Video Project | Carlie and Doni Comedy Show

Carlie and Doni Comedy Performance at University of Wyoming from Jessica Romero on Vimeo.

This assignment required us to cover a story via video. My partner and I chose to cover the comedic, musical duo Carlie and Doni. The duo performed for the university’s Friday Night Fever program that brings free events on campus for students.

This assignment was incredibly challenging for me — partly because of the assignment itself and partly because of its scheduling. I did enjoy having the opportunity to work with a new medium, and the event was a fun one to cover. I did not enjoy the struggles we had with the software. Because of problems in the lab we chose to use iMovie on my computer. Unfortunately, there was a steep learning curve there, so the project took much longer than I wanted.

Had this assignment been given at a less chaotic time in the semester, I think we could have produced a much better product.

I learned a lot in this experience. First, I learned how to use iMovie (as best as I could). Second, I learned the importance of gathering multiple angles and shots while recording, as well as being conscious of what your body is doing.

It surprised me how difficult it was to edit the final product and how much footage was needed to produce such a short video. If given the opportunity to do this again I would gather more footage, more diverse shots and I would want to cover a story in better lighting. Because we shot in the basement of the union, with the lights off, our shots are very grainy. Unfortunately, this was out of our control.

I imagine I will have an opportunity to use video in the future. Now that I have the skills to do so, I can use video in my own promotional material. With the popularity of multimedia and social media in business today, this is a good skill to have.

Social Media Story | Live Tweets for Comedy Show

carlieanddoni_banner

For this assignment we were asked to cover a local event and live tweet from it. This was a form of reporting that was completely new to me. At the event we were to write short posts about what was happening, while sharing video or photos and quotes from interviews. I chose to tweet a comedy show by Carlie and Doni. This was an event brought in by the university’s Friday Night Fever program. The show was interesting to be involved in, especially from a new angle.

I enjoyed sharing small bits of what was happening as it was happening, rather than summarizing the events in a story after the fact. This was a fun way to approach the event, and I believe it was an event that was well suited for live tweeting. What I did not enjoy about the experience was how surprisingly tedious it was. I found myself struggling to keep my posts short enough. I also found that I would fumble with my phone or be focused on one tweet. Because of this I would miss out on something new while I was distracted.

You can see my twitter feed from the show here.

I think this assignment was a valuable lesson in being able to multitask and keep your eyes and ears opened at all times. I was surprised by how difficult it was to do this. I wish that I had more practice in doing this before coming into this event and assignment. I also think that taking notes as I went would have been more beneficial. I believe I wouldn’t have struggled as much had I been more diligent in note taking.

I do see myself using social media in my future career. While I wont be live tweeting events as a reporter, I will be doing so as a business owner. The role is slightly different, however this is an important skill to have. The practice I had in this assignment is definitely valuable in the present age of social media.

Soundslides Project

This Soundslides Project was assigned for us to merge our skills in audio editing and photography. Using the Soundslides software we set a series of photos in a slideshow with an edited audio profile playing in the background. We chose to interview the local roller derby team, The Naughty Pines Derby Dames.

Working with my partner was great. It made the task of gathering audio and photos much easier. We were able to divide and conquer when it came time to interview and capture noteworthy moments. At some points she was able to catch things that I was not, which was very fortunate. Because we both did photography and recorded interviews, we had a little inconsistency in what was gathered, especially with the audio. Fortunately we gathered enough interviews that when it came time for me to edit it, I was able to get a story together that made sense.

Because I edited the audio, my partner did the majority of the Soundslides. We briefly worked together on how it should flow and match the audio story. From my brief experience with this program I would love to be able to work with it again in the future.

I previously mentioned that there were some inconsistencies in the interviews, but I believe that problem was minimal. Besides this, I was very happy with the outcome. I had a good time speaking with the girls and gathering their stories and images.  If I could change anything I would gather more photos and make sure that we had the same story angle in mind when doing the audio interviews.

