Thursday, January 11, 2018

Mid-Year Course Survey

Hello Students,
The Santa Cruz County Career Technical Education Partnership (formerly ROP) uses a course survey at the end of all classes to gather information and receive feedback about our courses and class material. This information is used to provide evidence of the course work, student achievement and relevancy of our curriculum in CTE classes. This information assists with funding these courses and helps to ensure that CTE classes continue to be offered to future High School students.

Thank you for your participation!

 - Mr.W

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Video Production and Animation Final: Demo Reel and ROP Print Portfolio

As part of your final you will produce a high energy demo reel that showcases your work during the semester. You will also complete your ROP print portfolio. Both of these items are due on the 18th.

Demo Reel Project:
Having a compelling demo reel is a key component in communicating your talents and digital media skills to potential employers and clients. One of your final projects is to create a demo reel that showcases your skills. Read: Tips on creating a demo reel

  • Choose a short and high energy piece of music to edit your demo reel to, make sure you have this ready before you begin editing
  • Launch Adobe Premiere and begin adding all of your rendered animation assets and video projects from the semester (work from other classes or prior semesters/independent work is allowed)
  • Create an intro slide plus an ending title slide with your name and email address
  • Edit your slides, images, animations and videos to your music, make sure to edit on the beat of your music track to keep it compelling
  • Demo reel music and action should crescendo towards the end
  • Keep the demo reel down to 1 minute or 1:30 approximately
  • Include tails and 2-pop
  • Turn in via NAS or SNET in full HD H.264 with 10Mbps Data Rate

ROP Print Portfolio Project:

Having a polished and professional looking portfolio is key to your success in finding work after High School and moving on to developing a career. Download the ROP Portfolio Handbook to use as a guide for creating your own portfolio, a requirement in all ROP classes.

Portfolio's are due by the end of the semester and must be ready for presentation, evaluation and critique. You will complete a digital version as a PDF file for evaluation. Class winner will be able to print and prepare their portfolio for inclusion in the Portfolio Showcase competition. This portfolio is part of your final grade.

Remember that the best portfolio in class will be sent to the portfolio design competition that ROP has at the end of each school year, your portfolio will compete against other graphic design classes across the county, and there are prizes!
A judge evaluates print portfolio's from past entrants...

Portfolio Development Assignment:
  • Your portfolio must be created in Indesign and the final file must be a multi-page PDF document
  • Use the Pages palette to create multiple pages for your portfolio with Indesign
  • Your portfolio cover, table of contents and all materials should look clean and consistent. Use consistent design style across all aspects of your portfolio, this includes color, typography, layout and style

Your Portfolio must contain in this order: See portfolio handbook for more details...
  1. Cover page with your name, class title, year. Spend some time on this, it should show good design skill and be reflective of your personality
  2. Table of contents
  3. Letter of Introduction
  4. Resume
  5. Handwritten Job Application 
  6. List of References
  7. Letter of Recommendation -  cannot be from your ROP teacher or a family member
  8. 3 or more work samples with written explanation about the work, why is it important to your career choice? What did the project entail, what were the challenges and difficulties? Give us details.
How Your Portfolio Is Evaluated:
  • Contains required content and format
  • Well organized
  • Free of grammer problems
  • ROP related work samples
  • Shows creativity
  • Nice appearance
  • Shows skill development
  • Appropriate for use in job search
  • Professional appearance
  • Nice presentation
A print portfolio can take many forms, it can be professionally bound, stitched by hand or bound with a spiral ring... how will you create your portfolio, what will make it stand out above the rest?

Tips For Winning The Portfolio Competition:
In the last few years the portfolio competition has gotten fierce, especially for the graphic design category. Other schools have printing facilities that we don't, so you must use your creativity, ingenuity and eye for design to stand above the rest. Consider purchasing a large format portfolio binder and printing work samples at 11X17", or consider making a hand-bound book format to showcase your work. The limits are only contained by your creativity!
Use this as a rough guide to laying out your own portfolio...
Ok, have fun!

Student Portfolio Design Samples:

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Final Video Project: Choose Your Destiny!

