Reflections

It’s amazing how 12 weeks just came and went by so quickly! It always seems that way when I reach the end of each semester. It’s been an exciting semester, especially for this subject, as I’ve never done a documentary before, and so having to do one for an assignment was pretty challenging. I’m just glad it’s over, and it has taught me a lot, not just about theories and communities, but also about talking to people and learning to handle delicate situations.

The process of making the documentary was one of the most difficult assignments I’ve had so far. I found it similar to my previous experience in journalism… the process of researching my subject area, contacting sources, and interviewing them was familiar to me, but the difficult part was having to film them and edit them into video format. It was all an interesting learning experience, but I must say it was rather stressful having to think about the little but important things associated with that, such as format, style, and asking the right questions, because it’s so much more different to put answers into a video as compared to putting them down in words.

I had the scariest time editing my documentary. After learning Final Cut from a friend, I thought it would be a breeze. He’d shown me examples using his own videos and given me a thorough tour of all the basics I needed to put different videos and audios together, and gave me so many tips on how to make the end product ‘clean’ and professional looking. What I didn’t expect was for my camcorder to have recorded the videos in a format which was incompatible with Final Cut, and even after converting my videos, it was giving me problems, so I had to give up.

Windows Movie Maker wasn’t much help either. Having used it previously for smaller projects, I thought it’d be relatively easy. Turns out when you try to put too many videos and audio files together, WMM will hang and won’t open your project for you. Thank goodness for the internet and forums, which helped me fix that problem! After saving a copy of the movie for my rough cut showing, I didn’t even end up going to class because I was too sick to leave the house, but I felt relatively comforted by  the fact that I would definitely have a finished product by the due date. But after some more editing to the project, WMM wouldn’t save the project file as a movie file because, apparently, some original files were missing. And this was on the day it was due! So…. I had to re-do the whole project, making sure to check if I could convert it into a movie every few minutes, and finally, it was done.

After posting it up on Youtube, Vimeo, and Current, I put the finishing touches to the blog and spread it to my social networks! It was awesome getting some positive and constructive feedback from friends and family, as well as from my interviewees themselves. The video was also getting views on their own, and the blog as well. Bek from SLAM/Music Victoria has also replied saying she’ll put up the links on SLAM sites next week, so I’m hoping to see more comments from people who view it.

For now, I’m glad it’s finally done. There’s always a sense of satisfaction from having a finished product, and I’m especially glad the video came through especially after all the problems I had with WMM!

I also went through other students’ documentaries and thought they were done so well! Not all the blogs had links on them, though, so I only viewed a few. It’s great seeing all these ideas I’ve been hearing in the past weeks being put into videos and websites and audio, and seeing what each student did with their documentary. I hope everyone’s happy with their work! I know I’m pretty  relieved! But for now… it’s back to doing my essays for my other subjects… good luck for everyone’s remaining assignments!

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