Video Project

EHS Promenade

The final project in this class was to create a video news story about an event. The event I decided to do was my little sister’s promenade. It is the same event I chose for my social media project. I had a lot of fun with this project as well as stress. I liked editing the film and creating a story, but I’ve come to the conclusion technology is not my friend. I had difficulties uploading the film from my phone to the computer. When I did get it downloaded, some of my clips were without sound when I put it into the adobe program. My interviews came out fine, but the film of the actual promenade had no sound. That was fun. So I tried uploading the promenade song from itunes. I finally got something figured out and was able to complete the video. And I did have issues uploading my final video to youtube. It would upload almost all the way, then fail. Then do the same thing again and again. Finally, I was able to get it to upload. I think I got it uploaded and was able to see it on youtube, but I’m still a little nervous it didn’t upload right.

What I learned from this project is patience. It isn’t always fun rewatching the same clip repeadley or listening to the same sounds, but in order to get the exact final project I wanted, it was necessary. I wish I would have done my interviews differently. I interviewed two Juniors who participated in promenade and it was like pulling teeth. I wish I had interviewed a student and a parent or a teacher. Just to get different perspectives on the event. I’m noy exactly sure I’ll ever use video editing in my future, I don’t necessarily plan to go into that field. However, it is nice knowing that I can accomplish it if the task comes up again in the future.

Social Media- Blog Post 11

In today’s society, social media is becoming a bigger and bigger presence everyday. Websites like Facebook and Twitter are the first places people go to learn about current events. Journalist and others are utilizing these social networks to report the news. For this assignment we had to live tweet an event. I decided to live tweet my baby sister’s promenade. Promenade, in my hometown, is the event that occurs right before the actual prom. And it’s kind of big deal. The junior class picks partners (generally not the same person they go to prom with) and learn a choreographed dance. The whole town is invited to come watch. The kids are announced a lot like they would be at a debutante ball. This is also when prom king and queen are announced. It’s really a big production. I did enjoy this experience because it was fun “reporting” things as they happened. I liked that I could potentially be the first person to comment on an event. However, I did not enjoy that I felt like taking time to tweet was taking my attention off of what was happening live. When I go to events I like to put my full attention to it. I think that the most difficult and surprising part for me about the experience was trying not to tweet like I normally do. I do use Twitter as a social network, but the things I say there are more for friends and family, not a wider audience. So it was hard it transition from personal tweets to professional so to speak. I also learned the importance of hashtags. Before I would use hashtags to be funny, but I learned that when it came to live twitting events it is important to make the hashtags as specific and relevent as possible. One thing I wish I would have done differently is that some of my tweets came out in first person, so I wish I had done those differently. I’m not exactly sure how I would use social media in a future career. I don’t necessarily plan on going into journalism but that doesn’t mean I won’t use it. And now I know how so if it ever comes up in the future I’ll be ready.

Post 10 SoundSlide

Coal Creek

Blog post 10 had a partner and I create an audio story using the program SoundSlide. What we had to do was pick a subject, take at least 15 pictures of the subject and interview two different people about it as well. My partner and I chose to do a business profile on the local coffee shop Coal Creek. We wanted to focus on why Coal Creek was popular amongst locals and the type of atmosphere it gave off. I think we achieved this by interviewing two patrons and an employee. From these three sources we got a pretty good picture of who goes to Coal Creek and why. We also achieved this by taking a lot of good pictures of people at Coal Creek just enjoying themselves. We did run into a few issues that hindered our project from being all it could be. The first problem arose when we didn’t have a way to upload the pictures off the camera my partner used. We didn’t have the usb cord and the memory card wouldn’t fit into the computers. So we had to use pictures taken off a cellphone. They weren’t bad pictures, but I liked the ones we had taken with the camera better. The second biggest problem came with my partner and I getting together. Because of our schedules, it was difficult for us to get together to work. Finally, the biggest problem came when I couldn’t get SoundSlide to work. I don’t know what I was doing wrong but I couldn’t get it to open on any computer that I tried. This resulted in our project being a few days late. So that was cool. As far as working with a partner goes, I think we worked well together when we got together. But she had to leave town over the weekend so it was up to me to put the finishing touches on our project. I think I would have preferred to work alone simply because I know my schedule and I know how to work around it. Trying to coordinate times with someone else was difficult. After all the issues getting the project done, I did get a little frustrated towards the end. I found out today that the captions I put on the slides Monday didn’t show up for whatever reason, but by this point I am a little ready to wash my hands of this. I did learn a lot from this project though. I learned that with big projects like this it is better to get everything done at once instead of waiting for there to be a better time. Overall I would say I did enjoy this project because I felt like it was real journalism. I liked creating a story, talking to people and taking pictures for it. And I did like editing it to get my message across.

