Running Out of Project Ideas?
Projects for my beginning students are different than projects for my advanced classes.
They have a purposeful progression of instruction intended to shape their knowledge and ability to successfully produce a variety of genres. I feel strongly that different styles of production should be taught in the beginning along with camera and editing basics so when they make it to the advanced classes, they are well prepared to take on a variety of projects as they improve their technical skills.
With my beginning classes in both Middle School and High School, I prefer to start with a simple music video using stock footage and a music library. This introduces them to the basics of editing, and the importance of timing and pacing. It introduces the proper project settings and saving of their projects inside the editing program and allows you an opportunity to talk about camera shot types, angles, movement and clarity. You could require them to use a specific combination of shots in their sequence. I require use of some video transitions and video effects in this first project. This is also when I establish elements required in every video. Such as, a 5 second slate at the beginning, dip to black, title page, fade out at end and credits. Finally, they learn for the first time how to finalize or export their project. This too is crucial for the success of all future projects and establishing your delivery procedures.
For the second project, short film, I provide a script outline with 3 scenes. This project introduces them to story telling, script formatting and the Pre-Production process. They must develop a strong beginning, middle and end complete with shot descriptions, actions, transitions, and dialogue. They also have to create a storyboard, shot breakdown and production schedule. We take time out to learn basic camera techniques, practice with the camera and then have a tech rehearsal before they begin Production. This project is important to establish your procedures and expectations for the Pre-Production process for all future projects. After Production, they learn how to import their video, and are reminded how to properly save and organize their files. My script out-line requires one scene to be shot in front of a blue or green screen so they can learn how to apply Chroma-key. This video effect makes the project more fun because they can go ANYWHERE in their story.
My third project is a commercial and we discus how the purpose of advertising and promotions are different than music videos and short stories. This time they have to complete a product worksheet and develop a 30 or 60 second script that demonstrates a problem, a solution and product information (in any order). Then we repeat our Pre-Production, Production and Post-Production process but learn more about computer graphics.
After the advertising unit, we produce a news segment. Again, all the production processes are the same but the genre, style and format are different. More computer graphics are required for this project. The importance of story telling is enforced, interviewing techniques are taught and B-roll is introduced.
Then, we produce a Public Service Announcement (PSA) with a time limit of 30 or 60 seconds. It is important to distinguish how a PSA is not a commercial because it is not selling anything. PSA categories are limitless: peer pressure, fire safety, seat belt safety, anti-bullying, Red Ribbon Week, anti-drugs, drinking and driving, animal cruelty, child neglect/abuse, pollution, natural disasters, health, sickness, hygiene, etc.
From here on, I have done something different every year. It usually depends on the needs of the school or video contests that have been posted. See the list at the bottom for more ideas.
Finally, I like to end the year with DVD Design and Authoring. A student ‘reel’, compilation of their work, with extra features like bloopers or their friend’s videos. I tell them all year to save the bloopers for the last project. In my experience, my students always want to edit bloopers and lose focus on the current assignment. I tell them that I am not grading them on bloopers and to save them for when they get ahead or for the last project - the DVD. This makes them happy and gets them back on task. The DVD requirements include a main menu, sub-menu with scene selection and a slide show. All the navigation must work! No one burns their DVD until I have checked it. For the final exam, they present their DVD to the class and get a grade based on presentation as well as DVD Design and Authoring.
More Project Ideas:
How to / Instructional
Special Interest Story
Contests and Annual Events
Library and Reading (literacy week)
State Standards Testing Tips
School Needs -
Meet the New Teachers
Administration - Who’s Who
Videos for Incoming students
Highlights: Sports, Clubs, Music, Arts, Classes
SGA Election Speeches
Book Club Promotions
Canned Food Drive
Senior Slide Shows / End of Year etc.
Code of Conduct
Media Center Policy
Misty Gentle started with long format television programs for ABC, NBC, FOX, Disney, Nickelodeon, Animal Planet, Discovery and has recently transitioned
into the digital and online space. The vast variety of genres in her TV production experience has given her the opportunity to master the production process from development through post, manage websites, teach and really become a multi-media professional. Certified in Final Cut Pro, she also edits in Adobe, AVID and other Apple software. Starting at Nickelodeon, her resume includes classics such as: Double Dare, Legends of the Hidden Temple, GUTS, You’re On, What Would You Do? and My Family’s Got GUTS. She embraces new technology, exercises creativity, and produces quality shows that entertain and inspire others.
