Homestead Video/Photo Team: What We Do

The mission of Homestead High School Video/Photo team is to provide high quality video recording and photography of Homestead Music Department events, and make that media available in a timely fashion for instructional and promotional use. Within that broad statement are a number of specific expectations from the staff, students, and parents. This document is a “best effort” to describe those expectations and ofter advice how to achieve them.


These are the “must haves,” the assets that the Video/Photo team are expected to deliver every year:
  • Video recordings of every Marching Band performance and final run-through, delivered to the band leadership overnight;
  • Assets for the Spring Concert Poster and Spring Program, including Portraits, full ensemble photos, and candid/action photos;
  • A diverse pool of event photos to support the annual Parent's Manual, event posters, and other projects that arise;
  • Video and photos for the Music Banquet “Year In Review” presentation.
Really Want To Have (expect arm-twisting):
  • Video recordings of every public performance, delivered to the staff for archival and possible classroom use;
  • Help with special projects, like submission package to invitation-only events;
  • A strong mix of public video (YouTube) and photography to maintain a social media presence.
Nice To Have:
  • DVD Video disks of every major concert to support friends/family without access to social media;
  • Well-organized photo galleries, shared with the staff, students, and parents so they can share the individual photos with their friends and family.

The Team and Coordinator

The Video/Photo “team” is really just an ad hoc collection of volunteers that shoot pictures, record video, and take the extra time needed to share their work with the music department. Some volunteers will only be interested in shooting their own children's events; some will enjoy (or can be persuaded) covering larger group events like Winter Pops, CMEA, or the Spring Concert Series; others will happily record groups they have nothing to do with, just because it's fun.

The only “official” job is that of the Video/Photo Coordinator, who does the following:

  • Recruit volunteers who can shoot photos or video, and work with them to make their assets available;
  • Ensure that the assets (videos and photos) for the year's standard projects are available when needed;
  • Step in when there's no other way to complete a vital project;
  • Be the point of contact for staff, students, or other volunteers when they need assets for their own projects;
  • Be a mentor / leader for the other volunteers.
Historically the Video/Photo Coordinator has also been the marching band videographer, perhaps because marching video is the year's most fun and most demanding task. In some years the roles of video and photo coordinator have been split; in other years the Video/Photo Coordinator has also been one of the principle photographers. A couple of coordinators were notable for stepping up to do pretty much doing anything, including traveling to events their own children weren't in and doing multiple major projects; these people should be regarded as kindly eccentrics, not role models.

Some people will be reluctant to volunteer their photo or video skills because they don't know how or are afraid their work wouldn't be “good enough.” This is where the coordinator can take on a mentoring role. This might include recommendations on cameras to buy, advice on taking better pictures in a concert hall, or showing how to use photo sharing sites like Google Photos or SmugMug. 

How Photos and Video Are Used


Marching Band requires instructional video to be competitive. The goal is for every end-of-practice “final run-through” and every public performance to be recorded and made available online for staff and students so they can review before the next class. The video will then be shown in class (7:50am) accompanied by comments and feedback from the staff.

Overnight turnaround of Marching Band performances has been routine since 2007. The addition of remote staff (in different time zones) has made recordings of final run-throughs critical as well, so much so that when no videographer is present one of the staff will record the run-through on their cell phone or portable audio recorder for sharing. But this distracts the staff from their primary function of instruction. The final run-through also works for recordings that cannot be done in a tournament, e.g., shooting from a drone, a GoPro mounted on a marcher, or by someone walking on the field.

For all other ensembles, the staff very much appreciates having video of public events to show in the classroom the next day. This is especially welcome if some of the works are to be performed again at another event. The media player and 1080p projector in the Band Room were installed for this exact purpose. However, quick turnaround is considered a “very nice to have,” and not as critical as it is for Marching Band. In the absence of overnight turnaround, an archival copy delivered within a few days is appreciated.