Post 9-Edited Interview

Post assignment 9 had us edit the raw interview we did in post 8. I’ll admit, I forgot to do the interview until the last second possible. My bad. However, I did get to interview my sister Lindsay about her radiology clinical, which I found interesting. What I learned from this experience is that asking related questions makes a huge difference in the interview. During my interview, I asked Lindsay what I thought were good, appropriate questions. Which they were, if you listened to only the unedited version. It makes sense in that version. But once I took out the segments of me talking and us conversing, it made less sense and didn’t flow as well. For example, I asked Lindsay how long she had been in the radiology program. Without hearing me ask her this, it just sounded like she randomly throws in how long she had been in the program. The rest of the interview was about what she did during clinical and what she would like to do in the future. I ended up cutting the entire segment where she talks about how long she was in the program in order to help the flow of the interview. I actually enjoyed editing the interview. It was tedious at points, but overall I did enjoy it. I was surprised at how easily I could cut out “ums” and silences to make the interview shorter, more interesting and flow better. However, I did not enjoy listening to the same parts over and over again. I basically have the interview memorized. But I see how it was necessary to get exactly what I wanted. I also wish that the interview would have ended differently. It feels like my sister just stops talking, with no real end. I wish I could have had something to close out the interview. There are two things I wish I could have done differently. The first is that I wish I would have understood the self identify instructions better. I don’t know why, but in my mind I had to introduce the interviewee. I’m not sure why I thought this, but after I went back through the instructions I realized the mistake I made. It was too late to redo the interview, so I just worked with what I had. The second is the background noise. There was a ding going off in the background of the interview that, at the time, I didn’t think the microphone would pick up because it was far away. It did however and I hate that it is in there. If I could change anything it would be the background noise and the self identifier. Since I listened to the interview so many times, it drives me nuts to hear those two things back.

The world premiere of Raw Interview Final:

Link to Western Wyoming
Link to Weber State University

Post 8- Rare Interview

For the project, I decided to interview my sister, Lindsay, about her adventures in her radiology clinicals. At first it was slightly awkward because we usually do not talk in a professional interview manner. However, once we got into it, it was easy and the interview flowed well. Because I decided to interview a family member, I did not get the chance to be interviewed. But I think I would feel like my sister did, awkward at first but more comfortable as the interview went. Lindsay did mention that it was easy to talk about radiology because she knew a lot about the subject. I learned from this experience that it is a good idea to have questions ready before hand, but it is just as useful to go with the flow and ask about things the interviewee had mentioned. I knew I wanted to talk to Lindsay about why she wanted to go into radiology and what she liked about it, but I kept thinking of questions as she talked. For example, she talks about how she may want to be a radiologist at a ski resort. I found this interesting and tried to ask deeper questions about this. Overall, I did enjoy this experience. I found it interesting to talk with someone about a key part of their lives. I knew my sister wanted to be a rad. tech., but I have never asked about her favorite kind of x-rays to take or what she might like to specialize in one day. Something I would have done differently is given a few more seconds in between her answers and my next questions. Also, listening back I noticed a few spots where I interrupted her and a few spots where I could have asked clearer questions. I think these spots weren’t noticeable when I was interviewing her because we are sisters so that is how we normally talk. I feel that if I had been interviewing someone I wasn’t so close to maybe there would be less of these interruptions and completely clear questions.