Hello Students,
This project along with your portfolio will make up your final. This last video project is a free style, you can create the project you want to, but I expect it to reflect the skills and knowledge you have been granted over the course of this class. Your video project, no matter what form it takes, should show good editing, smooth camera work, good use of transitions, tell a story or deliver information in an entertaining fashion. There should be well crafted titles and credit rolls at the beginning and end of your project. You should find ways to utilize the motion graphics and animation skills to enhance your project in appropriate ways.

What Project will you make? :
It is up to you to decide what project you would like to complete for your final. You must make sure that you can accomplish this project with the time we have left in class. Time management is crucial.
Here are some ideas for projects:
  • Original Narrative or Drama, Science Fiction, Mystery, Etc...
  • Documentary project
  • Comedy Skits/Shorts/TV Show
  • Experimental Video
  • Music Video
  • 2D Animated Short
  • 3D Animated Short
How to Get Started! :
  • Build a team of dedicated filmmakers, actors, artists and camera operators to participate in your project
  • Decide on a concept/idea for your project
  • Write a full page proposal to get approval from your instructor before proceeding
  • Create a storyboard, shot list or script for your project... whichever suits your project best and get approval from your instructor before filming begins. 
  • Schedule your shoot, decide on locations, check out equipment, gather costumes or props if needed, make sure everyone on your team is on board and begin production
Project Requirements:
  • Each team is expected to complete:
    • 1 page proposal for project complete with all project details, subjects, locations, summaries, storyline, content, special effects, etc...
    • A storyboard, shot list or script that clearly describes the project, scenes, transitions, special effects, audio, camera angles, action, dialogue.
    • A well edited final project free of technical errors.
    • Well designed, animated title sequences and credit roles that are appropriate to the film subject or style and some use of motion graphics, special effects to enhance or create transitions or scenes in the project.
    • Each team must completed a press kit with biographies
    • Each project must create an animated production logo
Schedule for Final Projects:
  • Project proposals should be done and approved by Wednesday November  29th
  • Storyboard/shotlist/scripts should be done and approved by Wednesday December 3rd
  • Preliminary shooting should be completed by Friday December 15th
  • Rough Cut should be complete by Friday December 22nd
  • Final Project completed with Press Kits by Friday January 13th
  • ROP Portfolios with Demo Reels Due Thursday January 18th
Grading and Evaluation:
  • You will be graded against the Video Production Rubric. Familiarize yourself with it to achieve maximum points.
    • Summary:
      • You are expected to have a clear description of what your project aims to achieve and each team member should have a clear definition and fulfill their roles effectively
      • You are expected to have a storyboard, script or shot list that illustrates your project clearly with beat, structure, transitions, special effects, sound effects, audio tracks, lower thirds, titles, etc
      • The content should have a clear statement of purpose or theme and be a quality creative work.
      • Your completed project is expected to have all elements defined, be well edited and be free of technical problems.
      • Teams are expected to met, discuss and contribute to the project, and work with respect for each other.
      • All deadlines are expected to be met.

Biographies, Press Kits and Logos: 
Each filmmaking team is responsible for assembling a press kit and writing the biography for their film. These materials are used to distribute the project to film festivals and for publicity.

A biography is a brief, third-person description of the filmmaker(s). Information that is typically included in a biography includes: place of birth, place of residence, educational background, past projects, current projects, areas of interest.

A sample biography:
Jason Jakaitis is a filmmaking student at San Francisco State University and a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill’s Master of Arts program in Communications Studies. Born and raised in San Diego, he currently lives in the Upper Haight area of San Francisco. In 2007, Jason was awarded a Murphy Fellowship from the San Francisco Foundation, as well as a Personal Works grant from Film Arts Foundation and a New Filmmaker grant from Panavision. Jason's previous film, minutiae, is a 16mm narrative short that was awarded Special Jury Prize at the Portland International Short Short Film Festival, and screened at the 2007 Mill Valley, Humboldt and Santa Cruz film festivals.

Your team must produce a logo for your “production company”. This logo could be hand illustrated or created with motion graphics but it must show strong technical skill and be effective and creative.

Press Kit:
Depending on the project, press kits can be composed of a variety of different kinds of information, but the overall goal of the kit is always the same: to provide the individual with as much relevant information about the film as possible. This information can then be used in articles, in film festival schedules, online “blurbs” and any other way that a festival would choose to promote the film.

