Name: Brian Martin
Studio: Panasonic DVC-7 camcorder,Sanford & Davis tripod,Reflector,Altman lights, Rode boom pole, NRG shotgun mic, Set donated by SAS Institute.
Control Room/Edit Bay: Mackie soundmixer, Videonics Switchers, Videonics Titlemaker, IBM PC with Sony Vegas Movie Studio and Premiere Pro, Sony DVD Recorder, Zenith DVD Player, JVC S-VHS VCR, ETC lighting control board, Panasonic monitors.
An avid Videomaker reader since I was 13 years old (20 years ago!), I’m lucky enough to make a living with video. For 10 years, I have taught high school video production at Broughton High School in Raleigh, North Carolina.
I co-founded a video club here at my school in 1992 when I was a student, to deliver a school newscast and video yearbook. It morphed into a wildly popular elective class and, before I had finished college, I was recruited to teach three levels. While many producers find the most challenging part of their job to be shot composition, making microphone adaptors work right or finding the right color gel, I have to relay the importance of all of that to teenagers!
Our facilities consist of four Panasonic AG-DVC7 camcorders, a Sony PDX10 camcorder and two Canon GL-1 cameras set up studio-style. We edit on Sony Vegas Movie Studio Platinum Edition. My students work in groups of four or five to one camera/edit station. We have an array of lights, mics, gels, dollies and other tools. We are lucky enough to have three isolated edit suites and a full studio and control room, which uses Videonics equipment and a Mackie soundboard.
I’ve witnessed hundreds of productions over my decade of teaching: the MTV spoof Pimp My Desk, a smoking PSA with a talking skeleton, a documentary on orphans in Guatemala and dozens more. Currently, we have a documentary in production on gay parents adopting kids, an instructional video on how to do the “Jerk” dance and an advanced class inspired by the French New Wave cinema movement. Some of my students go on to great things beyond high school. One of my graduates recently was director of photography on the film Dog Days of Summer.
It’s a cliché, but let’s face it: kids in today’s world don’t know how good they’ve got it. I come from the days of linear editing and shooting on S-VHS. I fought my way through “desktop video” transformation, when it was cost-prohibitive (and processor-prohibitive) to edit video efficiently on computer. Now, hi-definition camcorders can be purchased at your local big-box store. Digital-effects software (heck, even cell phones) costing just a few hundred dollars can achieve effects reserved for Hollywood once upon a time. Video has become not just an art form or a business; it’s now a technology that’s used in everyday communication. This generation of young people will need to know how to use video to communicate, no matter what profession they fall into.
The challenges of my job are too long to list. Can you imagine trying to be an executive producer to 23 different projects at once? In addition to providing guidance and support, I also have to tackle newbie troubleshooting: “white balance controls color,” “render your timeline when you’re done editing,” “your microphone battery is dead.” I’ve also seen teenagers drop a $2500 camcorder on the floor, a microphone used as a football, and yes, even a sandwich inserted into a VCR.
On occasion, I tackle side projects to keep my video creation skills running. I recently produced and marketed an educational DVD about North Carolina’s famous ghost stories. At the end of the day, I’m happy to know my job really isn’t just producing video: it’s enabling young people too.
Brian Martin – Producer
Sidebar: About This Series
Video creation is sometimes a singular business, but video producers are a social lot. Our curiosity about our readers has inspired us to create this new column to introduce you to your fellow video producers.
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