Counting and Ambient Sounds

For this new assignment, I found myself in a world in which I have never been. The world of audio editing. I don’t know a lot about Photoshop, but I’ve played around with it enough in the past that I can figure out a few things. I have never ventured into audio editing. I was nervous. However, I also knew this would be a good learning experience if I chose to continue with a career in journalism. The purpose of this assignment, for me, was to get comfortable editing audio. It was to get used to how audio works, what to listen for and how to tell good sounds from bad. When I was recording my ambient sounds, first I tried recording them off my phone. I quickly discovered my phone literally had the worst recorder in history. All my sounds sounded like the same muffled mess. Luckily, when my phone failed, my iPad saved the day. I was able to record twelve different ambient and fulfill the requirements by using the Soundcloud app.

1. Paper- My first sound is of papers shuffling. I recorded this sound in my room while I was studying for a test. I think it could be a good ambient sound for a story on studying, homework, etc. It could be best used as a feature story on how students juggle different assignments and classes.

2. Microwave- For the second sound, I recorded the microwave at my work place. I work at the Hilton Garden Inn in the restaurant portion of the hotel. I recorded this ambient sound of the microwave. I think it could be used in an audio story about cooking, possibly cooking in a hurry. I recorded the ding as the microwave started up, but I wish I would have recorded the timer as it stopped. It would have felt more complete. Overall though I think that I could use this sound in an audio clip.

3. Rocks- I recorded this outside my apartment building. I was just kicking and shuffling rocks around. This sound could be best used in a story about construction. It sounds like gravel and I think could be best used in that type of story.

4. Static- This is a recording of my radio. I just put it on a random, static station and let it play. What I like best about this sound is that you can hear it almost find a signal. It almost gets there but not quite. The type of story that would benefit the best with this ambient sound would be one about radio stations. To be more specific, I could see this as in a feature about local radio stations going off the air.

5. Writing- Again, I recorded this sound while I was supposed to be studying. I procrastinated homework with homework, which is a new one for me. This is just me writing furiously on a piece of paper. I think this sound could be tied in with the paper sound above in a story about students doing homework.

6. Squeaky Closet- Finally, this sound is my closet door. It is very annoying and I hate it. I would use this sound in a story about home repair. I was also thinking along the lines of the trouble of renting. Either way, this sound would be best used in a home improvement segment.

And for the world premiere of my first edited sound clip, I give you….Counting Edited. The first part of the assignment was to record ambient sounds. A requirement so simple even I could manage it. The next part was more of a challenge. I had to count to ten out of order and edit it in order. Like I said above, I was immtiadted at first due to my abosolute zero experience. BUT, I found that once I figured out how to use the Audacity program, sound editing was fun. It was fun to rearrange my voice so that I was counting in the right order. The biggest issue I found, and also what I would have to say would be my biggest fear in audio journalism, is that my voice fluctuated in parts of my out of order counting that didn’t make sense once I put it back togther. For example, I started with “four”. I noticed that in the recording I said “four” with a much higher pitch than the rest of the numbers. The same goes for when I said “nine”. I said it last so it sounded differently then the rest of the numbers. This would be a fear for me in audio journalism because if I were editing an interview, it wouldn’t sound natural if parts of it flucuated randomly. I tried my best to make my counting sequance flow as smoothly as possible, but because of my lack of experience, the fluctuation stayed.

Blog Post 6-Photojournalism

Again, this week’s blog post tested my skills as a photographer. And again I learned that maybe photography isn’t my strong suit. But my lack of skills wasn’t the only thing I learned from this assignment. I learned the importance of timing. To get a good, solid feature/sport/news etc. photo you have to be always ready for whatever may happen. I also learned that it’s important to be brave and to be willing to be that awkward person taking pictures of strangers. I’m a shy person so it was hard for me to ask for people’s names when I took their pictures. I don’t like putting myself out there in that way so I think this was the biggest obstacle for me to overcome. What surprised me the most is how good pictures can come from everyday occurences, you just have to be ready for them. I was also surprised at how hard it was to capture everyday life. I didn’t know how to make it interesting without poising it. Something I wish I would have done differently is I wish I would have been braver sooner. I could have had better photos if I was more willing to talk to strangers. Overall, what I learned from this assignment is not to take the amazing photographs I see in news publications for granted, because the photographer had to work extremely hard to get that shot. For for viewing pleasure, my five photos are below. Enjoy and don’t be too harsh, I’m learning.

