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Viking Video: A Platform for Featuring Student Talent
From our Educator Guest Blogger Series
In March of 2016, the Spartanburg community voted to support construction of a new elementary, middle and high school in District Seven.
Since then, Spartanburg High School has awaited its new campus. Spanning 177 acres, the new future-ready Spartanburg High School features technologies that deliver on District Seven’s mission: To Inspire and Equip.
Starting from the ground-up afforded us new opportunities for teaching and learning.
One opportunity newly launched is a student-run video services program, Viking Video. Our new student-run Viking Video provides live event video coverage, instant replay and graphics for both internal distribution and broadcast. In a three-to-four-hour football or basketball night, over 90% of our screen time is from student-generated video or graphics. The other 10% is from sponsors or other groups. As a result of this investment, students are able to gain experience in careers such as camera operators, graphic designers, DJs and video directors.
Who comes together to prepare a “show”?
Any broadcast has tons of elements prepared ahead of the live event. There is a constant cycle of building digital assets since the next home game is the next week or the same week. These are the real-life scenarios upon which project-based learning can be based. If you land in the Producer’s chair like me, how can you make best use of the assets in your school?
Viking Video is a collaborative effort that requires coordination between five groups of adults and students and showcases some of their best work:
- district communications office provides “branding” materials and community promotions
- school athletics department provides the timeline of events and any recognitions made on-field
- volunteer boosters club sells ad space and coordinates sponsor media
- student council and volunteer groups provide camera operators
- credit-bearing electives like Graphics Design, Sports Economics and Music Technology generate multimedia
For each sporting event, Viking Video receives a series history, weekly sports roundup and player highlight graphic from our students. For game introductions, students also gather headshots to build player bio graphics to highlight student athletes as they score major plays. These same students are also producing graphics for use across our campus’ 50+ digital signage devices. Our Music Technology courses provide student-made tracks to play during play stoppage and also score our hype videos that are part of our pregame shows.
What can students do the night of the event?
So far, I have been fortunate to only have to get students to their stations. For in-game coverage, students run our broadcast cameras, switchers, robotic pan-tilt-zoom cameras, instant replay software and graphics stations. Their split-second communication and decisions are showcased in the video put up on our three large LED video displays or hospitality televisions.
Taking field trips to college events or inviting professionals on your campus are great ways to give students experience in any of these roles. We have also found a number of students already have some skills thanks to church services that are produced in our area. Many of our most capable students already have prior experience; you just have to find them from such churches, your school’s journalism, arts or music programs. Sports-passionate alumni and fellow staff also make for great assistants as well.
Where can you get guidance?
Thanks to Spartanburg’s proximity to so many college athletic programs, we have been able to learn from their productions and how they engineer our systems. Schools can find help from higher-education institutions that have athletic programs; many NCAA schools regardless of division are building a video distribution program. Partnerships have been key to engineering such a video system and learning how to produce a broadcast-worthy sports program. Like anything, it is still an ongoing process. Wofford College’s Richardson Arena is our model, and we have been fortunate to learn a lot from them. Their video services team has consulted before, during and after games, providing SHS valuable feedback as we grow into a central video control room to remotely produce and broadcast events from our Viking Stadium, Viking Arena and the District Seven Fine Arts Center.
Coming up next…
Outside of covering our athletics teams, Viking Video can grow into many other areas. With Twitch’s growing popularity in esports, students could easily host and produce shows around video game competitions or tournaments. Our successful fine arts division also has many performances lined up that will showcase musical and performance talent that can be shared with remote family or friends. We are fortunate to be in a community that supports so many ways to develop student talent. Now, we have a platform to bring that talent to everyone in high-def.
A School Technology Coordinator in Spartanburg District Seven and former high school teacher, Adam is an Apple Learning Specialist, Microsoft Innovative Educator (yeah, you can be both!), a South Carolina ASCD Emerging Leader and one of one-hundred 2014 PBS Learning Media Digital Innovators. Follow him on Twitter at @AJBabc.
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