Student Reflections

Ceri Riley's Reflections

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Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 7 | Day 11

Link to Ceri Riley’s Page on Tumblr

Day 1

Today was more nerve-racking than it should’ve been (considering my part of the lecture comprised of sitting / listening to really interesting lectures on videos / storytelling and then giving a crash course in the mechanics of the websites we’ll be using). This is probably because I’m an inherently nervous person when it comes to first days, but also because of public speaking.

Even though I’ve used Tumblr and YouTube for countless hours and introduced friends to vloggers or the websites (especially when YouTube was in its baby stages), it’s felt weird to “teach” it? Good weird, like I’m really lucky to live in a time when I can conceivably convince people I’m doing something worthwhile when I say I’m studying / creating online educational video right now.

During the in-class activity, I realized how infrequently I actually watched science TV when I was little (aside from Magic School Bus) and how I have no nostalgic attachments to shows / personalities like Cosmos, Bill Nye, etc. But I’ll watch almost anything with Hank Green in it if I have the time, and am currently subscribed to several of the channels we previewed. I’m glad we pointed out the homogeneity of popular science hosts, but it would also be cool to show that semi-popular female-hosted channels Also exist like ViHart and TheBrainScoop (also Caitlin is part of the main SciShow team). Representation could still be far more balanced, but there are definitely successful channels out there that we should continue supporting!

I also have to refrain from jumping into all the discussions because I have a lot of feels about online video. I definitely aired on the side of caution today, but once people start speaking up / getting more comfortable with the class, I might feel better about adding to the discussion. I’m still figuring out how to transition from being a student to a TA right now, so asking me questions that I can (or can’t) answer will definitely help solidify what my role is / how I can best help you guys!

Link back to Day 1

Reflection Day 2

This video is courtesy of Ceri Riley on YouTube and is provided under our Creative Commons license.

I think my written posts will always be more composed than an off-the-cuff vlog, but it’s still good practice to get more comfortable in front of the camera!

Link back to Day 2

Reflection Day 3

This video is courtesy of Ceri Riley on YouTube and is provided under our Creative Commons license.

Thoughts about the creative process and acting exercises.

Get out the box. “Ira Glass on the Creative Process.” 21 July, 2011. YouTube.

karldallas. “Olivier’s Hamlet film (1948): To Be Or Not To Be soliloquy.” 26 January, 2010. YouTube. (the 4th one in the playlist is David Tennant’s in case you were wondering)

Link back to Day 3

Reflection Day 4

This video is courtesy of Ceri Riley on YouTube and is provided under our Creative Commons license.

tl;dr if anyone needs (rudimentary) animation help, let me know after class someday!

I can explain my personal Adobe software workflow and tips to using Illustrator & what I know of AfterEffects (not Flash right now, but I’d love to have an excuse to learn if people had an interest in using it)

Link back to Day 4

Day 5 Reflections

I think if I were taking this class, today would be the day the video-making process would start to feel Real. Up until this point, we’ve been talking a lot about the (very important!) planning stages - scripting, storyboarding, idea webs, whatever. But with Chris’ lecture on filming techniques and Elizabeth’s on producing, you now have some of the tools to start thinking about how to make your visions more concrete. (Or how you’re going to try to make your visions concrete, inevitably get frustrated when they’re not 100% what’s in your head, accept how your videos look / sound as a learning experience, and hopefully be inspired to make more in the future!)

Even though I just sat in the classroom and saw a couple of you film, it was really exciting to hear little things like varying the camera angle / shots and little directorial decisions and multiple takes. As someone who’s almost entirely made videos by myself with very little real-time feedback, I think it would’ve definitely helped me to have another person being like “hey, let’s do that take again because you did a weird thing with your face” instead of future-me being like “past-me, you’re the worst.”

This weekend I’m going to catch up with all the things you’ve been doing and try to come up with my own sort of an idea / script. Even though I’ve been making videos since high school (but only seriously making them since last year, if I’m being completely honest), anything I come up with will surely need a lot of revision and iterations before it’s remotely filmable. Recently most videos I’ve been making have been 1) vlogs or vlog-like things 2) silly videos / parodies with my friends or 3) very technical biology videos for 7.28. So this will be an entirely different writing mindset and it’ll be good to switch gears as a break from other work.

Anyway. Back on track.

I think Chris gave a lot of valuable things for you guys to think about. I also think that the first time you film anything you will have So much to think about that you’ll forget about half of the things he was talking about (Yeah! I nailed that line. But whoops the background is in focus and I didn’t want it to be. Or there’s a weird patch of light on my face. Dang.)

