Assignment = Dollars: One Student’s Successful Quest to Create a PSA on the Environment for his Generation
Note: This video came to me by way of the sister of the filmmaker who is my nephew. But you needn’t be a family member to have Joy blog about your project. So send me the links and let me know about your editing trials and tribulations along the way. Anytime!
Steve McCord, a sophomore at Houghton College, took a digital video class last fall and his professor made an assignment: Create an environmental video pertaining to our generation. McCord emailed me: “Personally I was super sick of all the lame videos that guilt you into action by showing you pictures of pretty sunflowers. I tried to stay away from that but looking back I inevitably ended up doing it which annoys me but yeah c’est la vie.” He adds, “I wanted to try to reveal the ‘Oz behind the curtain’ hence the FCP shot and say ‘Look, you’ve seen these videos and as great as they might be, it’s still your choice on what you’re going to do.”
Check out the results yourselves:
Writing and Shooting
How did McCord get started? “I wrote a speech thing for my ‘actors’ to say then took them out in a random part of the woods and filmed them. Initially I only had one guy in the whole movie but then after a class critique half way through the project, I got some feedback saying that there needed to be more people to give it more of a “voices of a generation type of feel” [Good advice, class!]
McCord returned to the woods with four more students. “I got through three of them but then I ran out of daylight so I had to wait till the next day. Lo’ and behold it snowed that night so then I had to wait for another couple days for it all to melt or else it wouldn’t look continuous.”
Editing – Picture
McCord reports “it was fairly straight forward to begin with. I just laid it out to the script.” He used FCP, Soundtrack Pro, and 27″ iMacs. “After I laid it out, I figured no one would want to listen to some random guys talking to you for 2 minutes. So I tried to add some variety with the text.” Still he wasn’t happy with how the lighting turned out but found that “when you are shooting outdoors like that, you kinda gotta take what you got. I tried my best with the color correction in post but it didn’t quite have the effect that I wanted.”
Editing – Sound
McCord confesses: “That class was the first time that I really learned how to do audio correction so looking back I wish I had done it first rather than go through each clip to send to soundtrack pro for noise reduction. It would have saved a lot of time. I had this buzz from my lapel mic that I wasn’t a huge fan of but thankfully was able to get most of it out of there then send it back to FCP.
McCord submitted the video to the National Association of Evangelicals Creation Care Video contest around the first week in December then got notified in the last week of February that he had won. What was the prize? “I won $1000” he states, “and I plan to use that money to reinvest in equipment.”
Keep up the good work, Steve. And let me hear from the rest of you!