From Practicing to Packages..

By: Steven Bardwell

Throughout my journey of Journalism215: Multimedia Reporting, I have learned a lot, even more than I was expecting from the very beginning.  I had very little knowledge or experience working with cameras and shooting photos and video was something I was excited about doing.  I did have some experience writing online and was familiar using WordPress which is great tool for publishing on the web.

I knew coming in that it would be challenge, especially hearing from past students that Professor XXXXX would push me further and further every assignment, which is exactly what she did.  I believe through her critiques and required works that I have grown exponentially in my producing, shooting and writing abilities that I know will transfer over with me into my field of work after graduation.

Assignment one was all about getting used to our cameras, which I was extremely grateful for, because without this assignment I know that I would have been lost, having little experience with camera use prior.  I shot mostly around my fraternity house, capturing the different angles and aspects of my home environment.

Zooming in/out, panninIMG_0030g, adjusting to wide/medium/tight shots are all of the basics that needed to be ironed out at the very beginning.



Assignment Two took us and are camera out into the field to shoot a photo essay of some sort of event.  I decided to head over to the Canopy Club, which every Tuesday night hosts a Campus Comedy show and one of my fraternity brothers was going to perform.  IMG_0036I learned a lot of lessons from this first true assignment as a lot of my pictures were blurry and that was due to lighting.  This was first true critique that Professor XXXXX gave us and ever since then I have been working to improve on every project.


Assignment Three had all the aspects of number two, except this time we took the photos we shot from the event and added in audio from that event.  Shooting a comedy show was rather interesting and it made for a lot of good soundbites, but I found it difficult to get any natural sound beside what the acts were saying.  IMG_0059

Looking back now I see how rough my transitions were and the audio quality itself was all over the place, viewing this video really gives me an idea now just how far I have come and the work that Professor XXXX has done has really payed off.

Assignment Four took me to a Banned Books Read-in within the Graduate school of library and abannedf_2ssistance.  This was are first assignment that included a story structure and video.  I did have some fun with this, though shooting in a library made for the natural sound to very, very silent.  This assignment was my first time shooting a story using video and actually recording the person I was interviewing.  It was a great experience and got me prepared for the future assignments where video was essentially for the storytelling.


Assignment Five was our How To piece, which I took on the challenge of explaining how to prevent the flu.  I was initially going to shoot on how to get a flu vaccine, but unfortunately the McKinley Health services would not let me shoot video or take photos.  MedicineThis was our first piece in which we narrated the entire thing, so getting used to hearing my own voice on tape as well getting the right speed to match my video were rather challenging for this assignment.  How to pieces are one the number one reasons people get on the internet, so getting my feet wet in this sort of shooting will be very helpful in the future.

Assignment Six was assigned as a complete audio package with three sources, which unfortunately I was only able to get two on my subject of Islam Awareness Week.  I went an saw the highlight of the week which was Islam comedian, Azhar Usman.  I was able to actually ask him a question at the end which I was able to use for a soundbite, 151346_1200123_500x331but when going back and making the package, the audio was awfully tough to keep smooth and flowing with my own narrations.  Inclusive Illinois is a large part of the campus these days and the Islam faith is just another part that many people do not seem to understand, which is why I wanted to try and cover it.


Changing to End the Violence is my advanced audio package and one of my final stories that which ties into my final package regarding domestic violence on the campus here at the University of Illinois.  I really enjoyed doing another audio package, maybe because I am not as comfortable taking video and photos, but I just enjoy being able to sit down with someone and have them explain the situation.  Pamphlets (Tight)I spoke to a lot of knowledgeable people on this topic and I wanted to focus on the seriousness of the issue as well raising awareness around campus.  I had a lot of time to smooth this project out and I believe that it is my best sounding assignment yet through all my experiences of previous projects.

No More: You Have the Power continues with my topic on domestic violence around campus, but this time I included photos and video while focusing on what one should do if they find themselves as victims.  B-Roll was definitely the hardest part of this assiPolice Door and Signgnment as it was rather difficult to find exact domestic violence situations, but I was able to find a lot of resources and outlets that are available to students that I could shoot and talk to people at.  This is what the entire semester has worked up to and even though being a perfectionist I feel I could have done even more, I am still very proud of my work and the progress that I have made throughout the semester.

Along with the final two projects, we were asked to write a complete news story on, encompassing both our full package and audio package as links within.  While writing this news story, it really brought together everything around the campus dealing with domestic violence as well bringing to light what has been going on outside the university.  Domestic Violence is an issue that many struggle with talking about, but within this story I hope to show friends and family members options to help their loved ones and themselves escape from the abusive environment of their violence relationships.

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