Haz Mat

Haz Mat

Caption: Haz Mat teams respond to and incident at the Sun Chase Valley apartments.

This is a photo that I took early on while doing this assignment. It is one case that I wish I would have been braver. This was taken at my apartment complex. The night before the cops raided the apartment across from mine for drugs. Unfortunately I was at work when this occurred and did not get any photos of the raid. However, the next day Haz Mat came to clean out the apartment. Again, I was unable to get a good photo because the police wouldn’t let me or anyone who lived in that specific building near our own apartments because the fumes that the Haz Mat crew was using were toxic. I wish I would have had more courage to ask the police officers if I could get closer to take a better photo. Since I didn’t this is the best photo I got. It’s as close as the police would allow. I tried focusing on the fire truck and the firemen who were outside while the Haz Mat guys were working. The creative device I used was color. All the houses and cars are about the same shades. The fire truck, of course, is more colorful and stands out against the background.

Red Team Free Throw

Red Team Free Throw

Caption: A player from the red team shoots and makes his free throw shot, putting his team ahead.

For my sports photos, I went to an intramural basketball games. I learned about this game through my roommate’s boyfriend, who played in a game right before. This is a shot of a player on the red team shooting a free throw. I tried getting more action shots. I didn’t want shots of the teams sitting on the bench or standing around. As a result, a lot of my sports shots were slightly blurry, which I blame on my terrible camera. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get the shooter’s name. He ran off after the game before I had a chance to ask. The creative device I was aiming for was symmetry because the two teams balanced each other out on the court.

Waiting Their Turn

Waiting Their Turn

Caption: Brady Bevan,number 6, and Tyson Barnes,number 12, wait for their chance to go in.

I was able to get these players names, Tyson and Brady. I took this shot as they were waiting on the sidelines for their turn to go in. The creative device I used here was focus. I tried to focus the shot on the two players waiting to go in. This was a fairly easier shot to get because the players were right in front of me as they were waiting.

Players Gonna Play

Players Gonna Play

Caption: Players from both teams fight for control over the ball.

For this picture, I tried using experimentation as a device. I tried getting lower in order to make the scene more dramatic. This shot was a little more difficult to get because I did try to get lower. I felt less self conscious about these shots then I did with my Haz Mat shot because it was a more acceptable scenario to take pictures in.

Blue Shoots

Blue Shoots

Caption: A member of the blue team shoots a free throw, bringing his team’s score closer to the red team’s.

This is another shot I got of a free throw, except this time it was from the blue team. This shot wasn’t terrible hard to get, but again, I wanted more action shots so getting the timing right was difficult. I found I was more comfortable taking pictures of the sporting event than I was of the Haz Mat event. At the basketball game, I wasn’t worried about police getting mad at me or interrupting a serious investigation. I found that the Haz Mat was a more interesting story, but harder to get good pictures of while the basketball game was easier to take pictures at, just not as interesting.

Creative Devices

For this assignment we were to take 5 pictures using different creative devices. What surprised me about this assignment was how much thought went into how I took pictures. I’m not a photographer by any means. I usually just point and click. So to think about lighting, framing, angles, etc. was new for me. Two things I wish I could have done differently were I wish I would have given myself more time to take my pictures and I wish I would have had a better camera. Overall I enjoyed this assignment and learned different things about photography.

Ski Lift

Ski Lift

I took this picture at a ski lift as I went to pick up some friends after a day of skiing. The dominant creative device here is creating depth. In the foreground there are people eating at tables. The midground has the ski lift and finally in the background is the mountain. This device draws a viewer’s attention because it gives them different elements to look at. There is different things going on and they can take their time to look at it

The Ranger

This is a picture inside a local Laramie bar, the Ranger. I felt like this was my best example of symmetry. The photo is divided down the middle by the table, the big light and the “Rock Star” sign in the middle. Each side has a chair, a sign and something lit up. This draws attention because each side of the picture is well balanced.

