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The Beauty of Success and Failure: That’s a Wrap – SCHMITT

“Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.”

Wow, we did it. What a semester. I am so proud to have reached this moment as a student, and more importantly, as a journalist. From the beginning, I felt like I was already embarking on an uphill battle. Taking Multimedia Reporting and Audio Journalism together in a semester was demanding to say the very least. My counselors and professors warned me, but I was prepared and ready to tackle the challenge head-on. There were many long nights, days spent running from interview to interview, and moments when I questioned if this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. But, I quickly learned over this semester that journalism is absolutely my passion. I met amazing people, covered inspiring stories, and pushed myself beyond what I thought was my limit. I’m so thankful that I was able to find the beauty in both success and failure. Each assignment had a purpose, and each assignment had a lesson. Follow along as I look back at my journey over the past few months.

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A Comedic Guide to a Basic Baseball Swing


Baseball is one of the most popular sports in the world, and has often been known as “America’s Past-time”. Even though I don’t play the sport anymore, I’m still passionate about it, and love to watch it, write about it, and teach people more about it. It’s been a part of me for a long time, and I’m happy to make this video of what I learned to be the “Basic 3-Step Process” to having a good baseball swing. I learned this process at a camp I went to in St. Louis when I was in 6th grade. The camp was hosted by the St. Louis Cardinals, and I got the chance to learn from MLB Coach Don Mattingly, and the players on the Cardinals at that time. In this article, I’ll give you a few more detailed descriptions of each step!

Baseball is a game of finite measurements, so any little offset could end up bad in a big way during a swing! Though the process may seem very simple, if one thing is messed up in a certain way, your swing can be thrown off!

Let’s start the process.

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We Made It


Me performing at the Krannert Center For Performing Arts



Me competing as a Fighting Illini

I can’t believe the semester is over! When I first started Multimedia, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I have had some experience with Digital SLR cameras, but I have never really produced any video news packages before this semester. This class has given me a new love and appreciation for journalism and media. I think overall my work has definitely improved from day one.


The first project required us to take a variety of shots. This allowed us to get to know our projects. The Sigma 17-70mm lens let me take some great shots… I knew it would be a good semester after using this camera. When I exported my finished product I didn’t select “maximum render quality,” so I realized after what the video quality should have been.


A picture I took of a cow on the University Dairy Farm

The next assignment was the photo essay. This was one of my favourite assignments. One of my teammates is an Animal Science major, so she took me out to the Illinois Dairy Farm to get some pictures. I named my photo essay “The Story of Dairy.” I got up close and personal with the cows and tried to capture how dairy gets from the cow to your refrigerator.

The third assignment was the video essay. I can truly say this was my favourite project of the semester. I created a video sequence of some of my athlete friends playing their sports. The end result was great. Initially I took out the natural sound from the video, but I realized after I should have kept it in. I released a video on Faccebook of the same video but with natural sound. I got a lot of attention on social media. This project made me see I could do something with media in the future. Check it out here!


My freshman year roommate Emily Osoba taking the field

Assignment Four was an audio package. I did my story on the Chicago Symphony Orchestra coming to the Krannert Center for Performing Arts. I love classical music and the theatre so I knew I would have a lot of fun with this. Luckily one of my friends is family friends with two of the violinists in the orchestra, so I got to listen to them play a duet and I got some great interviews with them. It was such an honour to listen to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra! Check out my piece here.


Krannert Center : Courtesy of Kwain Photography


Larry Neuman and Qing Ho with us during intermission







The next assignment was a full news package. It was just the beginning of the fall season when I shot this package, so I thought a fall theme would be great. I decided to write a story on Curtis Orchard and how they get the most business during the fall season. I got some great shots in the pumpkin patch, and some interviews with the manager and a few locals. This was one of the first few packages I have ever done, so it was definitely a learning experience. Looking back, I think I could have incorporated an interactive standup… but overall I was happy with the finished result. Watch my news package here!


A little visitor at Curtis Orchard

Our last assignment before the final was a how-to package. I once again decided to go with the theme of fall. I made a video on how to make pumpkin pie. I got one of my teammates to make a pumpkin pie at her apartment, and then I documented the whole thing. This assignment was not only fun to make, but the finished product was delicious to eat! Initially I wasn’t sure how I would frame my shots, so I just experimented with a bunch of different angles. I put some ukelele music in the background to make it more enjoyable. Watch my how-to piece here! 


