Video Story Telling

For this project my partner and I shot a promotional video for the winter programs and equipment offered through the Outdoor Program at the University of Wyoming. For the project we interviewed a University of Wyoming student involved in winter-time backcountry recreation and an employee of the Outdoor Program on campus. To give our story a strong visual appeal, my partner and I collected Go Pro footage, from a few backcountry trips we embarked upon, over the course of a few weeks.

I liked learning to use the Go Pro Hero 4s that were made newly available through the University of Wyoming IT department. Initially using a Go Pro is challenging without a viewfinder or a starting concept of what field of view the camera is shooting. After viewing the footage from my first filming session, I feel I can use the Go Pro more effectively having developed a sense for the ultra-wide angle lenses employed by this camera. This extremely wide field of view is was surprising at first but now I view it as unique and interesting. In the future I would like to see what kind of footage I could capture from the ski helmet mount my friend lent me yesterday.

I think that I will probably keep a Go Pro out on a permanently renewing loan from the IT department until my graduation. Its durability and small size mean that the angles it can capture are only limited by my imagination. For example,tomorrow, I would like to experiment with it to film ice fishing from an underwater angle.

I think that filming will be a crucial part of creating the online multimedia stories that are the future of journalism. For me personally filming will be especially important. This will be because I like action packed, kinetic stories that are well suited to a video medium.

Link to the video:

 

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Live Tweeting Assignment Relfection

For this assignment I provided live coverage of an event Via a Twitter feed. This Twitter feed needed to include pictures as well as quotes from subjects that I interviewed on site.

The event I chose to broadcast from was the wrestling meet on campus between the Cowboy and Air Force Academy wrestling teams. I felt  attending this event was interesting. I wrestled in middle school so I enjoyed seeing  how the dynamics of the sport changed, when athletes in peak human condition are competing.

There was also a good atmosphere at the event. It appeared that the meet was watched by a lot of die-hard enthusiasts of the sport,  many appeared to have traveled to Laramie from around the state to attend.

Twitter’s mobile platform has the simplest user interface of any of the programs used for my Online Journalism Class. The biggest limitation and frustration of using Twitter for reporting is the limited amount of characters you can use. This makes twitter a terrible platform to broadcast interviews on complex subjects. As a reporter you are limited to simple questions and simple answers, when interviewing people for a Twitter feed.

The question that I asked all of my fellow spectators was, “what do think makes wrestling  a good spectator sport?” I felt that this question was terribly trite but workable given the 160 character limitation. I believe better interview questions could have been posed If I was using a less restrictive medium to report this event.

I think that social media will play a huge role in my future career. A lot of entry level positions in the communication field involve managing social media for companies. Even experienced correspondents are expected to broadcast on multiple social media platforms in addition to the traditional work they do for print and broadcast.I can therefore assume social media will permeate my future career from start to finish.

Sound Slides Project

This Sound Slides Project combines audio and photo in a multimedia slide show. This slideshow follows the actions taken by snowy range employees to prepare for the winter.

Capturing the raw footage for this assignment was a lot of fun, though time consuming and requiring a lot of travel.

The photography experience included a shoot at the base area and a jaunt though the mountains to find a vantage point, for a landscape shot of the ski area. I felt that the photography aspect of this assignment definitely benefited from having multiple people working together to cover more areas, angles and shots. The hardest part of photography is covering all the ground required to capture all the different perspectives you need. I rode in my assignment partner’s truck to where the road was closed up by the tree line. All the way back down past the resort to a beak in the trees, above the pond used as the water supply for the snow machines, before we found a suitable angle of the Snowy Range’s ski runs.

When doing the interviews I felt that one of the biggest lessons of this class namely, “try to get as many people as possible to agree for interviews because you would be shocked how many people flake, cancel, or can’t spare 5 minutes until 2 weeks from now,” was reinforced. For this project, My partner and I pursued many different leads many of which availed to naught although they seemed promising at first.

While working on the Sound Slides project the biggest challenge was manually reorganizing the files into the collections needed for the program, as my partner and I exchanged raw files between our computers. In the future for working on projects that requires a lot of exchanging of large files, between different people on different machines, some sort of faster network would be preferable.

Edited Audio Profile

Andrew’s Edited Audio Story 

I found Audacity slightly difficult to use at first, owing to differences between its features and the features of programs I have used in the past. However, once familiarizing myself with Audacity, I found it to be an enjoyable program to use for telling Andrew’s story

Two very tedious aspects of audio profile editing are, cropping the subject’s pauses to create tempo like structure and dissecting words that are spoken in rapid succession. This task is required by all audio editing techniques because it is crucial to creating a peace that not only meets predesignated time constraints but also keeps the listeners attention.

