BY EDWARD BRUNATO
It has been quite a journey for not only the Halton District School Board, but for Milton District High School’s Ofer Weis and Matthew Wilson who won gold in the Video Production category at the Ontario Skills competition, advancing to Canada Skills in Edmonton.
Mr. Brunato arrived at Milton District High School in September of 2016, having been a comm tech teacher at Iroquois Ridge High School for 17 years. His one and only goal was to create a competitive programme at MDHS in all forms of multimedia, but especially in video production. Mr. Brunato’s philosophy is that, no matter what you wish to do, you will always have to compete to achieve your goals and his belief is to impart students with all the skills necessary to work in a competitive environment. Such was the case with Ofer and Matthew.
The Halton Skills video competition, which is run by Mr. Brunato and Mr. Hume from CKSS, was structured so that students who won this competition would be able to successfully compete at the Niagara pre-qualifying competition as well as at Ontario Skills. They made 2 videos that day, one exactly like Niagara and like Ontario Skills. It was a grueling day, but Ofer and Matthew place 2nd overall and went on to Niagara college to compete. Having made a public service announcement on workplace harassment at Halton, they tweaked their ideas and made such a video at Niagara. The formula worked.
For the first time in many, many years, Halton placed within the top 3 at Niagara College, which allowed them to advance to Ontario Skills. Ofer and Matthew decided to not use music for their 2nd place finish, but instead, concentrated on foley sound (sounds they record themselves) for the light switch theme of their video. It worked.
Mr. Brunato received good advice from Mr. Andrews from WOSS whose teams have advanced to Ontario 5 years in a row, placing within the top 3 at the Ontario competition 3 times. The gold eluded them. Since you cannot get physically close to film competitors at Ontario Skills, Mr. Andrews suggested the use of a tripod with a telephoto lens, which has its own challenges in getting clear shots. He also advised on concentrating on good editing rather than relying on all the video post-production options available to competitors at Ontario Skills. In fact, the computer that they were given did not have the video editing software that Ofer and Matthew were used to, but Final Cut Pro, so keeping to good filming and good editing, was the only option to them. They succeeded.
Besides talent, Ofer and Matthew had two tricks up their sleeve. At the Halton competition, Mr. Hume created the scope of the Ontario based competition: cover one assigned event really well. What were they asked to do at Ontario Skills? Do a promotional video on any one competition of their choice. The second trick they had up their sleeve was their competition choice. Ofer and Matthew chose to cover the linesmen who scaled up hydro poles to fix the hydro wires. It is very visual and they were able to talk about the 2 recent windstorms that Ontario endured within the past month. Let hope their talent brings them a strong finish when they go on to compete in Edmonton at Skills Canada in June.
Communications Technology is one of MDHS’s best-kept secrets, but hopefully Ofer and Matthew’s achievement this year will not. And when someone asks, can someone find a job in the industry using their skills in video production? Mr. Brunato will always answer with a resounding, YES! Good luck, Ofer and Matthew at Canada Skills. Perhaps we’ll write about you again when you advance to World Skills in Russia.