- Princeton ISD
A/V program captures live action
Sporting events at Princeton High School spotlight hundreds of student athletes, but one group of students is making a name for itself in sports by being behind the scenes.
Thanks to the efforts of the students in the Audio/Visual Production course, spectators can see the athletes live on the big screens.
Audio/visual production is offered at PHS as part of the CATE program, and the talents of the students in the program are tapped to perform this crucial job for the district as jumbotrons are featured in every athletic venue.
“Once they join the A/V class, they start by shadowing others when they are put on a crew,” said A/V teacher Bob McClure. “In the class we talk about cameras and exposures and some basic skills, but it’s more about learning on the job. For instance, the students can go to the gym and practice their camera angles and shots with no one on the court, but they have to be thrown into the game to learn how to follow a basketball player with the camera.”
Filming games can be fast-paced, so there are definite tricks to the trade.
“We are using all the cameras at same time, but the director decides which shot to use,” said senior Bria Seymore. “Mr. McClure said the best way to handle this is to pretend your camera is live all the time.”
Although this is good advice for the camera operator, Mr. McClure can’t educate them on how to avoid contact with the players.
“With Camera 3, you are down in the trenches,” Sean Luton said about using the big wireless camera on the court or sidelines. “You will get hit at some point. I got tackled one football game, but everyone immediately asked if Camera 3 was OK.”
There are camera mishaps and contact with players, but another challenge is split-second timing.
“One of my biggest fears is you only get one chance to get the shot, so you can’t miss it,” Danny Rohrback said. “It’s not like you can make them do it again.”
Although they are prepared to cover every sport, that doesn’t stop the students from having their personal favorites when it comes to capturing the game while being fans.
They each have their preferences when it comes to filming. For instance, Kalvin Carmo enjoys shooting soccer games and wrestling, while Sean likes football and Bria prefers volleyball.
“But I do like to participate with all the games here,” Kalvin said.
The A/V students are not just responsible for camera work at sporting events.
“We have to be there for other events during the year,” Bria said. “We filmed the Special Olympics meet and the Shattered Dreams, so it’s not always sports.”
The A/V class is not just about cameras. Students say they are learning skills that will be beneficial the rest of their lives.
“This class teaches endurance because you have to stand still and hold a camera for hours and stay focused,” Sean said.
According to Bria and the other A/V team members, the program also teaches teamwork, and they learn to take, as well as give directions.
A/V team members say they got involved with the program for different reasons, and they joke that they don’t have much of a life outside of filming for the school because it keeps them so busy.
“I have always been interested in cameras and photography and video,” Bria said. “This was a way to learn more.”
Peer pressure is also a factor in the A/V enrollment.
“All my friends told me I needed to get involved,” new A/V team member Matthew McCreary said. “It was like peer pressure, I saw my friends doing it, and I had nothing else to do after school.”
Kalvin said, “I wanted more camera experience and time with friends. And, I wanted to be around my favorite teacher.”
Students enjoy the fact that every game is different.
“We are never doing the same stuff,” Sean said. “Each night filming is really different. You are always figuring out where to be to get the best shots.”
They also like the fact that the A/V team has become like a family.
“I really like the people I’m working with,” said Bria. “We work together so much, they become like family. I’ve met a lot of people and they all turned out to be cool.”