Standard Projects

The following Music Booster projects are done every year, usually by volunteers outside the Video/Photo team. All require specific assets, some of which require planning months in advance (in particular the Spring Program):
  • Band Manual: A 40-page book provided to all band members and parents at the beginning of the school year. Requires candid photos / action shots of the previous year's performing ensembles.
  • Home Show Poster: A marketing poster produced several weeks before Home Show in October. Requires photos of the current year's field show; this can be a challenge in years where Home Show is early. See the poster from 2013.
  • Volunteer Slide Show: A slide show that is shown during the annual volunteer's potluck dinner in December. Requires from 100 to 200 photos of volunteers at work. The photographers need to be reminded throughout the season to take photos of the volunteers as well as the students.
  • Winter Home Show Poster: A marketing poster produced several weeks before the Winter Home Show in March. Requires photos of current year's Winter Percussion and Winter Guard Shows.
  • Back cover of 2016 Spring Program
    Spring Concert Poster
    : A marketing poster produced several weeks before the concerts in May. Requires full-stage photos of every performing ensemble, plus portraits of each of the 4 to 6 senior soloists that year. Uses the same photos as the Spring Program, below. See the poster from 2014.
  • Spring Program: The “yearbook” for the music department that is sold as a fundraiser at the Spring Concerts in May. This is the biggest and most important project of the year. Requires full-stage photos each performing ensemble, individual photos of each graduating senior, individual photos of the staff, and as many candid and action photos as the book designer can fit in. A view of the back cover from 2016 is at right.
  • Music Banquet “Year In Review” Video: A 20 to 30 minute video that is the centerpiece of the evening's entertainment at the annual Music Booster's Banquet in late April or early May. Traditionally, this video is authored by the parent of a Junior as a gift to the Seniors. The only required element is a "salute to the class" slide show; the rest is limited only by the author's creativity. Watch the presentations from 2012, 2015, and 2017.
  • Senior Gift Package / DVD: Every senior receives a gift bag from the music department before graduation. Requires Home Show Portraits (see below) as 5x7 prints and a DVD containing the “Year In Review” Video.
  • DVD / BluRay Sales: Once a major revenue source for the Music Boosters, DVDs have now dwindled to supporting friends and relatives of students who do not have access to YouTube or social media, e.g., grandparents. Historically recordings of award presentations (Green & White awards, Director's Award, etc.) and Senior Soloist performances have been DVD-only.
To deliver to these projects, the Video/Photo Team needs at minimum to do the following:
    • Action / Candid Photos: A portfolio of action, candid, and small group photos should be built throughout the year and organized online so project editors can find them without having to nag the individual photographers (or the coordinator). A strong portfolio will include every performing ensemble, and include on-field / on-stage performances, practices, and "fun" moments between events. A strong portfolio also will include staff and volunteers as well as students.  These photos are used by the Spring Program, various posters, and the Parent's Manual; there will also be requests for such photos from media (newspapers) and sponsors.

      Historically Marching Band has always had a strong portfolio, with a half dozen or more parents shooting and sharing; usually the problem has been there are too many shots, requiring effort to sort through and pick the best ones. Action photos of the wind bands, orchestras, and Winter Guard/Percussion have been more problematic, although pretty good most years. Action photos of Jazz and Choir have been very inconsistent year to year. As an extreme case, in 2013 over 8000 marching band photos were contributed, but just two of Jazz.

    • Full-Ensemble Photos: Photos of every performing ensemble should be taken by March at the latest. For wind bands, choirs, and orchestras, full-stage performance photos are preferred. These can be taken from the balcony at Winter Pops, Major Works, and Exchange Concerts, or on attractive offsite stages like Weill Hall at Sonoma State. For Jazz, Winter Percussion, and Winter Guard — who rarely have all members on stage at the same time — a posed group photo at an event in February or March works best. These photos are used by the Spring Program and the Spring Concerts Poster; they've also regularly been used for Homestead's yearbook.

    • Home Show Portraits: Professional-quality photos of each family with the staff are taken on the field during Home Show. The photos are printed and included in the Senior Gift Package. This gallery of photos from the box shows how it was done in 2016.

    • Senior Portraits: Portraits are taken of all graduating seniors the last week of March or first week of April. The photos are used for the Spring Program, Spring Poster, “Year In Review” Video, and the Senior Gift Package. See examples from 2016.

    TBD: Say something about videos to support the "Year in Review" video.

    Media and Social Engagement

    TBD: Say something about Facebook, Public YouTube Postings, and SmugMug

    Special Projects

    From time to time, staff or students may request help with special projects. The most common staff projects are submission packages for “invitation only” performances and presentations to the FUHSD board. Most of these are small, for example copying the audio from a concert to an MP3 file for upload, or gathering a few stills. Large projects have included making a 20-minute DVD for the FUHSD board, recording a special performance of the Wind Ensemble to use at the memorial service of a long time volunteer, and a 5-minute video for submission to the Tournament Of Roses committee.

