Thursday, August 7, 2008

VideoMaker Conference

I spent this past weekend at a VideoMaker Conference held in the Denver area. The first day, The Basics of Video Production, was divided up into four sections: Camcorder Overview, Choosing the Right Microphones, Editing Techniques and Lighting Techniques. Mark Montgomery, Technical Editor for Videomaker was the presenter for each session except Editing Techniques which was given by Boyd McCollum, a documentary film editor. I took something valuable away from each session. (How often can you say that about a conference you've attended?) My only complaint is that it was a lot of information for two days. I'd prefer a more hands on approach but if you are looking to get a lot of information in a hurry, this might be the workshop for you.

My favorite session on the first day was Lighting Techniques. There was a general discussion of lighting and equipment, including some inexpensive alternatives. The best part though was lighting up a volunteer using a three-point setup. I've done this before following diagrams from a book on lighting. I always felt like I was stumbling around in the dark. (My students usually groan after a comment like that.....feel free to groan in the privacy of your own home.) Seeing how Mark adjusted each of the three light sources based on the room made it all click. I think I finally get it.

The second day was a hands-on workshop using Adobe Premiere. I've been using Premiere for a couple of years and I am proficient enough to put together a video. I am pretty much self-taught from books and videos. What I discovered from this workshop is that I've been doing many tasks the hard way. If you are an advanced user, this would probably not have been as valuable to you. If you are a rank beginner, this might have seemed overwhelming, although there were a couple of beginners in the group and they were able to keep up. If you are like me (advanced-beginner?) this workshop might prove valuable to you. Of course, it is only a one day workshop and Premiere is a huge program so don't plan on becoming an expert from one day of instruction.

I would recommend the VideoMaker workshops to anybody at a beginning or intermediate skill level. If you are a teacher looking for college credit or continuing-ed credit be aware that the conference isn't accredited (at least for Colorado). I got it approved by my district ahead of time. That will make my district happy and help me eventually reach a pay raise. That will make me happy.

Check out the Videomaker conferences. They travel to various cities throughout the year.

[Image: "Videomaker Logo": Captured from Videomaker Home Page: Aug 2008]

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