From Clueless to Confident

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This class matters

With news organizations putting so much attention on their websites and social media outlets, it’s crucial to have multimedia reporting that adds a visually engaging element or ear-grabbing sound bite to a basic text story.  Not all stories are best served with the traditional presentation.  People want to see slideshows of storm aftermath, see for themselves what a New York mayor’s campaign is like, or be able to hear a young composer talk about collaborating with a legendary composer.  I’m a news-ed major, so I have focused solely on writing stories so far, but this class has given me the tools to tell stories in different ways.

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A slideshow adds more visuals

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Even newspapers need video

 

 

 

 

 

 From thinking I would sink…

When I took a seat behind my computer for the first day of class, I didn’t know much about multimedia reporting. All I knew was that technology and I, not only didn’t mix, but would often lead to scuffles that would leave me shouting obscenities.  Well, perhaps that’s a bit melodramatic, but you get the point.

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So after getting an introduction to Final Cut in class, IMG_2695my goal was to put in as much time as I needed to figure out the small problems I would inevitably run into.  After running into some issues during the first in-class assignment, I tried to excel on my next couple.  My second and third assignments took the longest to edit—not because they’re complicated or perfectly executed—but because I really wanted to feel comfortable with the program.  That way, when I was editing around 12 pm the night before an assignment was due and bumped into a problem, I wouldn’t panic.  And those late nights happened a lot more than I would have liked.

Assignment four humbled me and left me shaking my head when I presented  a bunch of shaky shots.  The zooming and panning was also a no-no.  It taught me that tripods absolutely have to be used when shooting video or it will not look professional.

To starting to swim

With the next assignment, “Hoop Dreams at Allen Hall,” I took the next big step.  The interviews went well despite me never doing video interviews before.  The B-Roll is weaved in nicely to add action while the person being interviewed is talking.  That way it wasn’t just staring at talking heads.  Plus, I got to see a classic movie I hadn’t seen and hear a very interesting man discuss his film.

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My “How To” piece made me realize that it takes time to mentally figure out what elements are needed to tell a story.  What natural sound should I get?  What shots do I need to match up with what the audio says?  These questions puzzled me as I shot this sixth assignment, and I found out that I had to reshoot the serving motion.  Good thing I did this assignment early.

After finishing my first audio story for assignment seven, I felt proud of my interviewing that brought out emotional quotes.  The actors I interviewed were certainly emotional on stage.  I ended up switching stories Monday night, but still ended up with a strong project, so I think this reflects the conflict resolution skills I developed during the class.  You can’t rely on luck as a journalist.  

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To close out the semester, we put all the elements together in assignment eight.  At this point, my editing skills were more refined.  So although I didn’t spend much time with editing, the final product was still fairly clean.  This story could have used more B-roll.  I should have asked to go inside the Cracked food truck and get shots of cooking and natural sound.

Where I am today

I know if an employer tells me he needs a multimedia story, I can do it.  We covered all the basic types of multimedia, so I’m not limited to any particular medium.  I’m proud of what my classmates and I have done.

Comments for future 410 students:

  • Start your projects early
  • Don’t depend on finishing in-class
  • Gotta have a good attitude
  • Relax.  The class will be fun and rewarding

One thought on “From Clueless to Confident

  1. Cooper, Ralph Glendell Jr

    After reading your blog it has really helped me understand that my first assignment is not going to be the best piece of multimedia on the face of the planet. The most important thing that I took from yom your blog is that I should not wait until the last minute to try and complete an assignment being that I can procrastinate. The comments you left are going to be a lot of help for me throughout this semester! I look forward to keeping in contact with you and maybe even using you as am aid when I need help. Heres my email rgcoope2@illinois.edu

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