Final reflection

June 4, 2009

Overall, I’ve found the JOUR315 subject incredibly satisfying and informing. Having such a hands-on, practical approach to convergent journalism has been an effective way of shaping my skills and overall ability, whilst learning new subject matter at the same time.

I’ve been really happy with my filming during the session, particularly in the second assessment. I based a lot of this material on mountain bike and motocross that I’d previously seen. Below is a teaser of a motocross movie; it shows the style of shots that I tried to replicate in my own filming. The best thing about this type of environment is that there is a large capacity to be creative, and it makes the final product that much better.

One of the biggest highlights in the subject for me was sticking to the pitch I proposed in the first assignment and carrying out a similar model in the final assessment. I think that effective time management allowed me to do this; it also made the assignment a lot less stressful. I had all of the interviews completed within a week of the due date, so this gave me plenty of time to edit and polish the final product. One of the biggest things that this subject has taught me would be that you can’t leave this type of assessments to the last minute; I think it shows in the final product and there is always the possibility of technological errors etc.

The process of editing in this subject has been crucial for the overall degree; I think that editing is now an essential skill for any journalist. Personally, I had fun being creative with my editing, although most of my material is pretty straight forward. I didn’t find the process overly difficult, although my advice for anyone who hasn’t used it before would be to just get in there and muck around on it for a couple hours, that’s the best way to learn. In the final assessment, I found that my editing was a lot tighter and improved significantly over the second assessment. Because my material was mostly news-based, there wasn’t much need for fades etc. I think that where a lot of others in the class were going wrong was when they used too many fades, to the point where they detracted the audience from the theme of the story.

Another important skill that I’ve developed over the course of the session is my voice. Listening back on the final assessment, I noticed that it’s come along way, even in comparison to media reports outside the university that I did at the start of the year. One of the hardest challenges in my voice is how to speak clearly with braces. I’m hoping that when I get the braces off at the end of the year, my voice will improve even more. In terms of my technique and approach, I like to base my voice on different journalists in the industry, examining their pitch, speed, volume, inflections and texture. One of my favourite journalists and anchors is Mark Ferguson from Nine News. The clip below demonstrates his deep, powerful voice. This, in combination with his physical body language, helps pull the opening story of the bulletin together (0:37 – 0:57 seconds)

In general, I think that convergent journalism and online journalism has a huge capacity for improvement and expansion. The fact that the internet itself has only become a mainstream tool in the last ten years, there is an untapped potential for future expansion. The following article sums up the internet’s potential in a concise and informative manner: http://onlinejournalismblog.com/2009/06/04/how-the-web-changed-the-economics-of-news-in-all-media/

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this convergent journalism subject, and will take a lot of the lessons learnt into the future with me. I think that the sort of skills we acquired is becoming increasingly important in the industry, particularly as companies look to slash editing jobs etc. I look forward to further developing my voice, as well as my filming ability. I’m immensely happy with the outcomes of the assessments; I’ve put a lot of hard work into it, and I think the final products turned out well.


Final assignment nearly over

May 29, 2009

It’s Friday now and I’ve nearly finished the final assessment, which is due in three days. In terms of progress, the actual video assessment has been completed and uploaded to a video sharing website, I just need to finalise my scrtpts.

I feel that the assignment went really well over all. I’m pleased with the timing of the project. I fitted in all of the relevant convergent theories and got all the points across in 2:59 minutes. The longest time available was three minutes.

The way my talent came across was very good too. A lot of background research, as well as documents from local government, gave this project that extra edge as well as some backbone.

I look at the project now and think of how much work I put into it and the end result is extremely pleasing.


Coming along nicely

May 18, 2009

I’m pleased to say that the third assignment is going well and, due to our week extension, I’ve now got a bit of time on my hands to really get it up to scratch. So far I’ve interviewed David Campbell and Paul Fanning; tomorrow I will knock over my final interview with club owner, Anu.

Everything has been relatively parallel with my initial outline at the start of the session, which is great.

In terms of cover shots so far, I was able to get some vision of beer taps etc. from my workplace. This took away from privacy concerns (it was basically a guarantee that I wouldn’t gain access inside any of the major clubs around town).

I also got daytime shots of the major venues. My aim now is to get some actuality outside these pubs and also to get some still photography.

