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Fontana’s Almond Elementary students learn video production in after-school program

Fontana'S Almond Elementary Students Learn Video Production In After-School Program
Alyssa Estrada, a fifth-grader at Almond Elementary School in Fontana, works on a video project as part of the school’s Pacer Production Studios after-school program. (Courtesy of Fontana Unified School District)

Students at Fontana’s Almond Elementary School are being encouraged to put on their director’s caps and call out “lights, camera, action!” as the school launches its Pacer Production Studios after-school video program.

In the program, the elementary students are learning the basics of filmmaking with the assistance of Summit High School TV production students.

Nearly 50 fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grade students meet three days a week to learn a variety of film production techniques, including lighting, camera positioning, editing, scriptwriting, adding music and title sequences and how to be an on-air personality .

“Pacer Production Studios has really resonated with our students. We want to give them those relevant experiences and let their creativity shine through video production,” Tim McCaffrey, principal of Almond Elementary School, said in a news release.

“Our kids have top-notch equipment and a great partnership with Summit High School TV production students, who come to Almond and serve as mentors,” McCaffrey said.

To launch Pacer Production Studios, Almond Elementary received assistance from Fontana Unified School District’s visual and performing arts and career technical education departments, as well as from the Fontana Expanded Learning Program. The school has completely renovated its computer lab to resemble a recording studio.

Pacer Production Studios will have two learning tracks — one for traditional filmmaking and one to produce daily, student-led morning bulletin announcements. Students use Filmora, a film-editing software program that allows them to add special effects and other post-production features to their project.

Once a month, Summit High School TV production students visit Almond Elementary to provide one-to one mentoring, offer feedback and share tips and techniques they have learned while encouraging the elementary students to use their imagination to create film projects.

“Our goal is to create a partnership with Almond that will be beneficial to students from both schools,”Summit High School TV production teacher Artie Casas said in the news release. “I teach my students to push the limits to see what they are capable of, and that’s what we want to convey to the students at Almond. Especially in film production, you can’t be afraid to fail because it’s how you get better.”

In addition to teaching its students communication skills, Pacer Production Studios also includes instruction on ethics, safe practices and how to approach creating media responsibly, according to the news release.

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