Now that I have completed the production of my final 2 minute video piece, 2 minute radio piece and 500 word article, they have all given me a lot to look back on and reflect on in terms of: all the issues that put my problem-solving skills to the test; how much my skills have developed over the production since before I begun; and even how my knowledge of interactivity has expanded over this time period.
There’s no doubt that I have faced problems and/or technical issues at some point during all stages of production. But where we have faced problems there has always been a positive outcome: for example, Carris and I both faced the same issue time after time again with not having the available tripods or having to re-book our equipment for a different day since we simply wouldn’t have time to complete what we assigned ourselves to complete. But using our previous knowledge of finding substitutes such as benches, banisters and railings as ‘tripods’, they avoided the use of amateurish shakes during the shots and as a result, made our video piece much more professional. In relation to the radio piece, this may have been easier and much less time-consuming to complete but that doesn’t mean that it came with no problems at all! For instance, when we managed to book out the professional zoom mics we were rushed for time so didn’t manage to accurately record each voice-over according to its required duration. Even though using my phone to complete this destroyed some of the quality slightly, it meant that I could increase the levels of background audio to try and block some of the imperfections out- which did make the radio piece sound more related to the topic being reported. However, I’d happily say that, for me personally, the interactive article was the easiest to complete since I only had one main problem which was with the referencing- The solution to this was one of the most effective I had probably come across in the entire production since Scott showed me how to reference my article without having links and numbers in the way of each information. This was through applying links through a WordPress tool that linked them without them being visual in my writing. Not only is this housekeeping to the next level but this solution has allowed me to keep my final blog post tidy and of a high industry-standard. definitely worth using as part of my final major project!
One event that immediately comes to my mind is before the interview with the Wildwood trust. I’d happily say that this was my biggest problem to deal with because we had to rapidly come up with difficult choices at very short notice- even by postponing the interview since we couldn’t book out the equipment on time. Despite this, our problem-solving solutions made it 100% worth while because the interview itself was a success, we gathered all the footage we needed and this problem was resolved eventually through the teamwork of Carris and I. But compared to the other problems we faced during filming, this was definitely the strongest. Although this felt like an extreme negative at the time, it did teach me the reality of what can actually occur in the industry since these problem do happen and tough decisions will have to me made at very short notice- a vital skill for me to now reflect on, as well as for Carris.
Another point to add to this is that the other problems we faced such as not having the correct equipment available or setting up the tripod was fairly simple to overcome because we had already had those experienced previously and we just used our memories of how the equipment worked and was set up before. As for the final piece itself though, I’d happily say that if we didn’t face up to any of the problems we faced along the way, the video wouldn’t look of the high quality it looks now. Even when it came to the voice-overs for it, even when we were rushed (alongside the voice-overs for the radio piece) I came up with the solution of recording on my phone at home where I could have 100% guarantee silence and I could concentrate for as long as I required. As a result, this did make such a huge improvement to both the video and radio pieces. However, even though there were a few buffs here and there, I did what I did with the radio piece and increased some of the background volume as much as I needed. Even though this didn’t solve the problem completely, it did to a degree and even formed a positive out of it because the background audio seemed to enhance the video more and make it look more professional yet realistic.
In my opinion, the reason that the production of the video piece and shots were all a success and of a good quality was because we never overcame any problems by ourselves- we were always there to aid each other with our own knowledge and skills to overcome them. This also applied to the video’s quality of depth and detail of information because during the pre-production stages we each came up with our own ideas in which we shared with each other, researched and scripted into the video- which also helped us to come up with suitable interview questions. One problem which we never went about along was all of the interviews carried out, whether it was the phone call interview or the live filmed interview. We always decided together what to say in the emails and came up with solutions together- which is why our interviews were successful and as a result, we gathered all the detailed information we needed for our production piece.
As for the 2 minute radio piece, I’d say that due to it having less problems to face made it easier to complete but overall, didn’t really do the quality of it any favours since I didn’t have that opportunity to face up to the problem and eliminate it to make the quality better. However, in relation to the problems that did arise, they were very easy to resolve because it was mainly down to: either using the appropriate editing tools on Adobe Audition and/or experimenting with the recording equipment and surrounding environments- both of which definitely affected the final quality of it positively plus the fact that I have very recent and repeated experience with the software so I was able to crack on with accomplishing the solution with ease. Yet again, the fact that our previous knowledge of similar problems we faced in the past that helped us to overcome our ones with the radio piece. For instance, learning how to position the zoom mic was a skill that solved the problem of audio quality because when we did use it we wanted to capture as much of the voices as we wanted without missing any or having it becoming blurred and/or sounding fuzzy. This was when we remembered how we experimented with the positioning of it in order to capture as much audio as we could. This meant that when we did use the zoom mics for parts of our production, it benefited the overall sound quality for all these reasons.
