Opening a New World for High School Students in the Bronx [Case Study]

You know that awesome feeling when you teach something and it totally lands? Yeah, like your dog finally sits without getting a treat each time you tell him to, or a swimmer finally puts a stroke together that you’ve been showing her for a while, or a student has that awesome “aha” moment.

That’s how I felt when I watched this video:

I had taught a class at a Bronx high school for an EDsnaps summer program run by Susanne Cappendijk, and her daughter Lisanne, listened to my class and then went off and made this video; from scratch. I love every frame of it.So, I called Lisanne and asked her what she had learned in my class and how she applied it, and where her challenges where. Honestly: I also wanted to know how much credit I could take for that video.

Turns out – as so often – that video is a collaborative effort.

The first interviews with the young ladies, I had shot on the day of my workshop. During the shoot, I taught one of the teachers how to replicate the shoot for the ‘after’ interviews three weeks later.

The photos where shot during the program.

The second round of interviews and with the girls, as well as the interview with her mom, where shot by Lisanne, who had been given pointers by the teacher I had taught.

While shooting the girls, the most important advice was to remind them to look right into the camera and not get distracted by the interviewer or other people in the room.

Lisanne also referred back to my handout often, especially when she set up the shoot with her mom. It helped her with finding an appropriate background, framing her mom properly, and also making sure her mom was comfortable in front of the camera for the interview. [Check out: 10 On-Camera Tips].

Lisanne also loved having video samples of what not to do!

Editing took her about 3 full days – which sounds about right for that amount of footage and for being a novice.

Lisanne was surprised how long it took just to look through all the footage. Let alone organize it and plan on how to use it! I know!

She used a pre-set graphic template that iMovie offered with a school-theme (how perfect is that) and used music from a royalty-free YouTube music library recommended by her brother.

I asked her how the experience was selecting music. I had to laugh as she had the same experience I have every time: At first, she found a few good examples, but after listening to many music clips, she kinda “lost” her ear. It’s like sampling too many different kinds of chocolate (can you tell I’m Swiss), or cheeses (Swiss again!), or wine: After a while – if you’re not a connoisseur – it all melds into one big blob-of-confused-senses (technical term!).

She also said that a big take-away for her was to never discard any footage for any reason. At some point during the edit she was missing some footage and had to go hunting for video-scraps to fill some gaps.

That’s advice I don’t even remember giving during the workshop, but its advice I got from my very first editing teacher some 28 (I mean 14) years ago.

What was her take-away? Now when she watches a YouTube video she has a totally different appreciation for what goes into creating a video! Yes, Lisanne, love it.

And, what was her biggest take-way from the summer program?

She was floored by how the young women grew into their expanding horizons as they were introduced daily to new possibilities for their futures. EDsnaps provided them with access to worlds they didn’t know existed.

And for Lisanne a new perspective opened up too: She realized how much her mother’s program was truly needed.

I’m thrilled to be a part of this and look forward to a repeat next summer!

Technical Specs:

  • Video was shot on iPhone 6 (It still has a regular audio jack!)
  • We used a “proper” semi-professional tripod which I loaned the school
  • We used a cheap $23 microphone from Amazon (I always order “most popular in the $20 range)
  • Editing on Desktop version of iMovie – also check out: Nina’s Favorite Video Edit Apps
  • Graphic interface: iMovie template
  • Music: YouTube royalty-free music – like this one

 

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