If I were to do a project like this by myself I would advise that I come prepared, with plenty of time to watch and listen to what’s happening around me. I would plan to switch between audio and photo when a moment arose and not be disappointed if I missed something because I was gathering information in a different form at that time. I also would advise that I over-gather photos and audio so I have plenty to work with when it comes time for me to put it all together.

You can see our completed project here.

Interview | Edited

I really enjoyed the audio editing process for this story. I ran into a few problems, however I am happy with the completed profile overall.

In taking a larger file into Audacity and having the opportunity to edit it, I learned quite a bit about how you can set up audio to tell a story just as you do in writing. I also learned a few technical things.

I ran into some problems with  transitions, one in particular, which I am not happy with. I think with more practice in recording the raw audio and editing, this can get better. I now realize the extreme necessity for some time between speaking on the audio to allow for transition.

As I mentioned above, I really enjoyed setting up the story. This is my favorite part of journalism in the written form, and now I can say I enjoy the same process with audio. It is more time-consuming (especially with little experience) to cut and paste pieces of the story in audio, but I think the end product is rewarding.

The audio story offers a more personal voice to the reader. For example, in my audio you can hear her laugh and slight inflections in her voice. These help her tell her story. This is absolutely not possible with only written words.

I mentioned this is my previous post, but I am most surprised by how much I enjoyed working with this form of journalism. It was the first time for me, and I really enjoyed it and would be happy to do it again in the future as a part of my career.

There were a few snags with this assignment that I wish I could have changed. There was an interruption in the middle of our interview, which I had to completely cut out of the story. I wish that we could have avoided that, because it would have been nice to have that piece to work with. Also, as I mentioned, there was a transition I was not happy with. In the future I would leave more time between asking questions so I could use that dead space in transitions.

Interview | Raw File

Interviewing with an audio recorder was a new experience for me, both as the interviewer and interviewee. Some aspects of the interview were the same as many interviews that I have been in or conducted before. However, certain aspects were very different.

I was surprised by the fact that I was nervous when it came time for me to answer questions in Hailey’s interview. I expected that I wouldn’t be bothered by something as simple as an iPhone sitting in between us. Apparently I was wrong.

As the interviewer I felt  extra pressure to be quiet, attentive to what was happening around me and the time.

This experience fortified a lot of the discussions we have had in class on audio recording. I have learned that it is important to pay close attention to noise in the room,  being quiet and placing the recording device in a good location. I imagine that I will find this to be true for other class topics when it comes time for me to edit the file.

I was surprised by the fact that I really enjoyed this experience.  Like I said, I have never done audio journalism before and I have found that I really enjoy it. I look forward to building a mini-story with this audio file for our next assignment. The only thing that I could say I did not enjoy was the process of trying to get the file converted, uploaded and where it needed to be. This can be kind of time-consuming.

If I could have done anything different I would have tried to find a space that we wouldn’t be interrupted in. We were in a classroom and someone walked in mid-interview. After this we struggled to find a place in the building that was free of distractions. Fortunately, I think they were minimal and I can work around any noise.

As for when I was the interviewee, I felt a little nervous and like I was rambling.  I hope this did not make the audio too difficult to work with for Hailey.

Audio Journalism | Ambient Noise & Counting to 10

Ambient Noise

1. Brothers Playing — This is two little boys playing a board game and conversing. I recorded this in my home. My god kids have been living with me and my husband, so our home is full of fun noises. This clip could be used in a human interest story of some sort about children or games — for example a story about alternatives to video games for kids.

2. Truck — This is a truck driving by. It was recorded outside of campus. This clip could be used in any story about traffic problems, road maintenance or possibly an issue of fuel-guzzling vehicles.

3. Between Classes/Hallway – This is the murmur of noise in the hallway of the Classroom Building in between classes. You can hear multiple conversations, doors, footsteps, etc. This could be used in a story about the university, students, school work, student schedules or many other student related topics.

4. Puppy Snores – This is the sound of a bulldog snoring. It was also taken in my home. Bella the bulldog is my god kids’ dog, and she obviously has a mean snore. This noise would be more difficult to find a story for. It would have to be used in a story about dogs sleeping, or dogs with sleep apnea(?).

