High School

Senior Internships

Weekly Updates

List of 6 items.

  • Max Cohen-Vigder

    Max is interning with Rabbi Ariann Weitzman, Associate Rabbi and Director of Congregational Learning at Bnai Keshet Reconstructionist Synagogue. In addition, he is also mentoring with Stephanie Bash-Soudry, Director of Institutional Advancement at GOA, to fundraise for Asher Ruach Bo, an Israeli program for at-risk youths.
    April 20, 2021

    The internship that I have decided to do is at my synagogue, Bnai Keshet. 

    The internship thus far has been an absolutely incredible learning experience. I have been learning and improving on skills such as time management and organization. My internship is built around one large project that is broken down into smaller tasks. My larger overall project is reorganizing the entire Hebrew School building. While the large amount of dust all over the building is definitely not ideal, the work itself is incredibly meaningful. I started by reorganizing the office. This entailed going through three large file cabinets, all filled with random miscellaneous office supplies as well as mixed up art supplies. This task took about 40 hours of work alone simply because of how often I needed to re-organize my own work due to finding more items that needed to be organized or simply having to refit certain things. 

    I was also responsible for making an inventory list of everything in the file cabinets, including the actual supplies, the quantity, and their condition. After finishing that I had to go through the remainder of the office and start organizing supplies that were scattered all over the place. This included going back to the dreaded file cabinets, but also being creative in solutions to organize these supplies. At the same time as doing all of this, I was also responsible for wiping down the entire office as well as the file cabinets both for overall cleanliness and to get rid of the built up dust. 

    After completing the office, I moved onto the resource room which had artwork, books, magazines, as well as other miscellaneous items that needed to all be organized. Organizing the books and magazines based on their similarities or common themes was quite difficult since the vast majority of these books and magazines required me to skim through to be able to adequately organize them. Once again, this required me going back to things that I had already organized over and over again since they needed to fit more stuff, and once again I would often have to reorganize what I had already done. While this was quite frustrating it helped me learn how to set myself up with a task in a way that was efficient and would not require me to have to do that task over again. 

    I also became much more efficient in my organizational skills, one of my weaknesses. I even sought out the advice of my internship supervisor on tips for how to properly organize myself. I began planning out how I would do my tasks before I started doing them, as opposed to what I was doing before, just starting it without a plan. The current project I am working on is reorganizing the library which has thousands of books that were completely random in the way that they were organized. This has been a massive project for me and has taken approximately 80 hours so far. Although, I have made some real steady progress and I am looking forward to continuing to work and hopefully be able to finish this gargantuan project prior to the end of the internship.

    May 14, 2021
    As my internship is beginning to come to a close, I am reflecting on the work I have done, knowledge I have gained, and connections that I have forged through hard work. The main task of my internship has been clearing out rooms and reorganizing large quantities of items in an orderly fashion. These tasks have often been daunting due to their incredible amounts of work, however, I have not been discouraged, though often exasperated. 

    Re-organizing the library/resource room was perhaps the most arduous task I have ever taken on. There are thousands of books in that library that over the years have been thrown about into a completely disorganized mess. The shelves have also collected massive amounts of dust and other debris that make the room quite difficult to work in. This task has virtually taken up more than 50% of my internship (about 100 hours). Many of the books are quite vague in their titles and summaries and only slightly related to each other, making grouping them together quite difficult. Though I have asked my internship supervisor for some guidance she has said to go with my gut and gave me full responsibility. While this was incredibly nice to hear, it was quite daunting. I have often second guessed myself about certain piles of books or shelves that I have restocked. On numerous occasions I have started re-organizing things that I had already marked as done for myself. 

    With the end of my internship I have learned so much and gained so many different skills that I didn’t have before. I couldn’t have asked for a more accommodating, patient, and smart mentor and supervisor. I have accomplished a lot and am quite content with my internship experience. 

  • Noah Feldman

    Noah is interning with Jacob Kotler, owner of Jake's Car Care.
    Working at Jake’s Car Care I have learned three valuable skills in tidiness, efficiency, and resourcefulness. Located on Eagle Rock Avenue, Jake’s Car Care is no stranger to the 50,000 residents of West Orange. An auto body shop does not take long to become extremely filthy and it is imperative that it remains clean. My main role as an intern is to keep workspaces orderly so the mechanics remain efficient, as without me they are responsible for cleaning their own area. With my help, the shop is able to become more efficient than usual leading to better customer service. 

