First off, Dr. Collins, I owe you an apology. When this semester began, I did not think I was going to like you. You came in with your big-time knowledge about journalism and broadcasting and I stubbornly thought you weren’t going to be someone I got along with.
Wow, was I wrong. I have never had a professor that genuinely cares about her students and their success like you do. I instantly began to grow to like you and learn from you quickly. Your teaching method was intense and immersive and, at times, overwhelming, but I have never gotten so much from a class as I have from this one. So, I am sorry for ever thinking I wouldn’t like you because you are hands down the best professor I have ever had.
As for my journey throughout this class, I began with little video experience and it showed in my first project. In my Video Essay, I had numerous shaky camera shots and blurry ones as well. I accidentally forgot a tripod when I filmed this video, creating the bad, shaky shots. As for the story line, I thought it was all there for an early video essay.
Moving on to the first real news stories we did on the year, the VO1 and VOSOT1, I thought that my Farmer’s Ball story was a good start to the year but the structure and planning of my story layout needed a lot of work. I thought I had a good soundbite, but it was a little long. Overall, I thought I did a good job.
In my VO2 and VOSOT2, I began to put things together a little better in terms of structure and planning of my shots, and getting a good interview. For a story that was about the new upgrades to the union (what I would consider a horribly boring topic), I think I did fairly well.
When we set up our third stage of projects, we had to finally do different topics for the VO3 and VOSOT3. That provided a very interesting challenge. Having to find not one, but two separate stories, was a challenge I have not been faced with before. I think that it made me better though because I had to utilize a plan C.
The growth that I got from PACKAGE1 to PACKAGE2 is evident to me because I moved on from sports to a human interest story that I truly enjoyed. The second package was a story about my high school teacher whose son is battling cancer. It’s a story I have followed since the beginning. I truly enjoyed who I worked with and how I got to know the situation and gain perspective on a community I am closed tied to.
The NEWSBREAK was an entirely different situation. I have never done any live TV of any sort before in my life and it was so intimidating but also amazing at the same time because it was a blast and it confirmed what I want to do with my career. This class helped me grow so much in my journalism career and I am so glad to have been given this opportunity.
It’s hard to believe that this is the final reflection that I’m writing for this class. It seems like just yesterday that we all started and was told that we had to learn how to swim. It’s been quite a journey and it’s been a fun one. We’ve worked on so many different projects this year and with each one, I’ve seen myself get better and better. From being someone with zero video experience to doing my own news break. I feel pretty accomplished. I’ve made so many lasting relationships in this class and with the aid of Dr. Collins I’m ready to tackle any challenge ahead.
My first assignment was a video essay and looking back at it now I remember the struggles that I had with finding an idea and shooting the video. I remember that my two previous ideas had fallen through and then with this one I had to reshoot the video three times because I wasn’t happy with the results. I wasn’t very familiar with premiere either, so it took me quite a few hours to edit the video. With this video essay, I learned that my shots need to be able to breathe.
The next assignment was our VO. I remember freaking out over the weekend trying to think of a good idea. Thankfully we had some snow and I decided to whip out my camera and walk around campus. Once again it took me hours to film and afterward I couldn’t even feel my hands. I really liked the shots I took and had fun. I just really liked how the snow created this beautiful landscape all around me.
Our next assignment was a VOSOTVO and I decided to detail the icy conditions around campus. Once again I spent several hours outside filming. I felt like I didn’t get enough shots on the first day, but heard there was more snow coming the next. However, it didn’t snow the next day and the snow had begun melting. I ran around and decided to get some tight shots of areas with some snow. Eventually, I was able to get all the shots needed and put it all together. This time around I was more at ease with premiere, but it still took me a little longer than everyone else.
My second VO was about the natural history museum. I really enjoyed walking through the museum and looking at all the displays. It was tough to decide which shots I wanted to use since there was so many that I liked. Knowing my way around premiere now, I was even able to teach what I’d learned to some of my classmates. I learned that I need to be more confident in presenting in front of the class, and decided to work on that more.
My second VOSOTVO was over an event hosted by the Natural History Museum. I had fun looking at the fossils and seeing the excitement on the students’ faces. I took a variety of shots and all at varying angles. I tried to get some tight shots of the faces of students and their awe at looking at the cool fossils, but it was hard for me to get a good angle. I was able to put all the videos together and it went even faster than it did before.
For all of these previous assignments I had learned that I really needed to let my shots breath, so I tried even harder to do that with these last few.
For our final VO, I decided to show the construction around the Central District. I remember creeping around the construction sites and stepping through the muddy terrain to get these shots. I was worried that they’d shoo me away from the site, but luckily they didn’t. The problem that I always have with any of these projects is that I always take an abundance of shots and then am unable to decide which ones to use with the limited time constraint that we have.
For our final VOSOTVO, I decided to film what students are doing before Spring Break. For most of my shots, I stood at a second story window in Anschutz library and shot the video looking down at students on the floor below, that way I would be able to get some tight shots of their face and emotions while studying. I liked how all of my tight shots turned out and was able to experiment with a lot of different shots.
Our first package was an interesting topic. My first idea was whether students and professors are affected by daylight savings time, however, I was unable to get into contact with any professors. It was by sheer luck that I stumbled upon this exhibit outside of the j-school and I couldn’t thank the heavens enough. The topic was about abortion, so I knew I’d get plenty of good soundbites. This was also the first time that I did a standup and I wasn’t too excited about it. I feel like I’m too awkward on camera, so I tend to stay away from it. While putting the package together I had so many good soundbites that I had a really hard time choosing what to cut. Our video turned out to be 2:45 with everything, which was way past the allotted time. So I painstakingly tried to find things that I could cut out. Although we did get it cut down, we had to talk real fast in order to get all of our scripts onto the track. Thus, our tracks sounded incredibly fast and our edits were as well.
A piece of our final project was another package. I had chosen an event at the Union, but when I got there to film, I found out that the event was canceled. I started to panic and freak out, worrying that I wouldn’t find anything else. On my way back to return my equipment, I saw the students setting up this table and holding this event, so I decided to start filming. It was hard for me to get the right angle to get a good shot of the action, but I managed and was happy with the results I got. Looking at this package in comparison to my last one, I can see a lot of improvement. My track didn’t sound rushed, although my voice is a little soft in comparison to the action in the videos.
I was extremely nervous about our news breaks. I feel like I’m a really awkward person on camera and I also get really self-conscious. I stumbled at times on the words and I did look like a deer in the headlights in the beginning, but I managed to tamper down my nerves and “perform” like Dr. Collins said. I made some stumbles during the weather, but everything else went smoothly. I found that after the initial nerves, I did feel a lot more comfortable in front of the camera. What I’d like to work more on is looking more natural on camera. I looked much too stiff and didn’t smile a lot. I noticed from watching everyone else’s news breaks that they seemed to be more comfortable and at ease, so I’d definitely like to work on that. I think the news breaks were a great experience and I’d love to try it again.
Each of these projects helped me grow more and more and helped me come more out of my shell. I got to meet so many cool people and became friends with everyone in class. This whole semester has been an incredible learning experience. I’d like to thank Dr. Collins for all of her help this semester. Without her encouragement and positivity, I don’t think I’d ever been able to make it through the semester. She was always my biggest supporter and I’ll be sad to see her go. She was the best mentor anyone could ask for and I’ve learned so much under her care and guidance. So, thank you so much. This is Kathy Wong and I’m signing off one last time for Off the Shelf and Online.