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STUDENT VIDEO PROJECT ROLES

Digital Video project roles may include job titles such as Executive Director, Director, Producer, Researcher, Script Writer, Storyboard Artist, Set Designer, Camera Operator, Sound, Film Editor, Online Graphic Artist, and Actors. Depending on the number of people involved with the video project, roles may be combined and assigned to one person, or perhaps you may assign two people to work as partners in the same role.

Make sure the exact responsibilities for each team member are clear before you begin to plan your digital video.

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

The Executive Director is usually the teacher/instructor who is responsible for the progress of the group(s). This “head of the studio” position approves project ideas (the pitch), meets with Director(s) and Producer(s) to ensure the project remains on-task and appropriate, mediates any team issues, and assigns final grades to video productions. The Executive Director is the “guide on the side,” yet is still available to support any student needs.

DIRECTOR

The Director represents and leads the team of students working on the project. The Director will help to ensure that all processes are followed and will report team progress to the teacher (Executive Director.) Regular team meeting should be led by the Director. The Director will be responsible for collecting and submitting permission slips (release forms) for student participants. The Director will also make sure that all copyright laws are followed, proper copyright permissions are secured, and credits for materials and work are properly referenced in the video. In some cases, the Director may also construct the storyboards.

PRODUCER

The Producer role coordinates the project schedule and the tasks during the entire project. The Producer is responsible for communicating the next steps to all team members so that the project stays on schedule and meets the project objective(s). The Producer will reserve equipment and supplies for the day’s work and be in charge of making sure all supplies are returned on time. The Producer basically manages the day-to-day team operations. Producer duties may include reviews of the daily work log for the team members, analysis of what changes may need to be made to the schedule, and reporting issues to the Director.

RESEARCHER

The Researcher is responsible for finding, analyzing, and compiling the information necessary for the video project. Research may include, but is not limited to the following: interviews, surveys, primary source materials (documents, photos, music, etc.), and finding facts or statistics. All research should be conducted using credible library resources. Depending on the size of the project, the Researcher may also assume the role of Script Writer.

SCRIPT WRITER

The Script Writer works with the Researcher and the team to provide the exact wording, the script, to be used for the video project. The role of the Script Writer involves reviewing the research information to determine what facts might best convey the video’s message, then paraphrasing the research materials. In many cases, the Script Writer creates original writing that may not be directly related to the factual information, such as dialogue between characters or entertainment-based work.

STORYBOARD ARTIST

The role of the Storyboard Artist is to create the scenes for the video production on paper. The artist will sketch every scene in proper, numbered order before any filming takes place. A storyboard template is used for sketching the scenes and also showing production details, such as camera angles, lighting, and text captions that describethe action of each scene. Storyboarding is an important pre-production planning task, however, at times, a great idea will arise during filming which will cause storyboards, scripts, and even research to be necessarily modified. Several types of storyboard styles may be used (Storyboard A or Storyboard B) and more can be found by looking at the Web sites recommended in Internet Resources for video production.

SET DESIGNER

The Set Designer establishes the environment for each scene prior to the start of filming. This may include simply organizing the props on the set, or finding the necessary resources needed to create the scene. The Set Designer is responsible for gathering props, costumes, and setting the stage design. The Set Designer will work closely with the Camera Operator to arrange the setting to match the specific camera angles for each scene.

CAMERA OPERATOR

The Camera Operator is in charge of the equipment during the shoot. The camera operator may gain direction from the Producer and/or Set Designer, but will be the person responsible for creating the digital video footage. Actual capturing duties may include ensuring there is enough videotape and that the lighting and audio will be correctly captured, marking the taped scenes, allowing “black space” between scenes for later adding transitions, and knowing what scenes may need to be a re-shot the same day. The Camera Operator creates clear scenes in order to make the editing process more efficient.

SOUND

You may wish to assign one individual to be in charge of making sure you not only capture the proper sound quality the day of the shoot(s), but also to research music, to obtain permissions for use, and to suggest other sound "clips" to the team. In some cases, the Camera Operator may assume these duties the day of the actual filming while the Film Editor suggests sound additions to the group during the editing process.

FILM EDITOR/ ONLINE GRAPHIC ARTIST

The Film Editor will facilitate the process of viewing the footage with the team, deciding what shots should be used, and making the final edits. The Film Editor will add music, consistent transitions, correct titles, text, and credits, while providing the video with an overall “look and feel” that meets the project objectives. The Film Editor may work closely with the Producer(s), Writers, and Set Designer to guide the overall effects of the film and lead the review of progress to the team during meetings. The Film Editor should be able to select the best scenes and combine these with appropriate and effective special effects. Your video may require detailed, time-consuming, art that needs to be produced using another application such as Photoshop® or Illustrator®. If so, a graphic artist may be required who will work closely with the Film Editor. The Film Editor may complete basic editing transitions and also may supply special graphical enhancements to the video.

ACTORS

This is a role in which many team members may be able to participate. Most likely, you will need to assign specific team members to be actors in your film. You might also include people who are not on your team as an “actor,” or an “extra,” or perhaps you want to include an interview. No matter who is starring in your video production, make sure that your team obtains proper permission from participants to appear on film.