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A Semester Mastering Multimedia

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Me and my friend Sean at a Redskins Game

The second I walked into Journalism 215, I knew I was in for something completely new.

Prior to taking Journalism 215, I had no experience working with multimedia in the field of journalism. My passion has always been writing. Just give me a word limit and I can explain to the reader what they need to know. I know I’m not the greatest writer there is, but I feel like I do a good job.

The only experience I have had with shooting and editing footage is when I would make short films in elementary and middle school. I would mainly shoot videos of my friends and I skateboarding, and then edit them in Final Cut. I had no training with any editing programs. I basically taught myself through online forums and YouTube videos.

When it came time to start this class, I felt that I knew enough about reporting already that simply adding multimedia elements would be a seamless transition. Oh how naïve I was.

Although it was a lot more difficult than I anticipated, I now have the basic skills necessary to be successful in the industry.

Shot of the quad

Shot of the quad

Assignment one was fairly simple. We were just assigned all of our reporting equipment (camera, audio recorder, tripod, etc.) and had to learn how to use it. So, for the assignment, we were required to take photos with our cameras of anything we wanted using different angles and zooms. Although it took me a little while to figure out how to actually take the photo, once I did the assignment was a breeze.

I had some trouble keeping the camera steady and pressing the wrong button on the touch screen, but I was able to work out the kinks quickly.

My friends studying at the UGL

My friends studying at the UGL

Assignment two went a lot smoother. Since it was essentially the same assignment as the first, I knew how to do everything going into it. The only challenge I had was deciding what to shoot. Once I figured that out, I had a lot of fun with the assignment.

Since I knew how to work the camera, I spent a lot more time thinking of different angles to shoot from that would make my photo story more dynamic. When it came to editing, it was one of the few times where I had so many good shots that I couldn’t decide what to cut out. I was really happy with how assignment two turned out.

Assignment three was a different story. This was the most stressful assignment I did all year. We were suppose to record audio with the pictures that we took for assignment two and simply play the audio over them. Simple enough, right? Wrong.

It turned out that while I thought I was recording audio during my shooting of assignment two, I actually didn’t have a memory card in my audio recorder. So basically, nothing got recorded. I didn’t discover this until I sat down to edit everything together and there was nothing on my recorder. I immediately started freaking out. I tried to think of alternative ways of getting the audio, but I ultimately had to accept my fate. Professor Collins stressed throughout the year that grades aren’t what’s important, but what you learn from your assignments is. This was one of those times. I ended up getting a zero on the assignment because I had nothing to submit. However, looking back, assignment three was the biggest learning experience I had all year. Ever since that point, I always double, and sometimes even triple, checked all of my equipment before starting an assignment.

Overview of the ARC basketball courts

Overview of the ARC basketball courts

Assignment four was another test for me. Although it went smoother than assignment three in the fact that I actually submitted something, it was the most difficult one to date. I had never shot a news story on video, so it was a new experience for me. I thought that it would be easy: all you have to do is point the camera and shoot what you want to put in your story. However, I quickly realized that it’s a lot harder to get the right shots.

A few of my shots turned out shaky and out of focus, and my interview was muffled because I wasn’t close enough with my audio recorder. While the video turned out decent, I definitely learned through trial and error how to shoot a good video segment.

A perfectly tied bow tie

A perfectly tied bow tie

My experience with assignment four really prepared me for assignment five. Going into another video assignment, I now knew how to go about getting the best shots. I wasn’t reluctant, if not afraid, to get in close and reshoot clips until I got exactly what I wanted. The topic was also a lot more fun because I enjoyed doing a step-by-step how to video. Making a storyboard before shooting also helped me plan and get the shots that I wanted.

After all going through a lot of trial and error, especially the error part, we had our final project. While my group started off a slow, I felt that we really got everything together and did a great job with it. I really liked our topic and felt that it addressed an issue that is becoming more and more prevalent in the media today. I also liked that we decided to take something the University claimed and challenge it. That’s what I think real journalism is.

I worked on the audio package portion of our final project and actually really enjoyed it. I had worked with audio in the past, but I had never done a full package with a script. I got some really great interviews with students who were definitely C.O.O.L (Professor Collins will engrain this acronym into your brain).

Overall, I learned a lot in Journalism 215. Although I originally hated the class because of all the stress it caused me, I trucked through it with the help of my peers and professor and became a more well rounded journalist because of it.

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