    There are usually a few student special projects every year. In most cases, all that is required is to ensure the student has access to the assets they need. In rare cases, students have asked for help with college submission and audition packages; here they help they need might range from loaning them a camcorder to doing a full recording session and editing.

    Homestead's Musical Groups

    Marching Band

    Marching Band is Homestead's largest performing ensemble, with over 200 members. Practices begin in late June, and build in intensity through Band Camp (August) and into September, when the band starts playing at home football games. Tournament performances begin the first weekend of October, and continue through to championships the weekend before Thanksgiving. The season usually ends with the Los Altos Festival Of Lights parade the Sunday after Thanksgiving, although can run longer for special events, e.g., Super Bowl 50 in 2016 and the Tournament of Roses Parade in 2018.

    All Marching Band practices and events provide opportunities for still photography. Video is recorded whenever needed by the staff, most commonly at the final runthrough at practices, the performances at football halftime, and all competitive performances. Video of other Marching Band activities, such as pep band performances, the football pregame entrance (“burst onto the field” and the National Anthem), and parades is also very much appreciated.

    Key Events include:
    • Band Camp 1 and 2 (two whole week practices) (July / August)
    • Parent Show and Potluck (last Saturday of Band Camp)
    • Home Football Pregame and Halftime (Friday Nights, September through November)
    • Homecoming Parade and Football Game
    • FUHSD Band Expo (First Saturday in October)
    • Cupertino Tournament of Bands (Second Saturday in October)
    • Western Band Association (WBA) and Bands Of America (BOA) Tournaments
    • Fall Home Show
    • Marching Championships (Weekend before Thanksgiving)
    • Los Altos Festival of Lights Parade (Sunday after Thanksgiving)
    Video Restrictions: Caution: Most Class 5A and many Class 4A bands do not allow video of their band to be shared publicly. Homestead is atypical in this respect; we generally start sharing video at Band Expo. Recording and sharing other bands is a no-no, unless we have received permission. WBA generally has no restrictions on recording or sharing video, except at finals. BOA has strict rules regarding video: each band receives one videographer pass, which can be used only for educational and archive recordings of their own band.

    Historically, Homestead's videographer has recorded a large number of other bands, often by request. These include all the FUHSD bands, Amador Valley, Santa Teresa, Branham, Dublin, Los Altos, and Foothill High Schools. We have also filled in and/or collaborated with the videographers from other bands, notably Saratoga, Los Gatos, Mountain View, Clovis West, Upland, and Ayala (often with the restriction that the video was not to be shared). 

    Wind Bands

    The Wind Bands at Homestead include Concert Band (all 9th graders), Symphonic Band, and Wind Ensemble (audition required). In recent years, the Wind Ensemble has been split into two groups, Wind Ensemble 1 and Wind Ensemble 2. The Wind Bands begin ensemble practice when Marching Band ends, typically late November. Key events include:
    • Winter Pops Concert (Second Thursday in December)
    • Band Exchange Concert (Concert and Symphonic Bands, Early February)
    • Invitational Winds Festivals (Wind Ensemble, March to April)
    • CMEA Band and Orchestra Festival (April)
    • Spring Concert (mid May)
    • Graduation (early June)


    The Orchestras at Homestead include two classes, Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra. For concerts and competitions like CMEA, these two classes perform in three groups: Chamber Orchestra, String Orchestra (Chamber plus regular), and Symphony Orchestra (String Orchestra plus select members of the Wind Ensemble). The orchestra program runs for the entire school year. Key events:
    • Orchestra Exchange Concert (early November)
    • Winter Pops (Second week of December)
    • Homestead Orchestra Festival (two days, mid February)
    • CMEA Band and Orchestra Festival (April)
    • Spring Concert (mid May)
    • Special Invitations (late May or June)


    The Choir classes at Homestead include Beginning ChoirTreble Choir (women only), Advanced Choir, and Small Ensemble Choir. The members of these classes frequently combine to form larger choirs, in particular Concert Choir that performs at CMEA and other competitions. The choirs begin practice immediately at the start of the school year and perform throughout the year.

