Hononegah senior capturing life and special moments on film and in photos


Bailen Estrada in action directing the “First Stage” video at Skateland. Photo: Alan Mohring

Capturing life and special moments on film or through the lens of a camera
comes naturally to Hononegah High School senior Bailen Estrada.

Estrada's interest in filming started at a very young age. “Ever since I was
little, I wanted to be behind a camera, “Estrada said.

“I knew I loved telling stories through visual means. It took me all the
way up until the summer of 2020 to start pursuing my journey of one
day being in the film industry. Also that summer was the year of the
coronavirus, so I took advantage of all that free time that was given
to so many to invest in myself and to not waste one moment of it.”

During his time at Hononegah, Estrada has taken AP Video Production, Photography, and Digital Imaging. Sometimes he uses a “green screen” technology in his work.

Estrada releases his original productions under the name of Baiflix. Of
his work, one video that stands out features Hononegah High School
football. Quick moving action on the field, coaches, the team and fan
reactions combine in an interesting fashion. Estrada added special
flare with his unique style of cinematography in a Dairyhaus video.

Estrada's most recent projects include a video where the opening shot was at a music festival called “Vibe High.” The lights that come on in a zooming motion were at a museum in Chicago called WNDR. Estrada was featured on the museum's page for one of the pictures he took there. Most of the other clips that Estrada took highlighted his friends, mixing in some clips in Chicago and Tennessee.

Estrada started a new project on February 8, 2022 when he rented out Skateland in Rockford. Estrada's idea for this video is showing the stage in a relationship where you go on your first date, and it's the best time you ever had. The film's title is “First Stage.”

The couple's first date is at the roller rink. Also lending a hand in this film is one of Skateland's owners. “The owner is actually on skates holding the camera." The main actors also had scenes where they were on the roller skates. “One week before the shoot, we spent four hours practicing for the live skating part, ” Estrada said.

“The reason that I chose Skateland is because the layout of the place is very nice and it fit my vision for the film. In addition, I remember going there when I was younger and having that 'first stage' experience." No release date has been set yet for this most recent creation.

Skateland is open for rentals and much more. “The owners are a blessing. They were so helpful and I couldn't of asked for more of them; I greatly
appreciate everything that they did to help with this film, “Estrada said.

In addition to filming, Estrada has done interviews with two popular Rockton business, Ray's Family Restaurant co-owner Nancy Ajruloski and Corbin Finchman of Cutthroat Corbin's Barber Shop.

“My most memorable interview was at Cutthroat Corbin's. I say that because I was so nervous to do that. I was all by myself so I didn't want to mess up. His story was actually really interesting and in his story he had some advice that I still use to this day. “

“In the end, Corbin and I became friends and still remain really good friends.”

What does it take to put a film together? Estrada explains, “The very first step is preparing. I feel that is the most important thing to do when it comes to any of this. Next comes the actual filming, then editing.”

“The secret to producing quality videos is to follow your vision, not someone else's. Another secret to production is to learn every single day.”

Since his first experiences, Estrada has gained valuable knowledge. “I have learned how to be more decisive; not try to perfect everything, and how to be better at filming and lighting my shots. I have become faster at editing. A big skill that I have learned is time management.”

Estrada is also a talented photographer. He has taken photos of high school seniors and graduates and has captured many other interesting experiences. A photo taken by Estrada was part of a large ad on a billboard on Hwy. 251.

“I don't think if the school didn't offer those programs and that I didn't have such an amazing teacher I wouldn't be where I am today,” Estrada said.

Estrada has grown up and lived in Roscoe most of his life. At HCHS, Estrada is currently an athlete on the track & field and cross country team.

Estrada says, “My parents have been an inspiration in my life as well as my grandparents.”

After high school, Estrada plans on moving out of Illinois and going west to really get involved with the film industry and maybe to work on a feature film.

Dairyhaus was excited to partner with Hononegah High School's own Bailen Estrada to showcase homemade Dairyhaus quarts.

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