She began teaching digital video production in 2004 with a full TV program at the middle school level. After 5 years, Gentle moved up to high schoo lwhere she taught storytelling, script writing, camera operation, computer GFX and editing to 9th through 12th graders on two campuses and helped write the curriculum guide for Orange County Public Schools.
Since 2013, Gentle moved to Los Angeles to continue working in the industry. Adding to her resume with TV shows for NBC, FOX, Lifetime, Bravo and Reelz she has also produced online content for Disney’s YouTube Channel, Bravo, the CW and Machinima. These productions have given her a broad understanding of production from show concept and development through post and delivery in multiple platforms.
Gentle holds a BA degree in Communications - Television and Radio Production and is certified in Final Cut Pro and 'Technical Vocational Education - Television Production'
Crew assignments and operation are imperative to a smooth-running broadcast and production crew. Therefore, students must know each assignment definition and its responsibilities. You can either assign each student for the entire semester to a specific assignment, or you can rotate throughout the semester, enabling all students to experience each role. This is an excellent opportunity for you as an educator to essentially “cross-train” these students, ensuring each student will know each assignment, therefore allowing another student to step in another assignment if required.
Below are crew assignments and job descriptions.
Daily News Producer: The daily news producer is responsible for the newscast production. He/she is responsible for the entire production crew and coordinating technical and nontechnical production elements of the broadcast. The daily news producer is also responsible for gathering and assigning stories.
Line Producer: Responsible for producing the program, the Line Producer oversees studio preparation, equipment, on-air broadcast, including anchor direction, and studio clean-up post-broadcast. The Line Producer is also responsible for overseeing the run-through, or pre-show, ensuring the script is smooth and anchors are polished.
Anchor(s): The anchor’s responsibilities include preparing the broadcast script around reporter stories and features (with the direction from the assigned producer) and ensuring a professional, on-air professional broadcast. Good posture, clear speaking and pace are very important aspects to consider when anchoring. It is the anchor’s job to engage the audience.
Director: The director is responsible for directing all aspects of the broadcast, including the technical director and camera operators, ensuring both receive direction on switching cameras and count-downs.
Technical Director: Taking direction from the director, the technical director operates the video switcher during the live broadcast, including punching, switching and fades, as well as ensures all clips for the day’s broadcast are loaded and cued.
Camera Person(s): Responsible for camera operation during the broadcast, the camera person(s) should make sure before the broadcast all cameras are operational, white-balanced, on the tripod, all wiring is correct and the feed is being read by switcher. The camera operator should go through the broadcast run-through, familiarizing him/herself with the broadcast run-down.
Audio Engineer: Assisting the director, the audio engineer makes sure the sound board is on, working properly and the signal is being read by the audio mixer or recorder. The assistant director is also responsible for microphones and all on-air broadcast participants can be heard. Additionally, the assistant director/audio engineer chooses the music for each broadcast. Remember copyright rules before choosing copyrighted music.
Character Generator Operator/Lower Thirds: The character generation operator will create all pages of text (for example, credits), lower thirds and overlays before the broadcast. He/she will also ensure all still pictures are available and cued for broadcast.Script Editors: Script editors are responsible for ensuring the script is well-written, grammatically correct and factually accurate. If corrections need to be made, or problems are evident, it’s the script editor’s job to correct the information.
TelePrompter Operator: The teleprompter operator must keep up with the anchor by constantly slowing down and speeding up the scrolling of the text. The teleprompter operator also needs to do some pre-production work. They should at the very least have a show rundown and compare what’s loaded into the prompter with the rundown. If there are any discrepancies, alert the producer and the anchor.
Sports Producer: The sports producer gathers scores from relevant games, provides the scores and results to the producer and CG operator, game schedules, and ensures all game footage, interviews, etc. are given to the video editor in time for the broadcast.
Video Editor(s): Responsible for editing all offline footage shot by camera persons, for example, interviews, game highlights, school events, etc. before the daily broadcast to be integrated into the show.
Reporter(s): The reporter’s main responsibility is to gather information for stories and features for the broadcast. This is done by interviews, press releases, public records and other sources. Splitting his/her time between working in the newsroom and going on field assignments, they compile, write and sometimes edit the story.
Floor Director: The stage manager is responsible for ensuring the set is ready each day for broadcast, including set design, dressing the set for appropriate events and making sure the overall appearance of the set is broadcast-ready. The floor director also signals to on-camera talent (anchors, etc.) which camera is active and how much time is remaining the the story or segment.