Hello out there, all you robo-nerds! Hope your competition season is going swimmingly. It’s probably a little premature to be posting something not so much competition-related and expecting a significant response, but whatever.
As many of you know, the skill I’ve used the most since I’ve gotten out of high school robotics is my video knowledge. The ability to take such a powerful medium and convey an experience so effectively has always been why I’m attracted to video. At first it was fun to just make the montages of our robot doing well over the course of the year (2002), set it to some music, and burn it to tape, but as I continued along my path of video creativity I began to get bored. So I found some interesting music, started shooting footage of people instead of just the robot, and was able to produce a decently amusing and informative wrap up video for 2003. It’s a good thing too, because our robot wasn’t destined to give us that many good shots anyway… :rolleyes:
When 2004 rolled around, I finally had a role in designing part of our robot (the basket maker!), so my time was required in the pit more so than in the stands. Fortunately, there were people available to shoot the footage we would ultimately need to produce another dazzling compilation. That year, however, posed the threat of us losing our main sponsor. Thus, the video team was called upon to make a piece that would be appealing to students, mentors, and companies who were borderline about joining the team. I considered this my biggest challenge yet, as it may very well have impacted the future of the team’s existence. Fortunately, the video was not needed that year, as our main sponsor continued its commitment (because I personally felt that I could have done a better job). However, I took away from that experience that video isn’t about throwing together your best shots so everyone who was part of the team could reminisce of a job well done, but it was about reliving the entire experience and remembering what a great part of life FIRST can be.
Since graduating from high school in 2004, I’ve fortunately had occasion to assist those high school students interested in video production, as well as accompany my team to both the UTC New England and Philadelphia regionals, which I plan on continuing as long as I can. I’ve also been involved in the video production at year’s end, partially because nobody else volunteered, and also because it was something that I enjoyed putting effort into. This year in particular I plan on putting together a year-long video that is not only factually correct in retelling our robot’s performance, but also has those aspects of humor and drama that keep the audience engrossed in the story. Hopefully when it’s finished it’ll be on the team website (www.bobcatrobotics.org) sometime around June.
The only disappointing thing to me about FIRST, and I’ve mentioned this before, is that video has not become an integral part of the experience yet, as have manufacturing, animation, team spirit, etc. It’s such an exciting opportunity for students to be able to participate in their teams, but for those teams that have students sitting around, contributing little, it seems that a video competition would promote interaction between team members and mentors. I personally feel that video would be even better than the animation competition (not to personally insult Autodesk, a fine FIRST sponsor), because it’s easier to learn, and most likely more applicable to what students will need for real life skills. Perhaps I’m saying this only because I was a horrible animator and had much more success as a videographer, but nonetheless I would love to see a video competition, where teams would submit a work that had a certain time constraint, but was judged in the same categories as the animation: creativity, technical execution, theme, etc. (I’d also be willing to judge them!)
I suppose the point of this thread was to toss that out there, and also to give a place for teams to show off their video creations to inspire others to create the same. Let me know what you think.