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The City Journals

Video Production Class Increases Communication at Taylorsville High

Feb 09, 2016 08:43AM ● By Bryan Scott

By Elizabeth Suggs

Taylorsville - The video production classroom at Taylorsville High has an office located in the room with a window littered by coke cans of Santa Claus printed on the side. Beside the office window, students were editing videos on five-year-old Mac computers. 

“They look brand new, don’t they?” video production teacher Richard Clawson said, referring to the Macs. “The reason is I treat them like they were mine.” 

Along with treating the computers as if they were his, so was his reaction with the cameras, microphones and other video production equipment used in the classroom or in the media center. According Clawson, classes start with knowing what kind of respect is required for the equipment.

Students learn how much things generally cost, and because of that students tend to respect the equipment. For Clawson, breaking equipment is a personal attack on his livelihood because, according to him, the equipment makes the class and without the class there’s no job. 

“If you’re making my classroom go down, you’ll go down and trust me, the police will be involved.” Clawson said. “I used to feel bad when students broke the rules, but now you’re the guy that broke the rules. It’s not my fault.”  

However stringent Clawson may seem, it’s necessary for what kind of work is involved with production. Equipment that’s easy to get in a Hollywood setting, isn’t as easy in a classroom setting – there’s more imagination involved. 

“We can’t afford all that stuff [expensive equipment] so you have to use your imagination to put stuff together,” Clawson said.  “You can have a blast doing this stuff, but you can still get the message across.” 

With their knowledge, students do both fun or informational based videos. In one such video, Vehicle Safety, students had assistant principal Ryan Shaw and high school police officer Richard Bullock talk about student and car safety. Since the video was released on YouTube, according to Shaw, some students have taken the advice. 

“Because of where Taylorsville High School is, there’s a lot of movement. A lot of people coming and going. We’ve had some break-ins because students will leave their bags in their cars,” Shaw said.

Most, if not all videos, go online to YouTube. The risk of going online and having students’ privacy exposed is not an issue, according to Clawson. The reason being, students create the videos and decide who should or should not go online. This ensures that anyone not willing to go online doesn’t go online.

In fact, the worry online isn’t of the students, but of copyright. Being a school institution, fair use law is enacted, but YouTube doesn’t know that. According to Clawson, the school has to register specifically as a school in order to use certain music or sound effects. 

“We’ve had a little bit of trouble with YouTube,” Clawson said.  “We have to register as a school website, so we don’t have videos taken down because of copyright.” 

For Clawson, the registration is easy and is expected. Other online sites are slightly different, like Twitter, which Shaw is responsible for. According to Shaw, having several ways to communicate the same message helps get the information out. 

“We try a multi pronged approach to getting information to students.” Shaw said. “We show videos, announcements, when games are. We do announcements during the day. They’re somewhat effective.”

Soon posters with an attached QR code of the school website will be posted around the hallways of Taylorsville High, according to Clawson.                            λ