Megan and Multimedia: One Memorable Semester

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To be honest, I was putting off this class for as long as I could. Although I’ve worked with Adobe InDesign before, for some reason video editing really, really, REALLY intimidated me. I assumed that this class would be really stressful since I had no background in multimedia or broadcasting. But to my surprise, four months later, I feel so much more confident with Premiere and shooting. Of course, as soon as I finally got the hang of it, it’s time to leave!

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One of my medium shots for assignment 1.

Looking back, I’m amazed at how much more calm I was with this final project compared to our first assignments. With assignment 1, I got a head start on shootings early in the week. I don’t usually tend to procrastinate, which really helped with this class. In high school, I learned to always take more shots that you think you need, which is exactly what I did with this assignment. We were required to shoot stills and videos of wide, medium, and tight shots. I had a lot of fun getting to know my camera in the comfort of my own home. It was a great first assignment to get our feet wet. Once it was time to edit, I began to get really stressed. It took me about an hour to learn how to upload the videos and get comfortable with all the controls of the program. But once I was done, it was so awesome to see it all put together and knowing I did it all by myself.

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Action shot of my roommate, Tiffany, spray painting our lawn chairs on a hot summer day.

Our next assignment was a video essay with and without sound. I had a lot of fun with this
assignment and got a crafting project done in the process! I shot my roommate spray painting some lawn chairs for our porch. For the sound, I recorded her shaking the bottle, spraying the paint, and moving the chairs around. Learning how to edit the audio was challenging at first, but once I got the hang of it everything went smoothly. During our presentations, we were asked to reflect on if the sound added to our photo essay. I think my sound definitely added to my project because it brought the photos to life. I was really proud at how the final project came out.

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Group photo of AOII girls throwing up what they know while at the photo shoot.

Then came the real deal assignments. After practicing with the first two assignments, we were challenged to make a video package along with an actual story for our blogs. For this assignment, I ventured out to my sorority’s annual photo shoot at the University’s Arboretum. I framed my story as a look behind the scenes of a photo shoot. This project was also a lot of fun because I was able to get outside on a beautiful day and get goofy shots of girls trying to be serious in front of another camera. I enjoyed the freedom we were given with this assignment because I was able to get creative with my shots and angles for the package. By this point, I was much more comfortable with the editing process, but still had anxiety about technology malfunctioning on me.

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Longtime friends Marielle Jennings, Sarah Nolan and Jessie Smith team up in efforts to raise money for the American Cancer Society.

Our next task was to create an audio package. For my story, I decided to interview my three friends who were going to be running in the Chicago Marathon. I focused on their benefit that was held to raise money for their charity, the American Cancer Society. It was really funny to try to interview them while at a bar, but it turned out to be a great piece. Their family and friends all shared the final product on Facebook and it helped them reach their goal of $3,000. Editing the audio for this story was a little challenging because I had a lot of great quotes, but my time was limited to 1:15. One of my biggest challenges in this class was having a conversational voice, rather than sounding like I’m just reading off of a sheet of paper. This audio package was the first time we had to speak in our projects, and I learned pretty quickly that my print background was evident with the final piece.

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The Ikenberry Dining Hall offers several options for all types of eaters, including vegan and vegetarian. (Photo credit: illinois.housing.edu)

After learning how to gather audio interviews and b roll, our next challenge was creating a full package. My story was on the U of I being named the 7th healthiest university in the nation. I interviewed students and workers to hear their perspective on if students were really choosing these healthy options. I ran into some difficulty because the University wouldn’t let me into the dining halls with a camera, but I went to plan B and shot outside of the dining halls. Editing this piece took some time because of all the different elements needed, but I was surprised at how comfortable I was with it. With each project I could see myself progressing and getting more confident with editing, which was really exciting to experience!

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Learn how to make a delicious homemade pizza. Photo courtesy: Bhavna’s Kitchen.

Next came the most delicious assignment of the semester…the how to assignment! My segment was how to make a home made pizza. I did all the shooting by myself and tried to get creative with the angles. I had a lot of fun with this assignment and it was very stress free because I didn’t have to rely on anyone else for interviews. I ended up making a delicious pizza and was very pleased with my final piece. At this point, I was a pro at editing on Adobe. It didn’t take me long to get my shots and audio in place and ready to present my mighty fine lookin’ pizza to the rest of the class.

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Our “All Things Bikes” website offers bike safety tips and a look at bikes around campus. Photo courtesy: www.kgsbikes.com

Our final project was a combination of everything we’ve learned throughout the semester–audio package, full package and photo essay. My group decided to do our project on bike safety. We really wanted to get creative with this because it’s such a broad topic, but we ran into some issues along the way. After turning in our project, we realized that the flow of all of our segments wasn’t our best work. We all really tried to do our best on our own pieces, and in a sense we each had our own tunnel vision because of that, so we didn’t take a step back to see how everything fit together for a multimedia story. My duty was to create the full package. I interviewed a police officer on bike safety and compiled other people’s interviews into the package as well. Professor Collins gave us great feedback and made us realize that we should have looked at the bigger picture of our project. We also attempted to work with the green screen, but ran into issues with our camera person. We realized we should have just cut the whole green screen out, but we were really interested in giving it a shot. Overall, it was a good learning experience because we got to work with a group and put our ideas together. We each learned that it’s important to plan ahead in order to have time to step away and then come back with a fresh mind to see if everything flows well. It wasn’t our best work, but nonetheless, I am proud of the hard work we put into our project.

After a whole semester of learning multimedia, I’m really happy that this class was a requirement because I never would have taken it otherwise. I learned awesome skills that will definitely make me stand out when applying for future jobs. Professor Collins is passionate professor who makes the class a fun learning environment. It was such a pleasure getting to know both her and my classmates and seeing all the creativity that can come from just a classroom. I’m bummed that the class has come to an end now that I finally feel comfortable with shooting and editing, but it really was a great learning experience.

This is Megan Vasiliadis reporting one last time for Off the Shelf and Online.

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