Video Camp in Migisi Sahgaigan

By Kaoru Ryan Suzuki
Photos by Kaoru Ryan Suzuki


Kael Jourdain w/ Green Screen
Kael Jourdain performs in the Migisi Sahgaigan School Green Screen Studio.

Video comprises the majority of the content on the internet, and that is only increasing. So, it is no surprise that video production is a popular field of inquiry in Migisi Sahgaigan.

Migisi Sahgaigan is a small community in Northwestern Ontario, but it is rich with creativity and concepts for videos. I am here to offer media training for the Indigenous Reporters Program, from March through November of 2018. Once word got around that I have a filmmaking background, several community members approached me with the desire to learn more about video. Through project-based learning I have been able to support community members in pursuing several of their video concepts.

In July, I offered a video camp to young students that were passionate about producing videos. We met in the beautiful facilities of the Migisi Sahgaigan School.


Migisi Sahgaigan School
Migisi Sahgaigan School


Migisi Sahgaigan School Library.
Circular architecture of the Migisi Sahgaigan School Library.


The circular building was completed in 2002, and has stunning cantilevered timbers integrated into the architecture.

A space off the gymnasium, offers a fully rigged-out green screen filmmaking studio. The studio has a wide array of sound recording equipment including digital audio recorders, mixing boards, tube microphones, electronic news gathering microphones, the Blue Yeti podcasting USB microphone, shotgun mics and other vocal microphones.

Kael Jourdain records narration
Kael Jourdain records narration, using microphones on a digital audio recorder.

The studio has 5 soft box lights with appropriate gels and a permanent green screen backdrop for compositing keying effects. Using a range of DSLR cameras and camcorders, students can produce sophisticated cinematic effects and make movie magic.

Green Screen Studio.
Green Screen Studio.

We have installed a fully functioning video editing suite in the school boardroom. It includes a top-of-the-line iMac, with the latest video production software, and a pair a big-screen 4K external monitors. A large boardroom table is the drawing table for storyboarding, script writing, research and project planning.

Young students working in the editing suite.
Young students working in the editing suite.

Kael Jourdain, a young student is passionate about making videos. Through project-based learning, he has gained knowledge about the diverse aspects of producing a video, from concept and pre-production, through shooting, performance, narration, design and post-production to publication and distribution. For Kael, many of these techniques and tools were a new learning experience, but he was quick to it up. Using a professional filmmaking studio is a big jump up from the iPad, which he made his previous videos on.

Kael Jourdain writing a script
Kael Jourdain writing a project script on his iPad.

Kael took a vision of his story, and learned how to translate it into a script, storyboard and shot list, so it could be made into digital motion pictures and sound. His clear concise vision transformed seamlessly into video, due to his succinct leadership and communication capacity.

Kael Jourdain editing his video project.
Kael Jourdain editing his video project.

Kael utilized many advanced compositing techniques by blending several layers of video and keying effects to produce beautiful and innovative imagery true to his concept.  He learned how to wield the Adobe Creative Suite, using several applications in concert to achieve dynamic and compelling results.

Keying and compositing techniques in Adobe Premiere.
Keying and compositing techniques in Adobe Premiere.

The young filmmaker dreamt up a method of using Youtube annotations to create a multi-pronged story structure, which allows the viewers to choose their own adventure.

Kael Jourdain designs the story structure.
Kael Jourdain designs the story structure.

After 2 weeks of rigorous video training, Kael’s 7-part miniseries went online, via the YouTube Channel that he manages. It is now shared with an international community of people who hold common interests. For the young 11-year-old filmmaker from Migisi Sahgaigan, this is a great achievement.  Now, after a week of rest, he is deep into the production of his 2nd major video project, with the training support of Journalists for Human Rights staff.

Video production training
Leigh Nunan and Hannah Clifford of Journalist for Human Rights training Kael Jourdain on video production.

It is touching to see the stories of the community being produced into videos. Their stories come in many forms. There is certainly nothing cliché or predictable about these projects.  The contemporary Indigenous content being produced by young Kael Jourdain is a signpost marking the newest generation of Indigenous media producers in Northwestern Ontario.

To watch Kael’s latest video production, “Xryzon TV” see below:


Community journalism training is an integral part of JHR’s larger Indigenous Reporters Program. In-community training in Ontario is generously supported by the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

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