Mastering Multimedia

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A photo of myself.

When I received the Journalism 215 syllabus in my email during those last few weeks of summer, I instantly felt a little overwhelmed. It was 14 pages long. Senior year shouldn’t be stressful, right? How was I going to survive this semester? I was a writer not a videographer, photographer, or designer.

As it turns out, I am all of those things.

It just took some time. I had to check my pride a lot. Often times I had to use plan B, plan C, or even plan D when plan A didn’t work out. In the end this class was a very humbling experience. Looking back at all my assignments I’m so proud of my visible progress. I’m actually sad to be finished with this class. That is something so rare for me. It really did feel like a journey. 

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My first shot with my camera.

Regardless of my initial nervous feelings, I probably went into my first assignment a little too over confident. I thought because I had used an SLR camera before this assignment would be a piece of cake. I was wrong. To be honest I had some trouble figuring out how to do even simple things like turning on video mode. I couldn’t figure out how to do it for days. After watching some youtube tutorials I figured it out though. That was my first lesson. I learned to use the Internet a resource to answer my questions. Using Premiere for the first time was also a nightmare. I was so behind in class I almost didn’t make the deadline!

5

Beach goers enjoy the last of summer over Labor Day Weekend.

Our second assignment was a photo essay with sound. Again, I was a little over confident. This time I knew how to turn on the camera. I was going home for Labor Day weekend and I planned to take some fun shots at the beach. Everything was going to be great.

I was wrong, again. I ran into my first big problem during this assignment. Once I began editing I realized that not only did the wind on the beach overpower all the other sound, but I also didn’t record enough audio to cover all my shots. I panicked while I was editing because I had to loop the sound. Overall, my project was pretty awful. I barely made deadline again. I didn’t want to present it to the class at all.

I learned a lot from my mistake though. From then on I made sure I was prepared before getting to the editing stage. I finally realized it was time to check my “senioritis” at the door and start planning better.

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Breakfast before those early 9 a.m. classes.

Our third assignment was to do a video essay. I was extremely sick when I was recording this assignment, so I didn’t get to film the subject that I initially wanted to. I wanted to cover a topic a little more news-worthy. I made the best out of it however. I filmed myself doing my morning routine. I learned a lot about how to focus when you are both the person in front of the camera and behind the camera. I think this was the first assignment where I actually told a complete cohesive story with a beginning, middle and end by using wide, medium and tight shots.

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Street Performer at the 6th annual C-U Pride Festival.

Assignment four was an audio package. I had never done an audio package before so I was a little bit skeptical. I absolutely hate hearing my recorded voice. I replayed my package about a million times just to cringe at my own voice. Again, I didn’t want to play it for the class. It turned out okay though.

This was the first project I felt was actually news-worthy, so I was pretty excited about the subject even though I was apprehensive about my voice. I covered the 6th annual Champaign-Urbana Pride Parade. I got a ton of great audio although I wish I would have made some slight producing changes. For example, I wish I had chose some better sound bites for my interviews.

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Runners cross the starting line of the annual Women’s 5k Run for Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Our full video package for assignment five was by far my favorite. I was finally beginning to feel like I was getting the hand of putting together everything I had learned up to this point. I got such great audio at the Women’s Fitness 5k. I had also learned a lot from the producing mistakes I made in assignment four, and I didn’t repeat them. I was extremely proud of myself for getting my shots, soundbites and script planned out early so I didn’t stress like I did for some of the previous assignments. The only complaint I had with my video was some of my shots slightly zoomed in and out because I shot with autofocus on. I had not learned how to turn it off yet. This time I was actually super excited to share it with the class.

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A screencap from my how-to make play-doh video.

For assignment six I learned how to shut-off autofocus finally! I had a lot of fun doing the how-to make play-doh video. While I was filming myself, what I had learned about self-shooting in assignment 3 came in handy. We had a little more freedom to get creative during the editing process of this video. I added some music and learned to speed-up shots. By this point I was really beginning to love editing process. Premiere used to stress me out, but I was much more comfortable with the program towards the end of the semester.

To be honest, I usually loathe group projects. I’d rather work alone. I think this has been the first exception to the rule. We probably sent over 1,000 text messages back forth in our groupme chat and ended up spending a ton of time together.

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Demonstrators place tape over their mouths and are bound by chains to represent being shackled down and not heard during the annual Alpha Phi Alpha vigil.

We decided to cover race relations on campus. It was kind of funny because we all represent different races and ethnicities so we all had a unique perspective on the topic.

About maybe 10 days before the project was due we had what I like to call a little “mid-project crisis.” We had great ideas but a bunch of half-done stories because no sources would answer our emails or calls. We quickly realized not too many people are comfortable talking about race. There was one week before Thanksgiving break in crunch time where we really pulled together and go a ton done though.

The group project got a little hectic at times, but I was so proud of our project in the end. Not to mention I feel like our project ended up being very timely and meaningful with everything going on at the University of Missouri.

Overall, I feel like a much more well-rounded journalist. The way the industry is changing with digital media, journalists need to be as knowledgable to multiple media platforms as possible.

A lot of times I walk out of classes feeling like I didn’t learn anything I could use in my real life. This isn’t on of those times. This is one of those classes that I will look back on after I graduate in May and be grateful that I got the great education I did. I know not everyone gets the opportunity.

One last time for Off the Shelf and Online, I’m Camille Avilez.

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