By this time next week, I hope to have all of the interviews over with and getting into some editing. I also aim to have the interviews transcribed with suitable grabs picked out.

The major change from my inital outline has been the focal point of the story; the major driver is now the fact that the newest nightclub in town is trying to make a difference in terms of patron safety. This appeals more as a convergence script, my first pitch was too ‘newsy,’ so hopefully this new angle will help.


The home straight

May 6, 2009

Now that Assessment two is done and dusted, I’ve turned my attention to the final assignment. This will obviously be the part of the course where we showcase what we’ve learnt about convergent journalism and combine it all together.

So far I’ve started this process by looking back to the beginning of session and the first assessment. I want to keep as close to my original outline as possible and the intentions of that outline. This, of course, means using getting similar talent, shots, angles and themes that I implied in assessment one. If I can do this relatively well, then I will be happy; this is the biggest goal for this assignment.

I’m now in the process of refining my research for the story and contacting possible talent, in particular David Campbell. I hope that by doing this, I won’t be leaving things to last minute. One of the reasons the second assessment was so successful for me was for this reason: I got out early and shot everything, giving me plenty of time to refine and edit.

Hopefully next week I can start making some decent progression. I hope that by our next class, I’ll have some substantial material to work with (week 10).


Editing

April 16, 2009

This week has been one of absolute frustration for me! I’ve been trying to edit what I can of the second assessment task, with no outstanding success. Having had my flatmates storage device damaged got the assessment task off to a slow start, and since then I’ve had touble with saving my work. This all came from not saving the original scratch disk in the right place.

On a more positive note, I’m very happy about the choice of subject for the second assessment task. Working on and producing a piece of work of this calibre is hard work; the fact that I’m doing it on something that I enjoy so much makes it a lot easier. My aim is to now try and finish the project by Wednesday next week, giving me plenty of time to fine tune the final item and finish scripting etc.

Overall, this experience has been really positive. I’m learning a lot about what it takes to put convergent pieces together.


Putting theory into action

April 6, 2009

Over the weekend I took a chance to put all the class theory into action, going out and shooting some vision for the second JOUR315 assignment. Overall the experience was a pretty positive one.

I visited Wollongong Motorcycle Club, where I got one interview with the Vice President of the Club Craig Wickham. The angle I hope to take with this convergent piece is to highlight what the ailing global economy has done to the sport of motocross; how many have been forced to pull the pin and how it has affected the club. The results of the interview and speaking informally to other people was basically what I expected.

After the interview was completed, I was given a pass to go out on the track and shoot vision. This was fantastic! Not only was I able to go out there and film something I’m passionate about, but I also learnt a lot about filming.

*The tripods can be awkard when doing pans, especially if the ground is uneven. Having the camera on an angle really shows when you go over it at the end.

* The zoom function on a camera is really handy in moving sport such as racing. However, it can become really easy to overuse this function. A good mix of pans, tilts and stills helps to give a good ratio of everything.

* Low angle shots are brilliant for something like racing. I liken it to the show Top Gear, where the common testing facility has a camera set up on a tyre wall. The cars fly past it, usually getting really close and giving the visual appearence of high speed. I found a similar method at the Mount Kembla and it worked really well.

After shooting nearly all of my vision, I will now begin to put it all together, pick out grabs and start editing.


Editing

March 27, 2009

Editing can be another hurdle in the process of producing a convergence piece.

It’s not so much the process of taking the raw vision and turning it into news, it’s more that you need to learn the ideosyncrasies that come with Final Cut Pro.

As a person who has never used this complicated software, it is bloody hard! I’m sure that, like anything, with practice I’ll learn the ins and outs. I think the biggest time consuming thing is learning all the buttons etc. When Shawn first got the class to open up the software and start playing with raw vision, it was absolute chaos; nobody had any idea what they were doing. Once I got a feel for it to begin with, it wasn’t so bad.

The fact that I enjoy doing this sort of stuff makes it so much easier. If you didn’t like it, then learning everything would be a real struggle. As far as editing goes, I had great success with Pro Tools, the program used in JOUR215, so it won’t take too long before this new software worked out.

In the mean time I want to keep an eye out for techniques that are being use in the industry, especially some of the new innovative stuff. Television, especially, is a pastime where change isn’t always appreciated. Only now are younger cameramen trying new techniques. If I can incorporate that into some of my convergence piece, it would be great.