5. Dryer – This is the sound of my dryer drying clothes. It was recorded in my home. This could be used in a story about cleaning clothing, high efficiency appliances or electrical bills.

6. Birds – This is the sounds of birds outside. It was recorded outside in a neighborhood by campus. This noise could be used in a story about a type of bird, spring time, weather, animal control or preservation of a bird species.

Counting to 10

Assignment Review

In this assignment we were required to record ourselves counting to 10 out-of-order. Then we were to take the file into Audacity and edit it so the numbers were in order (1, 2, 3…10). The purpose was to introduce us to using audio recording and editing.

This was my first time ever working with audio, so I have absolutely no experience working with the software. I have never really considered working with audio journalism before so this was all very foreign to me. After this assignment, I feel comfortable with the software and I am not feeling too fearful of future work with more complex audio editing.

Below are my original (out-of-order) and edited (in order) sound clips:

Photo Journalism Assignment

Photo 1

Prexy’s in the Snow

Snow Days_0076_edited-1

Students walk across Prexy’s Pasture at the University of Wyoming in a blizzard on Tuesday. A large, winter storm swept the state this week.

This photo was unexpected. I caught it from the top floor of Ross Hall. It was not a difficult photo to take.

This photo most definitely uses framing; the trees frame the students and Prexy’s Pasture and also create contrast.  I actually really liked this photo because it presented a different view of student. As opposed to standing at their level, I was able to capture them from an almost aerial view.

Photo 2

Windy Walks

Photo Journalism_Street

Laramie residents walk across a downtown Laramie street on a blustery day. This week has been chilly with multiple snow storms and windy days.

This photo was taken in downtown Laramie as I was walking around looking for photo options. People were sparse because of the weather, but I spotted a small crowd crossing the street, fighting the wind a bit. Unfortunately I was unable to catch them to get their names. This wasn’t a difficult shot for me to get.

This photo demonstrates the rule of thirds as well as background and foreground.

Photo 3

School Days

PhotoJournalism_Pachel

Bethany Pachel walks her son to kindergarten at Indian Paintbrush Elementary School. This week’s blizzards have kids bundled up for recess.

I stumbled into this photo when taking my godson to sign up for school. I saw this mom with her son and thought it was a cute moment. It was a very chaotic place to be; kids were running around being kids and it was very cold. It was sweet to see a simple moment separated from the crowd.

This was a shot that was mostly luck. At any given time there could have been crowds of kids, because we arrived at a busy time.

This photo uses the rule of thirds and a clean, fairly simple background to keep the focus on the subjects.

Photo 4

Down Time

PhotoJournalism_Student

Jacob Edwards, a Journalism student at the University of Wyoming, takes a quiet moment before class. This week many students are studying and preparing for midterm exams.

I caught this moment while waiting for class, myself. I actually took it because I liked how bright his shoes were, though they don’t pop in the photo as much as I would have liked.

To take this photo I crouched down to his level and tried to get the curved pattern of the windows behind him. This was a photo where I felt especially rushed. I felt a little awkward, but I am happy with how the photo turned out. I think it goes to show that pushing the boundaries and feeling a little awkward can be well worth it.

This photo uses the creative device of patterns, as well as color in his shoes. The subject is also close to the far left third of the photo, using the rule of thirds.

Photo 5

Marching

PhotoJournalism_Band

A Casper high school marching band finishes practicing their performance at the University of Wyoming field house. The students perfect their routines for weeks and perform at all of the high school’s athletic events. 

I knew of this event because of my sister’s involvement in marching band. Though it may be a stretch to be considered a sport, it is a highly active subject to photograph and something I feel is comparable. Many of my shots from this event were blurry, but I was happy with this one.

I really enjoyed photographing this event because it was constantly changing and presenting opportunity for new angles. The atmosphere was very busy and chaotic, but fortunately the view of the field was very clear.

I think this photo demonstrates bright color and contrast, as well as leading lines.

