Huntington High School’s video arts program has moved far beyond boasting a sterling reputation on Long Island or even across the state; it’s now known nationwide and it has a long list of awards to prove it.
Led by veteran art teacher Heather Swan, Huntington’s video program has sent alumni to some of the most highly regarded college film schools in the country. But the program is also for those who aren’t necessarily interested in pursuing film as a college major or career. Some teenagers just enjoy participating in the creative process and being able to say they’ve made a film, or two, or three.
This year’s Creative Video I students are enjoying their experience and already looking forward to future courses in the sequence. “I’ll be taking Creative Video II next year,” sophomore Chris Weber said. “It’s a lot of fun working with friends on creating a video. It feels like you’re behind the scenes of a movie.”
Mrs. Swan is pleased the program continues to generate interest across grade levels. “Even though I had some previous knowledge about creative video, Mrs. Swan has taught lots of new techniques and skills I previously did not know,” sophomore Justin Lokos said.
The program’s four course descriptions are as follows:
• Creative Video I (Full year; one credit): Available to students in grades 9-12.
Prerequisite: None for grades 10-12. Ninth grade students must have completed Studio in Art in eighth grade or be simultaneously registered for an art or music course that fulfills this graduation requirement.
In Creative Video, students produce their own videos using state-of-the-art equipment as a hands-on experience. Taking advantage of a unique opportunity to become involved with the dynamics of movie making, students complete a variety of projects including music videos, commercials and documentaries. Working in small groups, the class goes through the steps of video production from original concept to a finished video product.
• Creative Video II (Full year; one credit): Available to students in grades 10-12.
Prerequisite: Creative Video I
Building on what was learned in Creative Video I, students explore the video art forms of public service announcements, rotoscoping, multi-cam editing and short stories.
• Advanced Video Production III (Full year; one credit): Available to students in grades 11-12.
Prerequisite: Creative Video II
Advanced Video offers a more in-depth examination of the video making process. The class is geared toward students who are serious about honing their artistic vision through the moving image media. Students continue to develop their skills in video art-making and find venues for their projects through festivals, on-line exhibitions and site-specific installations. Students choose a videographer/filmmaker to study and create a presentation using their video-making skills. Finally, this class gives students access to basic filmmaking materials and techniques. Through an exploration of film, students come to understand the various differences and similarities between the moving images.
• Portfolio Development (Full year; one credit): Available to students in grades 11-12.
Prerequisite: Intention for post-graduate study in art and department permission.
This course allows students to develop a professional portfolio of their artwork. Portfolio Development is designed for students who demonstrate mastery in two or more artistic mediums and are able to exhibit a comprehensive knowledge in the program of their interest (digital arts, photography, video, fashion, etc.). This includes, but is not limited to, techniques, concepts and artistic social awareness. The course is designed to demonstrate continuing refinement of basic skills while exploring new mediums, ideas and interpretations. College and career paths in art will be a component of Portfolio Development.
About Heather Swan
Huntington High School art teacher Heather Swan.
Heather Swan has been a Huntington High School faculty member since September 2006.
She studied fine art at the University of Southern California and in London before graduating from Long Island University–C.W. Post College.
“My love of technology and the arts began as a freshman in college when I received my first computer with Photoshop installed on it,” she said. After receiving a master’s degree in communication arts from New York Institute of Technology, Mrs. Swan went to work as the creative director at a Manhattan-based web firm. She eventually found her way to the Vancouver Film School and later pursued a career in computer animation.
After several years in the graphics design and animation industry, a desire to teach stirred within Mrs. Swan. She earned a second master’s degree in art education at Hofstra University. “When a position as a computer arts teacher was presented to me, I was thrilled to be able to utilize all of my previous skills,” she said.