News Release Distributed 06/20/14BATON ROUGE, La. – It's a phrase typically heard on movie sets in Hollywood. But this week "Lights, Camera, Action!" was the title of a 4-H University program that gives young people a chance to expand their digital literacy skills by shooting and editing their own videos.
The course was one of 12 Clover College classes offered at 4-H University, which is held annually in June on LSU's campus. Unlike 4-H U contests, Clover College is noncompetitive and allows participants to explore career areas in small-group settings.
"Lights, Camera, Action!" teaches students how to use video equipment and get a message across to viewers, said Randy LaBauve, LSU AgCenter associate communications specialist, who has led the class for the past four years at Clover College.
The 4-H'ers form teams, come up with an idea for a video and take on various roles in the production process, from directors to actors to videographers. After shooting video, they edit it using computer software.
One group made a video about the history of 4-H in celebration of the Cooperative Extension Service's 100th anniversary this year. In their video, the students get lost in time on LSU's campus during a 4-H event 100 years ago. They journey through the next century on a time-traveling elevator, exploring how 4-H changed over the years.
"We wanted to give the history of 4-H and show how much we share our pride in 4-H and how much it's grown since then," said 14-year-old Chance LeBlanc, of Jackson Parish.
Chance, who has been involved in 4-H for five years, said he enjoyed learning how to use the camera and editing software most. Opportunities like this program illustrate the value of 4-H in his life, he said, because they help him become a better leader, citizen and friend.
Not only did this year's participants get to make their own videos, but they also gained some insight into the movie business from an industry professional.
Lindsay Tessier, an apprentice editor with FOX Louisiana Productions, spoke to the students about the rewards and excitement of working in the industry, but also the daily realities and stresses that come with such a job. Tessier, who recently did editing work for "22 Jump Street," started editing video by hooking two VCR players together.
Technology has changed a lot since her early days as a video editor, Tessier said, making it important to educate young people about the many digital tools available now that can improve the lives of themselves and others.
"Literacy these days is not just about being able to read and write," she said. "Media literacy is also very important. If you can work with digital video and editing software, that includes a wide range of skills that you can apply in many realms."
Those are skills that 4-H'ers Savannah Tucker and Emma Busby believe will be valuable throughout their lives, and that they may not have learned without 4-H.
"If you ever want to take a video for your family…" Savannah, who is 14 years old, paused.
"You can preserve family memories that way," 13-year-old Emma said, finishing Savannah's sentence for her.
Though from opposite ends of the state of Louisiana — Savannah is from Union Parish and Emma is from St. Tammany Parish — they are two of many 4-H'ers who meet and bond at 4-H University.
Together, 4-H U acquaintances get to learn valuable skills and explore LSU's campus, many of them for the first time.
Chase Maxwell, 14, of Jackson Parish, had never visited LSU before 4-H U last year. Today, he said he plans to attend LSU because he feels like he knows the campus and wants to be part of it.Olivia McClure
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