Assignment Review

This assignment was especially challenging for me, mostly because of the awkwardness of approaching strangers. I had a really hard time with this. However, I was not surprised by these feelings. I also felt rushed when taking photos, as if I needed to quickly snap a few and leave that person alone. Because of this I didn’t get to focus on taking unique, creative shots as much as I would have liked.

If I had more time I really would have liked to explore around campus and Laramie to get better photos.  Unfortunately this week’s blizzards made things difficult. I also believe with time I will be more comfortable in approaching people and can use what I have learned to take better photos.

I did learn from this assignment that most people are perfectly okay with you taking their photo in a journalistic style. This is something that makes it just a little bit easier to comfortably approach people.

Five Creative Devices

Photo 1 | Rule of Thirds

Bloom

Despite the cold Laramie winter, a bright flower blooms inside a warm home.

Rule of Thirds (2)

This photo uses the “rule of thirds” to draw the viewers’ eyes to the stamen of the flower. This is the photo’s focal point. They are positioned off to the right third of the imaginary grid of thirds, making it an aesthetically pleasing placement.

This photo also uses focus, with the focus being on the flower versus the background. The small amount of visual background is also fairly clean. The veins of the orange petals also act as leading lines, leading the viewer to the stamen. Additionally, the stark contrast between the oranges and background colors could be noted, as well as the use of cropping in on the flower.

Photo 2 | Viewpoint

Anticipation

An anxious pup waits patiently at the door to catch a glimpse of his favorite toy: the bunnies.

Viewpoint

This photo uses an interesting viewpoint to capture a simple (and all too common) moment. My dog was waiting in anticipation of the bunnies who live under the shed to make an appearance in the yard. Typically I would take a photo of his whole body, but I changed my viewpoint by getting down on the ground and snapping a shot of his paws. This view puts to focus on his paws.

The rug in the background is patterned, but not distracting from his paws. The contrast between his black fur and the colors in the rug helps to bring the attention to his paws as the focal point. This photo also uses the “rule of thirds” by placing the subject in the far right third of the frame.

Photo 3 | Experimentation

Dusk Reflections

As the day winds down, a neighboring cottonwood is reflected in the hood of a car.

Experimentation

This photo uses experimentation with reflections to create an interesting view of a simple subject: a cottonwood tree. The combination of the reflection and the small piece of the actual tree bring the focus on it. The lines of the tree working in opposition of each other in the reflection create an aesthetically pleasing image.

This also uses the “rule of thirds” and places the tree on the far right of the frame. As I mentioned before, leading lines are also present, moving the viewers eyes to the tree’s trunk.

Photo 4 | Cropping

Vintage Stems

Fresh flower stems catch the afternoon light as they bathe in a vintage mason jar.

Cropping

This photo uses cropping to present a different view of a common photo subject: flowers. This changes the focus of the picture from beautiful, bright flowers to the simple stems catching light in the mason jar. This creates a pleasing view of a subject from a new angle for the viewer.

This photo also uses the “rule of thirds” and places the subject on the far-left third of the frame. Focus is another device that is apparent in this photo. The background is blurred, leaving the focus on the jar of stems and avoiding distractions.

Photo 5 | Pattern

Shivery Timbers

Stacks of firewood accumulate snow in the bitter cold.

Pattern

This photo uses a pattern to create a visually interesting portrayal of firewood. The repetitive round pattern brings the focus on the logs themselves in a visually pleasing way.

Texture is also seen in this photo in the wood and splinters. Contrast between the stark white snow and the logs is also apparent in this photo, creating a visual interest and bringing the focus on the logs.

Assignment Review

This photo assignment was very interesting to me, despite the fact that I have been taking photos for many years as a hobby. Typically when I take a photo I am aware of the fact that I can tweak it later if the lighting is off a little or if I catch something that should be cropped. For example, I am constantly having to adjust lighting when I take photos of my dog (Seen in Photo 2) because he is so intensely black. For this assignment that was not an option.

Anticipating that I would be sharing only raw images, I was challenged. However, I was surprised with how pleased I was with my photos. I learned to really work with my camera and my surroundings to get a quality, raw image.

