Onwards and upwards!

With our eighth summer in the books, and what a summer it was, we are looking forward to the coming year. A new website, a rebirth of our Film Club and brand new equipment/software all promise to make for an exciting year!

This past summer saw us adjusting to our new home at South Portland High School amidst the ongoing construction. With the upcoming completion of their new facilities, next summer will be even better. We were welcomed with open arms and the staff was very accommodating as we got to know each other for the first time. Having our Premiere Night at the same location of our camps proved to be very convenient, especially when final touches on our movies were being made at the eleventh hour! All in all it was a great summer at SoPo High School and we look forward to our return.

By offering a second session of our Teen Filmmakers & Actors this year, and with only two films being made, we were afforded the opportunity to experiment with some new things with our filmmakers. We've always though about having more computers to maximize screen time for the kids when it comes to editing and screenwriting but we've never had the opportunity to give it a try. With only two groups making movies, instead of three, we were able to give each group two computers to work with. It was a great success, especially when it came editing, as we were able to have two editors working on separate parts of the movie at the same time. We will be purchasing two new computers this off-season so we can provide this same opportunity when we have three groups making films. 

We've also been toying with getting new cameras and we were able to purchase a new camera to experiment with as we researched the right camera for us. We enjoyed working with the new camera, the Canon Vixia HF G20, so much that we decided to keep it and allow one of our groups in the last Teen Filmmakers Workshop to give it a try. The workflow of working with the camera greatly increased the efficiency of the group as the camera records to SD cards instead of tape. Normally if you shot 60 minutes worth of footage, it would take 60 minutes to capture to the computer. By shooting to SD cards, you are able to capture the same amount of footage in a matter of minutes, saving valuable that can be used to log and edit your footage. The new cameras are also able to shoot in full HD (1080p) and also with a function that simulates the 24 frames per second look of shooting on film, providing a softer more visually pleasing picture than digital footage, shot at 30 frames per second. In other words, it looks awesome!

Along with new computers and cameras, we will getting Steadi-Cam rigs for all the groups that will allow for more stable motion shots when taking the camera off the tripod. We were able to experiment with that as well, and again, it looks awesome! Couple all this with our continued immersion into the Adobe world of post-production, Premiere and After Effects, and it looks to be an exciting time to be at the Academy, even if it was already pretty awesome!

For graduates of our Teen Filmmakers Workshop, we will be looking to launch our Film Club, an off-season film program, that will have the ultimate goal of having scripts ready to go for next summer and but also encourage the participants to get together, outside of the Academy, and make a movie with the use of some of the equipment that we have.

Looking forward to an exciting year and another amazing summer next year! Onwards and upwards...