When I first enrolled in English 2269, I was unsure of what exactly it was that we would be doing in this course. From a brief reading of the syllabus, I knew that the class was going to be primarily project-based, which was something I was used to after taking an honors digital photography class last year.
I hadn’t really heard anything bad about the class prior to signing up; however, I had also not heard anyone praise the class either. It was listed as a prerequisite for some of my other journalism courses, so if I am being completely honest, that was my reasoning for taking this course. Although it was a requirement, it was one I didn’t mind having to take, as the course material looked interesting and I thought that, in this class, I would have the opportunity to learn about a variety of digital mediums.
At the beginning of the course, specifically, at the start of our first unit, I was admittedly a little worried that this class would solely be a rehashing of what I had learned during my semester of digital photography. Although most of the photography composition tips were a review from last year, I did enjoy having the chance to use Gimp, a photo editing software. I had downloaded Gimp over the summer to make silly photo collages of friends’ pictures, but did not feel like I had a very firm grasp on all of this program’s capabilities. I am thankful that this class explained this program in greater detail.
For my visual unit project, I decided to reinvent a concept that I had attempted during my photography class, and I was very pleased with the results. The actual photographing process was easy for me, as I was used to wandering campus and Columbus in search of photography subjects. I am happy that this version of my project was cleaner than last years’, and had a clearer vision and message. I think having the ability to produce the images using a photo manipulation program like Gimp enhanced the photos and the project as a whole. Last year, I was unhappy with some imperfections that arose in the execution of my idea—for example, balancing the cut out image with the clarity of the backgrounds. I attribute this problem to our inability to use any programs like Gimp or Photoshop in this class. I saw this visual/photo project as a way to address these problems and create a cleaner version of my original project idea.
The only challenge I feel that I faced in this project was the restriction to Creative Commons and Fair Use images. I had never really thought of the implications of copyright laws when it came to projects I created for other classes. It was frustrating at first to have to search out very obscure film stills to include in my photos, especially in situations when I had a very specific idea that I wished to convey and photos were not available.
Nevertheless, I think this restriction was important, as it pushed me to think of the project from a flipped viewpoint. Instead of finding film stills and images that fit a specific location on campus, I had to think of a specific location on campus that would compliment the available film still. In hindsight, I think approaching the creation of the images in this way was definitely more challenging, but also more fun.
My favorite project of the semester started out as the most daunting. I had no idea where to start when it came to audio production, and I hated hearing my recorded voice. I also had no ideas on what would be considered an audio-worthy story to share with the class. To be honest, I chose the tifo idea on a whim.
I am very happy that I ended up choosing to pursue this idea. I had written a lengthy print piece for The Lantern about this tifo during the fall of my freshman year, around the time of the USA vs. Mexico game. Even though I knew quite a bit about the subject, I knew audio would present challenges that I had never encountered before, when I was only worried about writing a good article.
I lucked out when one of my sources agreed to come to campus to discuss the tifo. I explained that this time, this story would be presented in a podcast-like format, and that it would be a retrospective piece on the tifo a year after its creation. I knew that I needed to find an optimal recording space, so I reserved a few hours in the Denney Hall Digital Union recording studio.
The editing process was not as challenging as I anticipated; however, I was still quite unsure of how to string together Morgan’s quotes, my voiceovers, and the music. I do not remember who exactly recommended that I listen to episodes of This American Life to collect some inspiration on how to do this, but that was the best piece of advice I have ever received. Not only did this greatly help me in finalizing my audio story, it has turned me into an avid listener of TAL’s weekly podcast.
During our video unit, I learned a lot about the differences between still photography and capturing video. I thought it would be very similar, but there were a lot of unforeseen challenges that arose, especially when my camera started to malfunction while I was in the Short North shooting videos.
I am overall happy with the final project that I produced, “Columbus in 60: The Sights of our City.” It was interesting viewing the city in which I spend so much time through the lens of a camera. I think I accurately captured the multifaceted aspects of culture that exist in Columbus, but fitting all of my ideas into a minute-long video required me to be choosy in terms of which clips I ultimately decided to include.
After reading the feedback I received for this project, I agree that perhaps shooting in color would have been more effective, as it would show that Columbus is a city forging a modern identity. I also agree that including a song performed by a local band would also add to the overall project, as it would be another medium that showcases the creative spirit of this city.
Surprisingly, the final project was probably my least favorite of this course. I ran into some issues trying to secure photo credentials for some of the shows that I wished to photograph, so I ended up taking photos of tailgaters and football fans before the OSU vs. Michigan game.
The experience of using a DSLR camera and capturing more photojournalism-esque photos was still a valuable use of my time; however, I think I will always be more drawn to the use of photography as a purely artistic medium. I think with some more practice, though, I will become more comfortable both with the camera and the techniques required to produce moving photos as a journalist.
Looking toward the future, I can definitely see myself using the skills and programs studied in this class. I am still very surprised that I enjoyed the audio unit so much, and I am actually looking around for opportunities to produce more audio stories like the one I completed for this class.
I have hope that I will use programs like Gimp, Audacity, and iMovie throughout my remaining years in the journalism program at Ohio State. I intend to spend winter break and next semester taking more opportunities to learn how to master the DSLR, and will make a concerned effort to incorporate multimedia packages into the stories that I write for The Lantern.
Overall, I am pleased with my progress this semester and feel more confident in my abilities to create a variety of multimedia content as a digital media producer.