I was aware of the creative devices prior to this course and many of them come naturally to me when I take photos now. The opportunity to focus solely on one device at a time was challenging and beneficial to my skills in photography. I was definitely surprised by the outcome of this exercise both in my images and in my education on photography.

If I were to do anything different when shooting these photos, I would venture out into town to catch more unique moments. I am happy with the “at home” feel in these photos, but had the weather been better (and had I not been such a wimp about the cold) I think I could have provided more interesting images.

Alternative Farmers and Diners Fight to Reverse Industrial Damage

Will Allen at Growing Power’s Milwaukee farm.
Photo courtesy of: New York Times

The Future of Farming

In the desolate plains of Laramie, Wyoming three friends came together with a vision to create a new way to farm. Together they formed Bright AgroTech, a company focused on sustainable farming through aquaponics.

“Our technological goals are to restore symbiotic relationships between crops and livestock, and ensure that the gifts that we have been given are being used effectively, efficiently and profitably,” according to the company’s website.

Abundant and inexpensive food is expected in the American markets today, but this comes at a cost. Industrial agriculture relies on extreme amounts of water, energy and chemicals, such as pesticides and fertilizers. Soils are becoming over-tilled and depleted of nutrients and crop failures are becoming more and more common with extreme changes in weather.

The U.S. food market heavily relies on the production of genetically modified and nutritionally poor crops like corn and soybeans. As food production becomes more industrial,  an influx of obese, malnourished and diseased adults and children becomes an American epidemic.

As these problems arise, farmers have begun  turning to alternative methods of growing their crops. Methods like aquaponics and hydroponics have become a powerful movement with support from agricultural and dining communities across the country. Metropolitan areas are becoming dotted by urban gardens on rooftops, old warehouses and city sidewalks. The small, soil-less farming allows greens to flourish despite restrictions by weather or location.

The creators of Bright Agrotech are not alone in their mission to change the way consumers get their food.

Photo courtesy of: Bright AgroTech

From Farm to Table

“We have customers that are very intentional in  their trips to our café. They respond very positively to our approach. They come specifically because of what they believe,” David Boucher, owner of Amaranth Bakery and Cafe in Milwaukee said, “as well as my wife’s baked goods.”

Restaurants with a passion for sustainable dining have turned to alternative farms to provide them with fresh, local produce. Growing Power, one of Amaranth’s vendors, provides produce for over 35 restaurants, bakeries and cafes throughout the Chicago and Milwaukee metropolitan areas from its urban, hydroponic and aquaponic farms.

Photo courtesy of: The Tailor and the Cook

“The beauty of these systems is that you do tend to take one huge variable out, which is the bakeries of mother nature,” Boucher said. “This year one of our local farmers has had a miserable time with strawberry crops and greens. It’s been so dry that they’ve been irrigating non-stop. They have had infestations and the inability to germinate because it’s been so dry. The beauty of these systems is they can take that variability out.”

This farmer’s story is common.

“In Central New York we are prisoner to the climate. We have a couple of months for good produce, so when we became aware of year round produce from Aqua Vita it was a no-brainer,” Tim Hardiman, chef and owner of The Tailor and the Cook in Utica, New York said.

The Tailor and the Cook receives  greens from Aqua-Vita Farms, an aquaponic farm serving Central New York, with their roots still in tact. Produce this fresh isn’t an option from most other produce purveyors. Hardiman explained that produce from other purveyors is likely to be eleven days old before reaching his kitchen.

“The fact that we can get it 365 days a year is key,” he said.

Hydroponics at Home

Photo courtesy of: WindowFarms

While chefs and restauranteurs turn to alternative farms to fill their sustainable menus,  home gardeners can do the same.

In 2009, Britta Riley built a vertical garden in her fifth floor Brooklyn apartment window, using recycled water bottles and plumbing supplies. Through social-media, her system went viral and led to the creation of Windowfarms, an international community of at-home, hyrdoponic gardeners.

Riley’s design has been widely featured throughout the media, prominent food blogs and documentaries, and her online community now has over 40,000 members.

