Multimedia

Creating and Editing Video

I have been looking forward to this assignment, because while I have observed many students creating videos in our school’s broadcast program, I have never made one myself.  Through this assignment, I got to experience storyboarding, gathering materials, shooting interviews, shooting b-roll, and editing.

For this assignment, we were able to create a video covering any topic that we wanted.  Since the yearbooks were being delivered the following week, it was on the minds of many of my students.  I knew that I would have the opportunity to get some b-roll of exciting moments that my students would soon be experiencing.

To begin, I thought about what I wanted the video to cover and brainstormed what video I would need.  I started by coming up with the questions that I would ask in interviews.  I ended up asking:

  • Why did you join yearbook?
  • What do you like about being on yearbook staff?
  • What is your favorite yearbook memory?
  • What are you most excited about in getting the yearbooks this week?

Overall, I interviewed 13 students.  Although we have a studio, it does not block out sound from the room next door.  Therefore, some of my interviews have background noise.

In addition to filming the interviews, I also filmed b-roll on a few different occasions.  I took video of students working on the yearbook supplement in class, and I also went out with a few students when they got an interview and took some photos.  Another occasion where I took b-roll was when the yearbooks arrived.  I got some pretty cool reaction shots when the students got to see the book for the first time.

After compiling all of my materials (interviews, images from the year, and b-roll), I began editing.  I used Adobe Premier to edit since this is the software that we have at school.  After learning how to import the materials and learning the basic tools such as select and slice, most of the editing just consisted of listening to and watching the video I had and selecting what I wanted to include.  I also considered a couple of different ways of arranging the video, but decided to organize it by interview question.  I found my music to accompany the video from Incompetech.com, the same site I used for my podcast.

What was really awesome about this assignment was that I was able to get help from students who have experience with creating video.  I learned a lot – from the very basics of getting a camera on a tripod – to the more complex intricacies of editing.  It was awesome to get to see how much they already knew and could pass along.  I also really enjoyed getting to participate in the process and look forward to incorporating video into my Intro to Journalism class next year.

Multimedia

Investigating Interactive Journalism Tools

This week for Teaching Multimedia, we got to experiment with three different interactive elements: maps, polls/surveys, and timelines.  For yearbook, we are always brainstorming creative ways to present information in a more visually appealing way than writing.  Typically, students will immediately think of using graphs of some sort – bar graphs, or even worse, pie graphs.  There are only so many times you can use these elements before they look outdated or tired.  I am excited to be able to offer up suggestions such as the tools that I worked with below.

The first tool I worked with was Google Maps.  Using Google Maps, I created a map of the Lindbergh School District, creating a marker for each school in the district.  It was relatively simple and intuitive.  I was able to rename each school and change the color of each marker.  I can see students using this perhaps on a cross country spread to show where different meets are held.  See the map below.

The second tool I worked with was Polldaddy.  This was a very simple tool to use to create surveys.  Currently, we use Google Forms to take surveys of the student body.  While Google Forms have very many options, it does not have the matrix option, which I could see students using to survey students on marketing/sales questions (such as: do you buy a yearbook, why or why not, rate the quality of the yearbook, etc.).  I created a poll for seniors – we could use this sort of information on a senior spread or for the senior issue of the newsmagazine.  Giving multiple choice options would enable students to create graphs of information.  Using free answer questions gives students beginning information and they can then go gather more information in an interview. See my survey below.

The last tool I experimented with was Tiki-Toki for creating timelines.  This application was the most confusing of the three, and I am not sure that I would use it with students.  While there are many options, it seems like the design was pretty limited.  Additionally, with the free account, you did not have the option to embed the timeline online.  The Tiki-Toki application allows for many entries, which is a positive.  I have screenshotted my timeline below.  

 

Multimedia

Using Audioboom and Audacity to Create Recruiting Podcast

This week in Teaching Multimedia through Kent State University, we took our recording skills with AudioBoom and our editing skills with Audacity and created our own short interview podcast.  For this assignment, I decided to interview my coworker, Justin Cange, who also advises journalism at Lindbergh High School.  Because we just finished up registration and recruiting season at our school, recruiting for scholastic journalism was something that we had talked a lot about and learned a lot about.