One thing I did enjoy about editing with Audacity was, how the program makes this really quick for the user. The intuitive zoom, select, crop and undo crop commands allow the user to quickly go over the raw track, eliminating unwanted sections.

One thing that struck me as surprising, was how much the chronology of the final edit differed from that of the raw recording. Things that Andrew said later on in the interview, ended up towards the beginning of the final edit due to the good supporting detail they provided. I was also surprised to see how much our natural speaking volume varies tremendously, both  rhythmically and at random, throughout conversation. This tenancy is very advantageous because it allows the editor to create transitions in the audio file that sound like natural inflections.

I wish my skills with the program had developed more smoothly at first. I also wish I could have created a nice conclusion that could have encapsulated the entirety of the interview. Rather than the present conclusion, which trails off with a description of procedures involving the responsible handling of endangered game fish. As a fisherman myself I found it both vivid and fascinating. Unfortunately, it is also undeniably a bit disconnected from Andrew’s filming career.

Raw Audio Profile Assignment

I interviewed Andrew O’Neil,a senior at the University of Wyoming, for this project. I asked him about that factors that influenced his choice of Major,his plans for the future, and his experiences as an intern while in school. Over all conducting the interview felt good. Andrew had a good story to tell and I was able to improvise good questions which promoted him to disclose fascinating reminiscences.

Location, experience and good equipment were pivotal to the interview’s success, and made both interviewing and being interviewed feel relaxed and conversational. The empty classroom that was selected by Andrew and I for the location of our interview had great acoustics.  Inside it was quiet, contained little background noise, and had large tracts of upholstery to deaden echos and soften tone. These characteristics were crucial for clarity. I have used My Zoom H1 for 4 years, in a myriad variety of audio recording situations, including interviews. The fantastic directional quality of the microphone, allows the user to record at the periphery of his subject’s personal bubble. This creates a very comfortable environment for both parties where you can converse naturally, while still getting a good recording. The comfortable interview setting, that can be created by an experienced H1 user, is crucial to eliciting good responses to the questions being asked.

I did not enjoy being interviewed as much as I liked asking the questions. I was partially intimidated by how cool the internship experiences, filming saltwater fly fishing, that Andrew described were. I wanted to share something equally or at least partially as awesome. This competitive drive made me nervous because I knew I didn’t have any stories nearly as good.  I felt that my answers to Andrew’s questions could have been better structured. I also said “Uh” a few times which is extremely poor oratory practice. I wish I had put more effort into developing responses to the general interview subjects suggested.

Photojournalism

Mountain Spirit
Mountain Spirit.
James in Autumn
James in Autumn.
Pyramid
Pyramid.
Decastro at Dusk.
Decastro at Dusk.
Fire from the Pyramid.
Fire from the Pyramid.

The dominant creative devices are as follows:

1. In this picture texture is the dominant device is texture because of how well I got the crystalline structure of the granite to pop out from the background.

2 In this picture Viewpoint is the dominant device because the photo was taken  from an uncommon angle inches from the road base.

3 In this picture establishing size is the dominant device because the door is made to appear as large as a pyramid.

4 In this picture creating depth is the dominant device because there is a steady progression of receding subjects from my friend in the foreground to the moon.

5 In this picture rule of thirds is the dominant device because the cloud banks roughly divide the image into thirds from top to bottom.

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The Fat Bike Craze finds a foothold in Laramie.

Fat Bikes on the snow. Courtesy of Google images.

The fat bike craze finds a foothold in Laramie.

 

University of Wyoming students can expect to add this exciting new sport to their arsenal of outdoor hobbies.

Most of the students attending University of Wyoming were born inside the state where they have had the opportunity to pursue wintertime passions all their lives. “I’ve been snowboarding since I was about five,” said University of Wyoming sophomore, Andre Roca who I interviewed about his perception of the rise of the fat bike. The fat bike could carry a profound impact for a place like University of Wyoming where snow sports play a large part in the lives of the student body.

 

The specialized fat bike tires allow the rider to traverse previously impassable terrain.

Fat bikes have large studded tires which allow the rider to traverse snow, mud, and other soft conditions. In the course of the past few years they have enjoyed a growing popularity among mountain bikers looking to expand their off- season training capacities.

Fat bikes have recently gained in popularity across America.

