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Light House Studio filmmakers can do more with the fastest Internet around

Light House Studio and Ting’s gigabit fiber Internet

Light House Studio

When you give a child a camera, you can shine a light on a whole community. That kind of sums up the thinking behind Light House Studio, a non-profit located in Charlottesville, VA. Founded in 1999 by a group of local filmmakers, artists and educators, Light House has helped youth create thousands of documentaries, dramas and animated films.

The organization’s main focus is providing mentored workshops in digital filmmaking and exhibition opportunities for their young filmmakers. By enabling youth to learn, by hand, Light House students are challenged to be active participants in the media and storytellers in their own right.

You might have noticed we love all things multimedia here at Ting, and video happens to be a passion of ours too. We provide a Ting gigabit Internet connection at the Light House Studio and the Vinegar Hill Theatre, so today’s young documentarians, filmmakers and animators can work and access valuable digital resources at the speed of light.

We had the chance to chat with Executive Director Deanna Gould, Program Director Joe Vena and Senior Teaching Artist Aaron McGinnis at Light House Studio, and learn about the amazing work this team does in the community.

Light House programs

Today, Light House offers programming for kids of all ages, from elementary school right up through high school. In 2018 alone, Light House Studio will teach 1,200 students of all ages with after school programming at Light House, in partnership with schools and non-profits across Charlottesville and through their Summer Film Academy.

“We teach special skills workshops such as cinematography, directing and editing as well as longer term workshops in a number of genres like narrative, animation and documentary filmmaking,” said Gould.

Light House values connecting their community by way of storytelling.  One stand-out program is Light House Studio’s Keep it REEL (KIR). This program was founded in 2003 as an on-site, after-school program that brings filmmaking workshops to at-risk youth throughout the community.

The students of Light House have made some impressive, award-winning films over the years.

“Our high school students especially are making amazing, high quality films and fascinating participatory documentaries.”

Participatory documentaries feature a filmmaker as a character in the film, and show Light House students actively engage with subject matter that means something to them. You can check out some of the latest, award-winning and nominated Light House films on their website.

Work-ready skills

Light House partners with local organizations and non-profits to advance students in filmmaking, giving them the opportunity to work with a community partner on a film project. For high school and college aged advanced filmmakers, Light House Freelancers work with a mentor to take on professional video jobs and produce original content for a client. Not only does this develop deep, practical knowledge but it helps students build a portfolio.

“We had one student applying to film school out of high school and the admissions person thought they were transferring from another college film program, that’s how developed their portfolio was,” said Gould.

It takes teachers

A place like Light House couldn’t run without dedicated educators and professionals in their field.

“We contract with filmmakers for the most part. We make sure someone’s who’s teaching animation has done animation,” said Gould.

Light House runs with very high student to teacher ratios, especially when students are out making films. They aim for smaller groups, four students to one teacher, to offer important one-on-one mentorship.

Ting gigabit in action

At Light House Studio, students use eight computers for filmmaking, editing and research. All of these computers access the Internet on a Ting gigabit connection. Students can upload files easily, push files to the cloud and download large video resources in minutes and even seconds.

The fastest Internet around enables cutting-edge filmmaking with the latest tools and tech. It’s also a valuable resource for the teaching staff at Light House.

“Uploading videos here used to take for to five hours. So far, for really big files, it takes about eight minutes here,” said Senior Teaching Artist Aaron McGinnis. “If I were to download one gigabyte of video it used to take 45 minutes, now it takes under a minute. Streaming is great and you can stream in 4K too which is really nice as well.”

What can teachers do with that kind of speed?

“We’re certainly using it for teaching. We show each other films all the time here and pull up videos as examples,” said Program Director Joe Vena. “It makes things more interesting and relevant when you can pull a video up and play it fast.”   

At Ting, we love to see what Cville youth and educators can do with the fastest Internet around. Be sure to check out the great work Light House does and join them for events at their  Vinegar Hill Theatre.