Xcelerate 2016: Week 4

This post took a bit longer to write than all of the other weeks of Xcelerate 2016, and this was because, for me, it extended a little bit further. I just finished a second week of Lights, Camera, Action! While the class ended this past Friday, it continued somewhat through the weekend, and into the following week.

The reason for this extension was editing. Due to the new format for the class, which I’ll explain next, I just felt that it would be easier for me to edit the film for the kids in my group.

I mentioned briefly in a previous post about how we’d been planning on changing up the format of the class. In previous years, we’d stuck with a pre-made story called “The Secret of the Pirate’s Treasure.” On the first day of class, we’d familiarize the kids with the story, and then we’d start filming on Tuesday. The rest of the week would be filming that particular story, and the final film would need to be finished by that Friday.

We had two weeks of Lights, Camera, Action during Xcelerate 2016, and both of them were slightly different. In the first week, we still filmed the pirate story, but we were able to eliminate the viewing on Friday, which gave us more time to film the story. It wasn’t as rushed. During the second week, this week, we changed the format entirely.

In this past week, rather than work with a pre-made story, the kids were able to write their own. We just gave them a genre! On Monday, we discussed some aspects of filmmaking, showed them the cameras, and did an exercise where they put a short story together. On Tuesday, they formulated the story for the movie they would make throughout the rest of the week, including storyboarding which I loved to do with the kids. Then Wednesday through Friday, we filmed their story!

There were 8 students in the class this week, so we split into two groups. I took one, and another instructor took the other. I don’t know much about how the other group’s week went, but I know that the students in my group got to get a lot of hands on experience. As the week progressed, students were able to run the camera, operate the boom mic, help with direction. It was great! I really felt like I was able to teach them something.

Unfortunately, we ran into some technical difficulties on the first day of filming, and we ran into situational difficulties on the second day, so it took us a bit longer to finish than I would have anticipated. If we had finished earlier, the kids would have gotten a more hands on approach to editing as well. When we finished on Friday, I was only able to briefly show them the editing program and talk a little about avoiding jump cuts and choosing the best shot to tell the story.

Since I didn’t know anything about what the other group did, it’s safe to assume the other group didn’t know much about what my group did either. This is why I asked if I could take the edit home and do it myself. I figured it would be easier for the other instructors involved because they were teaching the class on top of their regular day jobs at the college. We had over 10gb of footage to sift through, and even with the guide I made, it would have been a chore to navigate.

I may have gone a bit above and beyond on my edit, but I was just really excited. The kids put so much effort into the film, and I wanted to give them something to be proud of. As I write this, I’m still making the finishing touches, and I’ll be taking it back to the college this week.

There are definitely still changes that need to be made to this format of the class, but I think this is a good idea that we should continue to run with. I’ll probably make a round up post of the films from all the weeks soon since this is the first year they’re all going to be on YouTube!

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