November 19, 2004

ARTICLES: Digital camcorders valued as prizes (Hawaii - USA)

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Digital camcorders valued as prizes

By Treena Shapiro
Advertiser Education Writer

Last year, working on computers barely capable of handling their video editing software, students from Nanakuli High School's electronics media class took five first-place awards in 'Olelo Community Television's Youth Xchange educational video contest.

The awards Â? five digital camcorders Â? proved to be a boon for the program, which until this year had only two nearly obsolete cameras for the 60 students to share.

"That was a lifesaver," said James Taylor, an educational assistant for the class. One of the two old cameras has since broken down beyond repair, he said.

Saddled with an insufficient budget, the program has been able to succeed through federal grants and community partnerships.

Electronic Media coordinator Royden Apana said the students counter the shortage of equipment and supplies by doing public service announcements, educational videos or audio-visual equipment setup for businesses and agencies, such as the state Department of Health, the city Wastewater Management Division, the Queen Lili'uokalani Children's Center, Ko Olina Resort and Hawaiian Electric Co.

"In various ways we provide some kind of service and they purchase some kind of equipment for us," Apana said.

For example, the Queen Lili'uokalani Children's Center recently replaced the program's four computers with eMacs capable of running the editing software. The old computers were given to a school just beginning an electronic media program.

In addition to the award-winning music video "Love of My Life" on the dangers of the drug ecstasy, the students have produced public service announcements for the Office of Elections, an internship video for Ko Olina and a video for the Nanakuli homestead community.

The students also produce spots for the school's closed-circuit television and have a one-hour news program that airs on 'Olelo on Sunday nights.

Currently, students are updating HECO's educational videos, working toward a more current look and "also to put a little more entertaining twist for the stories," Apana said.

In addition to class work, Apana encourages his students to work on their own projects, perhaps for another class, or for personal use.

The "Love of My Life" video allowed rapper Kris Ancheta to produce a demo video he could bring to recording studios. "Everything was homegrown here," Apana said.

Ancheta has since been signed to a record label, as has Ujena Johnson, who also appeared and sang in the video.

Students are also encouraged to come back and work on projects even after they have completed the course. Some students produce DVDs of athletic highlights for college and scholarship applications, while others produce slideshows for friends and family.

James Pontin, 15, said he took the class on his friends' recommendations.

He likes the hands-on experience and the way the teachers let the students work independently. "They let you be free," he said.

Naturalee Puou, 16, has taken electronics media courses for more than 3Â? years. She now serves as one of the anchors for the school's news program.

"It's something that I really enjoy and I'm comfortable with," she said. "I plan to go to college and go for a career within this field."

Reach Treena Shapiro at tshapiro@honoluluadvertiser.com or 525-8014.

SOURCE: http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2004/Nov/18/ln/ln13p.html

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Chris Schuepp
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