The final product of our pumpkin pie


A spokesperson at the Freedom Forum

The final assignment was the real test of everything we have learned this semester. I worked in a group with Matthew, Anatta and Anaja. We were given the topic of “Student Protests,” so we had to produce five elements that tied into that topic. I worked mostly on the news package, how-to package, and the website. Overall, I learned a lot about finding sources for the stories. I had to find away to bring everything back to student protests, so that required a bit of planning. I also got to work on communication and teamwork skills with my group. In the real world you have to be able to work and compromise with people… so this project was a good test for that! Checkout our website here! 

I had such a great semester and I learned so much. I was heartbroken returning my camera today. I actually started looking up Sigma lenses I could potentially purchase for my Nikon SLR just because I enjoyed that camera so much. Thank you Dr. Collins for you kinda words and guidance… I have learned so much from you and this class. I can’t wait to see what the future holds!

–  Jade Hilton

Twitter + Instagram : @jadehilton21

Growing into a Multimedia Journalist


Stepping into the semester, I was excited for what was to come and what I would be learning over the semester. I had pictured picking up skills that would translate the writing in journalism classes so far into multimedia form and was expected to come out of the class as a knowledgeable multimedia reporter. What I did not expect was the attention to detail and planning that was required for multiemedia journalism that I was also able to pick up over the semester for which I am extremely grateful.
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The Adventures of a Multimedia Student


Photo of me

The first day of class was the most intimidating day of all. Professor Collins made sure we knew what we were getting into, telling us about how we always need a plan A, B, C, D… and so on. As scared as I was to start learning the basics, I knew I was in good hands with Professor Collins and was grateful for all that I knew she was going to teach us. Once we were all assigned cameras, our first task was to go out and take pictures using different angles. I was so nervous because I had NO idea what a “pan” meant or a “wide, medium, tight” shot. Yes, I was pretty clueless and ended up having to do some research just to figure out how to turn on the camera. I remember sitting on the quad pretending to act like I knew how to work my camera and taking random pictures of Foellinger Auditorium while someone came up to me asking what type of camera I had. I tried to play it off like I knew but he clearly could tell I had no idea. I eventually ended up learning so much and gaining so many new skills that I will continue to use throughout my Journalism career.


Flowers on campus

Assignment 1 was supposed to be the easiest and at the time I thought it was impossible. Looking back on it now, I laugh at how stressed I was about getting the “right shot.” I spent about 3 hours of my day just walking around campus trying to find pretty places to take pictures at. People probably thought I was a professional but in reality I had no idea what I was doing. It also took my twenty minutes just to figure out how to turn the camera to the video setting. Oh, and getting the tripod out was even more difficult because I couldn’t figure out how to attach the camera on to the top, but that’s besides the point. In all honesty, this was probably one of my favorite assignments because I encountered so many new places on campus that I had no idea even existed. I took one of my favorite shots of flowers on here too that today I am still very proud of.


Baseball jersey

The next assignment was a photo essay with sound and a photo essay without sound. This was probably my least favorite assignment to do because I had no idea what to take pictures of that would have sound. Thinking back on it now I could have done so many other options but at the time I overthought the assignment which is something that I advise the next multimedia class not to do. I wanted to take pictures of something that expressed a lot about a person and the first thing that came into my mind was clothing. I took a lot of pictures of different clothes I have trying to add in a wide array of patterns and textures. One thing I didn’t really include was a lot of variety. Most of my photos were of the same angle/shot and it was all kind of the same. This assignment made me realize that next time I should step out of my comfort zone because playing it safe isn’t always the best work.


Netflix logo

Assignment 3 was next and that was my video essay. This was definitely one of my favorite assignments! I really felt like I started to get to know my camera and was learning all the different settings to use as well as getting better at using transitions with editing. Although, I did take forever to come up with an idea for this… I really enjoyed my end result. I kept putting this assignment off until the last minute (bad idea) and would get easily distracted my other things like social media and Netflix. I realized that that would be a perfect idea for my video essay! I came up with a couple different scenes of a student getting easily distracted when doing their homework and deciding that Netflix was a better option. I had so much fun with this because my roommate and best friend got to star in my video, which made it much more enjoyable to film. I definitely suggest getting your friends involved in your videos if it’s relevant because it definitely makes it a fun assignment!