    Key events include:
    • Winter Pops (First week of December)
    • Major Work Concert
    • CMEA Choir Festival (April)
    • Spring Concert (mid May)
    • Baccalaureate (June)

    Jazz Ensemble
    The Jazz Ensemble is a small class (about 20 students) who perform a variety of jazz styles, including Swing, Big Band, Rock, and Latin.
    The Homestead Jazz ensemble practices and performs throughout the school year. Key Events:
    • College of San Mateo Jazz Festival
    • Winter Pops Concert
    • CMEA Jazz Festival
    • Reno Jazz Festival
    • Spring Concert

    Jazz Choir

    The Jazz Choir is a distinct performing ensemble from the other choirs, performing at different venues. Consists of a select number of vocalists from the advanced choir combined with members of the Jazz Ensemble to create a unique sound.

    Jazz Choir consists of a highly select group of vocalists and members of the Jazz Ensemble; the Jazz Choir usually performs at different events from the pure vocal choirs.

    Key events include:
    • Reno Jazz Festival
    • Spring Concert #5 (May)
    • Baccalaureate (June)

    Winter Percussion

    Winter Percussion picks up where Marching Band ends, starting practices in December and performing through championship competition in April. The core comes from the Marching Band percussion session, including the battery (drumline), front ensemble, and cymbal line.

    Winter Percussion is a purely extracurricular activitie; the members practice after school and on weekends, and have no class time.

    Key Events Include:
    • Local Northern California Percussion Alliance (NCPA) Tournaments
    • Winter Guard International (WGI) Southern California Regional
    • Winter Home Show
    • NCPA State Chapionships
    • WGI World Championships

    Video Restrictions: Warning: Theft of visuals is rampant in Winter Percussion. For this reason, we do not publicly share any video until after a season is complete. In addition, the Northern California Percussion Alliance (NCPA) and Winter Guard International (WGI) have strictly enforced rules on video recording. Bands caught recording other school's bands can have their scores penalized.

    Winter Guard

    Like Winter Percussion, Winter Guard picks up where Marching Band ends, starting practices in December and performing through championship competition in April. The core of Winter Guard comes from the Mighty Mustang Color Guard.
     Recently, there has been enough interest to form two Winter Guard squads, called Varsity and J.V.

    Key Events Include:
    • Local Northern California Percussion Alliance (NCPA) Tournaments
    • Winter Guard International (WGI) Southern California Regional
    • Winter Home Show
    • NCPA State Chapionships
    • WGI World Championships

    Video Restrictions: Warning:
    Theft of visuals is rampant in Winter Guard. For this reason, we do not publicly share any video until after a season is complete. In addition, the California Color Guard Circuit (CCGC) and Winter Guard International (WGI) have strictly enforced rules on video recording. Bands caught recording other school's bands can have their scores penalized.

    Events By Month

    Major events that are open to the public are highlighted in bold. Major events for which complete video is appreciated by the staff are highlighted in red.

    August Band Camp: A popular time for still photography

    Parent Show and Potluck: 

    September Football Games: The Marching Band performs at all home football games, including pep music before and during the game, the "traditional pregame entrance" and National Anthem to open the game, and the Field Show at Halftime.

    October FUHSD Marching Band Expo (First Saturday): The bands of the Fremont Union High School District and one guest band perform for each other. Location rotates among the schools. Past guests have included Santa Teresa and Clovis West High Schools. Video of all bands is usually recorded by the host school and published to YouTube and then deleted after the season.

    Cupertino Tournament of Bands (Second Saturday): The first competitive marching even of the season, and the only one in which Homestead participates that includes both street and field marching. Video of the parade and field show is normally published to YouTube; the field show video is deleted after the season.


    WBA and BOA Marching Tournaments:

    November Fall Home Show: Graduating seniors are recognized, and the Marching Band, Color Guard, and Equestriettes perform the fall shows on Homestead's home field.

    Orchestra Exchange Concert: The orchestras of Homestead, Prospect, and Gunn high schools perform for each other, ending with a piece performed by all three schools combined. This is the first public orchestra performance of the year. Rarely video recorded.

    College of San Mateo Jazz Festival: The Jazz Ensemble performs in adjudicated competition at the College of San Mateo. This is the first public Jazz Ensemble performance of the year. Easy to record, although it's only been done rarely.

    Marching Championships: The marching band's season ends with either the WBA Finals (a weekend event, usually in Fresno) or the BOA Grand Nationals (a full week in Indianapolis). These are the culmination of the entire season's work and a must for the best photo and video coverage we can provide.