    Any auto body shop has tons of unused car components, tools, and necessary fluids such as lubricants, coolants, motor oil, wiper fluid, and many others. Organized storage for these fluids is absolutely necessary as in order to remain efficient, the mechanics need to locate and apply the apparatus quickly to finish fixing the car as soon as possible. It is my responsibility with assistance from my supervisor to organize the appliances in a systematic fashion in order of necessity, frequency of use, and/or numerical labels. 

    Along with essential interior equipment, exterior components also need to be organized nicely. Tires often get thrown into the back of the shop after their use has been fulfilled, however they still have their uses and need to be put into a methodical place to at least look useful. Along with the old tires, new tires are ordered in by the shop to be applied to cars in need of a tire change. These tires are located at the entrance for the customer to examine when entering the shop. The tires are ordered by size and expiration date so it is easy for me or a mechanic to identify at the time of a tire change. 

    Working at the garage has not been without its educational benefit. I have learned how to change tires, remove the rim from a tire, put cars on lifts, and the overall functionality of cars. I have also learned how to change oil, along with the other fluids and where they are located under the hood. I have also learned to drive more carefully and precisely. Since there is limited space in the garage, many of the cars awaiting pickup are parked outside the garage either in the driveway or at a separate parking lot. Because of this, the cars need to be moved into the shop overnight to avoid theft. Packing all the cars into the small garage comes with its difficulties, but at the end of the day always gets done. Driving backwards was always a challenge of mine, especially when the space is tight, but I have learned to utilize every angle I can get in order to park it safely and compactly. This involves utilizing mirrors and even sticking my head outside the car window to see every little detail. 

    This has not only been a great educational experience, but I have new skills that will be of great value to me later in life.

    April 25, 2021

    Along with my internship at Jake’s Car Care, I just began interning at Golda Och for the Math department. Math is my strongest subject, so it presented a good opportunity to polish up my math skills through tutoring, while also helping organizationally. One task I am responsible for is taking inventory of all the math textbooks owned by the school. I sorted each book by publisher, title, math level, and condition. Without a systematically arranged spreadsheet of all these textbooks, it is hard to know when and how many textbooks the school needs to purchase for a new school year. 

    In addition to taking inventory for textbooks, I also had to create an organized binder for previous lesson plans and assessments. I organized these in chronological order by class, teacher, and math level. For instance, class MA570 honors would be filed separately from MA580 AP, even though the same teacher taught the class. There was much workto be done as all the papers were not in a set order. 

    Another role I sometimes am responsible for is proctoring assessments. In the event a student misses class they are required to make up what they missed. This also includes homework and it is my responsibility to proctor and make sure nothing goes wrong. This may seem like a needless task but proves to be helpful as it gives teachers a nice break to either finish what they need to catch up on or potentially help another student. Another reason why this is very helpful is because of my flexibility as an intern. In the case of an impromptu absence of a student, the teacher may not be available to watch the student finish their assignment. Since I don’t have to teach any classes, it is a perfect opportunity for me to help out. 

    There is a responsibility that teachers have that is often overlooked by students in the fact that they also have to do every homework assignment in order to go over it the next day. This can prove to be quite strenuous on the teacher if they have a large amount of classes. One of the teachers, Dr. Kotlowitz, reached out to me and asked if I could create logical answer keys for him. I jumped at the chance as it truly allowed me to practice math I hadn’t seen in years. This included algebra and geometry, two courses I had not looked at in a few years.

    Finally, I think it is important to note that I haven’t completely stopped working at Jake’s Car Care, the hours have just been reduced. Since I only attend once a week now, the jobs I do are more longterm that I would work on for an entire day. This of course, includes cleaning absolutely filthy machinery that has not been cleaned in the last ten years. These machines need to be cleaned because my supervisor wants to reorganize the shop and decided to kill two birds with one stone. 

    The combination of the two internships have taught me a lot about two completely different work environments but has also presented me with awareness of the similarities. 

  • Marin Gold

    Marin is interning with Dina Zunic at Prestige Academy of Dance.

    MARCH 15, 2021

    I have been having such a fantastic time working for Prestige Academy of Dance. I've learned a little more about the ins and outs of running a dance studio and how vital the behind-the-scenes parts are in keeping the studio active. 

