FOR many private schools in the country, classes start this week following a new mode of distance learning, which means that lessons will be transmitted online by the teachers to their students and the interactions will be virtual or through digital technology. If not for the pandemic, school children would be trooping to their schools and meeting new classmates and teachers. Parents would be seen accompanying their wards in lower grades to school but this time around, they are bracing for a new methodology that requires a digital platform like a tablet, a laptop or a desktop computer.
Of course, they will be needing access for interconnectivity and those in the city with capability to subscribe to an internet can catch up with the online learning.
As announced by the Department of Education (DepEd), private schools are allowed to start classes on August 24 provided they are strictly using only distance learning modalities and that there are no face-to-face classes for School Year 2020-2021. For those in public schools, the DepEd sets the school opening to October 5, 2020 in light of the implications of the imposition of the Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) in Metro Manila and other major cities.
Over the weekend, my seven-year-old grandson asked if I can teach him how to connect varied video images from his tablet into a single but longer video like what he usually sees in YouTube. At first, I was hesitant to give him some pointers as I felt that he needed to study more on his mother tongue than anything techy but I was eventually swayed after observing the little boy display his penchant for the arts like singing, dancing and gaming skills in programs called Minecraft and Roblox using his 10" iPad. So in order for him not to be too engrossed with computer games and addicting applications, I taught him how to use the iMovie program of his gadget and in no time at all, Akiboy already assembled five video segments just by adding short video clips into the timeline of the simple-but-dynamic editing software. I also recall that I first taught my eldest daughter how to edit video when she was in her high school days but this time, things are getting faster and media technology is more user friendly than anyone can be a content creator.
During my first term as executive council member of the National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA) representing indigenous peoples, I have joined two Amping Sining outreach programs as lecturer on smartphone filmmaking for high school students and their mentors. I came up with a learning module with tips shooting video with smartphones. It is actually a short production course of simplified video production that can take a day to an average of three days if it goes with a refresher on basic photography and few concepts of screen direction, framing a shot and basic editing.
Content creation and video production this time around is way much easier than during our film and analog days where we had to use blades and glue for editing and wait for days for films to be processed out of the country and with videotapes that suffered generation loss when editing from one tape to the other.
For those who are interested to produce short films, the following are some of the tips that I gave to my past participants: Plan your shoots ahead of time and be ready with the right gears and accessories. Enable Airplane Mode in your smartphones to avoid interruptions and to keep a constant bit flow when recording. Live recordings are not always spontaneous and it is best to shoot horizontally instead of upright or portrait position. Know screen directions and preferably pan from left to right. When shooting characters or important subjects, show a closer shot and frontal faces. Compose like an artist and architect to show varied angles and perspectives. Make the light work for you, explore the capabilities of your gadget and take as many shots but not shorter than 6-7 seconds. Label each shot appropriately when saving it to your computer and avoid using fancy apps and effects that change the color setting. Frame like a still photographer and do not fire hose or aim the camera in a sweeping motion. Use additional light even if your screen shows a clear picture indoors and add a mounting system that suits your shooting style.
Lastly, titling and other effects can be added before finally saving your production and before finally showing your work to a bigger audience, you should at least review your work with friends who can give you an honest opinion about your work.