For the interview, I brainstormed a couple of questions that I knew I wanted to ask.  I did not write an intro for the interview, but knew that I wanted to introduce my guest at topic.  During the interview, any fidgeting was picked up in the recording.  I stuck to all of my questions and thanked my guest at the end.

After recording the interview, I listened to it to make sure everything was audible.  Something that I noticed the couple times that I have recorded so far is that the Audioboom app picks up a lot of sounds, so even though Justin and I were in a room off of our classroom, you can still here sounds from the adjoining room.  I scripted an intro and outro at home and recorded them.  Because the room was different, you can hear a difference in the audio between the interview and the solo recordings.

I wanted to find music for the background of the podcast, as I listed to Lori King’s podcasts for the Toledo Blade, and I though the music sounded nice in the background.  After a quick Google search, I came upon Incompetech.com where I found the royalty free track for my podcast (and made sure to give credit in my outro).

I dragged the four files (music, intro, interview and outro) into Audacity and began editing.  The first thing I noticed was the volume discrepancy between the tracks, which I was able to control with the volume bar.  I also wanted to edit some of the longer pauses or answers in the interview, and I used the cut tool to do that.  I used the fade in and fade out tool to help transition between clips and at the beginning and end.  I also used space (silence) to create that transition as well.

After editing and listening to the track a couple times, I exported as a .WAV file and then uploaded to Audioboom.  In Audioboom, I added a title and the headshot of Justin that you see above.

Overall, I feel very happy with what I have learned about the app Audioboom and Audacity.  They are both relatively easy to use, especially with FAQ and YouTube videos available.  I anticipate doing a podcast unit with my Intro to Journalism class next year and incorporating both of these programs.

Multimedia

Podcasting Presents Challenges

 

I am an avid consumer of podcasts, so I have been looking forward to this assignment of making my own.  My current podcast docket is so full that I struggle to get through all of the content throughout the week.  I listen to a fair number of NPR podcasts including This American Life and the NPR Politics podcast.  I have recently discovered On the Media, which is wonderful and often lines up with points of discussion from my graduate school classes.  I also listen to podcasts which cover some of my favorite shows such as The West Wing Weekly, Gilmore Guys and Survivor podcasts.

For this assignment, we were able to cover any topic we like.  Since I enjoy many Survivor podcasts, I decided to preview the upcoming season.  I wrote out a script, timing it as I went.  When I timed my final script, my husband told me it sounded like I was reading – which I was!  But I can see why podcasting is difficult.  There is not the ability to just read without sounded stilted.  I wanted to be knowledgeable, so I did have to do a bit of research.  I listened to a couple of YouTube videos from the SurvivorCBS YouTube channels, read some interviews about the upcoming season and castaways and looked at the Survivor Reddit forum, which often features interesting information about the show.

When it came time to record, I found it extremely difficult to find a quiet place to record.  My neighbor’s house is currently under construction, so that was out of the question.  At school, I walked around for about 20 minutes trying out a couple of different locations.  The publications room is right next to the shop classroom, and the vents were running, so there was a constant buzzing in the background.  I ended up recording in a conference room in the office, but even still, you can hear a phone ringing at one point – it’s not perfect.  Using the AudioBoom podcasting app, I recorded my podcast.

The next step was getting the podcast onto WordPress.  After playing around with the settings on the AudioBoom app, I figured out how to upload the podcast.  Then, I copied the embed code, emailed it to myself and pasted it into the insert media window in WordPress when creating a new post.  It was really simple!

Overall, my biggest challenges for this assignment were trying not to sound like I was reading (I wasn’t very successful at this), finding a quiet place and figuring out the AudioBoom app, which was actually pretty user friendly.  I am excited to incorporate podcasting into my Intro to Journalism class and I am glad that I have an example to use and some experience with the tools that are out there to use.

Multimedia

Yearbook Teacher Learns New Photo Techniques

 

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In this Multimedia unit, we were instructed to work with and learn more about the cameras that we check out to students everyday.  When I took the Teaching Photojournalism class last semester, we only spent about two weeks working with manual mode, so I was excited to get the opportunity to practice with these capabilities some more.  The ten images that we were to shoot included both compositional elements as well as shutter speed and aperture experiments.  While I felt comfortable with the compositional ideas, the depth of field and action images gave me a bit more trouble.