However, there were some problems we faced that did impact the final radio piece in a negative way. When we did use the zoom mics we did receive good quality audio but as we were rushed I didn’t get the accurate timing for them. this was when i had no choice but to use my phone since all the zoom mics were booked out but this only made the quality not nearly as good as previously. But the solution to this problem did help with the quality slightly because I used Adobe Audition to increase the volume of background audio I applied in an attempt to block out some of the fuzziness and buffing sounds. I did this in a way that it wouldn’t affect the quality of the voice overs but it also blocked out as much of the unwanted interruptions as possible.
This did teach me a lesson on how to improve the overall quality of the voice-overs however; if I am offered a quiet space to record in I will not accept it if there is a tight time limit because that was the reason we had to give up our production and spare time in order to re-record something which could have been achieved perfectly before. This will also give me the chance to book in advance to ensure we get that quiet space and to book out the zoom mic for that time too so we could still achieve maximum quality for the video and radio voice-overs.
I feel that all the final quality of the final radio piece has made it perfectly clear that problems have definitely been thrown at us- but on the positive side, not enough so that I haven’t been able to produce a successful piece which: consists of detailed content of the endangerment of red squirrels; contains vox pops in order to make it sound more believable and background audio to make the audience engage with it as much as possible. I feel the fact that all of these elements combines along with the professionalism in my tone of voice has proved that my problem-solving skills have definitely been worth while. Even though there have been problems that show up on it such as buffing sounds but I tried to resolve these as much as possible with editing it on Adobe Audition. And finally, looking at the flaws compared to the positives of the radio piece, the positives weigh out the flaws by a mile.
Technical online-based writing and interactivity:
As for my online writing skills for the article and overall final blog post, I honestly feel that I have had not so many skills to develop on here because we have probably had the least number of writing skills to develop on throughout the project and, even though we have looked into why online news should have links and interactivity, we haven’t actually practised this for real yet. This is why I am extremely proud of my efforts with how the article and final blog post has turned out because the only pieces of support I’ve had altogether with this are: having someone proof-read my article and Scott showing me how to apply the links to references when my article was applied to the blog post- which was a completely new skill to me which I am perfectly confident to use in the future.
I thin I can also happily say that these are the only main problems I could overcome with the final article- but unlike the radio piece, they haven’t resulted in a poorer quality than I hoped but it was a challenge to organise and use what research and leftover interviews I had in a way that made sense, followed an understandable order and met the 500 word limit. As for all my research and interviews, I decided to take advantage of the fact that I had to reference every piece I used and so, I tried t used something from everything in order to include as much depth, detail yet relevant information as possible. This also included going back to the interview we had with the Red Squirrel Survival Trust (RSST) and using some of the interview in it which I thought was relavent for what text was applied. I also realised I hadn’t used that interview within any of the project yet so that was the perfect chance to.
Despite the minor struggles with referencing and wording the article, this wasn’t too bad to complete because I had completed all the pre-production and production work itself so the rest of the project time enabled me to focus on the article. This time was definitely worth while due to the problems I faced and the struggle at first to apply my first words to the article. However, a factor which definitely helped me and made the article of an industry-standard was my knowledge of how online news articles should be applied and ordered on the page, how an active headline should be present and a short but engaging headline. In my eyes, I feel that these were the main elements of my final bog post that made it one of the most successful pieces if the project.
Obviously, the whole production, the skills I have used to overcome problems or new skills I have learned in general have all given me a lot to think about in terms of my final major project. I know for a fact that I will not be using any video or audio skills in this because my final major project will be print-based. I have decided that I will be doing a photography magazine which will hold the purpose of why photography exists as a hobby and a career and what it means to people and professionals. It will consist of research and possible interviews with professional and also some of my own work; since my personal blog features all my photos and writing about them, I will have that as a comfortable starting point. However, in terms of developing my skills for my final major project, I don’t feel that the writing pat will get in the way at all because when it comes to writing formally and factually I can always refer to my first Final project and the article for my project 2. when it comes to writing for my own work too, that will be a breeze because like I previously said, I have my own personal blog to refer to and I know my own writing style.
Although I said that I wouldn’t require any video or audio skills in my final major project, the Wildwood interview comes into my head immediately and the RSST interview too, because those problems required some of my strongest problem-solving skills- which I will prepare myself for big time when it comes to any interviews I carry out for this next project.