    Most of the time, when I'm at the studio, I help prepare the costumes for the stage scheduling and practices and clean up. As I expected, a good amount of the job includes cleaning the mirrors in the studios because it is an essential part of keeping a studio prepared for students to come and dance in every day. I have helped prepare the students for competitions, including ones that will happen in March and April 2021. I am also helping with the organization of old costumes and figuring out efficient ways to sell them to people who need them for dances. 

    Besides the costumes' organization, I also have to steam dozens of different costumes and distribute them to dozens of other students. It's an opportunity for me to meet all of the people who go to my dance studio on a more professional level rather than as a student. I am in charge of most class costumes, and I have the last say on whether the outfit is ready to be distributed. 

    One of the most exciting parts of the internship has been learning about how to prepare for a dance competition. There is so much more that goes into a dance competition aside from the dances. I didn't realize that the teachers had confrontations with the competition owners to get all the students registered and participated in each event. Things such as uploading music to the competition database are so much more complicated than I had initially thought, which makes me feel very thankful for my teachers who have been doing it all these years. I also got to participate in a competition as a teacher rather than as a student. It was such an extraordinary experience because rather than frantically dancing, I got to sit and watch with my fellow teachers. 

    Sitting with the studio owner and fellow teachers gave me a view of what they do after a competition occurs. Rather than just going home and going to sleep, they have to file and organize each student's award. I had the job of distributing and managing each award, which was much more complicated than I had expected it to be. It shows that our studio is very well trained because there were so many awards to organize. My favorite part of the competition experience was listening to my fellow teachers thoughtfully discuss the dances and helping to take notes on their critiques. 

    As I mentioned, my internship allowed me to travel with the studio to multiple competitions throughout February and March. My supervisor told me that whenever I wanted to go to the competition, all I had to do was tell her I was coming, and she was more than happy for me to help her in her frantic day at the competition. My mother tried to go with me to a couple of the competitions, but due to COVID restrictions, she could not come. It was exciting being on my own at a competition for the first time in 12 years of competitive dance. 

    One of my favorite parts of the internship so far has the bonds that I've created with my supervisor and colleagues in the workplace. I feel as though I have bonded with these people even though they have so much more experience than I do. They've begun to trust me with more significant tasks such as selling used furniture online. Seeing a change in my dancing skills is also a significant plus to the internship experience because since I am now at the studio for many more hours, I have the opportunity to practice on my own. I find that my work ethic is also greater when I am in the studio. Also, I got some free food out of it because now, as an intern, I am considered a part of the "Prestige Faculty"!

    I am super happy that I chose to intern at Prestige Academy of Dance, even though I live there at this point (and might as well bring a mattress). I truly get to learn the ins and outs of a dance studio from the perspective of both the student and the teacher, which is something I would not have been able to experience until later in life. I get to help both the younger kids and my peers, and will be learning about the financial aspects of the studio next week. I'm super excited for the months to come and for all that I will learn!
    April 19, 2021

    These past couple of weeks at Prestige Academy of Dance have been more hectic than I had anticipated. We are continuing to approach the yearly dance recital. My job as an intern has become more crucial to the preparation process. I find myself quite busy, which has led me to learn so much more about what it means to plan a dance recital. The impending dance competition season is in full blast resulting in a new set of activities each week. I can help every weekend as the studio prepares to compete with efficiency and while remaining Covid-safe. 

    The most important part of a dance recital is preparing the dancers for their performance. I have been able to work closely with most of the choreographers at the studio to help them prepare every group of students for the upcoming performances. During their classes, I assist the teacher with anything they need involving the student's costumes, accessories and shoes that they might need, and hair and make-up questions. I've also become quite proud of how far along the process is because I recognize that my help has advanced the process farther than it would be if I were not involved. 

    Most of the dancers in the dance recital have been practicing since September, and with the performance closely approaching, I can now notice how important it is to practice for so long. The teachers have given me an inside look at how to effectively prepare a group of students for performance while still keeping them interested in what they're doing at the dance studio. 

    I have also helped with the behind-the-scenes preparations of dance competitions coming up in the next few weeks. With Covid's setbacks, there's much more that needs to be done for a dance studio to be prepared to compete. You have to thoroughly explain all of the different Covid regulations and sanitary precautions for each pending dance competition. It is my job to source the extra materials needed to follow these Covid regulations, including masks, hand sanitizers, and in some instances, gloves. These regulations have never been required at dance competitions before this year, so having someone like me to help out was greatly appreciated. 