So after school one day, I checked out a camera and a couple lenses and enlisted a few students to be my subjects.  I shot the compositional photos first, since I felt the most comfortable with those.  For both the rule of thirds and extreme perspective photos, I had to remind myself how to focus in manual, and I also forgot to adjust the ISO for shooting outside.  Since it was bright out, I should have turned my ISO down.  For the rule of thirds shot which was in the full sun, it turned out too bright.  The extreme perspectives shot was in the shade, so the lighting was okay.

Moving into the depth of field photos, I chose to shoot inside.  For the shallow depth of field photo, I made my aperture smaller, and at 1.8 I was able to focus on the shoes and blur the podium in the foreground and the back of the chair in the background.  For the wide depth of field, I opened up the aperture wider and at 4.8, I was able to capture the subject and her background in focus.

The next task was the action photos.  I had two students run past me outside in order to capture their motion.  For the stopped action photo, I had to use a faster shutter speed.  At 1/750, I was able to capture my running student without blur.  In order to capture a blurred subject with a focused background, I turned my shutter speed down to 1/180, and even lower than that, 1/30 to capture a panned action photo (the hardest one of the bunch).

The last task was lighting.  For the silhouette photo, I placed my subject in front of a bright doorway and made my shutter speed quicker to capture a dark subject.  For the extreme lighting photo, I put the subject in a dark room and had a student use the flashlight app on their iPhone for a light source.  The difficulty here was that I had to open my aperture to bring in more light and also slow my shutter speed, but it led to blur.  I steadied my arms against my body to bring some stability to the camera.  For the optional photo, I chose a soft lighting situation where I took my subject into a shadowed area outside to reduce the contrast in the photo and the shadows on her face.

Overall, it was very helpful to experiment with these different elements in the manual mode of the camera.  The next day, I got to use my new knowledge as I helped a student set up their camera to shoot a basketball game in the gym.

Multimedia · Yearbook

Multimedia Teaches New Outlook

Sometimes I worry that in advising yearbook, I am not truly preparing my students to be journalists.  After all, the yearbook that comes out in May hardly has immediacy, one of the seven aspects that makes a story interesting to readers according to Tim Harrower in “Inside Reporting.”  Through the past four years, as the yearbook adviser at Lindbergh High School, I have worked to continue to bring resources to my students to help them to be true journalists who are ready to enter a college journalism program.  However, I am constantly looking for ways that I can make the experience that my students have in my yearbook class applicable to the ever-changing world of news and media.  In addition to teaching two sections of Yearbook, I also teach two sections of English I Honors.

Currently with the yearbook, we are incorporating elements of multimedia through text, images, graphics and social media.  Our publication currently makes use of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat as social media platforms.  While I feel that we are at a good place for our program, I notice what other yearbooks “out there” are doing and am motivated to push my students to do more.  Sometimes we get in a rut of looking at last year’s book, and just doing another version of that.  Instead, we should be exploring Aurasma to incorporate video, using infographics to breakdown statistics and complex information and social media not just for promotion.  After viewing the JEA Digital Media site and viewing the copious amounts of multimedia tools available, it is apparent that there are many opportunities to do this, and I anticipate learning about many of these through this course, Teaching Multimedia.  While we can’t use everything at once, I want to be able to expose my students to these opportunities so they are better equipped to choose how to tell stories.

Of the goals that I have for this course, learning about the different ways to incorporate multimedia into my yet-to-be taught Intro to Journalism and Photojournalism course is my top goal.  In the fall, I will be teaching newbies the basics of journalism, and while I feel like I might have a lot of students who enter the class because they like to write, I want to equip them with the skills necessary to be relevant and interesting to their audiences.  From the Intro course, I anticipate students choosing a production course to enter.  As of now, we have three: Yearbook, Converged Newsmagazine/Online News and Broadcast.  In order for students to be successful in these production courses, they need to understand that journalism is much more than writing.  As stated in Andy Bull’s “Multimedia Journalism,” journalists have to choose the best way to tell a story, whether it is through text, live audio, live video, still images, graphics or a combination of these elements.