Words by Kristen Rowe, OnTV Coordinator at Capital E.

Welcome to Capital E’s OnTV studio, an environment that provides kids new experiences with technology in the context of creating a ‘live’ news show! This experience promises the excitement and challenge of trying something new with room to settle in and explore creativity in a team dynamic.

As a tutor, one of my favourite moments is when a group first enters the OnTV studio and sees the green screens, lights, studio cameras and ‘scary’ looking equipment with lots of buttons and knobs. Usually there’s a wide-eyed ‘woooahhh!!’ expressed from students as they enter the space and are itching to get their hands on the equipment.

Seeing students learn, explore and master new skills is a satisfying thing to be part of – especially when the realisation hits that every role is vital to the success of the show. Each student’s participation becomes a piece to the puzzle, fitting together to create the best show possible.

Children dressed as reporters being filmed in front of green screen.

What makes for a really great OnTV show?

The answer is not just in mastering the technical equipment but is found in utilising and practicing ‘soft’ skills, such as teamwork, clear communication, listening skills, resilience and creativity. The hands-on nature of the studio lets students learn as they do. Every chapter of the OnTV experience from  ‘Practice and Prep’ time to the ‘Dress Rehearsal’, reflection time, and the ‘Final Record,’ offers engaging and kinetic learning.

“Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun.”

– Mary Lou Cook (actress).

Children putting hats on in OnTV dressing room

Creativity maximises students’ enjoyment of the learning experience by experimenting with their unique voice, personality and flair. OnTV is one big creative sandpit where kids’ imagination thrives.

How can groups ‘get their creativity on’ in the OnTV studio?

OnTV scripts topics are designed to produce ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking. The stories are often absurd, weird and wacky, leaving room for students to take the narrative wheel. Stories include an extraterrestrial threat in Alien Invasion, what happens after ‘happily ever after’? in Once Upon a Crime; an upside down building project in Wake Up New Zealand and much more!

Every OnTV role stretches that creative muscle!

Girl dressed up as a reporter is interviewing a young boy in front of a green screen.

Reporters and Interviewees work together on developing the interview questions and answers. Groups can choose from exemplar questions but we love it when students use their creativity to make their own! This team is also in charge of their role’s characterisation. It’s fantastic when performers deliver their pieces with a bit of drama and expression.

The Wardrobe team create interesting costumes for each of the performers. What should an alien look like? Does a politician have to wear a suit – or should some quirky elements be added to help express both personality and professionalism?

Young boy dressed up in his reporting outfit

Technical Crew roles don’t miss out on adding their creative flair either! There’s always additional elements a tutor can introduce to encourage learning and creativity for eager students.

The Technical Producer chooses greenscreen backgrounds for each interview and pictures to introduce each story. They work with the Vision Mixer to decide on transition effects between camera shots. Should a monster hand pull in the next scene, or should there be an explosion? The Sound team decide on music for each segment, and if there’s time, they can add in a few sound effects.

Behind the scenes of OnTV. Children on computers controlling the show.

And finally, The ‘management’ team! The Director, Floor Manager, and Location Manager assist the cast and crew with their creative decisions, ensuring everyone is on track so the show flows well and starts on time. Camera Operators decide how to frame their subjects and create the best-looking camera shot. Graphic Artists set the show’s visual tone and style by creating digital art and on-screen graphics with descriptive titles to introduce performers and segments.

Do you want your group to be even more creative?

In the Newscast programme, students pre-write their own script! Here students brainstorm the stories and interviews they’d like to include, write the joining links for presenters and decide the show’s name. This allows for even more ownership during the creation process and contributes to a greater sense of accomplishment for the group by making a show the world has never seen before!

See you at Capital E’s OnTV studio…

Young boy using an OnTV camera rig