End of the Road – Tiffany’s Final Reflection

Wow, what a semester!

This was my only class I took, but having a full-time job at KSNT News made it somewhat stressful. I started as a Breaking News Producer, working primarily on the web and going out to cover breaking news scenes if no reporter was available. Now I’m training to become the new Morning Producer and will take on producing the morning show on my own.

Despite how stressful juggling this class and my job was, Dr. Collins was an amazing professor. She had to juggle learning the ropes of our journalism department at KU, as well as helping us become better journalists.

The first assignment was the video essay. At first, I was unsure what to do for this even though it was probably the easiest assignment. At work, I got sent to cover a church that caught fire. With Dr. Collins’s permission, I used that video for the video essay assignment.

Our second assignment was to do a VO and VOSOTVO on the same topic. Since flu season was in full force, I was wondering how gyms were dealing with it and what precautions they were taking.

There was confusion when it came to set up an interview. The staff at the rec center thought I was wanting to talk more on the medical side, but my focus was on the gym (working out while sick, wiping down equipment, etc.). It eventually all worked out and I got some good video and an interview.

With the second VO/VOSOTVO assignment, I panicked a little about finding something. Luckily, at work I covered this groundbreaking ceremony a church put on. That day was so windy, dirt was blowing everywhere. So while dirt was blowing into my face, I tried to keep my shots as steady as possible. I was also dealing with clouds moving in and out, so the lighting in some of my shots was a little bad.

For the third VO/VOSOTVO, we had to do different topics. Initially I thought this would be easy because I wouldn’t have to do an interview. My thought process behind that was to cover the last women’s basketball home game and use soundbites from the post game press conference. I then remembered I would have to transcribe that entire press conference and almost all of those questions weren’t mine.

I decided to switch and make the game my VO. Jose actually had the same idea so we both covered that game. It was cool to see how our minds worked and the different shots we used; really cool to see that play out. I was happy to be covering a sporting event because in previous semesters my focus was on sports.

As for the VOSOTVO, I chose to cover one of the veggie lunches the Ecumenical Campus Ministries puts on every Thursday. The interview went smoothly, but getting shots was a struggle for me. The tripod I had was so unstable it made my shots shaky. Some of my shots were also dark. I was kind of disappointed with how it turned out because I knew I could have done better.

I was excited to move on from the VOs and VOSOTs and start doing packages!

Cain was a great partner and was very helpful. Our first idea was to cover how law enforcement was preparing for March Madness. Then we switched focus to how bars were preparing for it. Cain was able to get some video over the weekend since I worked and wasn’t able to. He eventually suggested a new idea to me…our Plan C! Again, with both of our schedules he was able to go shoot video and 3 interviews easily, as the Justice For All Group was on the Stauffer-Flint lawn.

We worked together to write the script and help each other with our stand-ups. Some shots weren’t white balanced properly, but shooting video outside can be challenging. All in all, I think we did a good job working together to make the first package.

Then came our second package. This was done individually, which in my opinion, was less stressful because we didn’t have to coordinate with our partners. Everyone has such different and busy schedules

However, this package brought more stress than I had anticipated. Once again, my first two plans fell through and I went to Plan C.

I was so excited for my Plan A and am still sad it fell through. I was on the app Nextdoor and came across a post coordinating a walking group. It got lots of engagement and so I took a shot and emailed the woman that posted it. Right away she was willing to do the story. It was difficult trying to find a day they were walking that was also on my day off (and also was on a day with good weather…). I met the woman near the Levee Cafe, just north of the river. The issue was it was only her and one other woman. I worked with what I had and got great shots, hoping to attend another walking session with more people.

Well, I met her again and it was only her. She wasn’t very happy and said she wasn’t going to put in the effort anymore if nobody was going to show up. She was very sweet and sympathetic, apologizing my story didn’t work out.

Then it was on to Plan B. When I first moved to Lawrence, I was very into health and fitness. I came across this company called Fitness Kitchen that makes healthy meals and packages them up to sell. They seemed excited that I wanted to do a story about them, but they were very slow in responding to my messages. The Sunday before the package was due, I decided I would have to move to Plan C.

It all fell right into place that Sunday. At work, I was sent to cover a veteran that was turning 100. As soon as I walked in, one of the employees was extremely helpful and eager to help me do this story. Without asking me about it, he immediately grabbed family members and asked if I could talk to them, basically doing the hard part for me! It then clicked that this would be my package.