Jaymie Shooting

Jaymie Shooting

I took this photo last Wednesday. After classes a few friends and I decided to go out and shoot clay pigeons. This is my friend Jaymie’s second time shooting a gun. I felt like this photo was a good example of using color as a creative device. Jaymie’s pink coat is the only color that stands out. Everything in the background is boring, natural colors. This device works because it draws the viewer’s attention start to Jaymie because she stands out against the background.

Leftover Carnations

Leftover Carnations

I had to work over Valentines Day. I work as a waitress at the Hilton Garden Inn and we gave out carnations to all the couples that came in. I scooped up the leftovers and put them in a vase. At first, I attempted to take a picture of texture. However, after a few failed attempts and not getting the results I wanted, I started to use focus as a creative device. I also attempted to use light as a creative device as well. I liked the way the light was hitting the flowers and I also liked getting in tight to focus on the flowers. I think these creative devices capture attention because the light hits the flowers in an interesting way and because the flowers were focused so tightly in it draws in the viewers.

Gunner Rolling

Gunner Rolling

This is a photo of my dog, Gunner. He was just being adorable and rolling around on my carpet. I thought this picture was a good example of background. The background is just the carpet. It doesn’t distract from the subject at all. There isn’t anything else going on so the viewer is able to focus solely on Gunner. Another device in this picture is cropping. He’s cropped so he’s the main focus. The viewer has no other choice but to look at him. The two devices work together to draw the viewer’s attention straight to Gunner.

Culture Shock: It Works Both Ways

Culture Shock: It Works Both Ways

Almost everyone has a fantasy of escaping everyday boring life and traveling the world.

Whether it is studying abroad, volunteering or just taking a regular vacation, students are choosing to travel abroad more and more often. Many students know that they will experience some culture shock, but few are prepared for the reverse culture shock of when they return home.

Culture shock, by definition, is “a state of bewilderment and distress experienced by an individual who is suddenly exposed to a new, strange, or foreign social and cultural environment.” Many travelers go through this until they have adjusted to the different customs of the new place they are in.

Going Away
Amber Duke volunteered with the program Orphanage Support Services Organization for about eight months in 2009. Through this program she lived and worked in several different orphanages with children of various ages in the city of Quito, Ecuador.

“Oh I definitely went through culture shock for about the first month I was in Quito,” Duke says, “One of the weirdest parts to get used to was not flushing toilet paper down the toilet. The plumbing can’t handle it, so we had to throw our used toilet paper in the trash.” While throwing toilet paper away was one aspect Duke had to get used to, there were many other small parts of everyday life she and her fellow volunteers had to adjust to. Another example Duke had come from “Whenever I bought a coke from the store it came in a glass bottle, so I had to drink it in the store and give the bottle back to the cashier.”

Likewise, another volunteer had similar issues with her travels. Alex Weston, a student at West Minister in Salt Lake City, participated in a volunteer program through her school’s college of health. In this program she traveled across India teaching children and adults about health care for about two months. “Probably the weirdest part of volunteering was teaching people to wash their hands. A lot of the time they just didn’t understand how washing their hands could possibly stop diseases from spreading.”

Both Duke and Weston agree that their experiences were well worth getting used to their new surroundings. However, they also both agree that getting used to being home took just as much time, if not longer.

Photo Credit Amber Duke

Photo Credit Amber Duke

Coming Home
After being gone from home for any extended period of time many travelers experience what is known as reverse culture shock. Reverse culture shock is literally the opposite of culture shock. It is getting used to one’s own culture after being gone for any extended period of time.

Duke says of her returning home, “I just thought everyone in the U.S. was selfish. I’d see people worrying about their cellphones or gadgets when I knew that there were people who were much happier living a much simpler lifestyle.”

Weston also felt similar. “For about ten weeks I lived and worked with people who didn’t have cars, didn’t have indoor plumbing or clean water. To go home and hear people complaining about bad internet connection or to complain about stupid things just made me angry.”

Weston goes on to tell a story in which an acquaintance was complaining about her mother not willing to buy her the new iPhone. West says she more or less told the acquaintance to appreciate what she had because not everyone has those same opportunities.

