Students in the Video Special Effects class felt like the cast of Star Trek when they learned how to “beam” people into their film.
The class, part Western Reserve Academy’s Summer Enrichment Program, introduced students to the art of video production and special effects. Using professional video editing programs, such as Adobe Premiere Pro, Adobe After Effects, Final Cut Pro and iMovie, students created their own video projects. The course emphasized the use of green screen and stop-motion techniques, along with other special effects, to create Hollywood-caliber videos.
In one exercise, students worked on making it look like their classmates were materializing out of thin air into their films (similar to characters beaming aboard the Enterprise in Star Trek). Students also did “light sabers and green screen driving, as well as some computer-generated work,” said WRA faculty member Matt Gerber, who taught the class.
In the green screen project, Gerber drove his car around the WRA campus shooting video out of one of the car’s windows. Members of the class then took turns sitting in the parked car in front of a green screen and pretended to drive the car while being filmed. They then combined the two videos to make it appear as if the students were driving around the campus.
The opportunity to learn the ins and outs of the editing software was a hit with students.
“I like the editing,” said Alana King. “I think Apple Motion, the editing program, is really cool.”
The class also worked on 3-D effects, such as how to create a style of animation video similar to JibJab.
The students were actively engaged in their work, and Gerber’s energetic teaching style kept the students interested in their projects. He gave tips to students, such as how to layer different video clips to create different effects and how to put different scenes in the background of green screen clips.