That’s a Wrap! End of Semester Reflection

Time to check out all the hard work from this semester and reflect!

I cannot believe the semester is almost over. This has been by far one of my favorite classes and I feel sad that it’s over. Professor Collins made this class so enjoyable and I know what I’ve learned in her classroom, I will use in my career.

Sophomore Maurice Young gets his profile taken

Assignment 1: Getting to Know Your Camera

This was probably the most simple assignment given. I have never worked with an actual camera that wasn’t my phone before, so I was a bit nervous taking pictures an videos. I didn’t know how to take pictures or what pictures to take. I ended up just going all around campus and started taking pictures of anything. I ran into some friends along the way and decided, with their permission, that I can take pictures of them just to get some practice with my camera. I was able to take a limited amount of a friend I ran into while shooting, Maurice Young, because he stated he was ‘camera shy.’ So I often had to take pictures of his profile and of him not looking at the camera. They ended up coming out real nice.

In focus: Dead flowers from my dad’s funeral. Out of focus: A picture of me, my dad Richard, my cousin Lena, and my younger sister Sydney at my high school graduation.

Next, I took pictures of buildings, peoples, plants, whatever I thought was cool and just started snapping pictures of it. Anything I could find in my room that was interesting. I ended up with over 200 pictures in my camera roll and could only pick 10 for my final project. Working with Adobe for the time was a bit intimidating. I have worked with I-Movie a couple of times, but Adobe was a little more complicated. After the first time with Adobe though, it definitely gets easier. You just get use to the program.

You can check out my very first project here! Wow! That seems like such a long time ago. I can already see some mistakes, and thanks to this class, I know how to fix them.

Assignment 2: ‘You Are Welcome’ -Photo Essay

Protestors gather at an rally at the Alma Mater to protest the Immigration Ban

Assignment 2 was pretty simple… Once you knew what your topic/essay was going to be about. That was my problem. I wait for the right opportunity to present itself and that’s when I know what I want to shoot. You never know when that opportunity will be though! For this assignment, I had no idea what I was going to shoot. Like always. I was looking at upcoming events that might be a good idea to shoot. I didn’t like any of them. Then one day, I got invited to this rally on the quad that I thought would be the perfect event to go to. I knew I can shoot the people, their expressions, their signs, etc… And I was not disappointed!

A protestor at the Immigration Ban rally holds a sign that reads, ‘White Empathy Kills.’

The rally was in protest of the Immigration Ban that Trump had passed early in the week. So many emotions were running high and I wanted to capture as many as I could. I had the same problem here, as I did on assignment 1, where I had so many pictures and had to narrow it down to only 10-12. I picked the 12 that stuck out the most to me and made me feel something.

You can watch my project on the protest here. Looking back, I would have had nat sound through out the whole thing, I feel like it really added to the video. I also would have played around with Adobe audition to make sure the volume wasn’t as loud. The last nat sound was my favorite and I had to include it. “And I refuse to be bullied into leaving this country.”

Assignment 3: Stix -Video Essay

The feet of drummer, Matthew Eaglin-Daniels

This assignment was one of the hardest ones. I didn’t have any inspiration for this project and found it hard to come up ideas. I was explaining my project to a friend, Matthew Eaglin-Daniels, and he said I can video record him and that he was a great drummer. So I thought why not. I could get some great footage of him playing the drums and get good video of his feet and hands. Matthew had practice for a show for a club on campus he was involved in, Cotton Club, and I tagged along to get all the shooting done. I was happy with the footage I got.

You can watch Stix here! If I could do this project again, I would have used different shots. Most of my shots were tight shots and lasted too long. I would have added the video of him actually talking, so you can see who’s talking and then use cut-aways of him playing the drums in different angles. I also would have asked him to play his favorite song, just so we could have seen more of his skill. I also would have played with Adobe Audition a little more to make sure the sound was fine.

Assignment 4: *Knock, Knock* – Audio Package

Freshman Kendall Relf outside the ‘SNL’ studio in New York

I really enjoyed this project and the topic I chose to do. Like most of my projects, a lot of my ideas come from just chatting with a friend or an acquaintance and usually something they say makes me think of a story idea. I thought it was different and I never really heard of anyone doing what Kendall Relf was planning to do; especially as a freshman. He is still in the process of starting his own RSO on campus; a sketch comedy club. He was involved in a similar club in High School and wants to continue it. I thought the story would be interesting because for one, I don’t really hear a lot about the creations of RSO’s. Another reason I thought it would be interesting was because he is a freshman and is in involved with so many other things. He just got to campus and already knows he wants to make a difference so I thought that was awesome!

You can listen to my audio package here! If I were to do this project I think I would have started the audio package with Kendall telling a joke and then laughter after that. I was talking about the starting of a comedy club on campus, yet there was no laughter in my audio package at all. I also would have re-did my narration. I am still working on finding my Journalist voice, but I haven’t found it yet.

