$50K Grant Upgrades NAHS Video and Film Program with New Equipment, Quality

John Doyle (right) works with student Emily Schools, senior, to set up the com-center’s new DSLR gliding camera.

Duyen To, Associate Editor

When entering the com-center of Norristown Area High School, students will be astonished at how advanced and up-to-date the school is with technology and film production equipment.

John Doyle, the video production teacher, recently received a grant of $50,000 from State Senator Daylin Leach, obtaining the opportunity of a lifetime to boost quality for Norristown film. Leach appeared twice a week as a guest on the Hank Cisco show, one of the shows Doyle’s video production class produces in studio. Doyle had known Sen. Leach for years, and as the show progressed over the years, Sen. Leach watched the kids struggle as they used broken equipment to film the show. There was no budget in the school to help fund or buy new items, so Sen. Leach decided to help fund the film production program by generously awarding the program $50,000.

Upon receiving the grant, the communication center (often referred to as the  “com-center”) was able to upgrade with three new cameras, one of which is able to record in regular HD and the other two able to record in 2K. Doyle also bought professional editing programs Adobe Premiere and Final Cut to better edit videos and prepare students for both college and careers in video editing.

Additionally, the com-center also upgraded its computers, adding three new Mac computers, each of which also have the new editing programs installed. The comcenter was able to receive new microphones for better voice recording for videos.

Moreover, Doyle also bought a drone, giving the students the advantage to record videos and take pictures high up where people cannot reach. As cool as it sounds, the drone was not the most expensive piece of equipment, or what Doyle called, “cheap but not cheap.”

Upon receiving new equipment, students must be careful not break or damage it. “There is this terrifying nature of things being broken,” Doyle said. “There’s so many expensive equipment, my kids aren’t used to handling them. When you’re used to dealing with junk, you get used to treating equipment as such.”

When given new equipment, not many people have knowledge on how the equipment might work; thus they must learn how to utilize it. “This learning curve challenges me to teach my kids. My classes are in different levels, as my second level classes are more advanced than my first level class alongside the new equipment.”

There may be many challenges Doyle and his students must face because of the new equipment, but those will not stop the video production crew from bringing better quality film and sound to Norristown Area High School.

From the announcements in the morning to lunchtime slide-shows, many students of NAHS have began to notice the change in quality. “Oh, students have already seen stuff! We’ve fixed the Eagle News, and now it looks much more professional. It’s much more viewable. You can most definitely see the difference.”

The Eagle News isn’t the only thing students have noticed. “Sports games look like something new, a difference in things we produce, giving more information and entertainment to kids and the community.”

As students begin to work with new equipment, Doyle has noticed that kids become overwhelmed and scared. “Most importantly, they’re excited!” Doyle emphasized.  Doyle had struggled with teaching his students with broken equipment, but now he is able to teach as well as learn “this and that” about the new technology the film program has received.