A Journey Toward Technological Confidence

You don’t have to know it all before you begin . . . 

Coming into Multimedia Reporting, I had absolutely zero experience with using media. In fact, I hated technology! I could barely take a video on my phone, let alone use a video camera. And the recorder? I had avoided using it up until this point in my college career, and I now I was going to regret it. This class had me petrified.

But I didn’t want to let my fear of technology get in the way of my education. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to express my creativity. I wanted what I produced in this class to be a reflection of my values and interests.

So when we received the first assignment, I became inspired. The requirements for Assignment 1 were very low pressure, simply designed to accustom us to our cameras. We learned to take pictures, videos, zoom in and out, and how to attach our cameras to our tripods. Instead of taking a bunch of random pictures and videos, I wanted my creation to tell a story. So I invited one of my friends over for coffee and had her model for me. It ended up being a blast, and we got some beautiful video. The elements of the assignment had to be in a specific order, so my story got a little mixed up, but in general, I was very proud of my first attempt at really using technology.

Coffee beans taken from www.wpjrnl.com
Coffee beans taken from www.wpjrnl.com

The second assignment took me back a step. Still feeling good from the first assignment, I thought I could handle a photo essay with ease. I decided to take a trip to the Marketplace Mall with my friends and capture our journey organically. That turned into a mad rush to take pictures, most of which turned out blurry. In my rush, I also forgot to take a variety of pictures. Assignment 2 is a better representation of my beginner’s status, but I had fun doing it!

It doesn't matter if the picture you took is pretty. Make sure it makes sense with your story
It doesn’t matter if the picture you took is pretty. Make sure it makes sense with your story

Assignment 3 was a continuation of Assignment 2. We simply had to add audio to our original video. This also proved to be a struggle for me. The audio I tried to take inside the bus ended up sounding like satanic chants, so I had to get creative and use audio from other areas.

The assignment I am most proud of is Assignment 4, our video essay. I frequently go to the Farmers Market in Urbana, and I knew that Pandamonium Doughnuts was the talk of the town. When I set up my camera to start filming the line, I ran into a friend who happened to know the founder. She introduced me to him, and I ended up getting a great interview! I had a little trouble again with the audio and volume control, but overall, I think the video captures the excitement and positive energy surrounding Pandamonium Doughnuts. This is also the first video you will need to use lower thirds for. I wasn’t sure how, so I looked up some videos on YouTube, and I found this one very helpful. Click HERE to see the video.

Logo and doughnut taken from www.smilepolitely.com
Logo and doughnut taken from www.smilepolitely.com

Assignment 5 was also a ton of fun! This was our “how to” assignment and I knew I wanted to continue the theme of sweets. Over the summer, I learned how to make a cookie in a cup, and as a college kid with limited time for baking, I wanted to share my quick treat with my classmates. I had to use my little desk lamp from my room to create enough lighting in my kitchen. Just have fun with your how to videos!

The sixth assignment was surprisingly challenging. It was an audio package, and I was so excited to go back to the Farmers Market to cover the musicians who play every week. I got great audio of a unique band, and great interviews from the people watching them, but when I went to put it all together in Adobe, the volume was explosive. If you are going to watch Assignment 6, make sure to turn the volume down on your computer before you start.

After that, I learned pretty quickly how to control the volume on Adobe. When you’re doing your projects, remember that the volume control is in the top left panel where you cut your video and audio, under a tab that says “audio.” Make sure your volume never hits the red.

Our second audio package, Assignment 7, was better for volume for me, but getting the actual story was difficult. I did my final topic on male victims of domestic violence on campus. I must have emailed 15 people, and poked my head into another 15 offices, trying to get an interview with anybody about the issue. Nobody would respond. I finally had to go to a presentation in order to get any audio.

Poster in the Women's Resource Center promoting awareness.
Poster in the Women’s Resources Center promoting awareness.

Assignment 8 was no different. For our final Full package, I wanted to uncover more resources for men who suffer from domestic abuse, but it seemed like everywhere I looked was a dead end. RSO’s were disbanded, and even the University Police weren’t sure if there were any resources specifically for men. I finally got some information from the Women’s Resources Center. Putting together the video was surprisingly quick and easy for this last assignment. Before I knew it, I had become comfortable with the technology.

Another poster in the Women's Resources Center advertising Man Talks.
Another poster in the Women’s Resources Center advertising Man Talks.

This class may seem intimidating, but do not worry! You will get the hang of it very quickly! I’m still no expert on multimedia, but I’m much more comfortable now than I was five months ago.