Saturday, June 5, 2010

Final Project Report

The Text and Image class has come to an end. My perception of the course before I began was that it would be theory heavy with extensive reading and writing. Although we did begin the course reading Kress' new book on Multimodality and writing and conceptualizing our readings through imagery, the class quickly changed. The focus of the course shifted to a much more production driven class.

I was very excited at the prospect of developing creative elements for the clients (City Farm and St. Joseph's). I wanted to participate in both groups' projects, and I tried to do this for many weeks, but I realized towards the end of the quarter that this was not doable. I volunteered to be the lead editor for the City Farm video project, which turned out to be very time intensive.

About half way through the quarter, I began to have some anxiety about the project. I was worried that maybe I bit off more than I could handle. I questioned my abilities. I had some conflicts with other team members. But at the end of the day, the project worked out. Professor Moore even mentioned that anxiety is part of the process. I found this quite interesting to think about, now that I am reflecting on the process.

This project has been a very positive experience for me for a number of reasons:

  • I regained my confidence with video editing. It's been many years since I last did any editing.
  • It reaffirmed my belief that I'd like to pursue some sort of professional editing job. This was what I originally wanted to do when I graduated 14 yrs ago, but my career never followed that path.
  • It helped me remember even though the task is challenging, this does not mean I can't do it. I constantly question my abilities, but I always work through the challenges to achieve the end goal.
  • Strive to be a team player. Even when you don't agree with other team members' ideas, it makes life much easier to find common ground.

I am pleased with the video product we completed for City Farm. I think it will be a useful tool for them, and I am glad to have a strong example to add to my portfolio.

There are a couple of ideas I would like to offer the next time this course is offered. First, it would be helpful to make the groups smaller. I would have liked to gain experience in other areas like graphic design. Second, it would be helpful to make sure there are experts (graphic designer, editor, etc.) in each group. Finally, I would incorporate the reading assignment into the projects.

Here are a few additional comments on the course. Although, I did find Basecamp easier to manage than Blackboard, I still found it confusing. There were so many emails going back and forth and when it came to locating past post it was hard to find them. I’m not sure if there is a better project management program available. Maybe we just needed more assistance from our project manager or further tutorial information. I would also advocate for a student account for and the ability to check-out DePaul computers that include Adobe programs.

This was a great class and I would highly recommend Professor Moore teach it again.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Project Report, Week 9

I can't believe the quarter is almost over. Only two classes left. It's just flown by. We have so much to wrap up that it's a little overwhelming to think about.

Jen, Terry, Amanda, Brad and I met on Saturday to begin the editing process. Based on the storyboard and the script, we put together a rough edit of the volunteer video. I was pleased that we were able to put together this first version in a relatively reasonable length of time. On Tuesday, I showed up a couple of hours before my Portfolio class to clean up some of the edits from Saturday. Nicolette also helped by finding useful shots that we may use in the final version. We have asked Brad to provide the voice-over for Thursday's class, which I hope will make the video more cohesive. Our plan is to complete this element by the end of class tonight. Then we will meet this coming Saturday to finalize the video. I am hopeful with Amanda's editing expertise we can add the niftier elements like transitions, graphics, etc., which will help complete the video. It will be interesting to see how class goes tonight. We have a lot of folks who are interested in editing. I want to give everyone a shot, but it is going to be hard to take input from so many different people. We will see…

I also completed one element for the St. Joseph's graphic manual. I worked with the team last week, which helped me get a good feel of the design style that they wanted to achieve. I designed a fax cover sheet that I sent over last night. I'm totally fine if they don't use my design, but I'm glad I produced something for the team. I am also pleased that I spent some time working with them last week. I now have a better understanding of their design ideas and techniques. It was great to see Joe's first draft of the manual. It looks so professional, and I really think St. Joseph could get a lot of use out of the manual.

I am looking forward to tonight's class. I hope some of these open-ended questions like the portfolio writing assignment will be clarified. I'm a little considered that only a few people responded to Sarah's post. She obviously put some time into her rough draft, which definitely warranted our team's attention and opinions.

Until tonight...

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Project Report, Week 8

The quarter is trucking along. We only have 2 class meetings left, craziness! We've accomplished a lot this quarter, and week 8 has proved to be another productive week. The video team completed the City Farm shoots and we now plan to begin the editing process. I am really looking forward to editing. This has been the component I have most wanted to work on. In order to prepare for the editing process I have been reading the Final Cut Pro manual and "The Eye is Quicker", two books Professor Moore has let me borrow. I have also looked at a few video tutorials on You Tube. Michael suggested I try a trail, so I can use some of the FCP training. I am planning to do that this week. Although, I am having major computer issues right now. My laptop keeps freezing up and my little girl spilled water on my husband's laptop, so needless to say there are some issues. We still have a workable desktop, so I will just need to coordinate with my husband on desktop time. A part of me wants to just spring for a Mac. Wish I had the funds to do it. We just need to fix the laptops, and then we'll be in good shape again.

I spent much of the last class working with the St. Joseph's graphic manual team. Joe and Hannah worked on redesigning the newsletter in InDesign. I'm glad I had the opportunity to observe their work, because I have been interested in learning the program. Michael suggested I may want to focus my remaining time with the City Farm team, which I am planning to do, but I'm glad I had the opportunity to observe Joe’s and Hannah’s work.

