The Greatest Week Video Contest

It’s Homecoming week at Del Oro, and it’s huge.  Every day has a different dress up theme (doctors vs. patients, blast from the past, alarm didn’t go off, etc.) and students and teachers go all out with their costumes.  Every night this week students are at school until about 10pm building floats for the parade on Friday, painting giant posters to decorate their class’s section of the hall or the gym, laughing and singing and cheering.  There are “spirit wars” every day in which students from one class will swarm the halls shouting their class cheer.  Upon hearing these cheers, other classes will either join the mob or oppose it with a cheer of their own.  Tomorrow is a minimum day so that we have time for the hour and half rally showcasing a choreographed teacher dance, student relays, the introduction of homecoming royalty and the parade grand marshall, and all sorts of other craziness.  After the rally, the parade starts and the class floats (as well as floats from local elementary schools and other businesses) make their way through the town to the cheers of what seems like everyone in Loomis.

It’s intense, and loud, and exhausting, and glorious… but we don’t get much done in class this week.

In past years, I’ve tried to go on with class as usual with my video students, but I’ve ended up frustrated with students and with myself as the lessons and activities inevitably fall flat.  This year, I’m trying something different and so far it’s been a big hit.

It’s a week-long video contest called The Greatest Week.  By the end of the week, each team will create a video that captures Homecoming week at Del Oro.  On Monday, students drew cards from four different mugs.

  1. First, they drew their team members so that they were grouped in teams of three.
  2. Next, they drew a TRT (total run time) for their video.  This was either 6 seconds, 15 seconds, 30 seconds, or 60 seconds.  These are all lengths that they have worked with already this term so they are familiar with the advantages and challenges of each length.
  3. Next they drew a piece of equipment.  We have lots of great equipment for our program but some of it rarely gets used as students are either intimidated or they can’t envision how to best incorporate it.  The mug with equipment cards included a DSLR camera, a bounce board, a GoPro, an intervalometer, a wireless microphone, a tripod dolly, a dedicated audio recorder, a boom pole, a mobile teleprompter, and a jib boom.
  4. Last, they drew a particular technique that they need to use in either production or post production at some point in their video.  Group members would cheer or groan as they drew things like stop motion, time lapse, interview with B-roll, a multi camera set up, a formal interview with 3 point lighting, kinetic typography, video synchronized with music.

They have the whole week to pull it off.  They’ll submit their videos tomorrow and I’ve promised prizes for the best entries.  They are still exhausted from the late nights but they’re having fun and producing great work in their video class.

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