Download and read a real press kit: Press Kit for  the film Some Kind Of Wonderful
Check out this press kit: Quivir Press Kit
Check out this press kit: Cave of Forgotten Dreams Press Kit

Press Kits require the following: 
  • Two or more still images from the film itself 
  • Two behind the scenes production stills taken with a camera, cell phone cam, ipod camera, point and shoot, etc 
  • One “headshot” photo each of the filmmakers and actors
  • A one paragraph (3-4 sentence) synopsis of the film
  • A one paragraph biography of each filmmaker 
  • You can assemble your press kit using google docs, pages or word, indesign, photoshop or illustrator and turn it in as a PDF file

Ridley Scott and Harrison Ford, behind the scenes production still from the film "Blade Runner"
Production Still from the film "Blade Runner"
Original Press Kit from the film "Blade Runner"

Behind the Scenes Production Still from Werner Herzog's "Cave of Forgotten Dreams"
Production Still from Werner Herzog's "Cave of Forgotten Dreams"

Good luck Filmmakers!

- Mr.W

Sunday, November 12, 2017

How to Write a Good GREAT Letter of Introduction

Hello Students,
Your next assignment is to create a "Letter of Introduction" that describes you! Your special traits, qualities, hobbies, and personal, educational and career goals. List your top 5 skills and abilities. It should consist of at least one page. Make sure to use correct spelling and grammar.

Letter of Introduction Assignment:
  • This is an introduction letter, about you, written to people that may be viewing your portfolio.
  • Should be about 1 page long.
  • Letter should be free of typo's, spelling and grammar errors.
  • Follow the examples in the Portfolio Handbook and include the information listed below...

You letter should include:
  • Who you are
  • Where you are currently attending school
  • What courses you are currently enrolled in aside from standard courses (such as this ROP class your in right now)
  • Your top 5 work related skills
  • Special acknowledgments from employers/instructors
  • Future education plans
  • Hobbies or other activities you enjoy
  • Discuss what is contained in your portfolio
  • Discuss the type of work/projects/activities you enjoy the most in school

Sample Introduction Letter:


John Star
242 Crest St.
Capitola, CA 95010
(831) 553-2323

To Whom It May Concern:

I am currently attending Santa Cruz High School where I will be graduating this year in June. I have enrolled in ROP classes, which are business-oriented. ROP classes have given me a closer look at the business world and I have learned excellent work skills. 

My top five work skills are:
  • Excellent communication skills with strong listening skills
  • Responsible and reliable with attention to detail
  • Strong team player who thrives in teamwork situations
  • Good computer skills
  • Excellent time management skills
I have received special acknowledgement from my employers for strong skills and work ethics.
I recently was accepted to CalPoly and plan to go there in the Fall and pursue a degree in Agribusiness. After receiving my degree, I plan to work in my family’s strawberry farming business. Eventually, I hope to be the president of the business. I have many hobbies including surfing, skiing and playing baseball but most of all, I enjoy riding my horse up in the hills. It gives me a sense of freedom and independence.

My portfolio shows some of the skills and abilities I have acquired in while attending Soquel High School and throughout my work experience. I have always enjoyed landscaping and have enrolled in the Horticulture class for my last semester of high school. From my past experience you will notice that I enjoy working especially when I leave the job better than it was when I first got there. I have been doing tree work for three years and have worked for commercial and residential customers. Thoroughness and safety are some of my favorite qualities.

Included in this portfolio, is my resume summarizing my schooling, work experience, and skills. In addition I have a list of references, letters of recommendation, and samples of my work. I hope you enjoy reviewing my portfolio.


John Star

- Complete your letter of introduction and add it to your Portfolio project!

 - Mr.W

Thursday, November 2, 2017

The Art of the Storyboard

Project Schedule
Your Scavenger Hunt video proposals are due,email me your proposals for approval. Once you have approval you can begin the storyboard process, or create a shot list. This must also be reviewed for approval before you can schedule camera time.

