The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, March 26, 2010


Carlisle School Video Club has all the news


Video Club members Amy Su (on camera), Namita Chandra (on sound) and Josh Szczesniak (with microphone) record the news, while Technology Specialist Cyd McCann holds the cue cards. (Photo by Cynthia Sorn)

It’s a typical day for the news team. The director calls, “Quiet on the set!” She checks that her team is ready and then counts down from five down to zero. The camera operator and sound technician spring to action as the “talent” reads the news from cue cards. The talent reads, “And that’s the news. Signing off from CSNR. Have a great week!”

“Cut,” calls the director. “That’s a wrap.” The film editor swiftly takes over – he and his assistant editors get the film ready for broadcast.

This could be any Boston area news station, but instead this is the Carlisle School, and the news staff is made up of middle school students who belong to the Video Club. The Mosquito was invited to watch a recording session on a recent Thursday afternoon. Thanks in part to a grant from the Carlisle Education Foundation, the Video Club, which began in September under the leadership of Carlisle School Technology Specialist Cyd McCann, began recording the weekly news in February.

The news material comes from the teachers and staff at the school, as well as from the Student Council, explained McCann. The finished newscast, including a weather report, is uploaded to the school’s server, which the teachers access through their computers. Every Monday morning the approximately three-minute shows from CSNR (Carlisle School News Report) are broadcast on the electronic whiteboards in all middle school classrooms. McCann said the teachers have reported that students pay more attention to the telecast than they did when the announcements were read.

Student film editors Demetri Maxim (standing) and Lucas Hickman edit the news footage while reporters Lindsey Stutz and Tamara Pascual look on. (Photo by Cynthia Sorn)

Students take turns at jobs: for instance, during the session observed, sixth grader Tamara Pascual moved from camera operator to sound technician. When asked what jobs the students enjoy most, sixth-grader Demetri Maxim said he liked being in front of the camera. Lindsey Stutz, who also likes being a news reporter, warned that fame comes with a price. “Teachers stop me in the hall” to compliment her on her newscast, she said, which has made her late to class. Sixth-grader Lucas Hickman, though, is focused on the technical aspects of the newscast. He, along with sixth-grader Alex Goodisman are often the editors, using iMovie on Apple computers to cut out the mistakes and put the final video together.

Most of the members are in fifth and sixth grade, said McCann. The club borrowed some equipment from local cable station CCTV in Concord to start them off. McCann said they could use additional equipment and their wish list includes cables and a variety of microphones. They could also use stands, cable tape, and a training session on Final Cut Pro. A recording studio would be nice, she said.

Currently they film in a corner of the library, which can be challenging when a class is doing research. On the other hand, being in the library means other students get to watch, and that encourages them to get involved, she said. Students who are not in the club are welcome to try out reading the news or doing technical work and on this day they had two guest production members.

Other club members include: fifth-graders Josh Szczesniak, Namita Chandra, Amy Su and Deedy Chang, and eighth grader Whitney Cook. ∆

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