History of 409 Studios
In 2005, educator Vance Lynch pitched the idea of a course where students learn how to make quality films and documentaries to then-Covington High principal Danny Guillory. He agreed, and in the following year, Multimedia Productions was born. At the time, the main purpose was to document the school year's events on video and sell it in tandem with the CHS yearbook as a "Yearbook DVD." Early students of the course learned how to film with cheap SD video cameras and edit with Adobe Premiere Elements 2.0. Many videos created by the students were often hosted on the school website for all to see.
As Multimedia Productions grew in popularity, Covington High's administration generously purchased equipment and software upgrades. Over time, through DVD sales, grants, and expanded revenue opportunities, the course has become relatively self-sufficient. Funds acquired go to improving equipment, software, and hardware in order to continuously improve the quality of our productions. A brief history of 409 Studios is below.
The 2006-2007 school year was the first to have a DVD mass-produced. Lauren, a junior at the time, was the first producer. Video cameras were standard-definition quality and we used Adobe Premiere Elements 2.0 for editing.
The 2007-2008 school year saw Lauren return to her producer role as a senior, bringing with her the experiences she gained as a junior. We were able to purchase five copies of Sony Vegas Video Pro 8.0 and used it for our editing.
We had co-producers in the 2008-09 year: Margaux and Leslie. Our computers received RAM upgrades (all computers had at least 3GB installed), had secondary hard drives installed, and we obtained a Dymo Disc Painter which allowed us to have a proper label pained on the DVDs.
The 2009-2010 school year was our first big jump into professional-grade software. Anthony led the way as producer, and we got the Adobe Production Premium CS4 suite to play with! In this DVD, we used Photoshop Extended, Premiere Professional, and After Effects extensively. In addition to the new software, we got two new video cameras: Canon Vixia HV30's. This allowed us to film in high-def.
The 2010-2011 school year saw April take over as producer. The focus this year was to improve our academic video collection, and to that end we did. About halfway through the year, our old Windows XP computers were swapped out for Windows 7 machines, and this improved our rendering speed considerably. We used funds to enhance each computer, so now all computers in the room are running with 4GB RAM and a second hard drive with at least 500GB space. We also had our first spin-off DVD made. Ashley and Morgan wanted to compile all the video footage and photographs from the past four years and assemble it into a "Class of 2011" DVD. They had fourteen seniors create and record original music and assembled a team of seniors to create a three-hour long DVD full of 2012 students over their Covington High lifespan. One hour of the DVD was played at that year's sunset dinner.
Cayla lead the Multimedia productions class as producer for the 2011-2012 year. This year, we received the Deborah Rochelle Teacher Education Grant for $3500 and purchased, among other items, our first professional video camera, the Canon XH-A1s. We used it to produce a series of videos that displayed progressions of student critical thinking skills in various classrooms.
Jeanne was the class's student producer in 2012-13. It was the 100th anniversary of Covington High School, and so the focus this year was on our rich history. In part, to highlight the academics at the school, we began our "Teacher Spotlight" series, where we displayed outstanding teachers reflecting on their classes and styles in short featurettes.
Lindsey led the class during 2013-2014 academic year, the first producer since the original one, Lauren, who had Mr. Lynch since her freshman year. The class advanced tremendously in terms of equipment this year as well. Vance Lynch and a fellow business teacher, Jennifer Hudmon, were awarded $32,000 between them from the Northshore Technical Community College. For our share, we purchased professional-grade photography equipment (Canon 5D Mark III and two strong lenses) and a DVD duplicator that far surpassed the power of our old one-at-a-time duplicator. The camera equipment led to the creation of the new Photography course at Covington High, which was offered in the following year.
Elora was the class's student producer in 2014-15. Early in the year, Jack Salter Stadium acquired a brand new video scoreboard, and 409 studios was asked to run it and produce videos for it. As part of the deal, Citizen's Bank and Trust gave us a brand new card-based video camera, the Canon XA 20 camcorder, which allowed us to make the switch from tape-based cameras to card-based. We ended up producing over 25 original videos that were played during the season, from advertisements to promotionals to public service announcements. 409 Studios partnered with Channel 13 and was able to offer, for the first time, the entire graduation ceremony on a DVD to graduates and their families!
Maddy was the class's student producer for 2015-16. Under her leadership, 409 Studios introduced football highlight clips to nearly every game. Once again, the graduation ceremony, the 2016 Pride of the Lions DVD, and the sunset dinner were all made available for purchasing. In addition, 409 Studios took over picture-taking at the junior ring ceremony.
Laney was the class's student producer in 2016-17. She has continued the football highlights videos that started the prior year, and supervised the largest multimedia class to that point (22 students).