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What in the heck is VCAM?

VCAM is your local Public Access TV station!

Thanks. That's real helpful.

What in the heck does that mean?

In a nutshell, cable companies like Comcast and Burlington Telecom get to use public land for their infrastructure, and in exchange, since they're using that infrastructure to bring 300+ channels of Hollywood crap to people, they also have to provide one* channel of locally-produced content—and since TV shows are not necessarily the easiest (or cheapest!) things to make, they also have to provide resources in the community for people to make content.

So VCAM means:

  • You don't have to spend thousands of dollars on expensive filmmaking equipment—there's expensive filmmaking equipment here, waiting for anyone and everyone in the community to use, 100% free.
  • You don't have to blow a hundred grand and four years for film school—we have a staff brimming with people who blew thousands and thousands of dollars and many years of their lives at film schools from Champlain College to UCLA, whose job is to teach you everything you need or want to know, 100% free.
  • You don't have to schmooze with Hollywood big-wigs to get your show to play on television—everything you make goes on Channel 15 and vermontcam.org.

Cool! How do I get started?

Attend an orientation—held every first and third Saturday of the month at 11 AM, or by appointment (802.651.9692).

Then what?

Then you've got so much you could potentially do:

Most of our equipment—including our TV studio and our fleet of 4K cameras—is available just from taking orientation, so if you know what you want to do, you could go ahead and make your show!

Or you could check out a camera and go mess around with it—film some cool stuff, experiment, and see what you get!

Or you could attend some of our workshops! And learn about filmmaking before diving into a project.

Or come by to watch our lynda.com tutorials on all sorts of cool software, such as Premiere (video editing), Final Cut (also video editing), and After Effects (motion graphics).

Or join WBTV-LP 99.3 FM as a DJ!

. . . O-kay but that's a lot of options—What do most people do?

If you've not done much video-making in the past, some good first classes to take are:

  • Basic Camera (UX90)—The basics of recording good video and audio, taught using our fleet of versatile 4K cameras, but what you learn here can be applied to any camera you use in the future, too.
  • Edit Suite Certification—Certifies you to use our edit stations. After this class, you can use our Lynda.com tutorials to go in-depth into editing, or you can set up a one-on-one appointment to go over the specific tools for your needs.
  • Studio Production—The essentials of using our TV studio. Plus, get cool ideas from seeing all the weird stuff the studio's capable of. :D
  • Fundamentals of Digital Cinematography—Our longest, most intense class: an entire semester of cinematography condensed into four hours. Recommended for after you've taken out / played with one of our Basic Cameras a few times.

Though not required, we recommend that you have a particular project to work on and think about during / in between these classes. And if you don't have a project in mind currently, here's a great first project idea: Make a PSA for an organization you care about. Nonprofits are always excited to have your volunteer marketing and enthusiasm! Here, here, and here are some favorite PSAs made by VCAM producers like you! And here.

Who is eligible?

Anyone and everyone with a mailing address within our service area.

Are there any restrictions on what I can make?

All content must be noncommercial. So you can make a music video for your friend's band, and at the end you can say, "Go to this website for more information," but you can't say, "Buy their album for $9.95"—you cannot actively solicit funds. (With the exception of nonprofit causes, but first you'll want to have a conversation with Seth.)

Where can I see what classes and events are coming up?

Here, at bit.ly/btvmediafactory.

Where can I see all the classes I could possibly take?

Here, at vermontcam.org/learn.

Where can I watch VCAM?

Here, at vermontcam.org/watch.

Are there other community access centers out there?

There are! In most communities, there is a single PEG center—"PEG" standing for the three types of community access: Public, Educational, and Government. In the greater Burlington area, PEG is actually split into three separate channels: VCAM is the P, we are public access; RETN Channel 16 is educational access; and for the northern part of our service area, CCTV Channel 17 is government access; for the southern part, VCAM 17 provides government access.

And there are other access centers all across Vermont! Find them at vermontaccess.net.

Anything else I should know?

"So-and-so and I" is not always correct—increasing the number of nouns does not affect their case. "I went to the library." So "Werner and I went to the library." But "The librarian glared at me." So "The librarian glared at Werner and me." If a noun is a subject, keep it in the nominative case; if a noun is an object, keep it in the objective case; whether or not you've got a friend with you, goshdarn it!

That was weird.

Good.