I interviewed, Art, the veteran turning 100, his brother and two of his sons. I didn’t do a standup because I was pressed for time, as I had to write and edit this as a VOSOT for our 5 p.m. show. Everything worked out and I’m so happy I used this story for my package.

I was very excited to do the news breaks because I want more practice anchoring. I found it hard to time everything right and I was short for both news breaks. In the second news break, the teleprompter wasn’t loaded for my news break. I pointed it out a few minutes before I was set to go, but I don’t think anyone heard me. I then got distracted when I saw we had an IFB, so as I was adjusting that I had less than 30 seconds to get back in my spot. My rundown still wasn’t loaded and we went right into my news break and I pointed it out live on air, without realizing we were live. I quickly heard Dr. Collins in my ear telling me to keep going and I was mad at myself that I didn’t realize I could easily look down at my scripts.

Luckily, my package was the first thing to run, so the person running teleprompter was able to get my rundown loaded before I was back on camera. Everything else went smoothly, other than the fact that I was about 30 seconds short.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08PleLDSyvc&t=3s

This class left a huge impact on me. Being older than everyone, I felt pretty out of place and felt as if I wouldn’t be able to connect with anyone. I was completely wrong. This class was hands down, the best group of people I’ve ever had a class with. I formed great friendships and connections that I’ll always treasure and hope we can continue to talk to each other and meet up every now and then.

Dr. Collins is one of the best professors I’ve ever had. I’m so thankful I got the opportunity to be in her class. She made sure to make everyone feel that they matter. She spoke with everyone individually and took the time to get to know us. She didn’t have to do any of that, but listening to her stories and just observing her, I learned she’s an incredible person and genuinely cares. She wants to make a difference in everyone’s lives and I find that so inspiring.

When I was offered a full-time gig at KSNT, I was so nervous signing my contract. I trusted her and asked if she could help me look it over. She went through each page and pointed out things to me I didn’t understand. She also pushed me to gather the courage to ask for what I want. I was scared about signing a three-year contract and she gave me advice on how to negotiate it down.

On the last day of class, she did something I’ve never experienced a professor do. She wrote down messages for each of us and read them out loud. Walking in that day, I didn’t expect to cry, but I started to feel a little emotional listening to her and especially when she started crying. Being in such a big college, it’s hard to make connections with your professors, but Dr. Collins made it a priority to form connections with each one of us. I’m forever grateful for her and I’m so sad to see her leave. She’s a great professor and an even better person.

Thank you Dr. Collins for believing in us. Thank you for making me believe in myself and making sure I know that I can achieve anything I set my mind to.

Smiling….Tiffany Littler.

Progress so far: Kathy Wong Blog Post 2

It’s now the beginning of March and there’s been so much that has happened in that time span. We’ve created a total of three VO’s, three VOSOTVO’s, and a video essay. With each assignment, I’m learning new things and skills that further progress my abilities on video editing and shooting, as well as script writing. Although the start of this class was quite daunting for me, I’ve actually come to love this class a great deal, and I’d even say that it’s my favorite one. Before this class, I’ve only had experience with making two videos, both of which I had very little idea of what I was doing. I remember the first time I rented equipment and I had no idea that I was supposed to grab a tripod or a mic. I had no idea how to shoot video and I generally panned and zoomed a lot. However, with this class, I’ve learned to absolutely never do those things and I’ve picked up quite a few new skills.

Our first project was a video essay and I was extremely nervous about it. After hearing about the project, I immediately decided to do the topic over the day in the life of a college student at KU. I spent the next few days planning my shots out and filming, but after looking at the footage  I was dissatisfied. It seemed boring and absolutely awful, so I went back to the drawing board and decided to film one of my friend’s D&D sessions. However, after filming, much to my dismay, I found that none of the sounds had actually been captured and instead, all I heard was this incessant static. I tried putting the audio into audacity to try and adjust it like I saw on a youtube video, but it didn’t work. So I trashed everything and I felt like I was grasping straws at that point to try and find an idea. After nearly having a panic attack, my roommate suggested that I film the historical items on display at the Union. So, the next day I spent hours in the Union filming, but when I began editing I realized that we couldn’t have any zooming or panning in the shots, and that was basically every single shot that I had. So I went back and reshot the videos and then spent hours in the lab editing. Editing always seems to take me the longest, as I’m not too familiar with adobe premiere, but after watching some youtube tutorials I felt like I got the hang of it. Writing the script seemed easy at the time, but after our critique, I realized I was horribly wrong. My writing wasn’t conversational at all, and I strived to improve on that aspect. From our critique, I was able to learn from my mistakes, which was to let my videos breath, and I worked on improving them for my next project.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VI0Knj4SVnI

