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Camp for Camerawork: Young Filmmakers Learn the Ropes Through CATV

  • Kai Renshaw, 12, of Hanover, left, monitors the audio as Haley Davenport, 14, of Hartford, middle, and counselor Erin McClory, of Grantham, right, compose a shot outside the Tip Top building in White River Junction, Vt. during CATV's advanced video camp Tuesday, July 22, 2014. The camp teaches participants everything from handling video and sound equipment to screenwriting and editing.<br/>(Valley News - James M. Patterson)

    Kai Renshaw, 12, of Hanover, left, monitors the audio as Haley Davenport, 14, of Hartford, middle, and counselor Erin McClory, of Grantham, right, compose a shot outside the Tip Top building in White River Junction, Vt. during CATV's advanced video camp Tuesday, July 22, 2014. The camp teaches participants everything from handling video and sound equipment to screenwriting and editing.
    (Valley News - James M. Patterson)

  • Haley Davenport, 14, of Hartford, looks through her script for scenes to be shot inside the Tip Top building after finishing filming outside in White River Junction Tuesday, July 22, 2014. <br/>(Valley News - James M. Patterson)

    Haley Davenport, 14, of Hartford, looks through her script for scenes to be shot inside the Tip Top building after finishing filming outside in White River Junction Tuesday, July 22, 2014.
    (Valley News - James M. Patterson)

  • While taking a water break after filming outside, CATV Executive Director Bob Franzoni sings to Meg Snyder, 12, of Hanover, Johari Ajwang, 12, of Hanover, and Haley Davenport, 14, of Hartford, in White River Junction, Vt. Tuesday, July 22, 2014. After four five-hour days of camp, participants will have written, shot and edited a finished film that they will premier for friends and family on the fifth day. <br/>(Valley News - James M. Patterson)

    While taking a water break after filming outside, CATV Executive Director Bob Franzoni sings to Meg Snyder, 12, of Hanover, Johari Ajwang, 12, of Hanover, and Haley Davenport, 14, of Hartford, in White River Junction, Vt. Tuesday, July 22, 2014. After four five-hour days of camp, participants will have written, shot and edited a finished film that they will premier for friends and family on the fifth day.
    (Valley News - James M. Patterson)

  • CATV Advanced Video Camp counselors, from left, Erin McClory, Allegra Harvard, 14, and J.D. Hawks, 15, check headphones, microphones and video cameras before distributing them to campers on a shooting day at the camp in White River Junction, Vt. Tuesday, July 22, 2014. On the second day of the camp students begin to shoot scenes from the scripts they had written the previous day. <br/>(Valley News - James M. Patterson)

    CATV Advanced Video Camp counselors, from left, Erin McClory, Allegra Harvard, 14, and J.D. Hawks, 15, check headphones, microphones and video cameras before distributing them to campers on a shooting day at the camp in White River Junction, Vt. Tuesday, July 22, 2014. On the second day of the camp students begin to shoot scenes from the scripts they had written the previous day.
    (Valley News - James M. Patterson)

  • Kai Renshaw, 12, of Hanover, left, monitors the audio as Haley Davenport, 14, of Hartford, middle, and counselor Erin McClory, of Grantham, right, compose a shot outside the Tip Top building in White River Junction, Vt. during CATV's advanced video camp Tuesday, July 22, 2014. The camp teaches participants everything from handling video and sound equipment to screenwriting and editing.<br/>(Valley News - James M. Patterson)
  • Haley Davenport, 14, of Hartford, looks through her script for scenes to be shot inside the Tip Top building after finishing filming outside in White River Junction Tuesday, July 22, 2014. <br/>(Valley News - James M. Patterson)
  • While taking a water break after filming outside, CATV Executive Director Bob Franzoni sings to Meg Snyder, 12, of Hanover, Johari Ajwang, 12, of Hanover, and Haley Davenport, 14, of Hartford, in White River Junction, Vt. Tuesday, July 22, 2014. After four five-hour days of camp, participants will have written, shot and edited a finished film that they will premier for friends and family on the fifth day. <br/>(Valley News - James M. Patterson)
  • CATV Advanced Video Camp counselors, from left, Erin McClory, Allegra Harvard, 14, and J.D. Hawks, 15, check headphones, microphones and video cameras before distributing them to campers on a shooting day at the camp in White River Junction, Vt. Tuesday, July 22, 2014. On the second day of the camp students begin to shoot scenes from the scripts they had written the previous day. <br/>(Valley News - James M. Patterson)

On a sultry Tuesday morning in White River Junction, one teenage boy chased another teenage boy, wearing a Boston Red Sox baseball cap, at top speed down Main Street past the Hotel Coolidge, and rounded the corner into an alley. A few pedestrians watched bemused.

Summer highjinks? A feud breaking into public view? A foot race?

None of the above.

It was just another day in CATV’s summer video camp, where students in grades seven through nine learn to write, shoot and edit their own short videos. Ross Patten, a 16-year-old camp counselor from CATV, the public access channel in White River Junction, was watching from across the street while Clare Swanson and Logan Spencer operated the microphone and video camera.

Then the team noticed an error: the chasee, Alexander Olszewski, hadn’t been wearing his baseball cap in previous scenes. And since there was no time lapse in the script from when he ran past the hotel and into the alley, there would be no way to explain why he was wearing a cap on Main Street but not wearing it a few seconds later in the alley, in a scene that had already been shot.

“What’s that called?” Patten asked Swanson and Spencer. “A continuity error.”

So they did the scene again, without the cap, and this time the two boys stopped running just past the Hotel Coolidge awning.

The group of students — Swanson, Spencer, Olszewski and the chaser, a boy named Ian whose parents didn’t want his surname used — were in Advanced Video Camp. They’d already learned the basics of video production and had gone on to write a short script about two rival boxers, one of whom had stolen a championship medal from the other.

They’d turn that into a four-minute short, which would then be shown on CATV Channel 10, along with the other shorts made by other teams of campers. The video would include the chase, a confrontation between the two boxers in the alley, and a flashback in which a championship medal was awarded to Ian while Olszewski, fuming, said “The medal should have been mine.”

It’s the 10th year that CATV had held its summer video camp, said CATV director Bob Franzoni. In its first year, he said, “it was just me and 10 video campers, and now it’s expanded to six weeks and 90 kids.”

And the change in technology from 10 years ago, when they were still using VHS video tape, to now, when everything has been digitized and put on computer hard drives, is the equivalent of going from horse and buggy to a Porsche 911.

Similarly, Franzoni said, many students coming into video camp now are already versed in shooting and editing because they’ve already used their iPods and iPhones to make short videos.

This is Patten’s second year as a counselor. A student at Hanover High School, Patten has long been interested in acting and theater, and in the past few years has added video to his portfolio.

“I love editing,” he said. Like other counselors he was wearing a CATV T-shirt with “Your voice, your channel, your community” emblazoned on the back.

Swanson, who is 14 and lives in Thetford, has been in love with the theater since she was young. She did the video camp last year and is an intern this year. Last fall she participated in CATV’s Halloween-a-thon, in which teams of filmmakers produce short, scary, funny movies.

At the end of camp, said Sophie Bodnar, production coordinator and educational outreach assistant at CATV, the students are treated to a mini-red carpet, with a premiere and awards.

On the street, the team discussed what they were going to shoot next and decided on a wide shot. A bearded FedEx delivery man paused to watch.

“Do you need a villain? I make a good villain,” he said.

Nicola Smith can be reached at nsmith@vnews.com.