May 6, 2008
There were eight students, and they worked together in teams of two.
Here are their final videos from the spring 2008 semester.
May 2, 2008
This has been quite a journey for me as a teacher, and I’d like to thank my students for their enthusiasm and their patience.
I think the students’ blog posts about the spring semester, in which we focused primarily on video, were very fair and helpful.
I’d like more experience covering actual news this way, not necessarily an issue story, but a news story. Not that they couldn’t be both. But at times, I felt I was seeking the documentary story, and not the news story, which is hard for a journalist and a little confusing. I like the challenge of telling a news story in a way, a visual way, that might not be expected, or in the normal reality of a standard news publication.
Now, the best part of the course was, I believe, the time I was able to spend with my hands on a video camera or editing tool. The worst part of the course was, I believe, the (lack of) time I was able to spend with my hands on a video camera or editing tool. While I understand the structure of telling a story, telling that story through video took me well out of my comfort zone.
Out of al the things I learned, I think I am most confident about telling a story and making sure I have a variety of interesting shots and audio. I wasn’t as creative with shot angles and ideas in the first video I shot for class, but now I’ve become more comfortable with thinking about how the angles, sequences and pacing of shots can add visual interest. Now, I also know how to use the tripod appropriately for interviewing and also for controlled movements like panning, tilting and dollying.
I feel like there were many practices in this class that were not reflective of regular newsroom practice, and I am not sure how helpful they will be in producing short news videos for web packages for a newspaper. I am not sure that the emphasis on documentary film making and broadcast news styles will serve online journalists. I simply do not think the documentary film making methods is appropriate for producing news.
For the past few years, I have been experimenting with video … back then I thought I was doing a great a job.
The first day we experimented with the camera in class, however, changed that thought right away. The 5-shot technique along with the 10 second rule of shooting opened my eyes to that art of video and film. I have already made two videos that I am really proud of, and I am pretty sure that I will continue producing more video projects.
I have enjoyed our class’ exploration of longer films to help us gain perspective about storytelling in shorter formats, which is what I will do the most as a journalist. As much as I loathed doing it the first time, I now see how making a log of shots before capturing the video from the tape is beneficial. The same goes for writing a script. It can be tedious, but it does make the rest of the editing process easier. And, I think the more I edit video, the better I will become at identifying the best shots and writing a script that really facilitates the storytelling process.
The important issue is that Toolkit II is about how to create journalistic stories and learning how to tell them using a video camera, a bunch of cables, and a microphone. I think that is the real goal of the class. And it is not easy at all.
Shooting video footage, a task that demands extensive visual work and creative thinking, offers me a chance to develop my storytelling skills. It is always a thrill to find a lead, dig the story and present it creatively. In comparison to last [semester’s] Soundslides, video storytelling has been a greater challenge for me, as it is difficult to effectively calibrate details such as view angles and lighting. I believe that a great video narrator must be a careful observer in daily life. I am glad to have spend time learning how to edit video footage, a task that, though it may seem boring, is actually very enjoyable. [I] only wish I could have more experience using Final Cut Pro.
Thanks to all the students. It has been a privilege.