Journalism 215 prepares you for the digital world
Before taking Multimedia Storytelling (Journalism 215), I was a print-only girl. I knew how to copy edit and design print elements. I knew how to man a basic camera and take photos with a DSLR. But, other than that, multimedia journalism was outside of my experience orbit.
Now, about 100 days after the first day of class, all of that has changed.
About 100 days ago, I winced at the thought of recording my interviews with a video camera and recorder. About 100 days ago, I hated the thought of stepping from the background and into the foreground of news production. About 100 days ago, I wanted nothing to do with multimedia.
But 100 days of projects has turned me into someone who not only possesses basic multimedia skills, but also appreciates the work broadcast journalists do.
Each project that was assigned in Multimedia Storytelling contributed to those aftereffects.
Getting to know our cameras
The first project that was assigned in this class was intended to help each student get familiarized with the multimedia equipment that was going to be used throughout the semester.
Each student had to take some photos and videos with and without a tripod for this assignment, which I think really did help all of us get acquainted with the technology for this class.
I already had experience with taking photos, as I own a Canon Rebel T3 DSLR, so I wasn’t too fond of the camera capabilities of the Canon Vixia Hf R500 the class uses. In my opinion, the latter takes blurry photos because of where the “shoot photo button” is located (on the touch screen rather than the device itself).
Other than my complaints, I learned that I needed to work on my video-taking skills because a lot of the video shots I had taken were shaky and sometimes crooked.
This assignment also gave each student in the class a chance to work with the video editing software Adobe Premiere. I had never worked with this Adobe product, but since I had used many other Adobe software, I found it easy to navigate.
An unlikely essay
For the second project, students were required to “write” an unlikely essay: one using photos rather than words.
I really enjoyed this assignment. Like I stated before, I had previous experience with photography, so I had a chance to enjoy this assignment rather than stress over whether I was doing things right.
I decided to visit Pilsen, my favorite neighborhood in Chicago, and document my trip there.
The toughest part about this project for me was taking “transitional” photos, as I wasn’t 100 percent sure what transitional photos actually were and the project called for a story, not just a compilation of a number of random photos.
Sounds of an unlikely essay
All students had to do for the third project was add nat sound to their photo essays from the previous assignment.
Adding nat sound to my photo essay made me realize the importance of nat sound and how much life it could add to an otherwise dull video.
It also made me realize how difficult it is to use a recorder while simultaneously shooting photos.
Bidding photos adieu
The fourth project made students bid photos adieu, as it required them to compile a video-only essay (including sound).
I had fun with this assignment because it took me to an event I wouldn’t have gone to otherwise: the annual Chicago Auto Show.
Though I had fun, I also experienced the same troubles I had when I was working on the first project. Most of the videos I shot were shaky, which made the final video hard to put together because I had to figure out a way to take out the shakiness and use only stable shots.
Merging multimedia elements
The fifth project, a “how-to” piece, allowed students to merge all of the multimedia elements we had learned up until that point: photo, video, audio. It also required students to write an informational article, complete with research and links, to complement the video tutorial. My tutorial focused on how to make a sweet, yet healthy breakfast smoothie.
This project was challenging for me because I had trouble with jump cuts, which were required, and timing. The video tutorial could only be a minute and some change, so I ended up cutting out a lot of the footage I had taken.
The final test
The last thing students had to do in Multimedia Storytelling was team up and work together to show off their newly aquired skills in the last two projects required for this class: seven and eight. (Project six was canceled for this semester.)
The seventh and eight projects were, in reality, one huge project. Students were required to create an advanced audio package (project seven) and then a complete full video package (assignment eighth), as well as a separate professional news story uploaded to Digital News Illinios, which had to include two additional multimedia elements.
This project taught me the value of teamwork. Without the three people who I worked with, Brett, Jacqui and Jeff, I wouldn’t have been able to create the full package that we created as a group: The Inclusive Illini.
All of us gathered footage throughout the week of the University of Illinois’ Illini Wellness Week and then combined what we had to write our article and create each one of our multimedia elements: a video package, audio package, graphic and photo essay.
I was really shocked at how good the entire, huge project turned out for all of us. I am really proud of it.
Looking back at what we all knew about 100 days ago to what we know and are capable of doing now is something each one of us in Multimedia Storytelling should be proud of.