Next week’s post will be all about editing!!! See you then.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Project Report, Week Seven

The quarter is moving along quickly. We only have a few weeks left to deliver our finished projects for St. Joseph's and City Farm. I have to admit that I am a little anxious. Last Thursday I agreed to take the video camera, so I could get more City Farm b-roll. Piush sent out a request to find other team members eager to use the equipment. For some reason, there seemed to be a hiccup between my willingness to shoot on Saturday and another's expectation for the week. There was a flurry of messages going back and forth on Friday (We're going...We're not going). At the end of the day, Michael, Piush, Terry and I met on Saturday. I appreciated Michael meeting us to deliver the tripod and provide us with useful suggestions on shots and how to approach the City Farm folks. We shot about an hour worth of footage which will hopefully be useful.

Our group has great ideas and has come up with some good mock-ups for signage and social media, but the video team seems to be sitting in limbo. I was concerned about waiting an entire week to come up with a final story board and then do the shooting, editing, etc. I'm glad we got some additional footage in the can. This week's class must be more productive. Duties should be assigned out to team members. I have the tendency to absorb too many responsibilities. I realized this last Friday, once the Basecamp messages began to roll in. I was trying to re-write the script, update the storyboard, develop a shot list, and create a talent release form. Plus, I want to contribute heavily in the editing process. Once I realized I was trying to take on all of these components, I thought, "Wait a minute. Let some of the other folks take on some of these tasks." So that is what I have decided to do. I will attend class tonight with the hopes that duties will be assigned to each team member.

I am also concerned about my contribution to the St. Joseph's graphic manual team. I hope Amelia and/or Joe can assign me a responsibility that I will be able to deliver. I'm afraid my responsibilities with both teams are going to be due at the same time, which may make it difficult for me to deliver. Hopefully, this week will give me the chance to forecast what I need to get done through the end of the quarter.

I am also a little anxious about the paper request that Michael has asked us to do. I hope I will have enough time to complete my contributions to both projects and deliver a paper not to mention finish my portfolio in my other class.

My contributions for this week include:
  • Shooting video at City Farm on Saturday from 11-1p
  • Develop a shot list
  • Create a talent release form

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Project Report, Week Six

The projects are taking shape! City Farm had a productive week. Saturday we met at the Farm and shot a lot of video footage. Each member of the video team took turns shooting. This was fun for me. I graduated with a television production degree over 13 years ago. While I was in that program, I did several video production projects. After I graduated, I did studio camera work, and I dabbled in editing. But, my television career never moved into a video producer role. For the past 7 years my career focused on marketing and sales, so it's been refreshing to work in video production again.

I did have some concerns about how I would coordinate between both groups. I want experience working on the St. Joseph's graphics manual in addition to my contribution to the City Farm video group. Luckily, I ran into Michael earlier this week. I explained my situation. He gave me some useful suggestions, and he informed the project team leaders of my concerns. They agreed to break up the projects so I could participate in both groups. I really appreciated his help.

I'm glad we switched over to BaseCamp. It is so much easier to communicate and keep track of both projects’ progress. Just this morning I saw a post from Michael about a FCP computer that will be in our class tonight, yea! I was a little concerned about how we were going to coordinate editing. I have agreed to be the City Farm edit lead, so I have been trying to figure out how we would get access to an edit program. Not to mention, learn the software. I have some experience editing with Avid and Premiere, but I have not work with Final Cut. Our team definitely needs some training assistance, so hopefully having this computer in our classroom will give us the opportunity to learn from the edit experts in the class.

Finally, my last challenge is balancing school and being a full-time mommy. I took the winter quarter off to have our second child, a boy born on 1/21. I didn't want to delay my studies, but I thought it was necessary for me to take the winter off. It's a BIG adjustment having a second baby. Our first is 2.8 years, so in many ways, she is still a baby herself. Going back to school this spring has been interesting, to say the least. For example, right now I’m typing my blog post with my left hand only. My toddler girl wants to sit in my lap so she can watch Sesame Street with me. :) I'm not complaining. I'm so happy to have my babies (Lydia and Emerson) and to be in school. It's fulfilling for me to be back in school after years of professional work experience. I just have to figure out how to balance school work w/ mommying. It'll all work out in the end, and fingers crossed I'll have some good work to put in my portfolio.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Project Report, Week Five

I have mainly been working with the City Farm group. Although, I do have a part in the St. Joseph's graphic standards manual. I have not received any information about that portion of the project as of yet. Hopefully, after the team irons out the logo and color concept, the graphics manual will begin to take shape.

With regards to the City Farm group, at first I was concerned about the lack of direction the clients provided us, but I then realized this lack of direction could give our group the opportunity to be more creative with the project. Because the clients are not so committed to giving us specific assignments, we have been able to maneuver the jobs we want to work on.

I was quite disappointed last week when we learned that the client was not interested in the video component of our project, so I was very happy to learn that Andy had developed a new video concept idea. I think it's a great idea for us to create a training video for new volunteers. This will give Andy a resource to easily inform new volunteers and it gives us the chance to create a professional video project that we can showcase in our personal portfolios.

My only worry with the project is the need for more information from the client. I would really like to begin to work on a script/ storyboard for the video, but I don't think we have enough information to put something together yet. Hopefully tonight’s class meeting will illuminate these questions so we can begin to create the videos and other components.