You can “Jump!” in teacher Jeff Patin’s introduction to video production class, or “Walk like an Egyptian,” or go “Dancing in the Dark.”
As part of the class, ninth- through 12th-grade students harked back to the “I want my MTV” decade by creating music videos as they existed when the craft started out. While practicing camera shots, angles and movements, they also learned a little about totally ’80s hair bands and the corny lyrics teenagers rocked to three decades ago.
Patin said the project was a way to practice and showcase their video production skills — and, to some extent, entertain him and other Godfrey-Lee Public Schools staff members who remember the decade well. The students recently presented their finished videos to the Board of Education.
“It’s different,” said senior Humberto Gallarzo, about the music from Patin’s generation. Humberto helped produce the video, “Oh Sherrie” by Steve Perry.
Why the ’80s? “That’s my decade,” Patin joked. “Why do something really cinematic when you can do something really cheesy?”
Students are unfamiliar with the songs, he said, and have to take time learning the lyrics. “I chose the ’80s because verbally they are safe (not explicit) and it puts everybody on the same playing field because they don’t know the songs,” Patin explained.
New Tech for Retro Remakes
Unlike in the ’80s, students in the class make their videos with their smart phones and use the Apple program iMovie for editing. The results are shot-for-shot remakes of some of the most memorable songs from 30 years ago, from jumping like Eddie Van Halen to crooning like Rick Springfield over “Jessie’s Girl.” In editing, the original video appeared in the corner of students’ remakes to show how closely they match.
“It was hard to stay serious,” said senior Aracely Quinones, who served as camera operator for the “Oh, Sherrie” video.
“It’s fun and you’re learning at the same time,” said senior Johnny Lopez, who edited the video. “It gets people out of their comfort zone.”
Because of the music video and other projects in the class, students said they now watch TV and movies in a new way, paying attention to the angles, framing, movements and other elements.
“I can’t watch a simple show without thinking about this class,” said senior Miguel Lemus.