Lights, Camera, Action: High School Students Dabble in the Art of Videography

Story by Rex Stanley, Messenger Staff Writer

Video production class is one of the most interesting and complex of the elective options at Placer High School

Though Placer for a while did not have a video production class, Jonathan Adams, the current video production teacher, wanted to bring the class back to Placer and succeeded.

“A meeting with a [a member of the group Rotary International] involved with the studio’s original implementation caused me to re-evaluate the power of film as a creative outlet. Five years after that conversation, and with the help of former Principal Steve Caminiti and deputy superintendent Jeff Tooker, I brought Film Studies back to Placer,” said Adams.

The class involves different skills necessary for cinematography such as hands-on work with cameras, learning editing software, and audio fine-tuning to teach students the ins and outs of equipment.

Surprisingly, a student can learn all the techniques to produce a film in a short time. By the 10th week of class, students have mastered meaningful shot selection, the pace of editing, clarifying audio, and soundtrack additions. However, like any art form, perfecting those techniques is the journey of a lifetime,” Adams stated.

Video production is a part of the pathway classes students choose from to complete for graduation requirements.

The film classes at Placer do meet the California dashboard for a CTE Pathway. I have several students that have taken multiple advanced classes after completing the dual enrollment class with Sierra College,” Adams explained.

Jesse Sanchez, a sophomore at Placer, is planning on taking the class as his optional pathway for the opportunities it provides in the future. “I am completing my last class next year. [One of] the perks of video production is the newfound ability to properly operate a camera.” 

Adams further explained why video production can be a great learning experience, “California is the film capital of the world. Every broadcasting company (Netflix, Hulu, Showtime, Disney, Paramount, HBO…) is begging for new content. If you want to have a creative and lucrative career, Film Studies is a very strong choice.”

Though cinematography can be complicated, the class gives you many skills and opportunities if you stick with it. “I love reading, but the journey is often a private one. Film is a shared experience. Even in the living room with family, sharing a laugh or a tear or a scare at the same moment bonds humans together. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a film is worth a thousand pictures. Film has the power to teach empathy, transform understanding, and provide escape is unrivaled.”Adams stated.