Chairman's Videos: At what point do they become part of the judging process?

We all know that many teams pour a great deal of time and effort into producing a stellar Chairman’s award video. My question is one that I have been unable to answer: do they become part of the judging process?

Unlike the essay and executive summaries, the video is not submitted online ahead of time via STIMS. It is brought by the students and handed to the judges during the interview.

Do the judges watch all submitted videos as part of the judging process? Do they only watch several after they have pared down the field of contenders? Do they not watch any, leaving them all “unused” with the exception of the winning video that is shown after the awards ceremony? Is there a standard practice that is followed?

If this answer is outlined in the manual or on another thread on CD that I missed, I would be grateful to be pointed in the right direction.

Please note that the answer really has no bearing on how much time or effort one should put into the video; from my perspective, its use a a tool for recruitment, showing to potential sponsors, and increasing community awareness is a much greater and more important goal.

Truthfully, I hope the videos don’t become part of the judging process for Chairman’s. I think they are more in the spirit of the Digital Media. Spreading the word of FIRST has had little to do with the Chairman’s videos.

I guess what I don’t want to see in the Chairman’s award is a professionally produced video that pushes a team that hasn’t accomplished as much over top of another team that has done more. And we all know production will be a huge part of the video if they’re considered as part of the award.

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The video you submit is not used in any part of the judging process. It is only meant for display to the audience after the winner is announced.

Based on my conversations with people that should know, here is my understanding of the genesis of the Chairman’s video.

The Chairman’s video is a way for your to talk to other FIRST teams, and tell them what your team has done to pursue the award. It is to convey knowledge about your teams activities in the hope that as a role model, other teams will work to find their path to success in spreading the message about FIRST. This is the primary purpose in the video. Prior to the existence of the video, it was more difficult to convey this information, in some peoples opinion.

FIRST has also stated, that the judges could view the video if it was determined that the contest was close and they needed further information, but that is not the primary purpose of the video.

Thank you, this confirms my initial thoughts. The Chairman’s video is indeed an awesome tool for communicating the message of one’s team (and of FIRST) to a wide audience.

So it is interesting that the video could find itself as part of the judging process but only when the team has already shown its merit in other ways.

You can use the Chairman’s Award Video as part of the judging process, if you are willing to risk using 3 out of your 5 minutes to show it. We did this when we won in 2010.

You could also use just a few segments from the longer video. The trick is to integrate the video into the presentation seamlessly, so that the kids are still having a conversation with the judges and conveying their knowledge of FIRST and the team. It can be done effectively, but it is tricky.

Many people think our video was done by professionals with high end equipment, but it was not. Our video was 100% student written, shot, edited, and narrated. But just like with FRC robots, they had dedicated mentors to guide them.

After many years of talking to judges with a basic keynote presentation, we felt strongly that we wanted to use some of the powerful footage that we had to help convey our message. It was a very different and risky approach, but it worked.

Thank you for this valuable advice. We are looking at ways to totally revamp our presentation and making the most of the five minutes. It is very interesting to know that you did in fact show the full video during the presentation - it sure is a great video, I’ve watched it many times! I’m even more wowed to know it was totally student-created (does the team have access to professional cameras and recording equipment?)

I very much like the idea of incorporating some footage into the presentation but still keeping largely verbally driven by the students. I’m curious - do you bring a projector and screen into the judge’s room? A laptop? Do some events have display capabilities in the room?

We have a good hand held Cannon HD, nothing professional. We did our editing on a 27" iMac using Final Cut software. We also presented off of that same iMac at both Philly and Champs. We packed it up and brought it with us to Atlanta.

Most of our “studio looking” shots were done in a science classroom with an old show curtain drape held up with PVC pipes. The lighting was done with portable shop lights that you could pick up at Home Depot.
The trick is that our media mentors worked hard to figure out how to light the set and get good audio without spending a great deal of money. What they did spend is time, lots of time with the kids to get it right. They are magicians.

You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to OZ_341 again. Mentors like that don’t get enough Rep in my opinion.

How about putting it on an iPad to play the video. Set the iPad on the table where the judges are sitting.

The point of the Chairman’s Video is to show all the teams at the event what your team did (if you won the Chairman’s Award), to win this award. It is supposed to act as a guide for other teams to follow so that they can become Chairman’s teams too. They in no way are a part of the judging process for the award. The only 2 elements that count toward winning the award are the essay and presentation. The judges will not even see your team’s video.

