When the NNPS-TV production team shot the intro video for the last Elementary Engineering Design Challenge at the top of a Busch Gardens roller coaster, they thought it might be downhill from there. What could compare to that for a thrilling engineering subject to shoot?
Well, they were pleasantly surprised with the next assignment, because the next Elementary EDC was sponsored by Liebherr Mining Equipment Newport News Co., an international company based locally that makes enormous, powerful mining trucks and earth movers. In fact, they build the largest mining truck in the world!
Like any kid, the NNPS-TV production team loves the idea of working with giant tools that do massive amounts of digging, lifting and hauling. So working on a project about these awesome examples of high-tech machinery was exciting and novel.
The Design Challenge was held December 11 and was for second- and third-graders. The challenges are held four times a year, with each school sending a four-person team.
At the challenges, the intro video is played for the students, giving them background information and introducing their challenge. The students then try to accomplish the goal using their STEM know-how.
The NNPS-TV production team that created the intro video consists of Station Manager Jim Anklam, Producer Nik Long, and Video Production Tech Aaron Moore. They work closely with the challenge host partner (in this case Liebherr) and the NNPS STEM department when creating Elementary Design Challenge videos. For the Liebherr intro video, STEM Instructional Specialist (PK-8) Jacob Andrus was the coordinator of the event. He wrote the script for the video and attended the video shoot at Liebherr's 77-acre facility.
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At the shoot, Anklam and Long recorded the Liebherr spokesman, Max Roessler, who is the Business Development and Marketing Manager. They had to wear hard hats and be escorted to the 289,000-square-foot manufacturing plant. At the plant, Liebherr makes parts for the T 284 Mining Truck. The trucks are so huge that they have to be shipped in multiple containers and assembled on location. So Liebherr manufactures the parts in Newport News and ships them to the mining site, where the vehicle is constructed.
The team set up their shot at the end of the assembly line. They had to make sure no welding was going on farther up the line, because the noise would interfere with the audio. As it was, they had to deal with other factory noise that could not be avoided.
Since the local company makes the large components but doesn't assemble the T 284, the NNPS-TV production team did not get to climb aboard one or get shots of one in action. Moore, who edited the video, had to rely on video provided by Liebherr to show the heavy equipment at work. Luckily, the company had beautiful HD footage from mining sites around the world, which Moore "cut into" his video, along with graphics he created.
Because of the tight holiday schedule, Moore had only a one week turnaround between the shoot and the Design Challenge event where the video would be shown.
More about STEM education
It wasn't easy, but "it all came together," said Long.
In addition to creating the intro video, NNPS-TV covered the Design Challenge itself, so the team was out again in no time shooting that event for their "School View" show.
Liebherr brought their engineers to interact with the students and help them if they ran into trouble, and even awarded the winning team with toy T 284 trucks.
"They were blown away by the ideas the kids came up with so quickly," said Long. "I think they may have gotten some good ideas from the second- and third-graders!"
One thing's for sure, the NNPS-TV team's enthusiasm and teamwork made the video and the event a HUGE (pardon the pun) success.