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Feb. 5, 2023

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In video production, Skyview student is all-American star

17-year-old wins spot on national team to capture action around bowl game in San Antonio

The Columbian

o See the U.S. All-American Bowl, 10 a.m. Jan. 8, from the San Antonio, Texas, Alamodome, NBC-TV.

See Clint Saylor’s demo tape of the Skyview band:

An eye on the Storm has earned one local student an insider’s adventure deep in the heart of Texas.

Clint Saylor, 17, a senior at Skyview High School, has been invited to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, set for Jan. 8 in San Antonio, Texas.

No, not to play in the football game, but to capture the action for television, on and off the field.

o See the U.S. All-American Bowl, 10 a.m. Jan. 8, from the San Antonio, Texas, Alamodome, NBC-TV.

Saylor is one of five students named to an all-star video production squad, chosen in a first-time national competition run by game sponsor All-American Games and NewTek, a San Antonio-based video technology firm.

On a five-day, all-expenses-paid trip, the team will assist with television production of the Jan. 8 gridiron tilt and an affiliated youth game, plus other bowl-related activities.

Saylor and the others will receive training at NewTek headquarters on video equipment also used by the MTV network, the National Basketball Association’s Development League and the New York Giants pro football team.

Saylor and his mother, Donna, also will have one free day for sightseeing.

“It’ll be fun. It’s pretty awesome,” Saylor said.

He has worked on live-action video editing before (for tape), but never a live broadcast, he said.

The invitation is a by-product of chronicling months of drilling by the Skyview marching band and dance team.

Saylor’s three-minute demo tape for the contest was carved from about 40 hours’ tape of band practice and performing, dating to last summer.

He and two senior classmates plan to complete a 45-minute documentary on the Skyview band as the capstone project in their advanced video production course at the school. Spencer Mirabal is director and producer, and Eric Church is helping with editing on the piece, for now titled “Braving the Storm.”

Saylor? He’s the photography director, and his talents are clear in the demo.

Whether under scorching summer heat or soaking rain, he captures Storm musicians, drummers, flag team members and director Steve Robertson perfecting their award-winning routines at Kiggins Bowl and in competitions in Tumwater and in Salem and Hillsboro, Ore.

A soundtrack lifted from Chopin’s well-known funeral march (Piano Sonata No. 2) sets a moody backdrop.

“I really like being in the field and shooting,” Saylor said. “I can just feel it when I get something that’s really good. That’s really cool. I can edit decently; it’s just not my forte.”

In her 14th year of teaching video at Skyview, teacher Nancy Wistrand calls her student “one of the best I’ve had.”

“I loved his variety of shots,” Wistrand said. “Lots of close-ups and long shots; using silhouetting and light and shadow. Excellent composition. Trying different things, like rack focus.

“He was never afraid to try anything. He’s very creative, he’s a very good videographer,” she said.

Saylor also put forth “tenacity and persistence” to enter the new contest that Wistrand had spotted. She said he spent 20 to 30 hours after school polishing the demo, “not something you just slam together.”

All work was done on school equipment, including a Canon XL2 video camera and Apple Final Cut Pro editing software.

See Clint Saylor's demo tape of the Skyview band:

His brothers’ ride

A band profile was a natural for Saylor, a trumpet player through middle school. His 15-year-old twin brothers, Lucas (drummer and percussion) and Jake (alto sax), are current Storm stalwarts.

“Usually I was their ride, anyway,” Saylor said, veteran of six-days-a-week practices. “I’m good friends with most of the band.”

His hardest shot on the demo comprised only a few seconds but took hours of setup, taping, and editing: A time-lapse view of scalloped clouds breezing high over the Skyview campus that began about 4 a.m. one summer day, he said.

“It took forever,” he said.

His least favorite moments? “The actual shooting in the pouring rain, because I hate doing that.”

Saylor, a strong achiever in Skyview’s STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) core program, dabbled in Wistrand’s program to earn a required elective credit, he said.

Now, he’s got an open mind as he prepares to head for Brigham Young University to start engineering studies next year.

“(Film-video) might become my major. I could see it happening,” he said.

Saylor has been inspired by jaw-dropping Hollywood work. “The last movie that had me freaking out at how well it was shot was ‘Inception,’ ” he said, citing this year’s stylish thriller.

“(Director) Christopher Nolan is just amazing, as it is,” he said. “The cinematographer, whoever it was (Wally Pfister teamed with Nolan, actually), is a genius.”

Howard Buck: 360-735-4515 or