“It is all student led. The live stream is student led,” said Jon Souders, media instructor at CHS. “They are directing, doing play-by-play and graphics. We have had many compliments on the program.”
Students in Souders’ broadkcasting class create videos, live stream, compete in competitions and run the daily morning news segment at CHS.
Classes are separated 1-4. Students in Broadcasting 1 focus on the basics of video. This is mainly a freshman and sophomore group. Students learn editing, shooting, special effects, green screening and more.
“Broadcasting 2 students learn how to do key framing animations, new movie special effects, camera techniques and fine-tuning projects,” Souders said. “In this class, they will have three weeks to make a short horror film.”
Students work in groups for a majority of the broadcasting projects. They are encouraged to ask each other help before approaching Souders. Questions for their teacher often relate to difficult and advanced techniques.
Souders said his students’ desire to learn makes getting them involved easy. Each broadcasting class is offered as an elective under the Career and Technology department.
“A student will come up to me and say, ‘I want to make this car blow up in my video. How do I do that?’ So it challenges me because I haven’t ever blown up a car before, so we figure out how to do it,” Souders said.
Research is then done by both teacher and student. He guides and they attempt whichever technique they find interesting.
“This is how it will happen in the real world,” Souders said. “The director will come to you and say, I want this car to blow up. They then expect you to do the research to make it happen.”
Technology’s constantly evolving state means Souders has to consistently learn new techniques. He said he continually enrolls in new courses on a variety of media-related subjects. He learns the new material, then turns around and teaches his students.
The main focus of Broadcasting 3 is the daily morning news segment. Students write, shoot, anchor, direct and control all aspects of the show. Souders said he is basically there as a monitor.
“It used to be there was a little bit of a delay and the segment would be watched online,” Souder said. “I figured out the students were too relaxed. They realized if they messed up then they could redo a take. Now if they make a mistake, then 1,400 of their peers will see.”
This fact is not lost on the current Broadcasting 3 students.
“Mr. Souders said we had to be ready and good by the second day of school,” said Evan Stutzman.
Added Austyn Stevenson, “We have to look good every single day. There are no breaks.”
These students use the first hour of school to prepare, practice and present the morning news. They have to work together as a team to make it through the program.
“You learn how to do everything, like cameras and production, while learning communication skills and how to work with people to overcome problems,” said Jake Davis. “It’s just an all-around great learning experience.”
Eric Powers said it is sometimes a struggle to get along. Austyn is quick to point out they usually manage to by the end of the day.
“It really gives you a sense of what the real job is going to be like working with people and having to get along,” Powers said. “It’s real life experience.”
Jesse Hall said she has become close with everybody in her class. It allows the group of teenagers to work as a cohesive unit. Hall said it also helps that all of them want the news segment to be the best.
Monitors line the tech room. Davis said the various screens show what is currently live, the next segment, and online streaming. There is a teleprompter, director’s chair with three screens and a technical director. Audio controls sit between the director and the live streaming computer monitor.
Renny Whittenbarger, supervisor of Career and Technological Education, said the green screen in the adjoining room would soon be replaced by a news stage and equipment.
“I like it because we can always start fresh. It is never the same thing, there is something new every day,” Austyn said. “It is difficult, as well, because you do not get to practice.”
Live streaming for football events occurs every Friday at 7 p.m. Interested parties can catch up-to-date news about the scheduled events by following the Blueraiderslive Twitter account.
According to Souders, family members from Ohio and Argentina use the live streaming videos to watch their relatives in football and soccer. Sporting events like wrestling and basketball will be broadcast, as well.
Students are expected to cover at least one event per quarter. Souders said it is possible for one person to cover an event. Possible, but not preferable.
“We want to grow our live streaming more. We want to add instant replay and additional cameras,” Souders said. “It would also be nice to start a film festival where students can enter their videos and the community can come and watch.”
Souders is also working toward industry certification for his students.
“A student would be able to graduate with certification in whichever software they are using. That is huge,” Souders said. “A lot of times, when you graduate from college you still do not have industry certification.”
The sky seems to be the limit with this young and eager broadcasting department.