I have good info that let me know the judges can and sometimes due look at the videos. They can function to “put a team other the top”. To me they are another piece of who you are and if you are an RCA contender, they should reflex the same quality and attention to detail that the essays and presentations receive.

Also I do not feel a “professional” look is the key. Excellent content should prevail over a professional look. And please, let students, shoot, select, storyboard, etc. As the RCA mentor, I only have the veto vote. I think it is more important to have a “student voice” than anything else.

We’ve been told again and again that the judges do not view our videos.

There’s nothing in the rules to suggest that video is judged; if FIRST’s intent is for judges to use the video in this way, I’d hope they’d codify that in the rules and, if it isn’t their intent, I’d hope that judges would stop inventing criteria :confused:

Madison,
I see two important points brought up in this thread so far.

One is the point you make on whether or not the judges view the videos or not prior to awarding.
I have heard on more than 1 occasion from a CA judge that they do. Based on our experiences in recent seasons, I’m going to assume that each regional is different…and like the many judges who determine winners (for all awards), they may or may not differ to some extent in declaring who the recipient(s) will be.
That is very evident when we got feedback from all the different judges at various regionals we attend.
Specifically, when we did the RCA’s, our team entered at subsequent different regionals because of 1 comment made to our team in 2009 in Hawaii by an RCA judge. “Give another team a chance next season.”
Last time I checked, I never saw such a rule.:confused:
My point is that while many of the rules are explicitly stated or not, why is there a required video?
Our team won the 2011 Championship Chairmans Award in St. Louis. Guess what? They NEVER showed our video.:confused:

Al said it best earlier. If you want the judges to see your video, incorporate it as part of your presentation.
In 2011, our entire 3 minute video was played during interviews with NO sound. The CA team did the narration live with the video in the background.

My only suggestion to FIRST would be to make it much clearer on exactly the when and how the video is to be used.

My $.02.

Glenn

Here’s what the game manual has to say:

So the official line is that you must submit a video to be considered, however the video is not part of the official judging process, but can work against you.

As for the discussion of video quality, it is very possible to make a professional looking video without professional expertise or equipment.

Like 341, this video was done completely in house by our students, edited on one of their Macs. The red background you can see is actually our bumper fabric. (My reaction was priceless when I discovered where our “missing” roll of red bumper fabric actually was…)

That being said, this video was truly a labour of love. We wanted to make a video that we’d be proud to show off to the FIRST community if we won the Chairman’s Award. The amount of time that was put into this video rivaled the efforts put into Simbot Jordan. Despite the manual telling us the video wasn’t being officially judged, we felt that to win the Chairman’s Award on the world stage, we needed to have video befitting of that grand platform.

We did not play our video during the interview. However, it was a major part of our Chairman’s Action Plan. The essay was for getting factual information out about our team’s story. The presentation supplemented the essay’s content, emphasizing the areas we felt deserved the most attention. The video was for showing the softer and more human side of our team; what it means to be a Simbot and the emotions we’ve felt about our journey. You’re only allowed 1500 words, 5 minutes of presentation and 3 minutes of video, you need to maximize this time/space by minimizing duplication.

My advice to any team submitting for the Chairman’s Award in the future? Start early, devise a strategic plan, brainstorm ideas, search for inspiration, begin production, iterate and improve repeatedly. (If this sounds suspiciously similar to the process for building a robot, it’s because it’s the same) Win or lose the award, a well done video is a piece of art that will tell your team’s story forever. As you can tell from this post, I’m somewhat attached to our team’s video…

Here is excellent advice from Hollywood director and Executive Advisory Board member of FIRST, Paul Lazarus.

Great guides, I’ve certainly watched them many times - a good reminder to have some of the younger members of my team watch them.

Karthik,
this brings up some fond memories of recent years for us as well.
The amount of time our students put into the RCA rivaled that of our robot construction annually. From storyboarding to capturing just the right moment of a team’s experiences, it was definitely an iterative process the entire year. Our lead person who was also the Allaire Medal recipient that year, literally gave up her life for 3 years in her quest for the CCA.

Even based on your post though, I still think the video counts for something. As I had mentioned several times the last couple of years, teams have to ask certain guiding essential question(s)…Is your video good enough to show on the grand stage and something FIRST would be proud to show the rest of the world?

Well maybe not, since ours was never showed.:]

hey, I watched it, it was good !