    Interacting with people who work at the competitions has been a crucial part of my job. For instance, at the competitions, the photographer takes professional photos of each dance, and it is my job to make an eye-catching collage for each dance. I sort the images and post the collages on social media for the studio's students to see. The picture collage may also reach prospective students that could come in the future, leading to a larger studio. I first started with simple collages, but they've become more enticing and complicated as the weeks have gone on. I like that I get this inside look on creating an efficient social media account because social media management has been a new interest. 

    I also have attended more dance competitions as a teacher rather than as a student. This opportunity has been a great learning experience for me because I get an inside look at what it's like to organize an entire studio for a single day of performing. It is a lot more hectic than I had anticipated, but I've learned a lot throughout my internship at Prestige Academy of Dance. I have gotten to see every step in the preparation process, from what goes on behind the scenes to what gets put on the stage. I have had the opportunity to experience a dance studio from the teacher's perspective, the studio owner's perspective, and the dancer's perspective. This internship gave me the unique opportunity to see what it's like to run a dance studio, which I now understand is much more complicated than I thought. I'm happy I chose Prestige as my internship because I was in a place where I could learn more about what I may want to do in the future with my career. As I continue my internship, I hope to improve on the tasks that I've learned, including preparing for competitions, performances, and anything that might ensue at a local dance studio.
  • Aaron Gutterman

    Aaron is interning with Corina Sowers Adler, Artistic Director at NiCori Studios and Productions.

    MARCH 15, 2021

    For the past few weeks I have been interning at NiCori Studios & Productions, a theatre company in Bloomfield, NJ. There are four semesters per year that consist of cabarets with professional performers and musical theatre classes for kids and teens. Their current winter semester, which can not be performed outside due to the colder weather, culminates in two livestreams: The NiCori Kids in A Grimm Afternoon With Aesop and The NiCori Teens in In The Next 10 Minutes, which actually opens the night that I am writing this blog! 

    The characters in A Grimm Afternoon With Aesop were almost all animals, so one of my responsibilities was to incorporate masks that represented each animal’s face into the costumes. I learned valuable skills in costume design and budgeting, and it was very rewarding to see the cast wear the masks for the first time. I was also tasked with creating a logo design for the production which was used in lots of promotional material.

    I worked closely with the production manager to figure out all of the problems we would need to solve in order to successfully broadcast the show from Oakeside Bloomfield Cultural Center, or “the mansion,” where NiCori operates. The livestream would be a combination of pre-recorded and live media, so we needed to work out how to accomplish both. We knew we would be limited to using one room of the mansion, the solarium, for the live segments, but we realized we could take advantage of many of the other rooms to film everything that was prerecorded. 

    One of the rooms was a voice studio, which we transformed into a recording studio. We set up a camera, microphone, audio mixer, and cabaret backdrop, and my job was to sit behind a plexiglass wall and monitor the audio balance between the performer and their background track. We also had the opportunity to use some of the other rooms in the mansion to record scenes in a different environment, which is one way the pandemic surprisingly improved the production. 

    When it was time to start working on the live sections, the process remained fairly similar with a few added challenges. We needed a more reliable internet connection, which we achieved by running a very long wire from a computer in the solarium up to the router on the third floor of the mansion. I also learned how to use Open Broadcaster Software (OBS), which allowed us to livestream to YouTube and switch between live camera feed and pre recorded media in real time. After we had solved all of those problems, we could start getting more creative, like using a real courtroom as a virtual background for a courtroom scene.

    My most interesting story so far is from this week. Using a Zoom call and a green screen, I edited footage to make three distanced actresses look like they were sitting together in a movie theater.

    Beyond helping with the technology for the two productions, my other main responsibility is to write a weekly newsletter. While most people at school know that I am passionate in theatre, they may not know that I am also interested in marketing and graphic design, so the opportunity to gain experience in all of those fields at once was exciting for me. 

    In the future, I will be helping out with the spring semester, which includes performances with in-person audiences for the NiCori teens and professional cabaret artists. It also looks like I will be producing a commercial, so I look forward to sharing more reflections on that in my next blog.

    April 25, 2021

    After I finished writing my last blog, I thought I would start working on the commercial and upcoming teen show, but working with a theatre company during a pandemic has taught me that adaptability is key. My main focus has shifted towards helping with NiCori Studios & Productions’ next professional cabaret venture, Music at the Mansion: PORCH PERFORMANCES. After the success of last year’s mini-series of outdoor cabaret concerts, Porch Performances are back with a new star-studded lineup. 