Photo Credit Alex Weston

Photo Credit Alex Weston

Getting Used to Everything
Just like when they left for a new country, both volunteers say that getting used to home was just as hard of an adjustment as getting use to their new surroundings. “For me getting use to a new routine was the hardest part,” Duke says. “I was use to waking up at the same time every day, going to the orphanages and doing the same thing every day. I would go to bed exhausted but feeling fulfilled, like I had accomplished something important that day. When I came back, I was exhausted at the end of the day but I was missing that fulfilled feeling.”

Many people when returning home take a while to readjust. Everyone is different, but for some people it takes just as long to get used to home as it did to get used to being away. Weston says, “I was gone for about two months and it took me about that long to get used to being home again. When I was originally getting ready to go to India, I did a lot of research on the culture, talked to people who had already gone and just mentally prepared myself for what to expect. I didn’t think I would have to do that to come home and I think that may be part of the reason it took so long to settle back in.”

Volunteering, recreational traveling or studying abroad can enrich lives. It offers people the chance to gain life experiences that they wouldn’t otherwise have. However before anyone travels for extended periods of time, they should be aware of what could possibly be waiting for them when they return.

Usability of a Website

The next assigned blog post deals with websites usability. I was in the group assigned to look over the website Coal: A Love Story . According to the assignment, first I was to navigate the site, watch videos, follow links, etc. and write down my own thoughts and feelings about the site. Then I was to have someone else do the same. My roommate Marlee bravely agreed to help me out with this.
To explore this website I started at the top and worked my way down. Coal: A Love Story has an easy to use map of sorts that they want people to obviously follow. So that’s what I did, started with the first video and worked my way down. I didn’t like how whenever I would hit next after one video would finish it would instead of taking me to the next video; it would just scroll down and not open anything. The only main problem with navigation I found was that to find links to other parts of the website and foundation, it was clear at the bottom. However, when looking at the structure of the website, this makes sense because it doesn’t disrupt the flow of the website at all. For the most part, the website follows the 10 tips of usability pretty closely, at least in my mind. There weren’t any hidden links and there were incredibly limited choices on where to go. This made focusing on what they creators wanted me to focus on much easier. On top of that, the labels were clear; the buttons were big enough, etc. Overall, I found it to be a very easily site to navigate through. Also it was incredible easy to find out how contact the creators of this website. It took me about two clicks once I found the right link.
Marlee also found this website to be easy to use. She did mention though how depressing the content was. Which I agree with. She explored this site differently than I did. Instead of starting at the top and working her way down, Marlee went through the website first and clicked only the links that looked interesting to her. There weren’t any navigation problems with this, only content issues. Because she didn’t go in order, somethings in the videos didn’t make sense. It took Marlee a few extra clicks to find the contact information, but overall she said it was easy it find. In general, our usability tests were very similar. We both found it easy to navigate and to find more information/links when we wanted to.
Three things the website shouldn’t change would be the video pop ups, the lack of ads and external links and the overall easy flow of the website. Marlee and I both agreed that it was nice that when we clicked on a video it just popped up on the main page instead of taking us to another page. This was convenient because it made going to other videos and content that much easier. The lack of ads and external links was very nice because it kept our focus on the website. Marlee also said she liked that she didn’t have to wait for an ad to load before she watched a video. Finally, we both found the flow of the website to be easy to use and calm. Three things that the website could work on would be changing where the about section is, the depressing content and finally maybe add a follow up section about the people featured in the videos. The about section is at the bottom of the page. If you’ve already seen the content and just need to contact the creators, it made be nice to just have a link up top to go to. Marlee and I both found the content depressing. It just seemed like all the people in West Virginia were destitute. This leads me to my next suggestion to what the website could change. A follow up section might be nice. What happened to the beauty queen? Did she get to leave and go to college or is she still in her hometown at home? Something to tie up their lives.
Overall, I enjoyed this website. I learned a lot about coal that I didn’t know before. Like that coal is in fake nails. I had no idea. I found this website easy to use, entertaining and educational.