA that could be used in all schools.  Here is the video that a team of four of my students produced.

News Reporting

Screen Shot 2022-02-25 at 10.21.11 AMAcross the United States, many local news stations and educational programs offer platforms for students to develop skills in news reporting through the production of pieces that may be selected for broadcasting or streaming.  These news reports can cover a wide range of types of media journalism, from feature pieces to hard news to community events to business stories to other categories.

As discussed in Chapter 6 of Moving Images (“Recording and Presenting Reality”), one of the most difficult tasks facing students when developing non-fiction projects is finding a topic that is newsworthy, compelling, and manageable.  In the classroom, this part of the process can provide some of the greatest challenges for teachers.  It is critical to develop a process so that students can hone their abilities to investigate, analyze, and assess sources of material and approaches to portraying the stories they depict.  

Once students have determined topics for investigation, they work on pre-production.  With such a wide range of types of news projects, there are many approaches that can be taken with the material, and valuable pre-production elements can be two-column scripts, story breakdowns, interview questions and contacts, time-sensitive events, scheduling, and related considerations.  Students must ask: what are my images – first-person reporting, interviews, recording of events, b-roll or cutaways, archival, or other types?  At the same time: what is the audio – sound recorded with the aforementioned images, voiceover, ambient tracks, or other elements?  With all of this, some of the most powerful challenges that can be faced are ones of logistics, particularly if people involved with these topics need to be contacted and met.   

Screen Shot 2022-02-25 at 11.40.08 AMNon-fiction projects are core elements to the work in Moving Images.  In the realm of news reporting, for several years my students have been producing pieces that have been shared with the Student News program in Connecticut.  Here are links to two pieces that have aired as part of the program.  The first was an award nominee for this year (by Craig Gnatek, Brennen Yourous, and Tristan Skorupski): Suffield Agriscience Gives Boost to Gardening, and another featured work by Aiden Dultz was Businesses Helping Businesses

Sparking History

Many posts on mediateacher.net have dealt with the intersections of social studies and the documentation of lived experiences and historical events that are an intrinsic part of the evolving story and functions of motion picture media.  Each year continues to bring changes to uses and trends in media creation and transmission that produce and mark profound changes on societal trends and the roles of moving image production and comprehension throughout the world.  A year ago, mediateacher featured the post Telling History about grassroots examples of first person documentation of one’s times in the media literacy classroom and then shared subsequent pieces about the ongoing depiction of our tumultuous era for the United States and the world.

darnella frazierThis week, one of the most historically consequential examples of media creation in our time was rightfully noted as the initiating factor in the conviction rendered for the case of the murder of George Floyd.  Darnella Frazier was one of the bystanders at the scene of George Floyd’s death, and soon after she saw what was happening, she began recording it on her phone.  Journalist Rachel Triesman explains, “The 10-minute video she posted to Facebook has since been seen by millions and became a central piece of evidence in Chauvin’s trial.”  Since then, Frazier, 17 at the time of Floyd’s death, has been given an award for courage by PEN America, bestowed by filmmaker Spike Lee

Dolby In the ever-evolving landscapes of education for the era of digital-streaming-and-all-in-between with music, sound design, and current audio evolutions, here are some pieces featuring sound pioneer Thomas Dolby and his current work and perspectives on sound in media — a program at the Peabody Institute and an interview with Mr. Dolby talking about this work and his synth adventures.

Room Tone

Wishing everyone some solid fresh tones in this world with the New Year. Here’s to 2021!

In the meantime, here’s a nice piece on room tone with a neat video, a holiday gift from the folks at Criterion. Cheers!

And yes, the classic.