    It is easy to think that each performer will just come to the mansion and sing a few songs, but there is actually a lot more preparation than I anticipated. The first show does not open until the second week of May, but I have already been working with the NiCori producer on marketing the events for a few weeks now. My first task was to create a graphic with photos of all 15 performers, which was a lot trickier than it sounds. It is already difficult enough to get 15 photos to fit onto one page (and remain large enough to be seen), but most of the photos were also different sizes, so I had to play a Tetris-like game of getting all of the pieces to fit nicely into the puzzle. When it was all finished, I sent the image to the producer to be shared on social media. I did not realize it would also be printed, so seeing my work on a giant 12’ sign on my way to the mansion this week was an exciting surprise. My next task is to get the word out, so I am currently working on posting all 15 concerts to a few different New Jersey event calendars. It’s about as exciting as it sounds, but I am still learning important marketing and advertising skills in the process. 

    Beyond the Music at the Mansion: PORCH PERFORMANCES work, I have also been helping with the other projects at NiCori. Their current teen production, Grand Night for Singing, held auditions last week, so I helped calm and encourage the nervous auditionees before sending them into the room. The class also features three workshops with industry professionals, so I promoted and assisted with those as well. Even though I’m supposed to be working, I feel very fortunate that I get to “attend” these workshops with the students and hear about what the interesting speakers have to say. For example, Lori Alexander, a theatre historian, came in last week to talk about how Rodgers and Hammerstein have impacted and shaped modern theatre and how they remain relevant today. 

    In addition to Music at the Mansion: PORCH PERFORMANCES and Grand Night for Singing, there are many other projects going on at NiCori. There is an upcoming teen voice recital, so I have been sorting through the extensive NiCori archive of sheet music to find the music that the accompanist will need. Preparations are underway for an outdoor in-person summer camp, and I have been continuing to write the weekly newsletter I discussed in my last blog. Finally, I will end the same way I did last time, by talking about the commercial. Funnily enough, it’s still in the same spot it was then, but it really is about to start this time! I have my first meeting on Monday, and I’m looking forward to learning how to use a new video editing software, conduct interviews, sift through b-roll to find the perfect footage, and an all around new kind of editing experience for me.

  • Connor Pollack

    Connor is interning with Thomas Kulikowski, Maintenance Supervisor at New Jersey Y Camps.
    I’ve been having an excellent time interning with the New Jersey Y Camps’ construction team. I have been learning many useful skills, properly managing my calendar, and maintaining a healthier lifestyle due to my time here. My job is to help move along the process of fixing up small to major construction projects at a sleepaway camp called Camp Nesher. For the past month and a half I have been working on replacing the walls, windows, doors, insulation, and showers of a seven section staff bunkhouse. During this period of time, I learned how to properly use a nail gun, a framer, a handsaw, an industrial stapler, a sawzall, and many other tools I never would have otherwise learned to use. I have also learned a lot about the importance of precise measurements and the dangers of outdated construction practices. 
    When I first started my internship I was not able to do or help with much due to my lack of experience and safety risks that came with the equipment that was being used. I gradually became more experienced and built my way up to installing and insulating a wall on my own right before my spring vacation. I continue to try to expand my skills and work on more and more difficult projects. This week I trimmed seven doors, which was shockingly harder to do than installing that wall I just mentioned. I never realized how detailed the process of installing a door was until I had to trim a door and its door frame. After the actual door and its frame are nailed into the space that was made to permit a door, small strips of wood have to be stapled carefully onto the edges of the door frame and then the actual trim is nailed onto that. It's a lot less simple than it sounds, it can be tedious work getting the strips to sit just right and making sure that the staples are high enough to not be shown when the trim is put on, but low enough so as not to cause them to be tilted upward post installation.
    Because of my internship, I now help my family in their construction projects. Creativity and the love of building things from scratch was a passion that runs in my family and seemed to have skipped me, so it feels good to be able to relate to them a little better. The skills I learned will also be very useful in college when I may not be able to afford to have a professional come over and fix certain things, now I can do it on my own. As well as that, I have really been wanting to get in better shape this past year, and eight hours of manual labour a day, five days a week has really given me a jumpstart to follow a more healthy lifestyle. It also allows me to be on a functional schedule. During the school year, I had a very hard time waking up early for school and getting there on time. I cannot do that during my internship if I want my hours to be counted. I also need to be able to get to bed at a normal hour so I can recuperate from my day’s work. In the weeks that I have been off, I managed to keep this good sleep schedule. I feel that my internship has really helped me promote a better lifestyle for myself and I hope that it will continue to use these healthy habits once I finish my hours.

