Photo Courtesy of Jon Logan
Ready, set, shoot. Four student camera operators from audio video (AV) production stand ready to film the North Texas Irish Festival. Hired by the Southwest Celtic Music Association, AV students, who are also a part of the Eagle Production Group, were given the chance to film seven different bands for the festival, which would be aired worldwide.
Year-round, the AV production class works to cover a variety of topics, from statewide events to students and sports, all through film. Now, some of those students’ work is being seen through the pre-filmed festival, which occurred virtually on March 6, and is still being livestreamed today.
“Normally the festival has over 20,000 attendees every year, and it’s at Fair Park in Dallas,” AV production teacher Michael Logan said. “There’s some acquaintances and people that I work with that have been seeing all of the things our students have been doing at state, and he thought, ‘Well, your kids would probably be able to do all of this, do you want to do it?’ And so we went ahead and did it, and had a professional film shoot with seven different bands.”
The North Texas Irish Festival streams from six different channels worldwide, from Ireland to the United States. Though the festival is normally held in person, this year, due to COVID-19, the festival was shown virtually after being pre-filmed.
“They got all of the bands to come to The Post in Fort Worth. It’s a music venue, and so for two days, on Saturday and Sunday, we filmed all of the bands, for a full hour long set,” Logan said. “They were basically trying to get all of the things that would usually happen at the festival to now be online.”
Logan, who’s been teaching AV production for six years, said that this festival was not the first time him and his students have been asked to film an event outside of school, but for an eight-time Grammy winner instead.
“The first time that we were asked to do extra events outside of school was last year when I got asked to have students run video for eight-time Grammy winner Gladys Knight,” Logan said. “So my students came and ran switcher and camera, and I was basically hands-off, they ran the whole show.”
Most of the students who attend out-of-school events with Logan have been in AV production for four years or more, having had experience since middle school by the time they reach high school.
“They start in middle school and take Principals of AV Production, and as a sophomore they can have me, sophomore through senior year,” Logan said. “So I’ve worked with them, and as they’ve built up through the years, they now basically have a professional skill set.”
Senior Tyler Asuncion, who is in Advanced AV Production, has been learning from Logan since his sophomore year.
“I’ve had a lifelong interest in films and television. I always kind of saw it as this kind of pinnacle of storytelling,” Asuncion said. “I got involved in AVP (audio video production) during sophomore year, and I’ve just kind of been going from there. I’ve met and worked with amazing people, been allowed to flex my creativity to an unprecedented degree, and been given the chance to send films I’ve worked on to national film festivals. It’s a lot of fun, and I’ve picked up so many skills from it I probably couldn’t list all of them.”
Many other AV production students have been able to send their films off for competition as well, including senior Maxwell Havens, whose short film recently made it through UIL State Finals.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to make my own cartoon or anime, so being able to produce my own animated short was surreal,” Havens said. “I probably spent around 350-400 hours to create nearly 3,000 hand drawn frames and backgrounds. And seeing my months of hard work and sleepless nights to make it through state finals was the ultimate payoff. The story is about a curious young wizard who confronts a life or death scenario, testing his skills.”
As AV production students continue to get recognition for their work in all things film, the connection between Logan and his students in the class is only growing stronger.
“I learn from them all the time,” Logan said. “A lot of these kids are a lot smarter than I am. My favorite thing is the passion, and how they are so self-driven to succeed and do cool things.”