By ABBY SOUZA
Cassina High School students will soon have one of the most up-to-date video development classrooms in the area.
Thanks to an $8,000 grant from the Sonora Area Foundation, Cassina High with the help of Cable 8 and the Tuolumne County Office of Education has turned an unused double-wide portable building on the Barretta Street campus into a production studio.
"It's exciting," said Principal David Crocker. "But a little nerve-racking."
Students at Cassina High School, one of Sonora High School's alternative education programs, have made short films for years in video production classes taught by Randall Lee. Their productions have run on Cable 8, the local public access television channel, and on the Tuolumne County Office of Education Web site.
Now, with a working studio equipped with cutting-edge equipment and technology, Cassina High students' video-making options as well as those in the community have become endless.
An on-campus studio has been one of Lee's goals. He has had his students film wherever they could for their anti-smoking videos, video yearbooks and other projects.
"They'll be able to do everything from start to finish here," said Channel 8's Doug Geary, a pioneer of the project.
Before production can begin, some final touches are needed in the studio, Crocker said.
Crocker and his staff plan to have a lighting grid and a curtain track installed within the next couple of weeks. They already have the curtains, called "muslins," in a couple of colors and backgrounds.
"We'll be able to stand someone in front of a beach or New York City," Lee said.
A sound-proof window between the filming set and the production area still needs to be put in, Crocker said, as well as production equipment. The work should be done by the end of the month.
A model kitchen will be added to the production room, in case a community member wants to put on a cooking show in the future, Lee said.
Beyond Cassina High School students and high school students around the county, Crocker said college students, community members and Cable 8 will also use the studio.
Cable 8 has already provided instruction to the school's video production classes, but Crocker said he hopes his students can now help teach video production classes to others who want to use the studio.
"There's so much potential, it's almost scary," Crocker said.