What a semester. This was a class and a teacher like no other. Never did I expect to meet a person like you, Dr. Janice Collins, who will always have an impact on my life. You taught us lifelong lessons that few teachers care to teach, and you were an example of how to try to live one’s best life. Always smiling… It’s seems like our time in class together was short, but I guess time flies when you’re having fun. It’s hard for me to sum up the semester knowing that you’re not coming back to KU, but I know we’ll see each other again in the future. I’m just really happy to have met you!
Now lets get into the nitty gritty. I took journalism 550 already with a beginners understanding of video editing and broadcast writing. During this course, I practiced while working in the newsroom and while doing class projects (creating VOs, VOSOTs, packages, etc.). I learned a lot from my mistakes in this class and feel a lot more confident with making videos.
Video Essay – “Good Morning Procrastination”
The first project we did was the video essay. It was very open ended, so I just made a very basic video about sleeping in. I got shots that I thought told a story about hearing your alarm go off and choosing to stay in bed instead of starting your morning. My shots didn’t explicitly convey that message though. I learned the importance of carefully choosing shots that make the message easy to comprehend, especially when there is no dialogue. I had things that were related to the message, but they were too ambiguous to move the narrative. In retrospect, there’s a lot of shots I wish I’d add and replace in the video to make the message clearer.
You can watch the video below.
First VO and VOSOTVO – KU Bus Drivers on Ice
Filming my first VO and VOSOT was fun and stressful. I had a very short time to prepare my tripod and camera for the SOT because the bus driver was on a tight schedule so my interview shot had terrible lighting. I learned not to shoot someone with bright lights behind them. I talked to him a lot before while he was driving and told him the type of questions I’d be asking, so he had time to think about them. I think because of this, he gave me some really good responses to my questions. Dr. Collins always talked about warming the interviewee up and making them feel comfortable on camera so they’ll look relaxed on it too. A couple of my other shots were overexposed which I just need to pay closer attention too while filming in the future. While writing the script, I really focused on writing towards my video. After this video, I started writing my script before I went out to shoot though.
You can watch the videos below.
Second VO and VOSOTVO – “Comfortable” Album Release
The next VO and VOSOT I made was about the release of the album “Comfortable,” recorded and produced by local KC artists Campaign Maka and Glokage. I got a really good interview with Maka and some decent B-roll, but I should’ve gotten better shots of Maka recording in his studio or working on his computer. I think I had a good variety of shots and angles, but I could’ve had more action in my video. I also needed to look at my white balance or color correction because the color looks off in some shots. Overall, I liked the VO and VOSOT. I got a really good soundbite from my interviewee, so he really made the video more exciting. Again, I need to be more deliberate with the shots I pick though.
You can watch the videos below.
One Day, One KU VO
This video was easy to film for because I just focused on getting a lot of wide, medium, and tight shots of the flags and the sign explaining the fundraiser. I already had a script written, so I knew what shots I needed to get to match VO. I wish I had gotten a SOT for this one because I saw the faculty putting the flags into the grass earlier in the day before I filmed. I didn’t have my camera or tripod with me at the time though, so I couldn’t do it. I think this was one of my best VOs just because the white balance and color is good. I put a lot of thought into framing too, but I probably could’ve had shots that were better framed. Overall, I was really happy with this VO.
You can watch it below.
Unpacking Whiteness VOSOTVO
This VOSOTVO was also pretty easy to film. I got shots of the panel, the crowd, and the event’s pamphlet. I don’t have a good zoom on my camera, so it was hard for me to get tight shots of the speakers. I also should have had natsound of the people talking quietly in the background. Writing the script for this was tough because it’s a touchy subject and I didn’t know how much detail I needed to go into. Dr. Collins stressed using the pregnant I (sell, tell summarize), but with a topic like this, it was hard to decide a sequence to tell the details in. I also wish I had’ve gotten an interview with one of the panelists, but my camera died while I was shooting. Instead I used my phone to interview someone who had went to the event. Also at the beginning of the video, I did a tilt, which Dr. C always says not to do. I don’t know if it hurt the video here, but I don’t think it did anything to necessarily help it either. Still, I liked the end result of the video.
You can watch it below.
Justice For All Package
I really enjoyed working with my partner Tiffany on this. We had to go all the way to plan C, but we made it work. We filmed the exhibit that the organization Justice For All erected on campus called the Art of Life. We got three interviews easily because there were volunteers all around the exhibit. We got a lot of wide, medium, and tight shots of everything around the exhibit too. Some of the shots weren’t white balanced which I need to always remember to do. Tiffany and I also worked together on making the actual package. It was nice working together because we got to see each others workflow. Writing the script for this was hard because we were scrambling to find a story after our first ideas fell through. I was still really happy with our script though and the package as a whole.
You can check it out here.
Pause 4 Pups Package
I made my second package by myself which was pretty difficult. I wanted to do a standup bridge because I liked the one I did in the previous package. I didn’t have anyone with me though so it was hard to get a good video of me and the dog. I got some really great B-roll shots and even better interviews. Everyone I interviewed gave me really good responses to my questions which made it easy fit into my script. I had already written parts of my script before going to the event. After filming there, I just added more details to the script that I learned while I was there. I really enjoyed making this video because I really like dogs. Like I’m actually about to buy one next week (so drop potential dog names in the comments). I also found it was really easy to get B-roll because there’s so much action in the shots with the dogs. The last shot was in auto focus, so it goes in and out of focus when the dog gets closer to the camera. I was trying to do a rack focus type of effect, but it didn’t really work. I was still really happy with my final package.
You can watch it here.
Jayhawk News Break
This was definitely my favorite part of the class. Working with my classmates in the studio was awesome. I enjoyed working audio, being producer, and monitoring the set as floor director or camera monitor. As floor director, I felt like the hype man for all the anchors, and I hope that I actually did help bring a little more energy into their news break. I liked being producer because I felt like I was in control of the show. I also really enjoyed anchoring. I’ve never been camera shy, but I’ve always had trouble bring the type of energy an anchor has on television. I think I’m starting to learn how to have that trustworthy and welcoming demeanor though. I really liked doing the weather. I wanted to freestyle it, and I did. I think I should have prepared more by watching more weatherman talk about it because I didn’t know enough short punchlines to make the weather informative and entertaining. I need to practice how comfortable I look on camera too. I felt relaxed, but I shuffled through my papers on set. That will obviously just come with practice, and I’m looking forward to doing it more in the future. It was cool to do and my first time ever being the anchor of a news break.
You can watch the video below.
This class has inspired me to want to create my own show for KUJH. I’ve already started planning and proposing it to our news director. I’m really interested in producing, directing, and anchoring. I feel like this class gave me so many opportunities to fail safely, but, more importantly, to learn. I’m so glad that Dr. Collins graced her presence out here in Lawrence, Kansas, and left us all a little more wiser. We’ll miss you :'(