A new addition to Ithaca High School is putting students in the director's seat and every other role of television production. Tamara Lindstrom shows us the cutting edge studio as the first lucky class dives in.
ITHACA, N.Y. -- The brand new studio at Ithaca High School is set to teach students a whole lot more than "lights, camera, action."
"We are learning about how to edit and how to run our own show, which I think is really cool because I haven't done anything about it before," said senior Panisara Chutintaranond.
The Digital and Media Production class will explore everything from script writing to computer graphics to on-camera work. The students will produce a bi-weekly magazine format show while fulfilling their English requirement.
"I have never really enjoyed a traditional English class and I think thought that this would be a very good experience," said senior James Eddlestone. "Especially since I'm planning to be an engineer, so it's useful to produce videos and such to get your ideas out."
It took a year of planning and about half a million dollars to put the studio together. But educators say the experience students will gain is invaluable.
"To get the students hands on experience, real life learning," said Steve Cass, TV production teacher and audio/video media engineer. "To take what they learned in this class if they work outside of school or to college or going into the workforce."
Cass said the most important skill students will learn is how to work as a team.
"They need to know how to work together, work with other people," Cass said. "They'll experience that once they leave high school to go in the real world, so I think that's probably the biggest thing is to work and collaborate together."
But with the set, cameras and control room just installed, these students are still getting used to their high-tech surroundings.
"I was scared to touch any equipment, especially the cameras, because I didn't want to do anything wrong with it. I didn't want to break anything," Chutintaranond said.
"All of this equipment is worth quite a lot of money and they're basically just letting us play around on it," Eddlestone said. "So I don't want to break anything, but I really want to learn how these work."
And with two teachers and a host of guest instructors line up, the class will be making TV magic in no time.
Ithaca High School is leasing to own the studio equipment. They hope to double or triple the number of students enrolled in the program next year.