Shot Lists
A shot list is like a storyboard but without visuals. You simply describe the action, lighting, setting, dialogue and camera angle. For instance:

  • Fade up on football field, eye level camera
  • Low camera level, player runs onto field
  • Cut to side shot, track with player

The basic idea is to create a recipe that you can follow when you go out to shoot your project.

The Art Of The Storyboard
After a concept is established for a film, a script can then be created and storyboards can be executed to visualize the film. A storyboard is meant to represent the framing, action and elements in each shot in a sequence. It is a valuable tool to draw from when actual shooting begins.

Your storyboard should convey essential information:
- What characters are in the frame, are they moving? Seated? Standing?
- What are the characters saying, seeing or experiencing
- How much time is passing, is it a long panning shot? Or a quick succession of shots?
- Where is the camera? High, low? Over the shoulder? Birds-eye view? Is the camera moving or still?

After storyboard creation do not be afraid to change camera angles, dialogue etc... this is all part of the creative process.

Draw your storyboard in pencil so that some shots or text can be reworked. Your artwork does not need to be fancy, use basic shapes, stick figures and simple backgrounds.

Use language to describe camera angles and shot styles:
CLOSE-UP SHOT:   A close range of distance between the camera and the subject.
DISSOVLE: A transition between two shots, where one shot fades away and simultaneously another shot fades in. 
FADE: A transition from a shot to black where the image gradually becomes darker is a Fade Out; or from black where the image gradually becomes brighter is a Fade In. 
HIGH CAMERA ANGLE:  A camera angle which looks down on its subject making it look small, weak or unimportant. 
JUMP CUT: A rapid, jerky transition from one frame to the next, either disrupting the flow of time or movement within a scene or making an abrupt transition from one scene to another. 
LEVEL CAMERA ANGLE:  A camera angle which is even with the subject; it may be used as a neutral shot. 
LONG SHOT:  A long range of distance between the camera and the subject, often providing a broader range of the setting. 
LOW CAMERA ANGLE:  A camera angle which looks up at its subject; it makes the subject seem important and powerful. 
PAN:  A steady, sweeping movement from one point in a scene to another. 
POV: (point of view shot): A shot which is understood to be seen from the point of view of a character within the scene. 
REACTION SHOT: A shot of someone looking off screen. 2.: A reaction shot can also be a shot of someone in a conversation where they are not given a line of dialogue but are just listening to the other person speak. 
TILT:  Using a camera on a tripod, the camera moves up or down to follow the action. 
ZOOM:  Use of the camera lens to move closely towards the subject.

Have fun!
- Mr.W

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Video Production Scavenger Hunt

Hello Students,

Your next assignment will be graded on your ability to accomplish 20 specific technical shots or techniques and how creative you can be within those constraints while creating a video project. Minimum video length 2 minutes, 4-5 minutes max. We will discuss all these techniques and how to accomplish them in class. You will also be graded on time management, working in teams effectively and ability to meet the deadlines.

Teams will be chosen by picking numbers. Teamwork is crucial on this project, every one must participate and contribute to the final project. You will work in teams of 4.

Teams will shoot footage and share among each other, each team member will produce their own final edit of the project for grading.

20 Video Production Techniques
Video Project Specifications:
1 Page proposal/pitch must be approved before production can begin.

Production Schedule:
Nov 2nd - Proposal Due
Nov 6th Script, Storyboard or Shot List Due
Nov 10th - Preliminary Shooting Complete
Nov 14th Rough Cut Edit Due
Nov 17th -  Final Editing Complete and ready to present to class

Format: The final format of the video is your choice, it could be a music video, action video, narrative or experimental. You could even make an instructional video about these video production techniques. Here are some format options:

  • Produce a video about the positive people and events at our school 
  • Produce 1 or more Public Service Announcements around a current local/social/environmental issue
  • Produce a "Statement Video" on a topic that is personally important to you
  • Produce a music video
  • Produce a short narrative (drama, intrigue, wizards?)
  • Produce 1 or more comedy skits and format it as a short comedy show

Grading: For full credit your video project must contain one example of each of the 20 shots listed below. Shots may be combined, for example a twin shot that is created with a green screen. Camera work should be smooth and steady. Editing should be well timed and without edit glitches or gaps. Must have titles and tails. All deadlines listed above must be met on time.

