Every Friday night home football game for the last two seasons, there is behind-the-scenes magic that takes place at Fredericksburg High School Stadium.
The numbers change on the scoreboard to reflect a touchdown scored, advertisements flash across the big screen, and background music is produced by a team of individuals on the field and beneath the home stands.
With the leadership of Fredericksburg High School teacher John Hext, students from the audio video production classes produce the scoreboard audio and video at Friday night football games and other community and sporting functions held at the stadium.
“We started off with a small class of seven students and now I have 50 students in two classes,” Hext said.
Hext stands on the sidelines with a headset and serves as the “eyes” on the field. He communicates to the students in the media room what is conveyed on the scoreboard, music or even replay parts of the game on the big screen.
“The kids run the show. We have a limitation because our media room is located beneath the stands and not on the field. I am talking to them on the headsets telling them there was a first down or to play a graphic and such,” Hext said.
Ahead of the game, students head over to the field to set up and test equipment.
The media control room under the stands typically has a team of three. One directs the action on three video cameras, a second student directs advertising and graphics, and another student is in charge of replays. There also are students on the field and in the press box operating the video cameras.
In total, it takes a team of six to make the scoreboard action happen.
“Everyone seems to enjoy it and we get a chance to either film in the press box or down on the field,” said Kimble Brasher, audio video production student. “We all get to have a part in making everything exciting by playing music to get the fans pumped up and the players. They are excited to know they are being watched and happy to see how they did after the game.”
Fredericksburg Independent School District Athletic Director Lance Moffett weighed in on the audio video students’ part in the athletic department.
“The students are learning these skills that they can take with them when they go off to college or decide to go into broadcasting,” Moffett said. “It’s an amazing opportunity to reach kids we might not reach in our athletic program. We are allowing and including more students into our Billie family.
“For me, it’s been neat to interact with the kids and they are a part of our success on the field,” he added. “The atmosphere they help to create in the stadium is unbelievable.”
Learning a skill set
Fredericksburg High School’s audio visual production classes are geared toward students learning more about audio video production.
“I get all walks of life in my classes, as far as a mix of students who are familiar with this work and others who are brand new to it all,” Hext said. “I think for the most part, we have great participation and they find it fun. They find their niches. Some enjoy working the games and others find they enjoy making movies more.”
However, beyond work under the Friday night lights, they are working to hone their skills and even broaden their filmmaking horizons. The students create videos for the school board’s monthly meetings to present employees of the month, Billie Broadcasts throughout the school year, and various other projects.
Alex Guevara, James Green and Kimble Brasher are three of the 50 students doing more than the scoreboard. The class, the trio says, has opened their eyes to doing more and different things in the industry.
“We are learning to record good, quality film and not something that’s jumbled up and thrown together. It’s well-organized and produced in a form that everyone is able to understand,” Brasher said.
From the outside looking in, producing audio and video may seem tough to learn and overwhelming. Hext says each student is able to try everything out and tries to guide them to find their niche.
“For me, it’s editing. I just enjoy the Adobe software we are using and it’s advanced. We use the same software for actual movies and that’s my favorite part about it. Just making movies is fun,” Green said.
Hext says he hopes to have more students enter in the Hill Country Film Festival in the spring and that the program will continue to grow.
“In a sense, I want us to try to make better films than we made last year,” Guevara said. “Last year, we made some pretty great films. Now that we have learned a lot more, our films will be even better. I want our last film to be something we can remember after we leave.”