I can breathe. I made it. So will you.

My Multimedia Journey 

This is me at the pumpkin patch with my baby pumpkin.

This is me at the pumpkin patch with my baby pumpkin.

The level of fear I had walking into this multimedia class was astounding. I was a writer. I was a designer. I wasn’t a photographer; although, my Instagram account may imply otherwise. I wasn’t a videographer regardless of the 10 second Snapchats I would send. I wasn’t a multimedia journalist.

Now I am. 

Take the fear that you’re experiencing and swallow it. There is no reason to be scared, and I learned that early on. It doesn’t matter if you’re inexperienced. I barely knew how to operate a Mac when I sat down. You’ll be fine. Trust me.

My main advice to you is to take this class seriously, and you’ll enjoy it much more. The first five projects you complete are baby steps. They were created to help you become familiar with your equipment. They’re easy to do, but they are also easy to put aside.

A tree at Hessel Park

A tree at Hessel Park.

The first project we finished was all about getting to know your equipment. I’ll be honest, I went to the park the day before class and took generic pictures and videos of a tree. A TREE. I thought it was great. I got some decent shots of the sun peaking through the branches, and I had a smooth and steady pan of the park… or so I thought. When this project went on the big screen, I had motion sickness. I cannot reiterate this enough, take this seriously. Your classmates will be forced to watch whatever you produce. I’m telling you now, watching a video of shots on campus and your bedroom will be dreadful. Try your best to make it interesting. If I could, I would go back and tweak a lot of my earlier pieces.

A photo essay essay without sound was our second project, and a photo essay with sound was our third. We used the same images for both projects. I was actually pretty excited to work on it. I had plans of going back home that weekend. We have a cute little coffee shop in my hometown. It would be PERFECT to photograph. Coffee Shop Hangs  played out entirely differently than I had originally planned. I rushed the project, and I missed the most important element: A PICTURE OF THE DAMN COFFEE. I was also struggling with my audio recorder. I didn’t fiddle with it before hand and actually learn how to use it. The natural sound I used for the photo essay with sound was bad. I didn’t give myself any wiggle room, so I was forced to use what I had though. On a positive note, I took photos of an actual human being, which helped give the pieces more life. If you have the opportunity, I recommend using live subjects for your projects. It makes it more fun!

A glass of moscato that I drank immediately after this project.

A glass of moscato that I drank immediately after this project.

Our fourth assignment was a video essay that I enjoyed VERY much…sarcasm. I did it the night before it was due, lost a significant piece to my tripod, and had Premiere shut down during my editing three times. If anything could go wrong, it did. But hey, I got to drink an entire bottle of wine during it, so I guess that made it all better. Only in my Dreams came out better than I expected. The video was quite shaky because I couldn’t use my tripod, but despite that I feel like the shots came out really well.

The “How to” element we did was really fun in my opinion. It had to have a news element which was kind of challenging at first. I decided to teach the class how to do make an origami jumping frog. I had about 20 jumping frogs on my bedroom floor by the time I was finished. Getting the right angles for this project was difficult, but I made it work. I really enjoyed editing this one because we got a chance to be a little more creative.

Your sixth element is an audio package and if you’re really determined, you can convince Professor Collins to let you skip the project entirely like we did. Make sure you have legitimate reasons though. She’s a tough cookie to crack.

A group of students enjoying the weather on the main quad at UIUC.

A group of students enjoying the weather on the main quad at UIUC.

You are given the option of doing your final projects as a group or individually. CHOOSE GROUPS. You have to include 4 elements in your project, and it is a lot less stressful if you have three other people helping you. We decided to cover diversity among international students at UIUC. We created an advanced video package, advanced audio package, photo essay, and an info graphic. One of the main challenges I experienced during these projects was getting people to be okay with being recorded and filmed. I interviewed an international student who only wanted to be filmed, so we used her in the audio package. She was soft spoken and had a minor language barrier. It would have been better if I either interviewed her again, or interviewed another student who was more willing to be filmed. She didn’t really help the piece, but she didn’t take away from it either. Choose your interviews wisely for these projects.

This class seems intimidating. Just do your best and prepare yourself for mistakes. I can honestly say that after taking this class I have a better understanding of multimedia. Am I great at it? No. Am I better than I used to be? Definitely.

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