    May 5, 2021

    Interning for the NJY Camps’ construction team has continued to be a great experience for me. Since my last blog post, I have been doing a lot more outdoor work like installing and replacing patios, decks, and porches; and fixing more siding on different buildings.This kind of work can be a lot more draining than the previous indoor work I had been doing. The projects I have partaken in recently require use of a lot more physical strength than I had been using prior and the outdoor working conditions last week were surprisingly harsh for the spring. Due to those factors, these projects took quite a number of my internship hours, and a great many bruises to redo my first patio. I had to remove rotting boards and their rusty screws from the joists of the building with a crowbar and a sawzall, both of which happen to be very tiring tools to be using for an extended period of time. Once I removed all the old boards, I had to put new reinforcements on the joists using my choice of a screw gun or drill. I always went with the screw gun because of its speed, but my supervisors usually prefer the drill because of its accuracy. After the reinforcements had been installed, I helped lay down and drill in the new boards. The vast majority of the installment was done in snow and temperatures below 25 degrees, but that's Pennsylvania for you. 

    Installing the new patio was much easier than replacing an older one. Even though we had to build joists from scratch and leveling out all the different parts took quite a piece of the day, we were able to get the entire thing done in under 5 hours. Unfortunately, after this project I had to leave Pennsylvania for a little over a week. During this period of time I got to continue my other internship with Dr. Andrea Footerman, helping facilitate different support groups for preteens and younger teenagers.

    I have had an amazing experience so far working with Dr. Footerman. I have been learning a lot about how mental health support groups function as well as how to better encourage social development in adolescents. My function in these groups is to aid Dr. Footerman in facilitating conversations and modeling proper social skills and behavior. I will often help start out conversations between members of the group, ask questions for them to answer to start a better discourse, and join the online games to promote better communication.

    I am learning a lot from Dr. Footerman during these Zoom sessions. The questions she asks and the activities she sets up have a specific agenda and promote more than social development. She helps the kids understand themselves and their peers through different activities and by discussing different social scenarios and how the children have or should deal with them and any issues that may arise mental health wise. This second internship gives me a different look into the world of therapy and mental health.

  • Matthew Rothschild

    Matthew is interning with Jeff Watson at Golda Och Academy.

    MARCH 25, 2021

    Although I just recently began working for Mr. Watson, I have enjoyed working with him, and have already learned a lot. We will be working for GOA, and I am already helping with some projects that are in progress. For example, this week on Monday and Thursday we went to the Lower School campus to record for the 1st grade Siddur play. In the future, we will also record for other student plays and projects at the Lower School. In addition, we will be creating websites for some of our projects, such as the Science Fair and Biography Day. 

    In order to start these projects, I had to learn multiple pieces of software, one of which is Adobe Audition. Audition is the audio program that I am/will be using to edit audio. Despite my unfamiliarity, it wasn’t too hard to learn because I was already familiar with other audio programs. However, I did have trouble learning where everything was located within the program and I had to learn the keyboard shortcuts for Audition, which took a while. While I had some ease learning a new audio program, I also had to learn two new video editing programs.

    Adobe Premiere is one of the two video editing softwares I needed to learn for this internship. Again, learning this program wasn’t too hard, but that was because of the software’s built-in tutorials, and relatively small number of features. In my opinion, Premiere is more of a video sequencing software, that has transitional effects, rather than a video editing software. When it comes to actual video editing, and video effects, Adobe After Effects is the better software. I also had to learn After Effects, which has proven to be difficult. Mr. Watson describes After Effects as “the Photoshop of video software.” I would completely agree with him, after spending some time using the software, and given the trouble I have with Photoshop and utilizing all of its features. I expect to have more trouble using this software. After Effects is more complicated than Premiere, because it includes keyframes for animation and special effects.

    So far, I have had a few jobs. My first job was technically learning the software, but my first actual job was to create a template for a website with Google Sites for Biography Day, a day in which second graders dress up as famous figures and talk about their famous figures' lives. The website was planned to be an alternative to actually holding the Biography Day in person, with video recordings of each student reciting their information. However, this decision might have changed. Regardless, the website will be made. I expect that there will be the choice to go to Biography Day, and if someone can’t, they will use the website. The website will consist of separate pages for each student, which will show them in costume, and will have their videos that they recorded. On the main page, the students will have their school photos, and names to show what they look like outside of their costume.

