Behind The Scenes Of CTV
FeaturesGeneral Features December 21, 2012 Admin
BY OLIVIA PASCALE-WONG
CTV is one of CCHS’s most recognized programs with a reputation larger than the student body itself. Though the short 2 minute segments may seem like a piece of cake, there’s a lot more that goes into each show, behind the lenses of the familiar camera. Currently ranked the #1 weekly news show in the nation, CTV broadcasts a 20 minute episode every Friday for students, teachers and staff to watch. Members of CTV are exposed to TV production on a professional level, as well as given a hands-on learning experience.
“CTV benefits its students in a lot of ways,” CTV President Mitchel Worley said. “If students are looking towards a career in television or film, CTV gives them the experience of filming and editing on professional cameras and software.”
Being a member of CTV requires an enormous amount of commitment. CTVers invest a lot more than just their already limited time, with most of our crew taking honors and AP classes. Making a segment in four days is not an easy task, especially while juggling seven classes and other extracurricular activities. The creative and professional aspect of filming each segment requires time, focus, and patience. Clearly, there is a lot more that goes into each show than meets the eye. I’m your insider, here to tell you about all the ins and outs of CTV.
Our week starts off on Monday when we walk into the CTV studio and check out the weekly rundown (the line up of segments in chronological order). The brainstorming starts and students begin scripting, planning shots or writing up questions for interviews. We try to start off the week strong with pre-production to prevent stress later in the week. Pre-production might include doing research on a news segment, or surfing the web for extra information that could be helpful while writing the script. With scripting comes patience…a lot of it. Similar to solving a 100-piece puzzle, having the patience to write a well-organized script is sometimes frustrating. Besides the script, getting the right shots and composition are vital. Regardless of the subject, the video shots can make or break a segment. Though we try to make everything run as smoothly as possible, things don’t always work in our favor, due to scheduling conflicts and technical difficulties. However, I have noticed that the most impressive work ethic in production is not when everything goes as planned, but when all odds are against us and we still come through with a good segment.
We dive into the first day, transforming our ideas into a reality, when we step in the door on Tuesday. Members will usually be scrambling to start their filming. The earlier we start, the more room we have for inconveniences, which almost always occur. A look around the room and one can see groups of students working on their own agenda. The teams are spread out throughout the room, by the green screen corner, on the couch, checking out cameras through the CTV check out system or chatting about their ideas with our adviser, Alfredo Pichardo. Pichardo is not only our teacher, but also a mentor and friend. He is extremely hard on us, and tends to be very nit picky when it comes to our filming and editing, but his constructive criticism is what helps strengthen our skills.
“I think CTV gives students the opportunity to see what’s happening in the community and what pertains to them in high school.” Pichardo said.
Walking in on Wednesday morning most people have finished the majority of their filming but may need to still get in their final shots. Importing footage on to Final Cut Pro, the software program we use to edit, is the first priority. This helps us get a mental picture of how the segment is going to be laid out. Those unfortunate souls who waited to start filming on Wednesday quickly learn to never do it again. By this point in the week, each individual segment should be more than halfway completed.
Next to Friday, Thursday is the most important day for us. It is the last day to finalize everything and get it as close to perfect as possible. Students are usually working like wild fire on Final Cut Pro making final touches to our segment. For entertainment segments such as Question Of The Week and 5 Second Shorts we must find and/or create un-copyrighted music to play in the background and adjust the audio level so that the sound isn’t too overbearing, but still loud enough to keep the viewer’s attention.
All of the CTV students are dedicated to putting together a great segment,” Pichardo said.
Finally Friday comes, as well as the line around Pichardo’s desk of anxious CTVers, waiting to show off their work to our biggest critic. Worley is at his desk telling students to upload their segments on to the server for broadcast. The server is the online connection to all of our computers that enables us to move our final product to the same folder. From there, Worley unites the segments, as well as the anchor shots into what you see as the finished show.
There is a feeling of excitement and chaos as we scramble to make any corrections Pichardo might throw at us, such as fixing audio levels, cutting segments by a couple of seconds, or fixing the smallest of shots to ensure continuity and clarity. After getting graded, a sense of relief fills the room. One might see us dancing, laughing, taking Instagram pictures or rolling across the room in rolling chairs. Earning a 100% on a segment is the cherry on top of an anticipated Friday.
The feeling of relief is short lived, however. During the last 10 minutes of class, we start the rundown for the following weeks show. Finding partners
and discussing ideas, we shout out our segment ideas, which get written down in expo-marker on the white board. We list whether the segment is news, entertainment, or sports, the name of the segment, and who’s working on it. We continue with the rest of our day, getting through our classes, and waiting for 7th period. At 2:15pm comes our moment of truth. We watch our work as it is broadcast over 200 television screens. We observe the viewers reactions, taking note of what people show interest in, what they laugh at, and if/when they lose interest. Most CTVers get out of our 7th period to watch the show in the CTV room. We sit back and enjoy the show, complementing each other and giving any constructive criticism we have to offer. Criticism helps us grow, learn, and improve as TV production students, after all, we are students and it is all a learning process.
“My favorite part is seeing all the reactions of students and teachers on Friday after the show,” Worley said. “Knowing a show I contributed to came out really well is a very rewarding feeling.”
The process of putting together a show every week builds a sense of teamwork, family and support, all while sharing the passion of TV production. If you want to relive the action at home, you can check out all of CTV’s episodes online at cchsctv.com.