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Dos Pueblos Video Camp Teaches the Art of Filmmaking — and Gives Kids a Green Screen Shot

For second year, Dos Pueblos High School program provides an array of opportunities and some valuable career skills

A video featuring squirt guns, water balloons and an 11-year-old clad in a bunny costume may sound a bit chaotic at first, but it’s all part of the program for the kids at the DP Video Camp.

Back by popular demand, Dos Pueblos High School’s Video Camp is introducing kids age 8 to 13 to the world of filmmaking.

Dos Pueblos video production teacher John Dent, who crafted the camp last year, said the proliferation of accessible phone cameras has furnished a new generation of young videographers.

“Our society is full of video consumption, and the workforce needs people who know how to make them,” he told Noozhawk.

“I am thrilled that so many kids in the community will get to make fun and interesting videos, and maybe their stories will be the ones that we are all watching in the future.”

Dent said he wanted to help fuel that passion for filmmaking.

Kids engage in a variety of activities like scavenger hunts, team-building exercises and challenges to help them learn the basics of writing, shooting and editing video.

Susan Schiferl, a Dos Pueblos graduate who supervises the program along with her brother, Thomas, both worked for the student news broadcast DP News in high school and were approached by Dent to lead the program.

Among the many accessories kids have at their disposal at the DP Video Camp are the green screen and morph suits, which are costumes that allow them to appear invisible against computer-generated backgrounds. (DP Video Camp photo)
Among the many accessories kids have at their disposal at the DP Video Camp are the green screen and morph suits, which are costumes that allow them to appear invisible against computer-generated backgrounds. (DP Video Camp photo)

Together, they agreed to require kids to form teams, write a script and craft a storyboard before they would be allowed to get in front of a camera.

“We wanted to give them a whole process in terms of what it takes to actually make a structured video production,” Schiferl explained.

“I really love working with the kids and helping them learn something that I’m passionate about.”

Broadcast news segments are among the types of videos the youths learn to produce. They sit in the DP News anchor’s seat and read from a script they wrote, filled with news items they find themselves.

Nathan Ray, 11, got to play anchor for a sports segment he helped produce, but admitted he was mostly just excited about the green screen.

“I love how it makes you invisible!” he exclaimed.

“But I got to read some stuff about sports, and guys switching teams. That was cool, too.”

For each session of the camp, students produce short videos under the supervision of camp instructors in preparation for a 3-to-4-minute music video they must finish by the end of the week.

Kids are provided a green screen, sound board, a camera crane and essentially anything they could want to realize their vision. But they have to formulate a plan first.

One team really wanted to do something with the green screen and morph suits, which are green coveralls they wear to make themselves invisible against the green-screen background. The tactic allows the addition of computer-generated backgrounds to create the appearance of something different.

“We used to make videos on our phones, but when you come here and see all the stuff they have, everything we make now is so much cooler,” 11-year-old Katie Flint said. 

Last year, the camp ran for a week to test demand and completely sold out, Thomas Schiferl said.

Thomas Schiferl, who is currently majoring in broadcasting at Western Kentucky University, said he was thrilled to see the program get renewed and to once again be able to impart his knowledge to the next generation.

“I really enjoy teaching editing,” he said. “We use a lot of Adobe Premier and it’s great to expose kids to these kinds of programs early.”

Dos Pueblos senior and camp adviser Brett Williams, 18, said he believes kids benefit from being required to think as a team and strategize before being allowed to act.

Williams, who plans to pursue a degree in film production, said this was the same lesson he learned when he started at DP News, and that the process has helped him hone his own skills.

“I learn something new every day working with these kids,” he said.

“They’re a blast, and it’s great that I get to teach them something that I love to do.”

Camp photos can be found on the DP Video Camp’s Facebook page.

The DP Video Camp is part of Dos Pueblos High School Community Programs (DPHSCP), which hosts a variety of camps every summer, including basketball, swimming and cheer. For $195 per week, the camp runs 8 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday until Aug. 15, with classes held at 7266 Alameda Ave. in room T-3 on the Dos Pueblos High campus in Goleta.

Space is limited, so parents are advised to act quickly if they want to reserve a seat.

Click here for more information about summer camps at Dos Pueblos High School. 

Noozhawk intern Shaun Kahmann can be reached at [email protected]. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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