As has become the norm, this year my school began Back to School Night with each teacher showing the same informational school video in their classrooms. Using a video avoids everyone having to gather in the multi-purpose room for a “boring” session, and it ensures that everyone hears identical information. Also, videos are entertaining, and they are posted to the school website for possible viewing at later points in time. My principal and I came up with this idea about six years ago, and for five out of the last six years, this is how our school has run Back to School Night. (A few years back we were working at a brand new school, and it was decided that face-to-face would be more appropriate when meeting many of the parents for the very first time.)
Above is this year’s video, which was created in Final Cut Pro X, along with some assistance from Photoshop, Illustrator (Adobe’s graphic design software), GarageBand (Apple’s music recording program), and HandBrake (which allows users to transform DVDs into digital files that can then be edited).
The basis for the video was the idea that we would edit The Wizard of Oz tornado scene in order to make it appear as if Dorothy was landing at our elementary school, instead of Oz. This concept popped into my head as my principal and I were throwing around ideas. When I started the editing process, I soon realized that creating this illusion and the rest of the video would be significantly more challenging than I had thought. For example, I initially wanted each staff member’s photograph to appear in the window of Dorothy’s home, but this ended up appearing rather cartoonish, so I was forced to work on an alternate technique.
As a result of my troubles, I had some strong thoughts about changing direction and going with some form of Top Gun, Back to the Future, or 2001: A Space Odyssey (maybe next year). However, in the end, I do feel that we ended up with an exciting product containing a The Wizard of Oz theme. This was the first time that some of my parents actually clapped after watching the video on Back to School Night (and I don’t think they necessarily clapped because of all of the school-related information that they just heard).
I look forward to next year and pushing the envelope even further with another Back to School Night production.
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