Choral Speaking Videos

Type of Media: Video (9 Clips)
Editing, music, sound recording and sound editing: Stephen Richards
Camera: Stephen Richhards except where indicated

9. The Pied Piper of Hamelin (Extract) (2013)

Class 3D of SKH Lam Woo Memorial Secondary School in Hong Kong give a choral speaking performance of Robert Browning’s adaptation of the Pied Piper of Hamelin. The group were champions in the Hong Kong School’s Speech Festival.

Teacher-in-charge: Ms Laurie Fung

8. He and She (2013)

Class 2D of SKH Lam Woo Memorial Secondary School in Hong Kong give a choral speaking performance of Clare Bevan’s poem He and She. They were second runners-up in the Hong Kong School’s Speech Festival.

Teacher-in-charge: Mr Stephen Richards
Student Leaders: Yammi Yip and Kiko Law

7. The Fire Monster (2013)

Class 4E of SKH Lam Woo Memorial Secondary School in Hong Kong give a choral speaking performance of Clare Bevan’s poem He and She. They were second runners-up in the Hong Kong School’s Speech Festival.

Teacher-in-charge: Ms. Joanna Yim

6. The Song of the Jellicles (2012)

Class 2T of SKH Lam Woo Memorial Secondary School perform The Song of the Jellicles by T.S Eliot. The were second runners-up in the Hong Kong School’s Speech Festival.

Teacher-in-charge: Mr Stephen Richards

5.Thee Alice Jean (2012)

Class 6F of SKH Lam Woo Memorial Secondary School rehearse their choral speaking performance of the poem ‘The Alice Jean’ by Robert Graves.They performed the poem a few days later at the Hong Kong Schools Speech Festival and won first place.

Teacher-in-charge: Ms Champagne Hung
Student Leaders: Veron Hung and Christine Ng
Soloist: Evangeline Hung

4. The Camel’s Complaint (2011)

Two classes of students rehearse their interpretations of The Camel’s Compaint by Charles E Carryl. The video was recorded in November 2011. The classes later competed in the Hong Kong School’s Speech Festival, with 3E (coached by Grace Sze) placing third and 4e (coached by Joanna Yim) placing third. The image of the camel at the beginning and end is taken from a photograph Animation by Sebastian Niedlich (Grabthar: www.flickriver.com/photos/42311564@N00/163310933/).It was animated using CrazyTalk. Unfortunately, the school hall and lecture theatre were being used so we had to record the video outdoors, with less than ideal sound and lighting conditions.

3. The Boneyard Rap 2011

Three classes of students rehearse their interpretations of The Boneyard Rap by Wes Magee. The video was recorded in November 2010. The classes competed two days later, with 3D (coached by Grace Sze) placing second and 3E and 4D (coached by Champagne Hung and Curtis Ho, respectively) placing third.

Camera Operators: Matthew Leung, Steven Ho, Curtis Ho, Stephen Richards

To get a clearer sound recording, I used a portable digital audio recorder (Roland R-05) that I could place close to the group (just off camera). The video was edited in Premiere Pro. The introduction at the beginning was made by combining pictures of a pumpkin, an eye and a pair of lips using Photoshop and then animating the composite picture in a face-puppetry program called CrazyTalk. In this video, however, the mouth movements are not well synchronized to the actual words; usually, CrazyTalk does a better job at this. The transitional video (the moving bones) was adapted from footage in a bought collection video material. The opening title text was animated using After Effects. The music during the end credits was played on a Korg M50 (it was recycled from the Seasonal Limericks video).

2. Seasonal Limericks (2009)

Students in classes 1E and 2E at SKH Lam Woo Memorial Secondary School perform Eric Finney’s poem ‘Seasonal Limericks’. Each class performed separately at the school’s Christmas service (21 December 2009). They had performed this poem when competing at the Hong Kong Schools Speech Festival, with 1E coming first in the junior senior section. The students were coached by Ronnie Tam (1E) and  Champagne Hung and Stephen Richards (2E).

1. Weasels (2009)

This is a video of students from SKH Lam Woo Memorial Secondary School (Class 6F) performing John Latham’s poem Weasels at the school’s Christmas service (21 December 2009). The class had performed this poem when competing at the Hong Kong Schools Speech Festival, winning first prize in the senior section. They were coached by Ms. Susie Liu. The poem describes a boy’s misunderstanding of a doctors diagnosis of ‘measles’ as ‘weasels’.

Camera Operators: Teresa Ng, Maggie Lai, Stephen Richards

Weasels and Seasonal Limericks: Technical Information
The music during the end-credits of Seasonal Limericks was played on a Korg M50 using one of the standard presets. The snow-covered trees in that video are from a photograph—Fresh Snow in the Garden of Ambras Castle—by Noclador. Other clips (e.g., falling leaves, snow) were obtained from various stock-footage collections.  The photographs of the weasels were adapted from two photos found on the web.

The animation at the beginning of Seasonal Limericks is simply a video screen shot of the itunes music visualizer as I played the audio file of the performance. I adapted this technique later on when producing a compilation video of electronic music pieces that I had composed in the 1980s (http://longzijun.wordpress.com/works/experimental-music/).

Editing this video gave me more practice in compositing (using different videos to make a single image), creating masks (cutting out parts of images from videos) and using mattes (automatically eliminating a certain colour, like a black background, from the video image).

I learned some lessons from the mistakes I made. For example,  I should have done all the colour correction before starting on the editing. As I did the colour correction after the editing stage, you will notice that the shades of blue and grey of the students’ uniforms differ from shot to shot. Also, the editing would have been a lot easier if I had recorded the students performing during rehearsals. Then there would have been a lot less problems with noise (fans and air-conditioning, especially), camera angles, people suddenly walking into the frame and heads suddenly sticking up into the frame.

The following software programmes were used:

  • Premiere Pro CS4 (editing and video processing)
  • AfterEffect CS4 (video compositing,  text animation and video processing)
  • iTunes (creating the animation in the opening credits – that is just the music visualizer in iTunes responding to the recording of the students’ voices)
  • CamStudio (for capturing the music visualizer)
  • Procoder 3, Adobe Media Encoder (file conversion)
  • Goldwave, Sonar Home Studio, Magix Audio Cleaning Lab  (noise filtering and EQ – the original audio recordings were full of noise, so a lot of time had to be spend cleaning them up – and music recording)

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