“An unfinished painting”: Brady Hill’s Digital Media

On Friday, September 14th, Brady Hill loaded two dirt bikes in the back of his father’s blue truck. In the camper behind, he packed his racing uniform, helmet, and boots. He was headed to Maine for the weekend, to race his bikes at a track called MX207.

Before he left, he posted on Instagram, offering to film anyone that would be at the track. A female racer, Cierra Bernard, responded within the hour. The two agreed to meet at the race on Saturday.

Hill is a U-32 student attending the Central Vermont Career Center, located at Spaulding High School. A motocross racer himself, Hill has found a way to incorporate his passion for racing into his curriculum through digital media.

That Saturday, Hill walked to Cierra Bernard’s camper, bringing his camera with him. They sat in two lawn chairs, discussing what kind of shots she wanted and where she wanted him to take them. She wanted some close-ups of her bike. She pointed out a few corners and two jumps where he could film her.

During Bernard’s race, Hill ran with his camera to different areas of the track to film her. He waited for her in front of the biggest jump on the track- catching her in the air when she rode by. He crouched down to the ground, finding her with his camera as she went around a corner.

Hill’s interest in digital media began in the spring of 2017, at the end of his sophomore year when he went on a field trip to CVCC. While a good student, Hill wanted a free day off of school. He toured the automotive technology program. Students at CVCC showed him how to change a tire. He was handed a written test on different parts of a motor.

After the test, Hill toured the digital media program. He found desks forming a “U” shape in the room. Each desk held two iMacs. Hill became excited as he explored the room, looking at cameras and different software on the computers.

“I’d really like to be able to incorporate film and motocross together in my future,” Hill said. “The field is there- I don’t know how it will be to get into it. I feel like I have enough connections.”

When he got home, he talked with his parents and with their support, applied for a spot in the program, and received an email inviting him to have an interview with the digital media teacher, Matthew Binginot. They talked about different projects they would work on throughout the year. He would get all of the credits he needed to graduate, only having to come back to U-32 for his U.S. History class.

At the end of his junior year, Hill decided to enroll in a second year of Digital Media Arts, a new program at CVCC.

“When I went in for my interview he was like: ‘This isn’t an interview, it’s a pitch for me to get you to come to my class,’ I was like: ‘Okay I feel pretty honored right now,’”.

Hill gets to the tech center at 8:20 every morning. His class sits down for a “Daily Critique”. A student brings in a piece of media: a video, short film, song or photograph. The class discusses why or why not the piece is appealing. After, they do a “Daily Practice” where they have time to brainstorm or work on a new project. During this time, Hill often works on his motocross videos.

On the day after he filmed the motocross race, Sunday, September 16th, Hill returned home and uploaded the film of Cierra Bernard on his MacBook.

Six icons at the bottom of his screen showed the software he uses at school. Hill used Premiere, his favorite program. A close-up of an orange, blue and purple bike appeared with a sticker, “Bernard Racing,” on the side.

“There’s premiere and after effects- premiere is for video editing and basic effects,” Hill said. “After Effects is for advanced motion tracking and special effects kind of stuff.”

Hill used Premiere to edit Bernard’s video, slowing down certain clips when Bernard’s tires would spin up dirt on the track and speeding up clips where Bernard closes in on a jump.

Hill has now made two videos for her to share with friends and family. He didn’t charge Bernard for his work. He’s doing it for free right now, his goal to get more publicity.

Hill spent the summer working with other racers interested in digital media including professional Dale Nelson. He took senior photos and filmed a Hogwarts themed wedding in Burlington with his digital media teacher, Matthew Binginot.

He’s also used video to share his own story.

He was assigned a project called “Visual Poetry”, where students had to write a poetic script and use film to compliment the writing. Hill’s project was about him getting into motocross and why he’s stayed passionate about it.

He often works on several projects at a time. Last spring Hill worked on his visual poetry assignment while attending SkillsUSA Vermont, a competition hosting technical schools around the state. Hill placed third with a partner last year in the “TV Video Production” competition. They had to make a one-minute ad for the DoubleTree Hotel, where they were staying.

“It had to be sixty seconds to the frame, we had to export it in a certain kodak, [which was] .MOV,” Hill said. “We had four hours to film and edit at the hotel.”

The night before the competition, Hill stayed up late working on his visual poetry project, still placing third in his competition the next morning.

“We had a hotel room and I stayed up until like 2:30 in the morning working on it because I was super into it.”