Assignment 5: Just Paws and Breathe

Sophomore Carolina Figueroa smiles while Emotional Support Animal, Rango plays with his toy chicken

Ahhh.. Assignment 5… So this project was probably the most stressful and my worst one yet. I started off with a topic I was excited about and couldn’t wait to start. But then little by little, everything started going wrong and I couldn’t wait for this project to be done. I started off with 6 potential interviews that would have all be great for my story. I know I probably wouldn’t have used all 6 interviews, but it felt nice to have some options and a little bit of freedom. Then one by one, 2 sources couldn’t interview with me and 1 just didn’t show up to our arranged meeting time. At that point, I was over this project. So, I ran with the 3 interviews I got, put it into Adobe, and finished the assignment. I submitted this project knowing that I hated what I produced. There were so many errors that I don’t even know where to start. I was happy with the interviews, soundbites, and the footage. I hated my voice (you can hear my somber tone),  my audio package (the audio was all over the place. Some parts were too high and some too low), and there were many awkward jump cuts. I knew I could do so much better than what I presented in class. Thank you to my classmates who were so supportive of me though, they made me feel so much better. I did miss the bar on this project though.

You can watch my video package here. If I could… I would just re-do this whole project. I mean completely start from scratch and produce a video package that I actually enjoy. I do plan to do that and it will be as good as it should have been the first time around! You live and learn.

Assignment 6: How-To: Do a Quick & Easy Hair and Makeup Look

A profile view of the finished hair and makeup look

The How-To Video!! This was my second favorite project this semester. I wanted to do something that was different, but still something I enjoyed doing. So I figured why not do make-up and hair, since it’s something I’m good at. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to fit both a hair and makeup look in 1 minute and 30 seconds, but I sped some parts up and was able to fit everything I wanted. I knew from the beginning I didn’t want to talk and that I wanted music playing the whole time. So I relied heavily on the subtitles and making sure the viewer can see and follow everything that I was doing. I wanted to make sure I got different angles on every single shot I recorded. Overall, I thought this project came out very good and I was very happy with it.

You can watch my How-To here! If I were to do it again, I would make my subtitles a little bigger or a different color just so they’re more visible.

The Final Group Assignment: A-typical is the New Typical 

Demi Ramirez and Zack Barakat pose with “A-typical” students, Sergio Arroyo and Kareem Hetherington, after finishing the podcast on marginalization

Demi Ramirez interviewing Women of Color President, Deisha Hill about marginalization

The Final project was my favorite project this whole semester. I got paired with a great group and once we decided on a topic, I was excited for every single thing that revolved around it. For every photo that was taken, every interview that was done, and every video that was recorded, all three of us were there. There was never a time when we were alone and working on the project. We did split up work when it came down to creating the website and putting all our information on it, but we were in the same room working on it and we’re there for each other if  anyone needed help. I never spent so much time with any group members I’ve had for any project than I did with Zack and Olivia. We all got along so well and I miss not seeing them everyday!

Zack, Olivia, and I had a very tough time deciding on our topic. From the start, I wanted to do something different that would get everyone’s attention. So many of the topics that came up as an option, I felt that we could do better. The lightbulb went off when I was telling the group how much I had to work each week and how I am here at the university on a scholarship (I-promise) that if I didn’t have, I would never be here. Then Zack shared how he goes home every weekend and how that’s hard to balance with schoolwork. Olivia said how she never knew that about us and if we didn’t share what we did, no one would have known that. That’s when the ideas just started to flowing. We decided to do our project on students. The student’s who often feel left in the dark because they don’t get to share there story or people won’t listen to what they have to say. We are all far from typical so thats were the name comes from. ‘The A-typical student!’ After the topic was set, we just started brainstorming different ideas as to how to create a video, how-to video, audio package, etc.. We started with the idea of just interviewing random people on the quad to hear there stories and that evolved into what is now our Humans of UIUC page. I didn’t want to have a tradition audio package so I suggested we should just sit down with a couple of students and hear what they have to say. I felt that we don’t get the chance to just talk and have a conversation with others we don’t know so that idea evolved into what is now our podcast. The podcast and the Humans of UIUC are my favorite part of our project, because we got to hear stories from a variety of students.

Overall, I love our website. I love the stories we were able to hear and had the honor to share with others. One of the hardest things I’ve ever worked on was this project and it all paid off!

Please check out or website here! I would not change anything about our project! I am extremely proud of all the hard work we put into it and am even more happy with the end result.

I may have been a little shy at times, but I feel like the final project was a chance for me to break out of my shell and I feel like I accomplished that. This class has been amazing. My classmates have been great and I have enjoyed learning from them and seeing all the progress we’ve all made. Thank you for a wonderful semester!

Demixoxo

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