Our second project was a VO and VOSOTVO. This time I chose to do my projects over the recent snow storm and change in weather in Lawrence. For my VO I shot videos of the snow and frozen nature and for my VOSOTVO I did about the same, but added more shots of the snow covering the campus and focused on shots of students walking through the snow. While shooting I paid close attention to keeping the camera still, not panning, and not zooming. I worked more on getting a variety of shots and spent hours outside filming. After filming I worked on editing the videos and I learned some new features, like hold frame and stabilizing. These came in handy for my still shots because the wind caused the already horrible tripod to be even shakier. I worked on the script once again but had trouble with trying to say it and see it. This problem caused me to cut some of my videos into shorter segments because I wanted everything to match what I said. This turned out to be a bad idea because I once again didn’t let my videos breath. From our class critique, I learned that it was imperil that we made sure to lower the sound on all of our videos in order to make sure that the audio wasn’t too loud.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqX08DZQEbs

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6wPe2ohxfY

VO 2 and VOSOTVO 2 were next. This time my project was over an event hosted by the natural history museum. For my VO I went around the museum and took shots of the different exhibits and artifacts on display and for my VOSOTVO I went to the event that was hosted at the Union and got shots of the table and people who visited the table. This time I wanted to make sure that my audio was perfect. Aksinya taught me how to lower the sound on all of my videos in premiere. However, while editing the video, for some reason the audio would completely disappear when I tried to lower the sound. I eventually got help from one of the lab technicians and they helped me sort it out. Yet, I ran into another problem. When I went to save and export my video, it deleted all of my work and I had to start all over again. After my conference with Dr. Collins, I realized that my biggest mistake while creating the script was that I was writing it after editing my footage. No one had ever told me that there was a specific order when creating our projects, so I never knew, but I stored this information for my next project. After my conference with Dr. Collins, I was also able to get a better grasp of how to become more conversational in my script writing. The conference really helped me a lot and it assuaged most of my fears about the next assignment. During this assignment, I was even able to help one of my peers edit and coach her on script writing. It made me feel really good that I was able to help someone else, even though I felt like a rookie compared to everyone else in the class, but I realized from helping my classmate that I’ve made a lot of progress so far.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XB3XVS1IWNE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PpePH_c17BA

For our most recent assignment VO 3 and VOSOTVO 3 instead of normally having our project over the same topic, we had to choose two different topics. For my VO I decided to shoot footage of the Central District Construction project on campus and for my VOSOTVO I decided to shoot footage of students preparing for midterms and Spring Break. My troubles with the VO were that I couldn’t get a good shot of the construction occurring due to the fence around the area. I zoomed in the furthest I could on the camera, but just couldn’t get the tight shots that I would have liked. For my VOSOTVO the troubles that I had were with the shakiness of shots. All the tripods that I rented seemed to be all broken, thus I had to press down on the tripod to keep it stabilized. While editing my footage, I ran into the same problem as the last assignment. For whatever reason, whenever I tried to save my footage and export it, it would delete all of my work. This happened twice, and I was so frustrated by the end of it. While editing, Jose pointed out that my rule of thirds for my interview was incorrect. I was dismayed because that was the aspect that I focused the most on during this assignment, and I was mad that I had inadvertently messed it up. I had made sure my subject had enough headroom and everything, but she was looking in the wrong direction. I stood on the left side of the camera and told her to look at me, instead of having her look at the right side. This is what bothered me the most about this project and I was really disappointed in myself. During this assignment, I was once again able to help a peer with her videos and script.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yieNC2XxBNY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4lPMX51g4CQ

Although I was very apprehensive about taking this class, I feel as though I made the right decision. Every day I’m able to learn more and more about the different skills required in broadcast journalism. Dr. Collins is one of our biggest supporters in the class. Her passion for her teaching is what makes the class thoroughly enjoyable and I appreciate her enthusiasm.