Penn-Trafford students Conner Alexander, Amanda Bobish and Paul Mills were in the middle of a live broadcast, during the third quarter of the 2021 PIAA Football Semi-Finals, when a nightmare scenario for a first-time sportscaster began to unfold.
“It took forever to get that call out in the field,” said Penn-Trafford video production professor Steve Vinton. “And they jumped in and filled the time with stats, talked about the game: they improvised perfectly.”
Their work during the third term earned them the “Best in Category: Live Event” award at the 2022 Digital Media Arts Consortium sponsored by Robert Morris College, where the work of high school media production students is showcased and recognized annually.
Penn-Trafford students are no strangers to this recognition, and this year was no exception.
In addition to the live event award, they achieved “Award of Excellence” recognition in the documentary, public service announcement and feature film categories. And senior Jake Pleins won the Founders Award for his work on a documentary about the Warrior football team’s 2021 state title.
“It was a three-month project with 80 hours of editing and hundreds of gigabytes of video we shot,” said Pleins, 18. “Initially we were just going to do the documentary about the team playing at Heinz Field, but they kept winning and we kept traveling to Hershey.
Junior Phelan Newman’s public service announcement used a devastatingly simple concept – a crushed piece of paper – to send a strong message about the effects of bullying.
“There wasn’t a lot of high production value,” Newman said. “I just used a simple ring light on the paper and fired it.”
Created in partnership with the non-profit Blackburn Center in Greensburg, Vinton said Newman came up with an easy-to-understand idea “that was really, really effective.”
“I feel like video production helps me find ways to express myself,” Newman said. “No matter how small your budget, you can always make art.”
Alexander was mostly happy that he and his broadcast team had a successful third quarter, but they also came away with valuable experience.
“It was a real hands-on experience of what live streaming is,” he said. “It was really amazing.”