Your documentary may focus on any issue that you believe the U.S.Congress should address in 2014, and explain why you believe the issue is of importance.
Your documentary MUST include the following five elements:
HOW MANY STUDENTS MAY ENTER TOGETHER AS A TEAM?
Students may enter the competition individually, or work in teams of either 2 or 3 students. If an entry is awarded a prize in the competition, the money will be split evenly among team members.
You should give yourself at least one month to create your documentary. Below is a suggested time frame:
HOW CAN I FIND C-SPAN FOOTAGE?
Click here for a variety of downloadable C-SPAN programs that you may use in your documentary. C-SPAN will upload and make available new programs on a variety of topics until the competition deadline on January 20, 2014. All of the videos are available in .AVI and .MOV formats which will work with the vast majority of Windows and Mac based video editing programs. Some of the more recent video clips will also be availble in High Definition .MP4 format but please make sure that your video editing software is compatible with High Definition files before downloading.
If none of the provided videos are related to your chosen topic, you may search for additional clips on C-SPAN's Video Library. Not all C-SPAN programs are downloadable but we can provide clips from our House/Senate floor coverage, White House events, our morning Washington Journal program, and more. You will know if a program can be downloaded as it will offer a variety of video formats (such as .AVI, .MOV, and .MP4) for download. If you only see .MP3 audio offered, that means that we cannot provide any clips from that specific program. Once you have found a short clip (1-2 minute max time length), email us at email@example.com and we will make it available to you for free.
Another option worth exploring is using screen capture software. Many Mac computers have screen capture software included in their pre-packaged software bundles. Other screen capture programs, like Camtasia, offer free trial periods lasting up to 30 days. Use your screen capture software in conjunction with C-SPAN's streaming Video Library to capture your chosen C-SPAN footage.
If you are unable to download C-SPAN video and if using screen capture software is not an option, try streaming the video online at C-SPAN's Video Library, point your video camera at your computer screen, and record the program. This may not result in the highest quality video, but it is always an option if you are having difficulty finding downloadable C-SPAN footage that is relevant to your chosen topic. Remember to keep your camera steady (consider using a tripod if available), adjust the lighting, and check your volume levels if you choose to record footage this way. This will ensure that you get the best quality possible.
You may also record audio from a C-SPAN program to use in your documentary. If you choose to do this, make sure you identify the audio source and the person(s) speaking.
There is no time requirement for your C-SPAN programming. However, do not allow the C-SPAN programming to dominate your documentary. Rather, the inclusion of C-SPAN programming should be used to support your documentary and complement your presentation.
C-SPAN produced programming is copyright cleared for use in educational applications like StudentCam.
C-SPAN's philosophy is to show multiple sides of an issue. Students should treat their documentary in a similar fashion, providing comprehensive treatment of their topic with different points of view. However, students' personal opinions are welcomed. We want to hear your personal views about your chosen issue, and if your views have changed or solidified while researching your documentary.
In order to present varying opinions about your documentary's issue, you may want to interview several people who have different points of view. You can also discuss how your issue affects people differently.
You may also consider using several juxtaposing short clips from multiple C-SPAN programs throughout your documentary to show varying viewpoints.
There are no requirements for who should be interviewed. Students may use their peers, teachers, and family as interview subjects. However, we strongly encourage entrants to consider interviewing experts on their chosen topic as well as local and national political leaders. You may be surprised by who is willing to sit down for an interview! Click here for C-SPAN's Congressional Chronicle website, a site which archives the proceedings of the United States Congress and its members, including the biography and website of each elected official.
Ask your teacher if there are video cameras or editing equipment available. If you are unable to use school equipment, try contacting libraries in your area to see if they may have equipment to lend to students. You may also try your local cable affiliate, local television stations or local public access channel. Finally, many cell phones and digital cameras are able to record video.
For editing you will find that most new computers will already have movie making software. Windows computers will typically have Windows Movie Maker and Macs will have iMovie software. If you don't have movie making software on your computer, try searching Download.com which has many free software programs including video editing software.
The judges’ strongest critiques will center more on the content, research, and presentation. While the technical quality of the video is important, we realize that some students may have limited access to technology and encourage all students to apply.
Entries will be judged on the following criteria:
Entries must be uploaded by midnight at the end of the day on January 20, 2014.
Between November 2013 and January 20, 2014 you must first complete the required Entry Form and then upload your video in one of the following video formats: .AVI .MOV .MPG .MPG2 .MPEG2 .MPEG4 .MP4 or .WMV. Videos may be as large as 1500mb - for reference though, an average 7 minute video of around 300mb will typically look very clean and crisp once it is uploaded and has encoded on our video host site. Files larger than 1500mb may not upload. Please note that the larger the file size, the longer your upload will take to complete. Depending on your internet connection speed, a 100mb video may take anywhere from 10 - 30 minutes to upload. If you are having difficulty uploading your video, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 1-800-523-7586 on weekdays between 9:00am-5:00pm ET.
You DO NOT need to provide any prior notice of your intention to enter. The only requirement is that the video documentary and your Entry Form are submitted online by the deadline, which is midnight Pacific Standard Time at the end of the day on January 20, 2014.
The 150 winning videos will be announced on the StudentCam website in March 2014. Winning students will be notified via phone or email.