From Cannot to Canon

One girl’s storywgn

about her Trials and Tribulations

in a Multimedia Course


It took a lot of work, a lot of time and a lot of dedication to get where I’ve gotten in Multimedia, but the journey was well worth it – and a journey it was.

When I first enrolled in this multimedia course taught by Professor Janice Collins, I thought I’d learn a lot about how to operate a camera, how to shoot a video and maybe how to write a news script or two. But the lessons I’ll take away from Journalism 410 are so much deeper than those skills. I have acquired an appreciation for the art, an understanding of the world I will be reporting on and I think I conquered how to suppress the agonizing fear of missing one of Professor Collin’s hard deadlines by turning that fear into fast-paced, yet thorough work, to complete each project in a on time.



On the first day of class, we were assigned a camera for the semester. I’d never actually had in my possession. And for our first assignment, we were given a list of 15 shots to take that had includes words like “wide,” “medium,” and “tight” and “texture.”

After spending an evening and the next day taking pictures of random houses around campus, a hot tub (for that texture shot) and “Frat Park,” I kinda, sorta began to get the hang of this whole “photography” thing and I realized I loved taking photos.

On the second assignment, we had to create a photo essay. I learned that sometimes you haveIMG_0132 to follow a dragonfly buzzing around for 15 minutes in 80 degree weather to get the perfect shot. Life lesson: Patience is key.

And the third assignment was the same photo essay from assignment 2, but with natural sound. I realized that sound adds a lot more texture to photos because it takes the viewer to the place the shots were taken. This article by Poynter gives some tips on how to effectively use nat sound. I will definitely try to incorporate sound into as many photo projects as I can in the future.

On the fourth assignment, we were thrown in the deep end of the pool. We had to create a video with different clips. This is one of the projects I wish I could redo. I loved the show I was recording and I wish I did it justice, but I also learned a lot from this project. Looking back, I now know to make sure the sound and the visual match up if it’s a performance. This really sunk in when I was watching Miley Cyrus’ performance on Saturday Night Live one night and saw how effective the shots were. Life lesson: The oddest things can trigger an epiphany, like SNL.

The fifth assignment was probably my favorite piece of work. I really enjoyed interviewing the band and I think my final product turned out well (and it has 61 views on YouTube, that’s crazy!). But it did take a lot of time to edit, so I learned to make sure I leave at least 3 or 4 hours dedicated to editing. I also learned that when you enjoy what you’re doing, those hours seem like minutes. I definitely hope to put my multimedia skills to use with something that has to do with music when I’m older. Maybe I can create something cool like this for Pitchfork one day.


How To Carve a Pumpkin

The sixth assignment was also a fun one. I created a how-to video on carving a pumpkin and during this project, I realized editing in Final Cut was getting easier (yay!). I mastered the ability to not zoom in and out constantly (something I had a problem with during project 2) and I think I really felt like a multimedia journalist after this project.


And I knew I was getting a hang of things when I had a crisis prior to project seven in which my idea fell through. Luckily, I found a new topic the day before the project was due and my audio story turned out, in my opinion, pretty well. Life lesson: Always have a backup plan to your backup plan’s backup plan.

Now, I wish I could say all my skills came together to create the greatest final package known to mankind, but I’ve got to admit, I struggled with the final assignment. Looking back, I didn’t have the shots I wanted (or needed) but, again, I learned a lot. I would include elements Jonathan Cooper mentioned in this guide. If I could go back in time and redo this project, I think I could make a mean story about Laverne Cox’s presentation. But in the words of the Dalai Lama, “When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.”

laverne at uiuc

Laverne Cox at Illini Ballroom. Photo courtesy of The Daily Illini.

I think I can sum up my experience in  J410 with another short quote: “Nobody said it would be easy, but they promised it would be worth it.” – Author Unknown. There were ups and downs during this class, but the ups definitely outweighed the downs. For classes in the future, I think a fun project would also be to include a newscast that each group makes up entirely, including the news stories. I created a mock rubric for the assignment (below). I think it would really benefit students because multimedia skills are crucial for journalists and, as this essay by Lorraine Lee explains, multimedia is evolving. I’m nervous, but mostly excited, to be a part of that evolution.

Over the span of four months, I went from cannot to a Canon camera pro and I gotta thank Professor Collins for that.




Mock Rubric for News Cast: Project 9

In a group of 4, delegate 2 people to be the anchors, 1 person to be the director and 1 person, with the contribution of the entire group, to write and finalize the script.

For this project, you will create a mock news cast. You will create the stories, choose the people and act out a dramatization to go with your package. The anchors should not be in the dramatization.

-Come up with a creative name for your news channel and news team (5pts)


-Include a story board and script for the teacher (10pts)

-Include some type of backdrop (5pts)

-Show your channel’s logo somewhere (5pts)

-Include at least 3 different news stories (15pts)


News Cast should include:

-Establishing shot for each news sequence (5pts each)

-AROLL (10pts)

-BROLL (10pts)

-Nat Sound (10pts)

-Wide, Medium, Tight shots for each sequence (5pts each)

-At least 3 interviews per story (15pts)

-Dramatization (20pts)


–News cast should be no longer than 5 minutes. (15pts)


Total points possible: 120 points

Total points earned:


2 thoughts on “From Cannot to Canon

  1. Rooks, Taylor Lynn

    I love this post! I really hope I gain that newfound love for photo taking, like you did after your first couple assignments. I am so used to being in front of the camera that I haven’t become used to being the one doing the snapping! Even though this is true, I liked finding good photos for the first project, and it was great getting familiar with the equipment.
    That is really cool that one of the videos you did for this class are starting to get some outside recognition. Actually, it is cool and scary! Scary because it shows the impact of the internet, and just shows that the work should be great! You never know who can see it. It would be amazing for you to be able to do a similar video with some bigger bands, and really get your feet wet. I enjoyed watching that video, as well as your cute how-to video. Now I’m generating some ideas of what my instructional video will be!
    I had Dr. Collins to TV1, so I can relate to you with having to get used to finding peace in the strict deadlines, and not stress! If anything, they make you work better and more efficiently, so I hope that continues in this class. I feel like when she assigns projects, she knows that they teach us more than the rubric states. You were right, it seems like this class teaches us patience, observation, and understanding. Being behind the camera forces you to take a second and really soak it all in – something that is essential (I think) to being a journalist.
    Also, From Cannot to Cannon was a great title 🙂

    1. Soenke, Sarah Beatrice

      While I’ve heard before that this class is challenging, I was happy to read that you felt the journey was well worth it — especially with your admission that it still took a lot of work. Everyone enjoys the occasional easy class. However, when it comes to video work, photography and multimedia editing, I want to have confidence in my ability to perform. And a challenging but rewarding class is the best way to effectively develop those skills.
      I appreciated your recap of each of the semester’s assignments as well. Reading your experiences and reflective thoughts on how you approached each assignment gave me a better understanding of what to prepare for than simply going over the syllabus. Your links to external articles and guides, example stills of your work from the semester and explanation of your ideas have already gotten me brainstorming for my own projects for the class.
      I am now excited for the semester and ready to start! Thank you for your post.

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