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Latest zombie movie comes from middle school siblings

By KBell
July 14, 2012 at 2:14 a.m.

Gabriel De Leon, of Goliad, edits a soundtrack for his video, "When Zombies Come." Middle school students are learning the basics of cinema at a VISD-sponsored camp.

MAKE VIDEOS AT HOME

• The camp cinema class used a video editing software called Camtasia Studio, which comes with a free 30-day trial. Otherwise, the software runs $300

• For families who can't spend the money on the software, Bernal offered alternatives, like Animoto.com, where students can create free 30-second videos. For $2.50 a month, they can create full-length videos

• Bernal also offered Empressr.com and ToonDoo.com for different video creations.

Undeterred by grenades and blazing darts, two undead girls trampled through a Victoria backyard. Their arms stretched ahead as they waddled straight-legged and smiled at the silliness of it all.

The zombie apocalypse wasn't upon us, as 13-year-old Gabriel De Leon would have you believe. Instead, this is a work of fiction - one Gabriel and his sister created for the Victoria school district summer program, Camp Cinema: Lights, Camera, Action.

The weeklong camp invited middle schoolers to become movie makers. By day two, students had already learned to edit using video editing software. They also learned how to import different types of media, as well as recording audio and video and splicing it all together on a multi-layered timeline.

"It's better than playing video games because you actually have exercise, and it's just as fun because you get to play with your friends," Gabriel said.

Whereas Gabriel and his sister gathered friends - and Mom and Dad as videographers - for their film, classmate Jeremiah Mendez chose a different route.

He went with a how-to video on solving a Rubik's Cube. Proof he was an expert on the matter: 13-year-old Jeremiah solved the puzzle in 6.71 seconds flat.

"I thought that if I had been doing so good, I might as well put it to use and help some other people," he said.

With that, he recorded a step-by-step beginner's video on how to solve the Rubik's Cube layer by layer.

On the computer next to him, Matthew Salazar had come up with an entirely different kind of video - an advertisement.

The 11-year-old acted as a businessman trying to sell new and improved school buses that he said would improve students' grades.

His persuasions played over videos of a speeding bus blowing flames out of giant exhaust pipes and another bus with monster truck tires.

"This would be better for school buses because we can get to school faster, and the kids would like going to school better," Matthew spoke like a true salesman. "With monster wheels, if you were stuck in traffic, you'd just run over the rest of the cars."

Their teacher, Patricia Bernal, had left the video assignment wide open and was impressed with the variety of creations the students were coming up with. Though the students were exploring their own interests, they were also learning basic technology techniques required by the state curriculum.

"There's a lot they're picking up on," said Bernal, who teaches computer literacy at Stroman Middle School. "I'm excited. I hope they use it because they're so creative."

Gabriel said he had plans to continue his movie-making career. The finale of his first film left open the possibility for a sequel.

"The end," the last title screen reads. "Or is it?"

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