Eastern Tech, Parkville High VR films receive awards in national competition

Virtual RealityStudent teams from Eastern Technical High School and Parkville High School have received awards in the Digital Promise Global 360 Filmmakers Challenge.

Through the national competition, Digital Promise Global and partner Oculus (which creates virtual reality products) challenged high school students to use virtual reality and 360° video to promote social change.

The student team from Eastern Tech, working with Rebecca Meiller McCullagh, visual arts and interactive media production department chair, won the Tell 360 Award for its outstanding writing/narration of the film “Baltimore.” The student team was led by Julia Mich Mabini, who edited the winning film, Natalie Bates and Zachary Soper. The student team also included Amber Crumpler, Ariel Harp Glenn, Adam Harrison, Paul Karanja, Mya Tamburello, and Keonte Wilson-Robinson. The Eastern Tech students are all in Grade 11, and their film can be viewed at https://www.facebook.com/BaltCoPS/videos/1313558001998146/.

“I am incredibly proud of my 11th grade Interactive Media Production students, said Meiller McCullagh. “Tackling new virtual reality equipment and video editing with a 360° film, all while working within a very short timeline, was a huge feat. My students eagerly took on the challenge and grew as leaders, thinkers, and editors throughout the process.”

On the Digital Promise website, the student filmmakers wrote: “Our school is surrounded by water: the tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay, the Inner Harbor of Baltimore. The waterways greatly impact the industry of Maryland and dictate the economy for many. The health of the waterways is so important to our state and our area. Knowing that students and filmmakers across the country would be viewing this film, we wanted to present something that showed the small local companies and larger impact that the water has on our society.”

The student team from Parkville High, working with Ryan Twentey (a photography and Career and Technology Education interactive media teacher), won the Complete 360 Award for overall excellence and the Hack 360 Award for employing “a unique solution to capture a scene or angle.” Parkville was the only one of the nine schools honored to receive more than one award.

The Parkville film can be viewed on the BCPS Facebook page, and the members of the Parkville team are Grade 11 students Geneva Braxton (producer), Michael Connell, Victoria Ezeji, Victoria Hensley, Ivan Ignacio, Jasmine Lewis, Ariel Mitchell, Carson Rettig, Alexis Sauer, Layla Snyder, Breanna Way, Anthony Wesson, Sabriya Winder, and Julie Yap; and Grade 12 students Destiny Cage-Bollin, Liam Dietle (video editor and musician), Cheyenne Greear, Philiciea McCutcheon, Zion McFarland, Shelynta’ Romingo (producer), and Chase Ringus.

“I am so proud of these students and the level of quality, collaboration, and professionalism they displayed throughout this process,” said Twentey.

The Parkville filmmakers told Digital Promise, “The overall theme of the project was reaching out to those around you because you don’t know what someone could be going through, and you may be able to make a difference.”

As they concluded their film, the Parkville team was chosen to be showcased in an upcoming Digital Promise documentary. A film crew came to the school and recorded the students as well as audience members wearing virtual reality headsets and viewing the movie for the first time.

All participants in the 360 Filmmakers Challenge received 360° video production equipment and support from professional filmmakers.

You can learn more about the contest in the video below.

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