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Show must go on in Hermiston Relay for Life video production

Armand Larive Middle School video production students provided live video coverage of this year's Relay for Life.
Jade McDowell

East Oregonian

Published on June 26, 2015 6:31PM

Last changed on June 26, 2015 9:36PM

Kylee Heppner, left, tests the wireless reach of an iPad transmitting to the press box behind her while setting up for a student-produced live stream of Hermiston’s Relay for Life.

Staff photo by Jade McDowell

Kylee Heppner, left, tests the wireless reach of an iPad transmitting to the press box behind her while setting up for a student-produced live stream of Hermiston’s Relay for Life.

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Kylee Heppner looks over her script in the press box while preparing to help live stream Hermiston’s Relay for Life.

Staff photo by Jade McDowell

Kylee Heppner looks over her script in the press box while preparing to help live stream Hermiston’s Relay for Life.

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Video production students from Armand Larive Middle School learned an important lesson of live television Friday: Even the best laid plans will go awry.

Students from the class volunteered to help produce a live online video feed for the entire 16 hours of the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, but the extreme heat was throwing a wrench in the works.

Organizers decided to move the first couple of hours of the relay indoors, rendering the large camera the students had rigged up on the roof of the Armand Larive track press box useless for capturing the opening ceremony.

They could use iPads to film a lower quality stream and wirelessly transmit it to their set-up in the press box, but with the weather 104 degrees outside and even hotter in the box there was still the problem of their computer equipment overheating.

“It’s been a little sluggish,” teacher Rob Doherty said.

He said the live feed might not be ready right at 6 p.m. but people should keep checking back. Most of the evening would be a simple live stream of the event, but at the top of every hour students planned to do a 10 to 15 minute newscast with interviews and update on fundraising.

Doherty said he thought producing the video feed would be a good experience for his students, not only in terms of video production skills but also in meeting cancer survivors and hearing about the things they have overcome.

“This is going to be a fun event but it’s also going to be a serious event for a good cause,” he said.

Doherty said when he began looking for volunteers to keep the video footage coming during the 16 hour event a few students he contacted were going to be out of town, but the rest were more than willing to come work for a good cause during what was supposed to be their summer vacation.

“I think that says a lot about the kids,” he said.

Kylee Heppner, who was wait-listed for the video productions class last year but has a spot in it for her eighth grade year, said she studied up and passed the necessary quizzes to be qualified to help with Friday’s production.

“I don’t really think of it as school stuff,” she said. “I think of it as getting to learn stuff most kids don’t know how to do.”

She said two of her aunts are cancer survivors and they planned to watch part of the live stream from their homes in Salem and California.

Heidi Zuniga, who took video production last year as an eighth grader, said she planned to stay the entire 16 hours, although she would probably sneak in a nap between interviews.

She and Jahayra Garcia both said they came back to their old middle school to participate because they missed the environment in the press box.

“I wanted to live the whole experience again,” Heidi said.

The school’s video production class gets plenty of hands-on experience every year, including filming the morning announcements, regular newscasts and acting as producers and announcers at sporting events.

Next year a similar class will be added to Hermiston High School, and an AV Club of sorts will bring students interested in video production together across grade levels.

Heather Farnworth of the American Cancer Society said none of the other 20 Relay for Life events her office supports have ever done a live-streamed video of their event online and she hasn’t heard of one anywhere else either.

“It’s kind of interesting,” she said. “It’s a fun thing and I’m excited about it.”

The idea came from local Relay for Life organizers.

Farnworth said the video feed would be a helpful service for people who wanted to attend the Relay but couldn’t, and it could also be a good opportunity for people who don’t know much about Relay for Life to check it out.

The live feed from the Hermiston Relay for Life can be accessed at http://bit.ly/1Hl2mju. The event runs from 6 p.m. Friday to 10 a.m. Saturday at Armand Larive Middle School.

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Contact Jade McDowell at jmcdowell@eastoregonian.com or 541-564-4536.



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