    December Los Altos Festival of Lights Parade: A nighttime public parade through downtown Los Altos that includes a wide variety of floats, acts, and local bands. Homestead considers this an outreach program, "giving back" to the community and creating interest in music among the many young parade watchers. This is a social event only; there is no instructional component. Watch the 2016 video.

    Winter Pops Concerts: Four days of evening concerts at Homestead, including Choir, Jazz, Winds, and Orchestras. The music is often holiday themed. For most wind bands and choir students, this is their first performance of the year.

    January January has historically been a quiet month for the music department, but the exceptions have been spectacular: in 2016, 80 members of the marching band performed for Super Bowl 50; in 2018, the band will march in the Tournament of Roses Parade.

    February Major Work Concert: The Advanced Choir and select orchestra members combine to perform a major choral work, such as a cantata or oratorio. In 2012 the Choir and Chamber Orchestra performed Pergolesi's "Magnificat"; in 2014 Homestead combined with the De Anza Chorale to perform Handle's “Israel In Egypt.” The video has historically sold poorly on DVD, but done extremely well on YouTube.

    CMEA Jazz Festival
    : The Jazz Ensemble performs in competition at a San Jose-area high school, usually Santa Teresa. Exact date and time varies. 

    Concert Band Exchange: The Concert and Symphonic Bands of the FUHSD schools perform for each other. Location rotates among the participating schools. Typically recorded by the hosting school, used instructionally only.

    Homestead Orchestra Festival
    : An adjudicated but non-competitive two-day orchestra festival hosted at Homestead; participants include middle and high school orchestras from across Northern California. Most of the pieces performed will be performed again at CMEA, so video recording is ad hoc and for instructional use.

    Saratoga Winds Exchange Concert: The Wind Ensembles of various local schools perform for each other, with a final work performed by the combined ensembles. Recorded ad hoc for instructional use, although the 2017 concert included some of the most fun performances of the year.

    March Winter Home Show: Winter Percussion and Winter Guard perform their competition shows at Homestead. Some years have included guest bands or guards, such as Fremont, Cupertino, or Saratoga.

    Invitational Winds Festivals: The Wind Ensembles travel to an adjudicated winds-only event, such as the Sonoma Wind Bands Festival in Rohnert Park or Chabot Wind Band Festival in Hayward. The settings of some of these events (e.g., Weill Hall) are fantastic and well worth missing a day's work to record.

    April Senior Photo Shoot

    CMEA Area V Band and Orchestra Festival: All six bands and orchestras perform in competition. Dates, times, and locations vary; common locations include Saratoga, Gunn, Santa Teresa, Evergreen Valley, and Prospect High Schools.

    CCGC Championships

    NCPA Championships:

    WGI Guard Grand Nationals:

    WGI Percussion Grand Nationals:

    Reno Jazz Festival:

    May Spring Concert Series: 5 days of evening concerts at Homestead. These are the final performances of the year, including virtuoso performances by four to six seniors.

    Music Boosters Banquet:

    CMEA State Band and Orchestra Festival

    June Baccalaureate: An more somber and reflective celebration held two days before Graduation. Historically held in a church; more recently in the Field House. Features a number of small musical group performances, including choir. Recorded on an ad hoc basis.

    Graduation: A band composed of all non-senior band members performs per-ceromny music, the processional, and the recessional for commencement. Never formally recorded.

    Summer Special Tours: Advanced musical ensembles (Wind Ensemble, Symphony Orchestra, Advanced Choir) may travel to a major event in late June or July. Past tours have included Melbourne, New York City, and Vienna. Photo and video has been handled by participating parent volunteers.

    Tips and Tricks (Or: How To Do A Good Job Without Being Overwhelmed)

    Strategic laziness is important: a little time spent organizing the photos will allow other volunteers to find what they need without asking. The simple change of putting each group into their own gallery eliminated the need for the program designer to ask for help locating group photos. 

    Historical Notes

    • For many years, a suite of ten to twelve DVDs were offered for sale every year. These covered Marching Band and all major concerts, and generated over $2000/year for the Music Boosters. But as interest in physical media dwindled (with some events selling just a single DVD), and staff time became tighter, DVD production has been limited to 

    Carl S. Gutekunst,
    Aug 23, 2017, 5:22 PM
    Carl S. Gutekunst,
    May 5, 2017, 10:56 PM
    Carl S. Gutekunst,
    May 5, 2017, 10:56 PM