    Another job that I have is related to on-campus recording of the Siddur Play for the first graders. I was joined by some fellow seniors at the Lower School setting up tripods, cameras, and a microphone to record the first graders singing their songs. We also set up lights and a green screen inside the cafeteria to record the students for a montage. For the singing, we set up two cameras on tripods outside in the parking lot. One is placed in front of the kids and is fitted with a wide-angle lens, and the other is simply placed diagonally in relation to the kids, in order to fit everyone in the frame. In addition, someone uses a handheld phone gimbal to get moving shots. Next to the camera placed directly in front of the children, we set up a table with a Blue Yeti microphone, and a computer fitted with Adobe Audition to record audio.

    This internship has already taught me a lot about video production, audio editing, and website design. I learned how to use multiple pieces of software, and through tutorials, I learned how to edit audio and mix vocals to sound better. I also learned that Google Sites is a tool open to everyone, which helps with creating websites that look and feel competently made. 

    May 10, 2021

    In the weeks since my last blog, I have learned and accomplished many things. I visited the lower school campus to help film the first graders’ Siddur Play, as well as some of the third graders’ Rosh Chodesh celebration. I also edited a portion of the Siddur Play, as well as a video of sophomore Ava H. singing the national anthem. 

    When Mr. Watson and I went to the lower school to film the first graders for the Siddur Play, we filmed the children passing a siddur from person to person in front of a green screen. I was the one who edited the sequence, and had to learn how to green screen people in order to complete the sequence. This proved easier than I expected. Essentially, green screening is actually called “Chroma Keying” within video editing software, such as Adobe Premiere. It is an effect that allows the user to remove one part of the image and replace it with another image. In this case, the only thing required is that the computer/software knows that the only part of the image it should get rid of is the green background. This is very easy to do – it requires use of an eye dropper tool, a color selector, to tell the computer which color to get rid of. Then, in order to get a good green screen, you would need to tweak a couple of settings that determine how lenient the software should be in getting rid of the background, as well as how much of the area should be affected. The latter parameter can make the subject of the video – in this case, the children – look skinny, or unnatural if done incorrectly. 

    Besides the work I have done for the school, I have learned quite a lot about mixing music and Adobe software. While I continue to use Ableton Live 10 for my personal music projects, I have been playing around with Adobe Audition. Audition is Adobe’s audio software and is more for mixing and mastering audio, as opposed to creating music from scratch. The other day, I was talking to Mr. Watson, my supervisor, about autotune, because I found an autotune plugin that seemed professional and was absurdly cheap for software of this quality. He told me that there was a built-in autotune in Audition that I should try before I buy that one, so I spent a couple of hours playing around with the software in Audition. One thing that I noticed was that the autotune in Audition was not in real time. This means that I had to take my audio file, tweak the settings of the autotune, and then wait a little in between applying my settings and being able to hear what the autotune sounds like. The audio has to render before I can listen to it, while this other autotune that I found allows me to listen to the audio as I am changing the settings.

    On another note, I am currently working on an album. The music will be entirely produced by me, with a number of musical artists that I have met via social media, providing vocals. During this process, I have been asking Mr. Watson for tips and ideas regarding how to mix my music properly, and I have adopted an effective way to mix vocals. It involves a lot of effects and makes the vocals apparent within the song, regardless of how loud the song is playing. This is all thanks to something called compression. Compression is an effect that minimizes the volume of loud sounds while heightening the volume of quiet sounds. Compression can be destructive when overused, because it can highlight unpleasant frequencies, and background noise (or hissing, vinyl crackle, and other slightly annoying sounds), it works well on rap vocals because the rapper is essentially just speaking, which normally doesn’t present many unpleasant frequencies. 

    I also learned about another effect called a DeEsser. From what I understand, a DeEsser is another type of compression. However, this type of compression targets hard “S” and “P” sounds. When a rapper really tries to emphasize their words, and speak clearly, they might put a lot of strain on their S’s or P’s. The S’s make a hissing sound that is annoying to the listener, and the P sounds make a bassy pop sound that can get in the way of other bass frequencies within the song, and make some parts of the song sound unpleasant. A DeEsser compresses these parts, and makes them the same volume as the rest of the vocals, which makes the S and P noises much more bearable.