Lights! Camera! Education!

by Patrick J. Buechi
Thu, Aug 29th 2019 04:00 pm

The Holy Spirit is working through Notre Dame Academy as it starts a video club with reunited members of Daybreak TV Productions. The South Buffalo elementary school is using the expertise of a professional production crew to create live stream of special events.

While discussing how to add more art into their STREAM program, Principal Tristan D'Angelo and math teacher Brian Bartosik thought of creating a video journalism club. The school just happens to have two former members of Daybreak on staff to guide them through the process.

"We wanted (students) to have the ability to produce their own news shows or something to that order, because we've seen that in a lot of schools," explained D'Angelo.

Bartosik quickly put together a wishlist that included cameras, production software and greenscreens. Then began talking to Paula DeAngelis-Stein, former producer for the diocesan Daybreak TV Productions, and currently advancement/marketing director for Notre Dame, who helped the school purchase some of Daybreak's former equipment.

Bartosik picked students who had showed interest in production, proved to be reliable and were able to follow instructions to be the crew. DeAngelis-Stein walked them through the process of manning big professional cameras and a switchboard. She also set up a YouTube channel for the school at the beginning of year.

Then on May 17, Notre Dame livestreamed the eighth-grade Ribbon Mass that honored the graduating class. A team of three sixth-graders served as a production crew for the stream. The students were excited to be a part of it, and to see their friends' work.

"I thought it was pretty fun," said cameraperson Taylor. "It was cool to use all the buttons when you had to tilt it and walk with them."

"It was hard, but you kind of got the hang of it after a little bit," added Bailey, who served as technical director.

The kids learned how to work as a team and communicate, which they did through radio headsets.

"Me and Kenny had to talk to know (what footage they could get). If he couldn't get the altar, then I could get the altar and he could get Father Bryan (Zielenieski, canonical administrator) walking up," said Taylor.

Even though they are just kids, being part of a Catholic school and knowing how a Mass would proceed, as well as Father Zielenieski's movements proved to be an asset that a hired crew would not know.

"I promised I wouldn't take anyone live, but I did. They were that good," said DeAngelis-Stein. "Twelve-year olds on these big professional cameras. I was so proud of these kids."

Peter Herrmann, former engineer for Daybreak now serving as an engineer for Notre Dame, attended the Mass to see his son, Jonathan, but couldn't help checking the stream on his phone about a dozen times.
The livestream came in handy. When they found there was not enough room in the Chapel for everyone, some were able to watch it online in the classrooms.

 "It's neat for them to see that it's not just for a news concept, but they can celebrate Mass in that way too," said DeAngelo.

For the eight-grade graduation, the school borrowed a camera from former Daybreak editor Andy Golebiowski and used a six-member team to do a similar live stream. "We needed three more students and they were falling all over each other to participate," said D'Angelis.

This fall Bartosik plans to have an afterschool club for video production, teaching the fundamentals of camera operation, on-air talent, technical directing, scriptwriting, even cable laying and electrical engineering. DeAngelo is glad to offer something to the school other than sports.

"It's just so cool to see them take that pride in something. We are a sports community here. At Notre Dame, we have over 30 sports teams," said DeAngelo. "We needed something to give that spark."

The staff is allowing the club and future productions to grow naturally. Bartosik is thinking of having the fall crew make morning announcements or interview the school athletes after a game. 

"I think that's our endgame, to be able to livestream certain things, especially graduation," he said.