State-of-the-art ROP course gives prep for TV, video production careers

State-of-the-art ROP course gives prep for TV, video production careersBy JEANETTE FRANCIS, News Review Correspondent

Although school is out for the summer, students thinking about the next school year have an exciting option to consider — the ROP Television and Video Production course, which was offered for the first time during the 2013-14 school year.

Instructor Simon Austin describes the course in his syllabus as an introduction to the “creative and challenging world of video production.” The course is meant to hone artistic, creative, and communication skills and techniques in students interested in pursuing future education or employment in the fields of television, movie and music production.

The course requires completion of 11 projects designed to teach skills in writing, editing and producing. These include making a music video, 30-Second advertising spot, music mix, family history mini documentary, studio news item using a green screen, mockumentary (including writing and producing a comedy), public service announcement, field production of a feature news story, and a minidrama.

Students learn the use of professional technology, including three-point lighting, as well as editing computer programs including iMovie, Final Cut and LiveType.

Classmembers are trained in TV operations in the studio and control room, operating cameras, working with green screens and using various video formats, including the Internet. The new course just moved into its current facility this year and the school has just started working with this technology, according to Austin.

Students need access to a digital video camera, SD card and web-connected computer at home. The program has some cameras available for students to borrow for select projects.

In preparation for possible employment in video production, students prepare portfolio DVDs of their work. They also study a media professional, considering his or her use of teamwork and collaboration, professional tools, process of getting involved in the industry, training and income. They are taught safety, legal and ethical issues and how to work with clients.

During the last week of school, students in the course sat at their desks and gazed alternately at their computer screens and a large screen at the front of the class showing various videos created by them as Austin encouraged several to demonstrate the video technology in the control room and studio.

Carter Pope introduced several technological instruments in the control room, including the “Black Magic,” which records things. He commented that the switcher board is the most fun device to play with, and two computers can be connected to it enabling switching between cameras, “which is really cool and fun.” Pope said he likes being in front of the screen. “I want to become an actor because I love acting,” he said. He is also in company class and has participated in drama.

Cody Allen, who specializes in operating the switcher most of the time, said he has learned “how to get the chroma key done and get the second picture in so it looks more professional like they actually have in news.” He explained that the chroma key enables adding “background and other material on the screen besides the talent.” Chroma keying is a / technique for layering two or streams together based on color hues. The technique is used to remove a from the subject of a photo or video and is frequently applied in newscasting, movies, and music videos.

Austin urged Allen to “fire it up,” and two computer screens lit up with green backgrounds. Pope and Principal Dave Ostash, appeared on the screen and waved as the camera picked up their images being recorded in the studio. Austin added that they have teleprompters in the studio so they “can have talent like news reporters watching the words up on the screen.”

A music video created by student Adler Navarrete played for the class. “It’s a really professional video,” Austin commented. Navarrete stated that he has been engaged in video production since 2005, including making YouTube videos. “I would make my own shorts here and there. So when I saw this class I thought it would be a great opportunity to learn more.” He plans to be a computer system manager.

Malik Mallett specializes in sound. He became interested in the class because he is a musician and is interested in music production. “I knew that this class could help me work on my mixing skills and production skills,” he said. His tasks include controlling the audio levels, making sure they go to the black magic, and adding music.

Katie Willard, a student who Austin described as “an amazing editor,” discussed the final project of the year, a minidrama based on a poem written by a student. The minidrama editing involves “adding videos to it to make it more interesting.” She joined the class because she likes editing and believes it is an option for her to pursue further after high school.

Christien Scott wrote the music for the minidrama. He commented that he wants to be a director and is interested in both movie and television forums. He plans to go to Cerro Coso and transfer to UCLA.

Austin encourages students interested in the field of video production to learn more about the course. For more information about the class visit

ROP?Video and Television Production instructor Simon Austin talks with (from left) Malik Mallett, Cody Allen and Carter Pope (on screen) during the class at Burroughs High School.

Photo by Laura Austin

Story First Published: 2014-06-11