Adventures in Multimedia: The End of a Journey

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This Canon became my best friend for the semester! | Photo taken with Instagram

The Best (Class) I Ever Had
Life is a process of trials and tribulations, and with each challenge presented, you grow from the lessons learned.

Likewise, my time in multimedia has been incredibly worthwhile. Not only did I learn the basics of shooting, editing and writing for multimedia, but I also was able to go through this journey with encouraging and talented classmates.

Before I get all sentimental, let’s rewind to the beginning.

Something New
Last summer, I had my first taste with cameras and Final Cut Pro during my internship at Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) – Chicago. I filmed and edited an intern recruiting video by myself. I knew it wasn’t exactly the best, so there was still much to learn.  Having multimedia skills is important (here’s a great interview with New York Times’ journalist Amy Harmon about multimedia in journalism), so on day one of multimedia, I was excited to dive deeper.

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This low angle shot of a bike is my favorite photo!

Our first assignment involved practicing different shots from wide, medium, tight to high and low angles. Take the time out to really experiment with a variety of shots, and don’t be afraid to get up-close because I learned that adding variety to your videos and photos keeps viewers interested. This assignment also taught us that shaky shots and zooming in/out in videos should be avoided!

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This photo makes me hungry!

Sights and Sounds
Assignment two involved a photo story. I took photos of my roommate waking up, getting ready and making Ramen, so I called it Sleep, Shower, Sustenance. In assignment three, we added nat sound, which brought the stills to life. I had never bridged photo and sound together, so I’m really pleased with how this assignment turned out and would consider this to be one of my favorite projects! 

University student Richard Song holds up an "I love Illinois" tank from "I Love Illinois Week."

University student Richard Song holds up an “I love Illinois” tank from I Love Illinois Week.

Building Momentum
Assignment four was a video essay. I added music and struggled with the audio levels. I’m still happy with my Winter Walk Around the Quad, and I’m proud of the footage I got. Assignment five covered something with a news element, and this was our first assignment involving A-roll. I covered “Give to Receive Day” from I Love Illinois Week. It was fun interviewing people, but I struggled with audio levels, again.

Here’s what I learned about adjusting audio on Final Cut:

  • To see your audio level, check the bars on the audio meter in the bottom right
  • If your audio is too low, use the Gain audio filter to increase the sound level
  • To lower and increase volume at different points, use the pen tool to drag the audio levels up or down
watch a show

My roommate likes to watch Pokemon to relieve stress.

Next, assignment six was a “how to” piece; I chose to do “How to Relieve Academic Stress,” since it’s common among students, and too much stress is harmful to our functioning. This was another favorite assignment, and I even relieved my own stress while filming!

Bringing It All Together
For assignment seven, we did an audio package; mine was on student employment in the university dining halls since we have quite a few on campus. One mistake I made was fading in and out each soundbite, which became a distraction in an audio story format. Assignment eight was our video package. We had to create a script, tell a story and put together a video using someone else’s old footage of the Polar Plunge in Mahomet.

Nearing the End
I’ve truly enjoyed this course in all aspects – from having an empowering professor to discovering that I enjoy working with the camera.

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Here’s my screen when editing on Final Cut Pro X.

I’m proud of myself for making it through the semester. I’m now confident in editing with Final Cut and writing scripts. This class was valuable to my education and to my growth as an aspiring multimedia journalist.

When you start your own journey, be open-minded and passionate. Even if you’re nervous or inexperienced, passion and commitment to learning while enjoying the ride will go a long way.

Here’s to finishing strong! 🙂

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