Rules: No content that glorifies violence, drug or alcohol use. Music must have family friendly lyrical content. 

Note: Each team member must take turns shooting and acting. Outside actors or camera operators allowed. Teams may help each other for difficult shots. All project storyboard/scripts/shot lists must be approved by me before production can begin.

Each team member is responsible for editing their own final version of the video, no group efforts with editing.

A shotlist and storyboard must be created and the final video must contain 1 example each of the shots or effects listed below:

1. Silhouette Shot - actor or actors must be silhouetted against a background

2. Green Screen Shot - actor or actors shot against green screen, background must be keyed out and replaced with background still image or video

3. Single Source LighCloseup - actor or actors shot closeup with single light source for high contrast

4. Shadow Shot - camera shows shadow only, can pan up to actor after, or show interaction between two characters through shadow only

5. Twins - use static camera and split screen effect to show actor and a "double"

6. Window Illusion - overlay semi-transparent video over actor or actors to simulate window reflection

7. Frame Within A Frame - look for environments or architecture that "frames" your actor or actors

8. Background Slide - use a sideways camera movement to give the impression that the background is moving behind your actor or actors

9. Handheld Dolly Shot - follow the action with a handheld shot, must use a tripod as a counterweight to reduce camera shake, change camera height during shot

10. Fall Away - camera walks backwards from actor or actors

11. Walk In - shot begins on actor 1, in the foreground or background actor 2 steps into frame

12. Camera Flow - shot begins with Handheld Dolly Shot following actor 1 walking to the right, actor 2 passes in foreground going in opposite direction and camera changes direction to follow actor 2. This change in direction can happen 2-3 times

13. Spin Shot - camera spins around actor or actors 360 degrees

14. Motionless Camera - camera is tripod mounted, focus on motion in scene, all actor or actors must be moving. extras can help add energy to a scene

15. Whip Cut - camera quickly sweeps away from scene, edit is made to seem like camera ends on a second scene, also called a sweep cut

16. Slow Motion - Video source is slowed down by 75%. slowing down any more can be done but render time is increased. Ask me how to do extreme slow motion with Adobe After Effects.

17. Pass Through Wall - Camera moves up to wall, fades to second shot inside moving towards center of room. Can also be pass through window, pass through keyhole etc...

18. Extreme Angle - camera angle has extreme foreshortening or perspective

19. Saturated Color Background - actor or actors are shot against a background of mostly a single vivid color, such as a brightly colored wall, green grass, etc...

20. Textured Background - actor or actors shot against textured background, brick wall, fence posts, tree bark, ivy etc...

Extra information about these shots can be researched online... have fun!

- Mr. W

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Freestyle Video Project

Freestyle Video Project:
Your new assignment is to create an original 2 minute video. Video concepts must be approved by me, and then proposals must be completed before time can be scheduled for shooting. We have limited camera's so everyone will have to pre-plan a shooting schedule. You will work in teams of two-four for this project. Your team must follow all phases of the project and meet all requirements. All teams are expected to work during class time, if you aren't shooting video than you should be editing, working on title animations, learning after effects and working through tutorials, creating graphics etc.

Subject matter, style and technique are wide open. Consider that almost anything can be turned into a video. You could make a video about what people eat for lunch, what cars they drive, you could make a short documentary, music video, experimental video, scene recreation etc. Let's discuss your concepts and ideas.

Project Phases:
  • Choose team members (no more than 4 per team)
  • Brainstorm project ideas
  • Write a 1 page project proposal
  • Upon approval write a shot list or draw a storyboard for your video (pre-production)
  • Schedule and begin shooting upon storyboard approval (production)
  • Edit and create titles, add audio and music, etc... (post production)
  • Each team member must edit their own example, work as a group but edit individually!

Project requirements:
  • Keep TRT (Total Running Time) below 2 minutes
  • Video project must match original proposal/storyboard or shot list
  • Appropriate content only, including music selects
  • Proposal and Storyboards must be approved by me
  • Smooth camera work
  • Clean editing and titles

  • Proposals due Monday the 16th
  • Storyboards or Shot Lists due Tueesday the 17th
  • Videos due at E.O.C. the following tuesday