I said this after class to a couple people in the room, but I think it’s still important to remember / reiterate. Video-making takes a Lot longer than people think. So even though this class feels very front-heavy as Elizabeth has mentioned, getting into the habit of working on your script a little bit each day will eventually help you get into the mindset of filming / editing / thinking about your video each day. Which will, in turn, prevent most (if not all) opportunities for last-minute panic.

I’m really excited to read scripts on Monday and see what you all produce!

Link back to Day 5

Day 7 Reflections

First off: Your scripts have all come so far! I can’t wait to see all of your final videos (or whatever stages you bring to us for help). It’s been really cool to see you guys learn so much over the course of a week (it feels like a lot longer) and push yourselves both inside and outside of class.

Elizabeth’s editing lecture was great and covered all the major points you should worry about when working on your videos. I’ve found that a lot of editing (as cheesy as it sounds) is about feeling - whether you feel the pacing is just right or too fast, whether you feel like your emotion or expression is off in one take, whether you feel like the music fits. For some formats like vlogging, quick dialogue in succession may be okay, but for our videos there’s going to be b-roll in a lot of them and much-needed pauses for the audience to take in information. Eventually you’ll find a familiarity with the tools and a rhythm for your video, and it should (hopefully) be fun from that point on. (Editing is one of my favorite parts of video making, if you couldn’t tell.)

Please remember to take advantage of us as a resource while you film and edit! Especially with the long weekend, it’ll be really easy to leave things to the last minute. For example, if you explain a vision to one of us, we might be able to help strategize the best way to do it to make it easier on yourself later (“it would be way easier to animate in post if you did x, y, z, while filming” OR “if you want to film there, make sure to go during certain hours and / or have a backup”).

Also, I think an important note (or at least it would be for me, because I can get really nitpicky / perfectionist when it comes to projects), is that all we expect from you is to try your best. Your videos don’t need to look like a polished Science Out Loud video, or a SciShow episode, or like you’re going to publish it on PBS’s YouTube channel. You should (hopefully) be proud of what you make, but it’s okay if there are little mistakes or things that you would change if you had more time to shoot / edit / get feedback / etc. So don’t do everything at the last minute, but please don’t drive yourselves insane over this video project!

See (some of) you tomorrow, and feel free to email me at any point! I’ll be happy to help in any way I can :)

Link back to Day 7

Day 11 Reflections

You guys have come so far :’) Not only because you now all have (almost) final video projects, but in the way that you’re able to describe things like what you like / what you don’t like / how to improve videos. Final screenings are going to be awesome and exciting (I invited all my friends plus the people I UROP with in MITx-we’ll see who comes), and hopefully you guys will all be somewhat proud of how much you’ve learned / done over these past 2 ½ weeks. So many feels, but it needs to be said.

I’ve been rewatching and subtitling some of my old vlogs for MIT Admissions and some of my transitions / delivery are seriously cringe-worthy. So the fact that you guys can not only identify mistakes in your own videos but also give feedback on each others’ is so valuable. Even though now I can sort of pretend I know what I’m doing when it comes to videos, this would’ve been such a great class for younger-me to take. I just keep thinking of all the bad habits that never would’ve formed (lookin’ at you, past Ceri, who wanted to make Every video like a Hank Green or Charlie McDonnell vlog… So Many Jump Cuts).

Hopefully in the future, even if you never make a video again in your life, you’ll remember little things like the rule of thirds or how to vary your delivery if you have to give a talk / presentation or “kill your darlings” or how to give constructive criticism to somebody else’s video project.

I was talking with Elizabeth about this sometime in the past two weeks, but because it’s so easy to access a video camera (of some sort) and editing software, so many people are making videos. And I’m all in favor of people making things and learning how to make better things, but a lack of best practices allows some people to become lazy and mass produce not-very-engaging videos that get a lot of views simply because there aren’t any other videos on the topic.

So, I guess, it’s really good that you guys are learning what to look for in an effective video (shaped by your personal tastes, of course). Because then we can keep spreading these informed opinions and pushing for better educational media instead of sticking to the same old “just okay” things. There’s an entire medium to be explored! So people should explore it thoroughly!

Soapbox aside; let me know if you need any animation help (or anything else). It’s coming close to the deadline, so maybe you’ll have to simplify some of your more complicated ideas, but I’m happy to help however I can.

Link back to Day 11

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