It was sadistic. Cruel. Torture.
Erik Day stood Monday at a whiteboard segmented with the words “Pre” and “Post” catching and scribbling down video production concepts that his nine students tossed at him.
Writing, props and casts fit under “Pre.”
“It starts on the page and not on the stage,” Fisher said.
Then, Fisher turned to post-production.
“Conner,” I think you said it,” he prompts.
“Editing,” chimed in Conner Ezell.
And yes, the class patiently answered questions. Yet, it was as though Day, an assistant professor of digital media at Beacon College, the first institution of higher learning accredited to award bachelor’s degrees primarily to students who learn differently, had gone medieval on them and strapped them all on the rack. Torture.
After all, the students in his digital video class were dying to fly. A superpower they would receive not from a radioactive meteor or mutant mosquito bite, but through heroic use of Chroma key compositing, the Hollywood magic that gives heroes flight and actors in monster movies fright by layering new backgrounds based on color hues.
“The learning lesson was two-fold: first the students were exposed to a real-world visual effects shoot, ‘Camera! Lights! Action!’” Day said. “Second, students now have footage to use to create their very own visual effects sequence, or maybe even a short film, with the remaining classes in the summer for success program.”
Why specifically green?” Day asked.
After a few swings and misses from students, Day explained.
“What do we shoot more often in movies? We film people. What color are people? The opposite of blue and green. We used to use blue in the ’70s, but Superman came out but what happens when you put Superman (and his blue suit!) in front of a blue-screen?”.
A reminder of a dude who can fly. Torture.
After a 10-minute video on the magic of green-screen technology that Day cut short, and a short soliloquy about diffused lighting, he finally spoke the magic words they had longed to hear.
“Let’s get ready to shoot.”
Day adjusted the camera, and then summoned his first victim, er, volunteer.
“I can do whatever?” he asked.
When Day signaled action, that’s what Conner did.
Whatever. He thrust his arms out and about in some vaguely martial art style.
Braeden Stern went next, doing his best impression of the Greek Titan Atlas, apparently sick of carrying the cosmos on his shoulders.
With a deep squat and mighty heave, Braeden threw off the weight of world with a hearty “huuuuuuuh!”
Alex Masso used the green screen to examine his twin envy.
“I’m gonna stand here and talk to myself,” he said explaining his plan to start a conversation on one side and then respond from the other side.
“Who are you?” he said on the right side.
“I’m you. What are you talking about,” left-side Alex responded.
Brady Stern had seen enough. Maybe he hadn’t bring a cape, but, by golly, he was going to soar.
With help, Day dragged a table into the shot and draped green strips across it.
Brady got into position, stretching out his arms.
“Woo-hoo! I’m flying,” he shouted.
Eat your heart out, Superman.
When it was Kelly Hurley’s turn, she stretched out on her backside on the table, shooting her arms and legs into the air, like a reverse dogpaddle.
“What is that, flying?” someone questioned.
Still, the engaging experience had Day’s class flying high.