Author: Shaw

I teach English and Video Production at Winthrop High School. I am self-taught in film production and editing, but I have had some amazing opportunities to work on independent films, facilitate a summer film institute, and work on various other projects. I endeavor to provide students with real world opportunities in the film industry.

The “Shaw Challenge” Explained

P7030341I have had a number of students ask what the “Shaw Challenge” is, so I thought it best to explain it here instead of repeating myself constantly.

The “Shaw Challenge” is loosely based on the 48 Hour Film Project. This project was originally designed last year for Dom, who was doing an independent study for me. He and I had worked together the summer before on a 48 Hour Film Project for Portland, Maine. He liked the format and the intensity of the shortened time frame, but we knew it was not realistic to complete a short film in 48 hours during the school year. So, the “Shaw Challenge” was born.

The set up is similar. Students blindly draw a genre from a hat (or box, or basket, or whatever I have handy). If they don’t like the genre they draw, they may draw again. BUT, they are stuck with their second draw. They may not decide to go back to their first genre.

Then they are given a character, prop, and line of dialogue that they must use in their short film. I usually draw from past 48 Hour Film Project elements for these, though I do make up my own sometimes too.

Students then have two weeks from the day of their draw to complete a script, film, edit and produce a 4-7 minute short film for the genre they drew and including all required elements.

Dom was my first student to complete the “Shaw Challenge” and you can see his final product here. Jake just started the challenge this weekend. His genre is “Time Travel” and his elements are:

  • Jack or Jamie Weston
  • A large suitcase
  • “Is that the best you’ve got?”

I can’t wait to see what Jake comes up with! Keep watching here for updates!

New Contest to Enter!

Please take a couple minutes to check out the Reel Experience Video Challenge from Amtrack Downeaster. It looks like it could be a lot of fun and I know you all are capable of doing a great job with this. There is a category specifically for students. See me if you have any interest in this or any questions concerning the contest.

Film on!

~ Miss Shaw


The article I just read was about the diva-lite. The diva-lite is a light that only runs on 2 amps of power. The diva-lite is easy and quick to set up. The diva-lite displays both day light and tungsten cool light as bright as a 1,000 watt hot light.

This article taught me about a light that only uses 2 amps

this light can help this class in flims


The article I previously read was about a stabilizer that can change your shaky and hard to watch footage into smooth, and professional footage

I learned that there a stabilizer that you can hold and still get great footage

This stabilizer would definitely help our class with getting great footage in spots where a tripod couldn’t go


Avid Studio for ipad Editing Software

I read about the must-have app for the ipad, which is called Avid Studio. With Avid studio, you can edit home made movies. Avid Studio for ipad is designed to work with the Studio for PC version, and users can start projects remotely and then export them to the desktop program for more in-depth editing. This app cost $5 at the moment, but soon to be bumped up to $8. There are some tips that you would need to learn in order to use this app, which I am going to explain. When you tap certain clips, you can edit them. Tap and hold to grab clips to move around the interface. Double tap to access clip settings such as volume, title text, or audio fades. These are just some of the amazing features that this app can do. And with the app only being $8, you can’t really pass it up. And whats great with this app being on the ipad, is that you can shoot movies with the built in camera roll, and then you can start editing your home made movies as soon as your done recording. I suggest this app to people that like to mess around, people who like making home made movies, people who like to get practice in at editing videos, or to people who just like to practice shooting short films. So give it a try, I’m sure that you will enjoy this app.


4k Resolution!

I read Beyond HD: 4K Resolution is Coming by Dan Bruns, who is an Associate Multimedia Editor at Videomaker.

In the article that I read, it talks about how Jim Jannard’s and his company, RED DIGITAL CINEMA, and how in 2007 they came out with a new camcorder called the RED. It talks about how this camera can shoot at 4K resolutions for a much lower price than comparable 4K camcorders. This camera (RED) also demonstrated its Scarlet-X line of cameras that record images at 24 frames per second in 4K resolutions for less than $10,000, making 4K affordable for high-end users. For those with even shallower pockets, JVC announced a (prototype) 4K camcorder with a fixed lens that should cost around $7,000. Currently, the camcorder records four simultaneous 1920×1080 feeds to four separate SD cards and stitches them together to get the 4K resolution. Though it’s not elegant getting 4K, it does so at an affordable price for prosumers.

I learned that even though these cameras cost a lot, its worth it. I would rather spend the money on a camera that is expensive that shoots at great resolution, then to spend the money on a cheap camera that doesn’t shoot good resolution.

I can apply what I learned from this article in class, for when we shoot some movies. Even though we don’t have one of these fancy cameras, I still learned about how great these cameras operate, and I would definitely would be interested in using one.

Lights…Camera…New Site!

Welcome to the new home of Rambler Productions. We are in our third year of having a blog and I felt it was time for a facelift at least, and as I tried to navigate the changes (many unnecessary imo) to google blogger’s dashboard, I realized I had grown to like WordPress much better through my use of it for another blog I run.

I spoke with my best bud, Kris, aka NoMansLand aka NML. He graciously agreed to host Rambler Productions on his server at no cost! Thanks, Kris! You are my favorite Aussie!

Over the coming weeks and months, gravitystix (who continues to ROCK) and I will be shuttling content from the old blog to here. We will highlight content from the beginning of the blog, so our history will not be lost.

I welcome visitors to join the conversation with us. Celebrate the learning and accomplishments of my video students and offer suggestions, advice, and insights to help them grow.

To my students, I offer this advice: Keep dreaming, keep filming, and keep growing.

Film on!

~ Shaw