Studio Constructed by Students

by Joe Hess

Bethany Stafford, UCA junior, works on painting for the built-in green screen in the new videography studio. Photo by Tamara Terry
William Garrett, industrial arts teacher, fills the seams where a window was covered to create a green screen for the tech lab studio. Photo by Tamara Terry

Spangle, Wash., March 5, 2014 - What started out as a simple question to a local news station about green screens has transformed the tech lab on the campus of Upper Columbia Academy (UCA). In the spring 2013, UCA videography instructor Tamara Terry connected with Dan Lamphere, operations manager for several local TV stations, which happened to have a foam green screen and some lights the students could use. Needless to say, Terry and the students were thrilled.

Seeing the enthusiasm William Garrett, UCA industrial arts instructor, knew the foam wouldn't last around active students, so he along with sophomores Taylor Sims and Elliot Wickward, junior Bethany Stafford, and seniors Cameron Smith, Alex Tataryn, Sarah Blake and Oscar Merry took turns smoothing out the lab's brick walls. Once they were smooth enough, Garrett, Terry and Terry's mom, Marilyn Michalenko, painted the walls green. Terry’s husband, Randy, and father-in-law, Richard Terry, were recruited to cover a window so the room could have two green walls.

Bob Lenz, UCA information technology director, along with several student workers, upgraded the tech lab computers with new professional-level hardware and software so students could edit high-definition video footage from the cameras quickly and efficiently.

The next project was to create a pole to hold the lights. Garrett and Caleb Lamberton, ’13, welded pipes together to hang the donated lights. A variety of backdrops were purchased with donated funds. That created another project need: how to hang them. Garrett gave students the vision, then senior Suzanna Officer drew up the plans on AutoCAD. Juniors Dustin James and Mike Evans cut out the brackets with the PlasmaCAM.

Far from finished, it is exciting to see what a little team work can do. Terry hopes to eventually have some professional video cameras for the class to use and a variety of props to create sets. One student-made video can be seen at http://youtu.be/vGE9rgkAYzQ. It features a time-lapse of the new cafeteria being constructed.

UCA needs to update the AutoCAD design software to give students current technology experience. If you're interested in donating toward the $3,000 AutoCAD upgrade, please contact the school.