Video productions student Elijah Balderas films the 2014 Nordhoff graduation ceremonies. (Photo by Thomas Friedman)
Kimberly Rivers, Ojai Valley News correspondent
The video productions classes at Nordhoff High School are coordinating with the city of Ojai to place student work on Channel 10, the local government access channel on Time Warner Cable. In addition to dance performances, science lectures, sports events and candidate forums, a plan is in the works for regularly scheduled student-produced programming to soon hit the airwaves.
Thomas Friedman, the Nordhoff video productions instructor, said the aim of the classes is to train students for entry-level jobs in a wide range of industries. He points out that while Hollywood entertainment jobs in television and film are obvious, the corporate world of today relies heavily on video in their public relations, marketing and educational efforts. One Nordhoff student, he said, was able to use the basic animation skills he learned in video productions class in a report for his chemistry class, showing how cells respond to various stimuli.
“The students get a taste of what it would be like to do this work professionally,” said Friedman. He should know — before coming to Nordhoff, he worked in Hollywood for 30 years, making movie trailers, films and documentaries, one of which was nominated for an Emmy award. He also worked at the Santa Barbara station KEYT.
Friedman said several of his past students have gone on to study filmmaking in college, and many enter directly into a career using these skills. “The number of students that go on to work in the field is gratifying for me," he said, "and I think is a great measure of the success of the program here at Nordhoff.”
NHS has two classes of about 18 to 20 students each. “The students are in the classes for many reasons," said Friedman. "Some have been making videos since they were 10 years old and want to learn more. Some have their own YouTube channels. Some drop in, thinking it is an easy A. I do try to disabuse them of that notion as much as possible and make it a valuable experience.”
Friedman pointed out as the school expands the program, students may start filming the Ojai Unified School District (OUSD) Board meetings for broadcast. They already completed a Measure J video, which was posted on the OUSD website.
“We have a lot of fine schools in Ojai, and our public schools are funded by bodies in the seats, just like the private schools,” said Friedman. He asserted that by using this class as a resource and showing the quality videos the students produce on air, it can increase the public's awareness of all that the local public schools have to offer.
“One of the main missions of the video production classes is to provide interesting, appropriate content for KNHS,” said Friedman. KNHS is Time Warner Channel 10 in the Ojai Valley. “Up to now much of that has been achieved by recording and editing presentations and events, like our science lectures and dance programs. We also put up original student video work that meets community standards of decency and propriety, which is sometimes a bit of a challenge.” He said they hope to create the student-produced talk show that would air on a regular schedule.
Lately, students have been filming candidate forums in Ojai during the recent elections, helping to edit them and prepare for broadcast on Channel 10. Oct. 1, Nordhoff video productions students Josh Bocchicchio and Taylor Madden filmed the Ojai City Council candidate forum sponsored by the Ojai Valley Chamber of Commerce and Ojai Valley Board of Realtors. Those students also did post-production work, adding informative titles and adjusting sound levels, to prepare it for broadcast. That video played many times leading up to the election in November. The students also set up the sound system used by the candidates.
Friedman points out that Channel 10 is not a public access channel, but a government access channel. It is a channel provided by Time Warner Cable to the city as part of its agreement to be the sole cable provider. Time Warner pays a fee to the city, and some of that money goes to support these classes. Freidman said that funding helps them stay current on technology. The classes use Mac computers, FinalCut Express and FinalCut Pro software for editing.
“It’s important to learn how to shoot for editing, so what they film is editable,” said Friedman. The students learn skills related to filming, editing techniques, shooting for editing, camera techniques, lighting techniques and more. “They learn skills more on a film model than for television.”
He said they are capable of doing a “multi-camera line” and switching between cameras during filming — similar to how professional sports are broadcast on television. The students use this technique to film graduation ceremonies.
Friedman said the school is considering acquiring a piece of equipment that would allow this type of programming to be streamed live. “We strive to keep up with changing technology,” and the changing methods of production, he said.
© Ojai Valley News, 2014