Windowfarm’s online store provides vertical farm structures, as well as liquid plant food, plant supplements and “baby plants” for apartment-dwellers looking to start  their own window garden.

For sustainable home gardeners outside the big city, Bright AgroTech sells a product line they use in the high plains. The Laramie company sells hydroponic and aquaponic systems under their ZipGrow line.

From the urban gardeners of the cramped, big city to farmers struggling to grow in harsh climates, alternative farming is providing answers.

“Most importantly, we want everyone to participate in a new sustainability, from consumers looking for healthy, local produce to producers with their hands in the earth,” Bright AgroTech’s website states. “We believe and pray that our children will inherit what we’ve started — and when that is your mindset, sustainability is the only option.”

Usability Analysis | 100 Gallons: Reflections From A Nation Powered By Water

Screen Shot 2013-01-25 at 6.25.24 PM

I looked at the multimedia presentation of water usage around the world created by Powering a Nation titled 100 Gallons: Reflections From A Nation Powered By Water. When I first reached the webpage, the main video was the largest item on the page. I assumed this meant it was where I should begin. From here I realized that the small circles on the bottom of the video were pop-up windows with shorter videos, graphics and stories relating to the subject of water usage. I glanced through all of these and then clicked on the “About,” “Why 100 Gallons” and “How to View” buttons. Looking back, it would have made a lot more sense to click the “How to View” button at the beginning, but I figured it out before I noticed that button was there.

A noteworthy point in this analysis was that when I first started navigating the website none of the links worked. I eventually switched browsers and everything worked fine. Had I not realized the buttons did not work, I never would have seen the links to the pop-up windows and side stories. When referencing the tips from the blog, this site followed many of the suggestions. The navigation was relatively simple, and designed in a clean, concise manner. The navigation buttons were decent sized, but with the coloring I somehow missed the “How to View” link. These were placed at the bottom of the video, which may have not been the most logical choice for usability, but aesthetically made sense.

Multimedia was most definitely integrated throughout all aspects of the site. Many options (text, video, images, infographics) were available for viewers. I did not run into any problems in trying to navigate away from the main video to the pop-up stories and videos. ThScreen Shot 2013-01-25 at 6.26.05 PMey organized this portion of the site very well. Links were in the same location, there weren’t too many options and descriptions and labels were clear.

When navigating for contact information on the designers and authors of this webpage, I was able to quickly find what I was looking for via the “About” button.

After watching my husband navigate the website, our experiences appeared to be very similar. Like I did, he never clicked on the “How to Navigate” button. He did start out watching the main video and then navigated through the smaller stories and videos on the site. Unlike I did, he did not ever use the buttons to explore the pop up videos and stories during the duration of the main video. Rather, he found the links to these at the page that appears once you complete the main video. During his exploration of the site he did not say much, but he did really like how the information was broken down into different videos, stories and infographics. He did not like how it was difficult to get out of the “About” window once you selected it, but that was his only complaint.

When I asked him to find the contact information for the creators he was able to quickly find it. He had previously looked at the “About” page and saw the link to the staff information on that page when he began navigating the site.

Our experiences an critiques of the site were very similar. We both enjoyed the options that were presented to learn more about the topic, and had only a few issues with navigation. We both were able to navigate through the site without any issues in getting lost or confused. Our only struggles were minimal and had to do with things such as trying to get away from a pop-up window and back to the main page. With a few tries we were both able to get where we wanted to be.

If I were to change and not change three things about this website, I would:

Change:

1. Place the “How to Navigate” button somewhere more prominent on the page so it is not overlooked.

2. Try to make the website function on all browsers.

3. Include an “x” in the top right hand corner of all pop-up pages so it is easy to find where to exit the page and consistent throughout the site.

Not Change:

1. The size of the videos and the related buttons. They were very easy to use and I had no problems with this.

2. The location of the contact information. It was very easy to find.

3. The ability to view the pop-up stories and videos in the middle of the main video. I though this was a very interesting way to divide up the content.