Teenagers interested in learning basic video production techniques should consider enrolling in Jeanne Marie White's course at Oxnard's Carnegie Art Museum in August.
But don't show up unless you're willing to make notes--specifically the kind of notes White will require, describing the video shots you want--before you pick up the camera.
This is not a course for Spielberg-wannabes who just want to swing a camera around hoping to catch something interesting in the viewfinder.
White, a Brazilian-born graphic artist who owns an Oxnard-based video production company, has planned a no-nonsense series of two-hour classes, culminating in each student creating a well-planned, original three-minute video.
"Video is a very important tool for our time, for kids to learn as early as possible," White says. "Knowing [how to do it] will enhance their school projects."
About her Saturday course, she says: "The main purpose is to effectively use the camera. If they plan ahead, students don't end up with so much gobbledygook that needs to be edited out."
White knows well the ways of her young clients. Trained as an architect in Brazil and veteran of a decade of teaching art in Ventura County public and private schools, she first has her video students learn elementary pictorial composition with a still camera.
Enrollees should bring a disposable camera or the family point-and-shoot for the purpose of learning basic photography concepts.
"They will learn how to frame a subject [in the viewfinder]," she explained, "and get a sense of where the light is coming from or what's in the background."
Following classes will emphasize video camera use, including wide and telephoto lens technique, focus control, microphone technique, exposure, panning and following moving objects. For those who can't borrow a camcorder from family or friends, White will provide them.
Another session will be about how to plan a video project.
"They will develop a script--have a little story--which will be in the form of an elaborate log of shots, [including] an introduction, main body and conclusion," White said.
She will suggest that students do their video in the form of a "report," based on one of the museum's exhibits or about the work of an artist being exhibited. "But if they want to do one on another subject, [such as] their little dog, that's all right," she said.
Concluding classes will be devoted to the actual videotaping of the shots written in the script or log, culminating with the screening of each student's work for the group.
During each of the five sessions, White says, she will watch each student "to see what they can do, and then push them a little further. I give attention to each individual."
Also recommended: "Yoga for Kids," a one-hour workout for kids, 3-13, taught by Thia Luby and Suza Francina, plus a book signing of Luby's newly published "Children's Book of Yoga," Sunday at 2 p.m., Ojai Yoga Center (an air-conditioned facility), 201 N. Signal St. The seminar is free, books are $14.95. Call (805) 646-3165.
"Video Production With Jeanne Marie White," for youths, 13-18, Saturdays from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., starting Saturday and continuing through Aug. 29. Carnegie Art Museum, 424 South C St., Oxnard. Advanced registration required. $10 per class, $9 for museum members, $45 prepaid for full course. Call (805) 385-8158 or (805) 385-8171.