Tech upgrade bolsters new GPO TV program

01/15/2016 9:00 AM |

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For Greenport High School students who have been traveling to Southold High School to use shared audio-visual equipment, it’s finally time for “lights, camera, action” at home.

The district recently acquired three Apple computers with video editing capabilities for use by the students in the joint Southold-Greenport television broadcasting class.

The class enables students from both schools to create five-minute news segments that air during homeroom in lieu of announcements, according to Greenport principal Gary Kalish. The class is in its second year at Southold, but September marked the first time Greenport students enrolled as well.

All class members begin each day in the television studio at Southold High School. The new computers are kept in educational technology director Ryan Case’s Greenport office and permit that district’s five participating students to use a Cloud computing feature to share work between the schools. This allows them to work on their own segments locally, during free periods, something they weren’t able to do previously.

“Not every school can offer a film class, because they either don’t have the money or don’t consider it important enough, but we get the opportunity to do it,” said Greenport senior Elijah Smith.

The class was made possible largely due to support Southold received from Peconic Landing, Superintendent David Gamberg said. In January 2015, Peconic Landing donated $4,000 to the program to be used for purchasing new computers for film editing, digital cameras, lighting and audio equipment.

Approximately 20 students, including Greenport junior Rachael Hughes and seniors Kyla Smiley, Brittany Bond, William Blasko and Elijah, have been working on segments shown on Southold’s weekly show, SOHO TV, which can be viewed at sohotvnews.com. The first Greenport-oriented broadcast aired in classrooms the Friday before Christmas break. The second is set to air this Friday, Jan. 15. Greenport segments can be viewed online at gpotv.gufsd.org.

To put together a complete broadcast, students must create content, write scripts, film scenes, record voiceovers, interview teachers and students, edit clips together and more.

The students in the combined class are split into two groups, working with Southold teachers Jason Wesnofske and James Stahl.

One group focuses on preparation and script writing; the other deals with the technical side of things, like filming. Students switch groups weekly so they can learn all aspects of television production, Rachael said.

Brittany explained that the class is “free form,” and students are trusted to work independently or in pairs to generate content for the news and public announcements, as well as content for Greenport’s sports station, Porter Zone.

“Coming up with new ideas is basically my favorite,” Kyla said. “I like coming up with my own things, like just being creative with it.”

One of her ideas, which aired during GPO TV’s first episode, is “Hanging with Kyla,” a minute-long segment in which she asks students to participate in fun events, like reciting the alphabet backwards, doing their best elephant impression or leap-frogging through a classroom.

And since they are expected to submit content each week, the extra working time Greenport’s new computers allow is a huge help, the students said.

“I’ve been wanting to do this since I was nine years old,” Kyla said. “But when I was younger I didn’t have the equipment and all that stuff. So I was just basically thinking about it as a dream, but now I’m doing this.”

Caption: Greenport seniors Kyla Smiley and Elijah Smith edit segments for their video broadcasting class. (Credit: Nicole Smith)

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