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The student news site of Corona del Mar High School


The student news site of Corona del Mar High School


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Let’s Get Technical: The Lights, Camera, & Action Behind CdM’s Rallies

Every year as students trickle into the Big Gym to behold one of the many rallies CdM ASB holds, they witness performances by cheer, orchesis, drumline, triads, and many other organizations on campus and as they make the crowd loud, CdM ASB’s Tech works tirelessly to make sure that the lights, audio, and videos that accompany these acts run smoothly. Tech commissioner, Will Hemphill explains, “We’re in charge of not only doing the videos for the rally, but also lighting [and] sound. So when you get in freshman year, you have to learn a bunch of new stuff. Some people haven’t even learned Final Cut or Premiere, which is the editing software that we use, which is fine, but it’s a lot to learn.” This year’s Holiday Rally was no exception, with Hemphill explaining that “On this one it’s five weeks, this is our smallest gap between [rallies],” however both him and Nolan Crane thought that the rally turned out well, with Hemphil emphasizing that this is his, “favorite Holiday Rally we have put together.”

The audience watches one of the transition videos during the rally. Photo courtesy of Kaydence Osgood.

ASB’s Tech has a lot of responsibilities on top of their rally work, including Trident TV videos like Hot Seat and their new segment Cooking with Cabinet, ASB promotional videos, as well as coordinating with the many other factions of ASB, as well as other organizations on campus to complete their tasks. Hemphill acknowledges that this workload can become a lot, so, as Tech commissioners, he and Crane are “… in charge of delegating out projects to the other tech kids and kind of just planning out videos and overseeing everything.” Along with their Tech work, being in ASB comes with its own set of duties and Crane details that, “ASB is kind of one of those things where you put into it exactly what you want to. So it’s really important for me to always be just aware of what’s going on at the school and like the school’s culture and constantly giving ideas and helping people. If I ever have a day, which never happens until we’re done with the rally, where I’m not busy, I take it kind of as a responsibility to go around and see what everyone’s working on like check up and make sure that ASB functions like a family.”

Although Tech as a whole works on so many aspects, one of their biggest projects are the rallies. A core aspect of this work is communication, describes Hemphill, “Pretty much every day in ASB we’ll meet with activities who’s in charge of like the script and everything and they work super closely with the rally commissioners so being able to communicate stuff is super important and even if we meet every day we still have trouble sometimes where like nobody knows the schedule that we’re on…it gets chaotic sometimes, but overall making sure that we meet with activities, as much as possible, to make sure that they know what we’re doing and we know what they’re doing. It’s all communication.” When it comes to specifics, things like the videos that play have a multi-step process, reveals Crane. He details that, “It kind of starts with us throwing around ideas and then once we decide on the theme, along with Activities… we start kind of doing a ton of research on what we wanted it to look like, what our inspiration is, what’s the original content, so we pull off from like the movies themselves and then definitely past rallies.” Crane illustrates their research process by revealing that sometimes he and Hemphill will “come across a photo from a movie we both like, like a still and we’ll kind of use that.” Using the Clue rally as an example, he demonstrates that since they were both really into Wes Anderson films, and Asteroid City had just come out, “… we were like ‘everything is going to be like a Wes Anderson shot’.”

Will Hemphill talks to Nolan Crane while Neekan Nazemian edits the audio during rehearsal the day before the rally. Photo courtesy of Kaydence Osgood.

After they have their theme and inspiration it is time to get into the “nitty gritty”, according to Crane. This includes taking on the task of writing the script, which, “is tricky because it has to flow with the performances, so the videos are meant to introduce the performance groups, so we have to figure out what we want the performances to be and then build a plot around it,” stated Crane. Clarifying this with another example he describes how, “…if cheer is going to be, let’s just say taxi drivers, we know that with our theme, with our inspiration, we need a video that’s going to end up with a taxi driver to feed in, but still tell a cohesive story throughout.” Although most performances do not require a video to play in its duration, Hemphil adds that sometimes Choir does. Another aspect in which they have to work with the other acts is within the audio, Hemphill explains that most of the performers make their own music, “…but sometimes we have to adjust it because it changes midway through like during the rally we have our hand basically always on that audio.” “And then once we have that it just gets into the nitty gritty of figuring out schedules which is an absolute nightmare, but then going, showing up and giving it our all during filming and then editing and it’s really just like a grind right up until about an hour before the rally. Usually two minutes before everybody walks in we go ‘you know what I think this might have worked out’,” Crane divulges. Both Tech commissioners agreed that the projectors are their biggest issue, with Crane disclosing that, “90% of the time before you guys all come in, they probably aren’t working and usually it’s like at the last minute some miracle happens.”

Matt Wood, Will Hemphill, Jake Winn, Nolan Crane film their rally videos. Photo courtesy of Kaydence Osgood.

A few days before the rally both boys declared how they were feeling about the upcoming rally. Hemphil exclaimed, “I think we’re feeling good, we’re a little behind on filming than we normally are, but during the Star Wars rally we had to do a bunch of visual effects in [post-production], so it took weeks of editing. This rally is a little less complicated, and that’s usually how it goes with the holiday rally. We like to focus on performances and in person stuff because our videos can’t overpower what is actually happening.” After the rally, he then declared, “I loved how this rally turned out. I’ve been a big fan of the Charlie Brown Christmas movie for a long time and being able to make that into a rally has been on our list of ideas for a while. We had to make a lot of last minute changes to the videos and script the day before, and I’m super proud of everything the team was able to do in such a short period of time. “I really like the Charlie Brown theme and there’s less videos than there usually are because the Holiday Rally is huge. I think we have 12 performances and it’s usually seven, so, with this rally specifically, the time for videos scales down a lot,” however Crane describes this as a positive, “because it allows us to really put thought into each one, rather than when it’s so many videos we kind of have to like split it up so much to the point where your mind can get a little jumbled, but I feel like with this one we’ve been able to put a little more care into each individual video. I think it’s good. I think there’s some funny moments and I’m excited.” Once the rally was complete, he explained, “I think the rally turned out well. Every performance brought something unique and fun to the table, Matt and Jake were great, and I’m proud of the work we did with the videos. This was a very unique experience for us because the day before the rally, we were noticing a lot of problems with the videos. They were tonally off, and tended to drag out or get confusing. So, Will and I decided to re-edit them and tweak a ton of things around. That was a scary thing to do in such a time crunch, but we pulled it off and I think it ended up much better because of it. For that reason, I’m proud of our overall work. I hope people enjoyed it and that we can keep crushing it and improving moving onto clash of the classes.”

Owen Clark with the lighting set-up at rehearsal the day before the rally. Photo courtesy of Kaydence Osgood.
Owen Clark tests the lighting cues during rehearsal the day before the rally. Photo courtesy of Kaydence Osgood.

Something Hemphill hopes students know is that Tech isn’t the organization in ASB that works behind the scenes to make these rallies happen, “… there’s also people like design they do all the posters, they work for months on those things and then it’s not just me and Nolan, we have a committee of five people actually. So that’s Owen Clark, Neekan Nazemian, and Michelle Nguyen, so we’re a committee of five. Just knowing that it’s not just tech, not just activities, that basically everybody in ASB has some sort of part in the rallies.”

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