Friday, October 14, 2016

Homeschool Review: Online Christian Filmmakers Academy #hsreviews #christianfilmcamp #onlinefilmcamp

I became a filmmaker 22 years ago when my oldest daughter arrived in our world.  The first video camera we bought was a huge machine that held an actual VHS tape and recorded directly to it.  That video camera was heavy, but you could watch the "movie" almost immediately with no conversion.  I liked that.  Over the years, we've downsized to smaller digital recorders, digital cameras that can video, and now even cell phones that record and share snippets of life while they happen.  In this day and age, technological advances are crazy fast, but you still have to know how to best make use of them in order to get the most out of the power that you hold in your hands.  Although we own quite a few cameras, we don't know how to properly use any of them.  We decided it's time to learn so I was thrilled with the opportunity to study film making with Online Christian Filmmakers Academy from Family Gravity Media, a division of Families For Christ Ministries, Inc.

Online Christian Filmmakers Academy {Family Gravity Media}

And who knew there was so much to learn.  Wow!  IF I had known then, what I'm learning now . . . Isn't that always the way it always is?  A few years ago, my oldest girls decided to make a movie.  They used that big hunking video recorder and set out to video a story of fairies in the forest.  There were hours of preparation in hair, makeup and wardrobe before they headed outdoors to film.   As you an imagine, that's some priceless footage and I'm thrilled to have it.  I want that same excitement for memory-making for all of my family, so I was thrilled to begin working through this online course from Family Gravity Media.

I'm learning just as much as anyone as I work through the six modules that make up the Academy.  Did you know that a camera is a light capturer?  That is it's main job.  To "capture the light that reflects off of a subject."  And although that is exactly what other courses might teach you, THIS course teaches you even more.  What I LOVE about this online course is the fact that it is taught from a Christian perspective.  Yes, cameras are light capturers, but the Online Christian Filmmakers Academy takes the lesson a step further by moving into the heart.  From it, I am reminded that filmmaking actually began in Genesis 3 when GOD said "Let there be LIGHT."  HE offered light to us in the beginning so that we could see and offered JESUS to us in the New Testament so that we could live.  We are called to be cameras that reflect the LIGHT of JESUS.  How cool is that?  And isn't that exactly what you want your children to take from what they learn?

And who better to teach them than a father/son team from a homeschooling family?  Ken and Zack Lawrence get us.  They understand the homeschooling community because they are part of us.  What started out as a father (Ken) helping his son (Zack) develop his interest in filmmaking has turned into a passion for teaching aspiring Christian filmmakers (our kids) how to use the visual media for the glory of GOD.  Through small real-life camps that offer students one-on-one hands-on training to these online camps, the Academy is making a difference in the world with one student at a time.  I am pleased that my children get to be a part of this "something bigger".  I am impressed that in their strive for excellence (because we absolutely should offer nothing less than our best to GOD), they are continually going through their content and making improvements, adding more resources, changing lessons, and sharing bonus material.  More than anything else, I want my children to understand that our lives are meant to serve GOD with ALL that we are and that less than our best is simply not acceptable.  Ken and Zack reiterate that throughout the course and offer a living example for our children.

Module 1, Lesson 1 teaches the Basic Components of any camera and the remaining five lessons (2 - 10 minutes each) in the Module expound further upon each basic component.  Each Module ends with a quiz to make sure that students have gleaned all of the necessary information and learned what they needed to advance.  The quiz requires students to sign in with first and last names and to provide an email address.  Students can watch the lessons as often as they like and are encouraged to ask questions and share insight within the comment section of the videos.  The cool factor here is that Ken and Zack Lawrence actually read and answer all of the questions themselves making the academy one big learning family.  Don't you just love a personalized learning atmosphere for your children?  There are downloads that accompany many of the lessons that offer more detailed information on topics covered in the videos.   You can see an example of the downloads below from Module 1, Lesson 5:  ISO and Shutter Speeds.  The 4-page pdf document is entitled Shutter Speed:  How It Works and  offers further explanation on fast and slow shutter speed, the ideal settings for day and night filming, a suggestion chart for specific things you might be filming (children playing, live action nature, music videos) and gives full-color illustrations.

complementary downloads for lessons

After completing the introduction to the camera in Module 1, students learn the ins and outs of filmography through the remaining modules.  These consists of:
  • Module 2:  Cinematography which teaches how to paint the best picture possible through light and framing and explains how to use a green screen and set up for an interview (15 Lessons of 1 - 33 minutes each)
  • Module 3:  Sound which teaches how to make sure that the world hears what you are sharing (6 Lessons up to 11 minutes each)
  • Module 4:  Pre-Production which teaches you how to tell your story and write your screenplay (5 Lesson of 1 - 15 minutes each)
  • Module 5:  Production which teaches how the film crew fits together as a team and explains the step-by-step process of actually making your movie.  (5 Lessons of 6 - 14 minutes each)
As you can tell from the running time of the lessons, this course is completely manageable by your students.  It does not take an exorbitant amount of time to watch each lesson, but students are encouraged to be hands-on and actually try out what they are learning.  The bulk of their time should be spent putting into practice what they are seeing and hearing in the video lessons.  Videos are available to watch and re-watch and even watch one more time to make sure that they have a solid grasp on each concept.  
Online Christian Filmmakers Academy {Family Gravity Media}

You can find out more information about this fantastic study/camp by visiting the following Social Media page:

Christian Filmmakers Camp Facebook (hands-on film camp)

And once you've visited them there and fallen in love with the idea of allowing your children to learn even more about the art of filmmaking, you can use this special COUPON CODE (FALLCREW16) to receive $100 off of the regular price.  YES!  You absolutely read that correctly!  This is HUGE!  I can think of no better extracurricular activity than to have your students creating quality Christian films and receiving elective high school credit.  Goodness knows our world needs positive family-friendly entertainment and who better to provide that than our own children?

I am excited for my children to be learning how to shoot films that can make a difference.  They plan to utilize their knowledge to create video entries for their robotics team's new season.  I can't wait to see what they produce.

Crew Disclaimer

I was given the opportunity to review Online Christian Filmmakers Academy from Family Gravity Mediaas a member of the Homeschool Review Crew.   You can check out the Crew Review and see what other members of the Homeschool Review Crew thought of this and other puzzles as well (or just click on the banner below.)

Online Christian Filmmakers Academy {Family Gravity Media}
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