Montessori School Video: A Guide on the Side

Today I’m happy to launch the second in a four-part series of videos I’ve been commissioned to make by Eton School. This one features pre-school students at the Bellevue, WA Montessori school paired with the voices of their parents.

The first video in this series featured teachers speaking, cut with upper level students. There was almost no nat sound in the 3-minute piece, just a few effects, and a breathtaking music track from VNV Nation (which we used with permission thanks to band cofounder Ronan Harris).

I approached making this video slightly differently. First off, it’s just one minute long. Instead of teachers, parents’ voices provide the spine of the piece. Also I have incorporated a fair bit of natural sound. The kids do get one speaking part – the word “oops!” For the music, happily I didn’t need to license anything this time either – I found this great track among the hundreds that Apple includes with Soundtrack Pro, which really is worth the purchase price just for the royalty-free sound effects and music tracks. It was too long so I sliced it in two in SoundTrack Pro and beat-matched the two segments, resulting in a piece of the perfect length right down to the frame. Bet you can’t spot the cut point!

Most of the footage was shot with my T2i; a little was shot on my JVC HM100. It’s color corrected with Final Cut’s Color Corrector 3-Way and heavily graded in Magic Bullet Looks, where I wanted to create a warm, fuzzy vibe. The heavy grading also made it easier to combine footage from the two cameras.

All the footage and interviews for the remaining videos on this project is in the can. I’m currently editing the next video in this series, which showcases the school’s lower level students. It should be up in about a week.

I’m also currently in post on another outstanding school video (the school is outstanding, at least, and I hope the video will be) for the University of Washington’s Experimental Education Unit. Look for that one sometime in September.

Oh, want a video like this for YOUR school? Drop me an email to dan at danmccomb dot com. I love this stuff and it’s how I support my documentary film habit.

2 thoughts on “Montessori School Video: A Guide on the Side

  1. Dan

    Thank you Bob. Regarding camera choice, I used the T2i throughout most of the shooting for this particular piece, but I had some holes in my coverage that I had to fill with previous material I’d shot earlier on the JVC, before I owned the T2i. Now that I have the T2i, I find it very hard to shoot on anything else, even with all the limitations with sound and ergonomics that favor the JVC.

    Having said that, I’m working on an arty project right now where I’m filming someone with the jvc because of it’s ability to shoot long takes, which is impossible with the dslr.


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