Fat bikes have exploded in popularity over the course of the past four years. Laramie retailers have not been carrying fat bikes for very long. I interviewed Rusty of the Pedal shop, a Laramie bike shop about the rise of the fat bike phenomena and the Pedal House’s involvement in the movement.  He said that, “New technology” contributed to the fat bike craze. According to rusty, fat bikes have been around for a while but it has only been recently that manufactures have had the technology to make fat bikes well, and for a number of companies to start making them. The Pedal House has been carrying fat bikes for three years now.

The Snowy Range ski area hosted its first fat bike race in 2014.

                The Snowy Range Snow Bike challenge will be held on the first of February. It is the third race of The Mountain Fat Bike series which according to its website was, “Established in 2013, The Mountain Fat Bike Series was created to unite fatbike races around the region.” As well as giving racers the opportunity to compete for a regional championship title.

“My friend who went to the race this year, and I’ll probably go up and watch it with him next year,” Remarked James a University of Wyoming senior. James has been active in the University outdoor community for many years, and knows a few people that have been caught up in fat biking’s growing popularity. One thing that he and Andre both agree on is fat biking will continue to be a growing part of the winter sports scene, a scene which is vital to University of Wyoming students for thriving in the snows of Laramie.

Fat Bikes in the night outside the Snowy Range Ski Resort lodge. Courtesy of Google Images.

 

Links:

http://www.mountainfatbikeseries.com/

http://www.pedalhouse.com/

 

Usability tests and consumer analysis

The website that my friend who was willing to help me and I reviewed, was Coal a love story. My initial thoughts regarding the main navigation page was that an interactive video timeline was a bit cumbersome and gratuitous. Why separate a linear story in to non linear chunks, that you are then compelled by descending arrows to navigate in a linear fashion?  I also believed that the story of American energy, is a bit on the aesthetic side. One better suited for the mediums of text and informational graphics. Despite these criticisms I did find the navigation of the site to be fairly intuitive.

I had to absorb a majority of the website’s content before I realized that the real story of Coal the love story is not american energy. It is the story of the Americans who surround the controversies, regarding coal powered energy production in this country. Scientific information was exiled to the realms of informational animations, that could be experienced as layers  in between the linear montage of video clips which told the human interest stories, or not at all. These nonlinear animated clips provided great supplementary information necessary to put the video clips in a wider context, but not for understanding the main narrative of conflicting American interests. The contact information was easy to find at the bottom of the page where it is traditionally located.

My friend who reviewed the site though it was a bit reductionist. For him the human interest stories were of secondary interest to the information provided in the animations. He went to the story of the rancher in the powder river basin first because he grew up in that area, then he went back to the beginning and read down to the bottom. It took him a few seconds to realize you had to click on the arrow that appears at the end of the video clip to scroll down to the next clip instead of manually scrolling.  He noticed the contract information when he reached the end of the presentation and reported it immediately when asked.

My News Diet

My news diet is derived from a wide range of topics and a narrow range of outlets. I get most of my online news through Vice and I mainly consume the Week and the Economist magazines from the menu of printed options. Yahoo stories can be hit or miss.

I was introduced to the Week shortly after I moved off the sailboat. It is a compilation of the top stories from the major news outlets. I really like how it provides opinions from both conservative and liberal pundits so you can learn what the whole nation thinks about an issue unlike most opinionated news outlets who tell you how to feel. It also provides an excellent cross sections of science news and news from international sources. If I you only have forty five minutes to find out what happened in the world this week and understand what everyone at the water cooler is debating look no farther than the week.

The Economist is one of the most dense News magazines in print. Reading a copy from cover to cover is a tenacious feat usually reserved for long road trips. A wise strategy is to discover which international issues you are particularly interested in from the broad coverage provided from the Week or online sources and then find a related article in the Economist. The Economist is probably one of the most detailed print sources for international news found in the US. Due to my travels and studies in Mandarin I love the weekly installments of Chinese news.

Vice is a huge media conglomerate that is published in as many formats as Americans will consume it in. Vice started as a magazine but maintains a massive online presence including a series of full length documentaries on YouTube.  Vice is undoubtedly a triumph of media integration. Its online sources covers more topics from more different journalists than there are stars in heaven. The philosophy of the publishers was strongly influenced by the work of Hunter S Thompson. The biggest productions of the corporation deal with explicit or underground topics that would be considered too strange and vulgar for the mainstream media. The reporters for Vice frequently employ the Gonzo style of Hunter. They frequently put themselves in danger as they try to become immersed in dangerous war zones and criminal activities around the world. This gives Vice news a Unique edge of excitement non existent  elsewhere. It is my dream to one day be employed by this magnificent organization.