Activities and Recreation Center (ARC) photo. Credit to BodyWork Associates at University of Illinois

I started to get really stressed once assignment 4 rolled around, also known as the audio package. Each week was getting harder and required a lot more time to complete all of your work on time. I was worried I wasn’t going to finish this assignment because I could not find anyone that wanted to talk to me. I asked about 10 people at the ARC if they would take ten minutes of their time for me to ask them a few questions, but no one wanted to do that. At that point I was about to quit or just decide to do a different topic but I didn’t want to give up completely. Finally, after countless hours just sitting at the ARC, two people were more than willing to talk with me and I got my interviews finished! This was the biggest relief ever and I felt so accomplished at the end of the day. The next part was almost just as difficult when I realized I wasn’t finished at all and still had to go through all the editing and voiceovers. Figuring out which soundbites to use for my audio package was even worse. I honestly didn’t really have a “story line” for my package yet and didn’t really think anything out before I went on my interviews. This is not something I would recommend doing next time and I definitely learned from it. Overall, I think my audio package turned out alright but next time I would approach it in a different way.


Credit to history.com

Next was the video package and I can tell you right now that this was the hardest assignment of all. I literally had no idea what to write a story on and thought of an idea completely last minute, although it was pretty timely, which is always a good thing. I was on the verge of tears during this whole assignment and even my friends could tell I was super stressed about getting all the interviews and footage I needed on time. Luckily, my friends decided to come with me on my interviews because they knew how much anxiety I had about this assignment and wanted to make sure I was doing well! I also continued to call my mom everyday that week and tell her that I couldn’t do it but she convinced me that I was overreacting… she was right. This assignment taught me a lot about making sure to never procrastinate on your work, especially in the journalism field. Editing this assignment was fun and I really enjoyed getting to see how my work came together. That was the most rewarding part about this class, getting to see how all my hard work paid off.

McCormick Guacamole

Courtesy to McCormick

The How-To was the next and it was definitely the most fun of all! I’m not generally good at cooking so I decided that I would try for this assignment. College students are always looking for an easy meal and I thought that doing a How-To on How-To make Guacamole would be a great hit. It was super fun because I convinced my friends to help me in exchange for having some of the guacamole once I was all finished. This was a totally stress free assignment and I had fun doing the entire video, from filming to editing.

The last assignment was the group project and this was by far the best experience I have had in any journalism class. In the real world you’re going to be working in teams and having people that you must rely on to finish their work on time. That is exactly what this project was all about, being able to work as a team and put all your work together into something that is truly amazing. Of course this was during a time where I had a million other group projects to complete and I was totally stressed about getting everything done. I started my part of this project a little late and wish I had more time to make it into a piece that I could call amazing. Our topic for this group assignment was disabilities on and around the UIUC campus, which was really neat. We all were so into talking with people who have disabilities and telling their story in the best light possible. I did the How-To portion of the project and couldn’t quite figure out how to link it to disabilities, which was my major issue for the whole assignment. My teammates were really great in helping me decide what to do and in the end I think that our whole project turned out to be really neat. Creating the website was one of the best parts because we got to see what it would really look like if the story was actually published. All of our stories were posted and it was such a fantastic feeling to see that all of our effort and hard work turned into creating something really great.

Finishing up the semester I feel like I am way more experience in the multimedia field. I would highly recommend this class to anyone, especially Journalism students, because it definitely prepares you for the real world. The skills that I have acquired in this class are going to help me throughout my career and I can’t express how thankful I am that I took this course. I know I will achieve great things in the future with broadcast journalism because of the new concepts I have learned throughout the semester in Professor Collins course.

Beauty in the backyard. Assignment 2 Jassin- blog

This photoessay documents the story of my roommate James and a change of environment radiating a change within James. James is cooped up inside, lonely, questioning and daydreaming of what could be outside. He then peaks through the window and sees a beautiful rainbow. He then goes outside and documents several images of the beauty outside and the nature and the rainbow itself. At first the images outside are behind the metal fence with raindrops which demonstrates James’s breakthrough to the beautiful sites right in front of him. My video without sound can be found here, and my video with sound can be found here! ENJOY! 🙂

My roommate James daydreaming of what is outside

My roommate James daydreaming of what is outside

Adventures in Multimedia: Winter Walk Around the Quad

They say there’s beauty in the breakdown – and boy, did I breakdown. All weekend long I was worried about this video essay assignment and all the criterions we had to fulfill. Like most areas in life, I went into overthinking mode and couldn’t think of an idea or topic that I thought would be the most interesting and that would hit all the requirements.

Screen Shot 2014-02-18 at 11.20.07 PM

A shot of the University of Illinois quad during winter – the main subject of my video essay.

As it was Valentine’s Day weekend, I went to Chicago. And while in Chicago, I thought about filming a billiards hall with its pool tables, bar, food and comedy shows. Pressure Billiards & Cafe was awarded Best Billiards in Chicago Reader’s Best of 2013 guide, and I thought that hit the points of uniqueness and prominence. Unfortunately, the videos had poor lighting. Plan B was to think of something back on campus, and Monday’s snowy weather proved to be an opportunity.

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