kayaks on river

Keeping videos looking fresh is a challenge that producers face, and NNPS-TV uses their expertise and creativity to ensure their videos don't look dated.

NNPS-TV Station Manager Jim Anklam, Producer Nik Long, and Production Specialist Aaron Moore make up the production team that creates videos about NNPS for airing on TV and on the livestreams on the website, Apple TV, Roku, and the NNPS-TV apps. Their videos are also available on demand on YouTube and on NNPS-TV's own video site, video.nnpstv.com.

NNPS-TV videos highlight school division programs and initiatives, giving family members and the community an inside look at school-related activities. Oftentimes, the program they are highlighting hasn't changed a lot, but the production team aims to always have fresh faces and visuals in the videos.

These days, a dead giveaway that a video is older is when the subjects are not wearing face coverings or are gathered in huge crowds. Everyone knows that video was shot before the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020-21. NNPS programs like Summer Institute for the Arts; Summer Program for Arts, Recreation and Knowledge (SPARK); and Outdoor Education often use the same sort of visuals, but have been re-shot with the students wearing masks and social distancing.

The team also tries to use different perspectives to tell a story another way. They might write the script from a different angle, as Long did recently when covering Red Ribbon Week at Hilton Elementary. NNPS-TV often covers the parade there, but this year Long added a new element. He video-recorded the student whose design was used on the T-shirts as she was shown the shirt for the first time.

"Even though we’ve covered a similar story year after year, the story may still be new to the viewers this time around," Long said. "So we have to be respectful of the story, even if it feels repetitive to us."

Using different camera shots or equipment for a new view, like using the drone for aerial footage or the Osmo camera for close-up action/movement, is another way to tell the story from a different angle. The team has used a GoPro camera for years, attaching it to school buses, canoes flipping in the water during safety training, or the handlebars of bicycles ridden by students.

"It helps keep us excited about a project when we approach it from a new angle, shoot it from a creative perspective, or reveal a unique point of view," said Long.

"For example, we might enhance a story by showing the action or event from a student’s point of view," Anklam said.

Anklam noted the environment or setting of the event can allow for a fresh aesthetic, too. "A story about students studying marine life, or learning to paddle canoes, will usually be more captivating when the point of view originates from the water," he said.

He likes to do a drone shot when possible, he said, "because it provides an excellent omniscient or orientation point of view, unmatched by cameras at ground level." 

A video can be enhanced in post-production as well. Moore, who usually does the editing, can add different graphics and effects to change the look of a video and update the information being provided. He can blend in stock footage as well, for a new look.

Providing current information is most important, and the production team reviews the content of their videos to correct anything that has changed. For example, the team created a "Support Your School" video years ago, but has made modifications to it as the information and procedures change. "Box Tops for Education" used to be clipped off of product boxes, but now there is an app for scanning your grocery receipt instead. The team used video clips from the official website to adjust their video to reflect the new procedure.

Making current and useful videos about NNPS is the goal of the NNPS-TV production team, and keeping up with changes and getting the viewer's attention is part of that.

"Researching current, accurate data and weaving it into the story is extremely important," said Anklam. "We want the story to be fresh, but we also want our viewers to trust the information they hear in our videos."