A Glimpse Into the Dream: A Reflection Piece By Aaliyah Gibson

Making the dream a reality one step at a time.

The lovely ladies within my life.

The lovely ladies within my life.

Our dreams become reality when we can picture them with our eyes open. That’s the saying I created before entering this class, and the saying the women in my life have been pushing me to believe ever since I pointed to a television show on the small screen and said, “Now that is what I want to do.” This class turned out to be the continuation, if not start, of a dream I’d been trying to make a reality for a while: putting my work on film and showing it to others. I learned quickly that most dreams come easily, but it is the work and effort you put into it that will reflect whether it will become a reality or not. I learned step by step, each assignment helping me grow professionally as I realized my true work ethic. But the proof is in the pudding. (Or the videos and photos and audio packages. But that’s beside the point).

Renny

Renny, the magical cat, at rest.

Assignment one was how I pictured the rest of the class to be: tight shots, wide shots, medium shots, getting the shots. You get the picture. But this assignment was great because it really taught me how to make use of my camera from every angle. Sometimes great pictures are taken and only the colors or backdrops are noticed while the angle the person behind the camera had to try to master is left unnoticed. This assignment brought that situation to the forefront and taught me sometimes you have to be high up, down below, or a face down in the carpet to get that one magical shot out of 200 that just works. So, that’s exactly what I did. I take pictures of my friends all the time, so I thought this assignment would follow the same guidelines. I quickly learned, however, that not just any shot will do. It has to be a shot that counts. Out of all of the projects, this one may have worked the smoothest for me. All credit goes to the cat.

The Power of Photography

The Power of Photography

By the time assignment two rolled around, I was sure I was an expert in the world of photography. I thought showcasing the events of my day would be the best way to showcase action in photography and it would also allow me to apply the skills I learned in assignment one with more elements. I loved taking pictures in the very beginning of my day and at night especially because I got to play around with settings on my camera and learn the best way to use it. Quickly, I learned the challenges of trying to get a great shot when the sun is setting or in the early morning when a friend is against the window. With this assignment I learned how lighting has a huge impact on photographs and every shot must be taken with a choice in mind. Most of my pictures were off to an angle as well and, with the help of Professor Collins, I learned how to capture the best angle for a shot without space on the sides and above or distracting elements in the background to use for future project. This was one of my favorite projects.

Starry night, starry bright, natural sound made this project alright.

Starry night, starry bright, natural sound made this project alright.

Assignment three was my first time incorporating audio into an assignment and I was so nervous! I had just started mastering Adobe Premiere Pro with pictures, but audio was a brand new component that I wasn’t sure if I’d succeed with just yet. I decided to just go for it and add what I thought was relevant. I learned the importance of Nat Sound (Natural Sound) with this one. Natural sounds in this video, like the sound of someone pouring cereal or walking in the snow, helped carry along the photo essay in the best way. I wish I would have gotten better audio to use, but I learned that incorporating audio was important as well as easy!

UIF, A Caller's View

UIF, A Caller’s View

Speaking of easy, let’s talk about an assignment that was not for me. Though assignment four was the one I struggled with the most, it still remains my favorite because of the challenge within it. It was my first time using video and finding a way to get the best shots to showcase UIF, but I tried to do what I thought would look cool instead of what best told my story. Professor Collins introduced the importance of transitions and how you have to choose the best shot to take and use. Though this was the trickiest for me, I learned necessary tactics that could secure my next job.

Juggling one fruit at a time.

Juggling one fruit at a time.

That’s why I was prepared to bring my A-Game with assignment 5. Assignment four taught me how to be the master of Adobe Premiere and how stress can really feel when you’re under a tight deadline. So, I decided to cover a stress-free activity that almost anyone can learn: juggling. The best part about this project is, by Professor Collins’ instructions, I was able to tell when a shot was not focused enough on the subject with distracting elements in the background. I also learned how T-M-W (tight-medium-wide) shots do not only apply to photography. There are so many choices to make as a video producer, but with the incorporation of B-Roll, Nat Sound and effective video, I finally felt like one of the pros in the class.

UIUCAssignments 7 and 8 were all about making the right choices as we dived into the final project: Diversity on Campus. This project covered everything we learned plus more and showcased how far we have come since the beginning of the class. I was very proud of myself when it came to this one! For the audio package, I was able to get great Nat Sound and A-roll from people I interviewed and the locations I interviewed them in. Assignment 8 may be the best one by far. There is no way I would have gotten it all done without my teammates, Shannon, Karaline and Alyssa, but shooting interviews and elements of the university really helped solidify the fact that I want to make films of my way in the near future.

The future is near and the class has drawn to a close, but without the help of Professor Collins and a class of people with a great sense of humor and determination, working with film is most definitely a career field that I can see myself having. I’m taking a screenwriting class here in the fall, and with the skills that I learned from the class, I am now editing videos to create my own mini-series.

PhotoshootIt’s been a great time, but this won’t be the last you will see or hear from me!

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