Here’s a quick look at the two high school finalists in NSBA’s T+L 20th anniversary Moviefest (click this link to see the movies). The winner, Eastwood High School in El Paso, Texas, takes the green screen/chroma key effect off the back wall and wraps it around a mysterious visitor from the future in “Today’s Generation.” You can do the same thing a la Harry Potter by having your actor(s) wear or wrap themselves in the key color. Your software doesn’t care where the video or picture it’s putting in the scene goes. It just needs a key color to replace. Inexpensive plastic table cloths from a party store can do the job of Harry’s invisibility cloak or provide the key color backdrop on a wall. Try taking the wrinkles out (carefully) with a hair dryer. Iron (with some cloth in between) at your own risk! They end with a more conventional use of the chromakey effect as our
traveler/student seems to step through a futuristic portal by disolving his clip out and leaving the background doorway all alone to dramatically close, spin around and exit the scene. The plot uses an unseen narrator for most of the talking and a little sound manipulation for the voice of the future. If your editing software can’t alter sounds and your computer didn’t come with a program (like GarageBand) that lets you have some fun with voices and sound, try Audacity. It’s a free program for Mac or PC that lets you alter sounds as well as record voice (and make podcasts!)
The honorable mention in this age group is from Omaha, Nebraska. Omaha North High Magnet School’s film “2026 – Just Around the Corner” does a lot of talking, but in
an interesting way. Starting out with those famous old quotes about how the telephone is just a novelty and the world won’t ever need more than a half dozen computers, they illustrate just how pervasive both are. I really like the way they end their trailer with what I call a “choral” interview. Rather than have one person in one long shot speak to the camera, they break it up by having a number of different students in different locations take a phrase. This makes for a much more interesting delivery of the message. And at the end, they use still frames from the video as a sort of review as they repeat their thesis.
We’ll keep a close eye on school video festivals in this blog as both a way for your students to participate and a means for us all to learn to be better storytellers.