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Lessons in Celt video production courses carry students far beyond the classroom

Jedidiah Hunter and Gloria White record segments for the Celtic News Network.
Jedidiah Hunter and Gloria White record segments for the Celtic News Network.

Of the Keizertimes

Despite taking video production classes for all her four years at McNary High School, Liv Pond isn’t planning to study film in college.

That doesn’t mean what she’s gleaned from her time in teacher Jason Heimerdinger’s studio room will be going to waste.

“I want to travel the world and teach. These classes taught me how to learn, because there’s always one more new thing, and they’ve taught me how to teach others and work with people,” said Pond.

Because of her time in video production classes she’s performed almost every task there is to do, including helping produce video announcements and the Celtics’ new news segments dubbed CNN (Celtic News Network).

“There’s not one part I like the most, I like it all. But one of the things you can do here is take all this knowledge and apply it to everything,” she said.

Senior Nick Wolfert is no stranger to the camera. He’s directed his own short films in his spare time, but his duties as a line producer for CNN are quite a bit different.

McNary’s annual Knight of Arts is slated Saturday, March 7. The event features student work and a play alongside silent and oral auctions. Proceeds cover costs not covered in school budgets and scholarships for arts students. Tickets are $10 and on sale at the McNary main office. Check-in for the auctions begins at 5:30 p.m., the event begins at 6 p.m.

“With this, everybody is doing their own thing. It’s so much more a collaborative effort,” Wolfert said. “I also get to use a lot of high-end equipment, like a tricaster which allows me to switch between cameras on the fly.”

Heimerdinger hopes to expand the scope of what students do within the program with a successful Knight of Arts fundraiser Saturday, March 7.

“We’d like to be able to install a closed-circuit camera system in the auditorium, which will allow us to film productions from multiple angles and direct the filming as happens,” Heimerdinger said.

Students in the video production classes also take part in community projects. When the district was looking for someone to produce a kindergarten orientation video, they turned to McNary students.

“It’s not just about getting things done on time, but about doing them well,” said Courtney Lutz. “What the courses have really taught me is time management. We don’t just stand around trying to figure out what we want to do. We have a plan before we even start shooting.”

Like Pond, Lutz can handle most of the operations that revolve around CNN productions.

Since graduating from McNary last year, alum Zach Cushman – one of Heimerdinger’s most promising recent students – has been tapped to come back and help out with the filming of theatre projects.

“Before I started taking classes, I had worked filming my own things, but it was pretty sloppy,” Cushman said. “I learned how to use more expensive cameras and how to make things look good.”

That was one of the reasons he was called back to direct the filming of McNary’s recent musical, Legally Blonde.

For some students who tend to fly under the radar for any number of reasons, Pond said the classes help bring them out of their shells.

“At first, I was really shy and I wouldn’t talk to anybody, so I had to learn to talk with people to get things done. I learned how to ask other people for help.”