I can officially call myself a multimedia journalist

Prompt: How do you think your project turned out? What aspects of it are you proud of? And (rereading your post from four weeks ago) how well you did you achieve your goals?

I can’t tell you how good it feels to be done.

I get this way with every big project I do. It seems nebulous and impossibly far away at first, but then hitting send or uploading that final piece takes about 1,000 pounds off my shoulders.

What exactly have I been working on for the last 6 weeks or so? Check it out here.

I don’t think it’s perfect, and it certainly won’t win me a pulitzer, but I’m pretty happy with it. I’m proud of the clean web design and how the elements integrate together to tell a story. I’m proud that I completed something I didn’t think I could complete. And I’m proud that I’m finally starting to think like a visual journalist. Based on the 10 commandments of video editing, let’s see how I did on goals I set for myself:

1. I shall have a fuller understanding of what jump cuts are and how to avoid them.

Not going to lie, I still made some mistakes on this, but at least now I know why and went back to fix it.

2. I shall have my subjects speak up when using stick microphones.

I did do this, but I didn’t adjust the levels on the video camera high enough. It was better than earlier attempts, but still could be improved.

3. I shall not take for granted that my camera can focus itself.

During my sit-down interviews, I did manually focus. I am better at starting to see those slight differences in focus, so it’s starting to be more intuitive to manually do it.

4. I shall use tighter framing in my interviews.

I think my framing was all-around better in this project. I paid more attention to backgrounds and to the space around the interviewee.

5. I shall work to get even more detail shots, even when I don’t think I need them.

Now that I know how important detail shots can be to patching together a video, I tried harder during my time  in the office and out on calls to get them. They weren’t all the most fascinating details, but they helped me avoid jump cuts and add to my variety of shots.

6. I shall not take shots that are not precisely leveled.

This could’ve been better. Part of the difficulty was shooting in a car that was moving, but part of it was also that I had to compensate a little because I couldn’t move as fast. If there was a change in the action and a shot I needed to capture, it wasn’t always easy to adjust my tripod fast enough to get it, so there are some unleveled shots.

7. I shall work to even out the volume levels between my voicing, natural sound and interview clips.

I worked hard in final cut to do this. It was harder because the levels in one of my interviews was too low, but overall it evened out better across the board.

8. I shall keep trying to have my voice be conversational and natural when I voice parts of the story.

I tried to use a more natural voice for this video. I think it was an improvement over my last one.

9. I shall not jump the gun by introducing my subjects by name and let the lower third do that for me.

I made this mistake initially, but corrected for it later. It’s still not natural-feeling because I’m so used to text reporting, but I’m getting there.

10. I shall work to be faster as I use the camera so I can film more complete five-shot sequences.

I didn’t have as many 5-shot sequences in this video, but I was more aware of match-on-action shots, which I think improved since last time.

Oddly, this is the last project I have due for the last class I’ll take at the j-school. Sure, I’m technically enrolled for nine hours next semester, but I’m not responsible to a specific professor and there are no scheduled meeting times. I’ll definitely keep everyone apprised of my thesis work and any other topics or stories that strike my fancy, but as far as class blogging goes, this is it.

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