projects from the college days

I studied Video Production at the University of Washington & it was a really good experience. I learned the basics of how to tell a story or effectively get a point across in a video… How to choose the most effective shots & how to edit something together without messing up the continuity, etc… The program neglected to go into depth in some areas, though… Among other things, I wish we’d spent more time learning After Effects or even Motion & I wish it had pushed us to take internships. Overall, though, it was pretty beneficial.

Here are some of the projects I’d done in my college years. When I first made these videos I was soo proud of them. I still am, to some extent, because of how fun they were to make. But after watching them over & over, the main thing I’m left with now is what I should’ve done differently to improve them. From getting the lighting right to properly re-formatting a video file for the web, I see a lot of technical mistakes. I guess I’m pretty critical of my work.

A Night of Mischief (Short Film, June 2009)

This was a fun project from beginning to end. The most challenging part was coordinating with the actors & extras and working around their schedules. Nonetheless, they were great & had a pretty helpful attitude.

I’d have done a few things differently with it, though. Right off the bat, the first thing you hear is white noise & I should have cleaned that up. Also, since I didn’t know how to properly re-format at the time, the picture’s grainy & darker than the original footage. Having said that, the lighting at the TP’ing scene & one of the fountain scenes was still insufficient & I should have cared about that more. And lastly, the script was a bit cheesy. Fun fact about that, though… The rant towards the end came out of frustration from getting a ticket for expired tabs shortly before I wrote it. It was just a way of voicing disappointment from seeing so much garbage go on without consequence in our society, while good people get punished for such trivial things… Though in real life I wouldn’t condone childish pranks, speeding or public urination.

I am proud of a couple things in this video, though. The racing scene turned out pretty well considering how much of a challenge it was shooting & editing it. I think a lot of the transitions I used were pretty cool. Also I’m pretty proud of how I edited my footage around the music (oh yeah, and I like the music), which is something I always try to do… Good times.

Fun Fact: I worked on this in the school’s editing room for 27 straight hours… Then when I was finished I went home to take a three-hour nap & then went back to school to work for 23 straight hours on…

iWrite: Tacoma’s Graffiti (Documentary, June 2009)

The most challenging part of making this was getting the artists comfortable enough with me to get them on film. Because of the nature of what they do, there are a lot of concerns around revealing their identities. There was a lot of networking, emails & phone calls to be made, and by the time I’d built up enough rapport with them & got them on film, the deadline was fast approaching, so I had to rush through post production.

The first song that played was a bad choice in music. Though at the time I thought it was fitting, considering the nature of what the artist was doing while it was playing, I now think it’s just too much and makes the video annoying to watch for much of the audience. And again, I didn’t pay enough attention to lighting & re-formatting.  One unfortunate thing was that the last tape of Clone’s finished wall got eaten up, so all I had was lousy photos to show. Lastly, I had a lot of good interview footage that I didn’t use because, frankly, I didn’t have time to put it in. So even though it’s a pretty interesting documentary, it could have been a little more insightful.

Pitfalls aside, it’s an interesting topic (whether or not you support it) & you get to hear about it from the perspective of insiders. I liked the time-lapse footage & the interview audio was clear. With the exception of the first song (and how I transitioned out of it) I think the last two songs worked. So overall, I was pretty happy about how this turned out.

Midterm Mock PSA (April 2009)

This video was fun to make, funny & well made, considering the level I was on at the time. During our critiquing session, though, one of my classmates made a good point, saying she wasn’t sure what the call to action was. Though this was meant to be somewhat of a mock Public Service Announcement, I guess I didn’t make the call to action abundantly clear, which is the whole point of a PSA & was even more of a problem with the first PSA I made a year earlier… FYI, the call to action is to be compassionate & help out someone in need.

Life of a College Student (Short Film, March 2008)

Here’s some more grainy video footage for you… Anyways, I guess you can say this is somewhat autobiographical, as I was pretty much taking the audience through my typical day at school. I’d say the only thing that wasn’t accurate in there was the part about watching YouTube videos in class. I never did that.

Some of the shots could’ve been better executed, had I had a steadicam, for example. A lot of them, though, were well thought out & good ideas, I think.  Overall, a good first short film.

How Not to Impress a Girl (Mock PSA, February 2008)

This was really the first project I ever took on where I was in control of every aspect of production & I think it’s fun to watch and it was fun to make. I think a lot of the shots transitions I used were good, though they could have been executed better. I think the jump cuts when Mike was trying on shirts was cool & I like how I showed him closing the mirror, cutting to the door opening at the party.

Technical problems, though… At 20 seconds in when Mike says “What’s up, man?” you can hear someone making a noise in the background & I’m so irked that I didn’t get a shot of that with cleaner audio. Also, a couple seconds later after he says “What’s up Janeen?” his cell phone rings when it’s already to his year, hinting that he was pretending to talk on it to look cool. But the audience doesn’t have enough time to realize this before the next cut comes. That’s one of the challenges of keeping it at 30 seconds.

Also, in the end this was supposed to be a Public Service Announcement and the message (or call to action) isn’t as evident as it should be. If anything, it’s a call to non-action, so could that really be considered a PSA? Eh, you decide.

In the end, all I really wanted to do with this project is make something fun and exercise my technical skills. Mission accomplished, I’d say.

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