A Reflection on Multimedia Reporting
From the moment I walked into Journalism 215, I could tell that this course was unique. Multimedia Reporting with Dr. Collins was an experience unlike any other, and definitely one that makes me gracious of my time at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Coming into the first day of class, I felt pretty comfortable with the topics that were covered on the syllabus. I have worked with multimedia since my junior year of high school, so I wasn’t too afraid of what was to come. Plus, it didn’t hurt that Dr. Collins’ guidance and instruction was always there as I continued my journey in multimedia reporting.
Although I was familiar with the themes of the course, I was not as seasoned with the technology that we used. Before taking this class, I was comfortable editing video on Final Cut Pro X or iMovie. Journalism 215 widened my editing capabilities to another software: Adobe Premiere. This program was tedious to work with at first, but I was able to get the grip of it as I continued practicing.
For the majority of my work, I filmed or shot footage with my Canon T5i. I was provided with a camera from the school, but I am so comfortable using my Canon that I continued to do so for projects in this course. I like the quality of shots that this camera can produce, and I think that it brought the best out of my work.
Overall, I truly enjoyed the experiences that Journalism 215 had to offer. From beginning to end, I believe that I developed as a multimedia journalist, but also as just your average college student. This course challenged me to think outside the box and outside my comfort zone, while strengthening skills that I was already familiar with. I will miss the memories made in Multimedia Reporting.
Let’s flash back to where it all began: Assignment 1.
This first assignment was pretty basic and was titled “Know your Camera.” I used the school camera for this one because it didn’t require too much from me. I also did not encounter any problems throughout the piece because of the skills I already possessed.
Whether I was tilting up or panning left, this assignment prepared me for more camera work to come in the future. It also let me work with a tripod, which is always useful to have when shooting stills. Like I said, this assignment was not frustrating, but more enjoyable because I was performing actions that I was familiar with.
Things changed when it came to Assignment 2.
For this assignment, we were asked to compile a photo essay of at least 10 images. Like I always tend to do, I overshot for this assignment. I knew that I wanted to get images of the University’s Quad, but I just couldn’t get that perfect shot as easily as I expected, so I ended up taking more and more shots.
I definitely spent a couple of hours out in the winter cold for this assignment, but I feel that it was totally worth it. I think that I took really good photographs because I wasn’t afraid to get close to my subjects to get a better shot. Using my Canon T5i, I was also able to adjust the focus of my shots, which is something I always try to do to add more creativity.
Out of all the photos that I took that day, this essay consists of my favorite ones. I think the essay gives a good overview of the Quad and some of the beauty and tradition that it holds. I was very happy with this assignment and couldn’t wait to see it develop for the next assignment.We were asked to gather natural sound when taking the photographs for Assignment 2, and I could only wonder why…
I included this sound to the background of my photo essay for Assignment 3.
I liked this assignment because it got me comfortable with adjusting audio levels and dealing with background sound. I also liked the difference that the audio made in my overall essay’s quality. The natural sound took me back to the locations on the Quad, something that Assignment 2 wasn’t able to do. This definitely added an emotional element to the piece and made me reminisce on the wonderful day that I took those photographs.
Assignment 3 was an enhanced version of Assignment 2, and I enjoyed how the audio brought my images to life and kept the essay moving along smoothly.
My skills as a multimedia journalist were challenged in Assignment 4.
This next obstacle on my journey required me to compile a video story without any sound on tape. With experience in high school, I knew exactly how to produce a quality video package for this assignment, I just had to figure out what I was going to do the story on.
Then I remembered hearing about a bowling alley in the Illini Union, so I decided to check it out like any good journalist would do. Slowly, I was exposing myself to a very cool story and experience at our University. I immediately started taking shots of all the action going on: video games, billiards, bowling. Similar to the photo essay, there was almost too much going on that I probably took more shots than I needed to for this story. Overall, I was happy with the amount of shots I took though because it gave me tons of variety to work with.
Aside from getting quality b-roll, the two interview subjects were essential to my story. By asking good questions and digging out the answers, I feel that I got good responses from them that told the story without my voice being needed. Although it felt bizarre to not speak in the story, it was rewarding to see how successful my interviews were and how they told the story.
Then I was introduced into a new style of story for Assignment 5.
I created a “How-to” video for this assignment on making a root beer float. Not only was this assignment fun, but it was delicious! Thanks to the help of my lovely girlfriend, Olivia Schmitt, I was able to complete this project and successfully demonstrate how to make an American favorite.
This was a pretty easy assignment to work on. The main problem I had was figuring out the framing of my shots, but aside from that, all else went pretty smoothly. I enjoyed working with my shots on this project because I was able to work on sequencing, which is a great aspect to have in video stories. I also was pleased with the natural sound in my tight shots because I think it added another dynamic to my story.
I did encounter a microphone malfunction during this assignment, which I thought I fixed, but apparently I did not. Therefore, the audio for my voice is a little inconsistent based on whether or not the microphone was working. Although this wasn’t a big deal in the grand scheme of things, it taught me to always be prepared for a back-up plan for future assignments. From here on out, I decided to carry two lavaliere microphones with me instead of one.
The last obstacle to overcome was a group project.
For this project, three classmates and I had to cover a story on campus that related to inclusivity and diversity. Ironically, one of my partners knew of an event happening the following week that was centered around campus wellness and inclusion. We immediately hopped on her boat and decided to cover Illini Wellness Week.
This first-time event was an absolute blast. It was hosted be the University of Illinois Student Affairs, but numerous actors were also involved to teach wellness of all kinds, such as physical, emotional, mental, and economic.
Economic wellness was the focus of our audio package for Assignment 7.
For this piece, we covered the “Climb to Financial Wellness” presentation given during the week. Brett Lerner reported on the piece, and he did a great job connecting this event to the entire week as a whole.
We wanted to include this activity into our story to display that wellness does not have to be a physical term, but something that can apply to all aspects of life. From an economic standpoint, this University is very diverse. This event taught us how to budget and plan financially, an education that you can’t always get out of a textbook.
We took a holistic approach to the week for Assignment 8.
I was the editor and producer of our video package for this final assignment. I enjoyed throwing together this piece because it reminded me of the handful of activities that I witnessed during the week. Thanks to Jacqui and Klaudia, there was also some added footage from the yoga and dodge ball events.
Overall, this was not a difficult assignment to work on. I’m used to throwing together video packages, so really the hardest thing was figuring out what I should do for b-roll. Thankfully, all three of my interview subjects were absolutely phenomenal and really helped me get an idea of what this week was all about. Attending a lot of the events also made me more informed and further diversified the amount of footage I gathered, which can be seen in the complete package.
In addition to the audio and video package, my group created two more multimedia events on Illini Wellness Week: a photo essay and a timeline graphic. For a complete look at our entire project, including these features and the stories above, click here.
These smaller assignments were a good compliment to the audio and video stories and helped support the themes of the week. Overall, they showed that we took a holistic approach to the week and understood its significance to the University.
Just like that, another year of college is down the drain! Next fall I will return to campus as a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. Thanks to this course, I will have sharper multimedia skills as I head into more advanced journalism courses.
Thanks to everyone who helped me along the way in this class. I cannot wait to show you how I progress as a journalist and student in the future. Until next time!