Wylie’s Video Production class has always had a role filming various events around campus, but in the last four to five years, the class’ responsibilities have exploded.
Part of that is because of new equipment at both the stadium and in the new Performing Arts Center, and part of it is because the pandemic hit, making live-streams popular.
“We did have to start live-streaming more for obvious reasons,” said class member Matthew Fitzsimmons, a Wylie junior. “That has presented its own challenges, but I think we have overcome those. We certainly have a lot more live-streams that we have to keep track of.”
Not only does the class live-stream school events such as the stock show or school programs, it also live-streams school board meetings. And for the first time this year, the UIL has allowed livestreams of football games and other athletic events.
In the fall, the class’ primary job is filming the football games. When the stadium was upgraded with a video scoreboard, the class was able to start doing instant replays and create animations to promote various school functions.
Cristobal Correa, a junior, is in charge of scheduling who works where and at which football games.
“We usually have three to four people manning cameras,” he said. “One at top, two at the bottom and one mobile camera on a harness so we can get close-up shots.”
He said another four or five people have to be in the booth manning equipment. One person serves as director, while someone else runs the replay system. Someone is also switching what video goes on the scoreboard, and someone is running the animations.
He said he likes to let people take turns at different jobs so they can see which they like best and get a little experience at each.
“Before football season starts, we have a little boot camp event where we teach the new people how to run the scoreboard and what positions are available,” he said. “They pick it up pretty quickly. It’s kind of difficult in the beginning.”
Some people stay in the class year after year, so not everyone is starting from scratch. Cristobal has been in the class for three years, since he was a freshman. Timothy Sturtevant is also a junior and has been in the class for three years.
He loves working the camera at football games, although he can only work in the third quarter because he is in the band.
“I am a big football fan, so I like getting to move the camera and get all these cool shots,” Timothy said. “I sit down and watch the NFL, and I’m like that’s a really good shot. I might be able to get that shot. It’s a really fun experience.”
He said he often has to give football advice to his classmates.
“A lot of this class doesn’t really watch football,” he said. “We are kind of a nerd class. I am usually teaching my classmates about football and tricks to move with the play that make it easy
to follow the ball.”
The class has its own YouTube Channel called Bulldog Productions, where many of its live-stream events and videos can be found. When the class is not doing football, they are filming the
school musical or other events in the Performing Arts Center.
That’s one of Tim “Chief” Hudson’s favorite things to do.
“I love when we film stuff,” he said. “We have really good cameras in the PAC. I like using the PTZ (Pan, Tilt, Zoom) camera. I have a little stick that moves the camera and a zoom in function and an iris function and a focus. And editing is one of my favorite things.”
The class also spends time in the late fall working on making short films for competitions, such as UIL competition.
Matthew especially likes the short films because he likes to write.
“I like writing for the film competitions and being able to work with a film crew on things like short films because then I can get writing experience,” he said. “I have written for quite a few years now, things like scripts, general outlines for things.”
Timothy, who definitely wants to go into film when he goes to college, likes being able to work with equipment and software that he will use in college and in the work force.
“This is 100 percent professional equipment,” he said. “The cameras we use for the football game is some of the same stuff that the ACU film department is using. All our videos, we edit in Premiere Pro, which is the standard for the film industry.”
He said the class really helps by giving him experience and real-life skills that he can use in his future career. But even Matthew, who isn’t sure what he wants to do in college, said the class has been very valuable.
“Even if I don’t necessarily go into the field, it has allowed me to learn a lot of things that I use in other parts of my life such as my writing,” he said. “I am an artist and can use what I learn in this class to help me in my art. Especially with your storyboarding and figuring out the composition of certain shots, it certainly helps.”
By Candy Reagan