Tag Archives: university of massachusetts amherst

Flash graphics assignment

The following is an assignment for a journalism class at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

The best instance of my integrating Flash into my portfolio website would be to do displaying my photography.

I would like the Photography page to display my photos. Users can click on words such as ‘nature,’ ‘people,’ and ‘places.’ A photograph would appear, and sub buttons would appear below the subject buttons. Then visitors can click on the sub buttons, such as ‘Lithuania’ and photos taken in Lithuania would appear.

Flash would enhance the photography page by allowing more room for aesthetics, while HTML and CSS would be much more difficult to manipulate in such ways. Most of my photos are uploaded to Flickr. Using Flash will allow me to feature specific photos. Also, if I have natural sounds sounds that may fit with some photos, Flash enables web developers to apply those sounds, such as in a button.

"Macbeth" at The Globe, London.

I already have the photos. I would make the text and basic graphics in Flash. If I decided to add natural sounds to the photos, I would have to go into some of my videos taken at the time and get sounds from those videos. I probably don’t have audio for every photograph, but it’s something that would be interesting to experiment with (I hope it wouldn’t be annoying).

I currently know how to make buttons and add sounds that would fit perfectly. I would like to better learn how to program the buttons with a motion graphic. I can do both individually, but I am still learning how to program the concepts together.


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Where I’ve been…

Obvious: I have not posted a proper blog entry or update since September.

Reason: I have been taking five classes and working two jobs.

Details: I’ve been taking some some interesting classes at UMass Amherst, such as web design for journalists, investigative journalism, and a film workshop at Hampshire College. 

I’m learning web design and building a portfolio website in a web design class, taught by Brian McDermott, which I will publish at the end of the semester. That’s a huge step up from this blog, which I’m excited about. The website will creatively display my work and resume. I’ve been using and learning Dreamweaver as well as Flash to build my website up from scratch. I haven’t used a single template, which has proven to be a great learning experience. I will provide more details about my website when it’s published.

The film workshop, taught by Abraham Ravett, at Hampshire College is pretty awesome. It’s been a difficult transition from working digital to working analog, but because I have such a solid grasp in camera fundamentals like film speed, aperture, frame rate, and shutter speed, I’ve definitely had an easier time than some of my fellow classmates. The class requires students to work in 16mm black and white reversal film shot on a Bolex and edit projects on a Steen Beck. I’ve transfered pretty much all of my footage to video, but the transfers aren’t that great, which is kind of disappointing considering how beautiful film looks projected as opposed to scan lines and pixels. I’m still working on editing my most recent shorts in Final Cut Pro, which I will likely upload at the end of the semester.

The investigative journalism course, taught by Steve Fox, has taken up most of my time and has been a challenging learning experience. We are investigating and reporting on the Phoebe Prince bullying case and its aftermath. The UMass journalism class is partnered with MassLive.com, so everything we produce gets published on the site. Our articles are published on a blog page which can be found at masslive.com/bullying. My beat is covering the South Hadley School Committee and related matters. My final project for this semester will be a video, which I will link to when it debuts.

Work has been keeping me busy editing various wildlife videos. I’ve recently edited videos on swamp pink, bog turtles, and puffins. They will debut at a biologists conference in February; I am uncertain if they will be published online.

This semester has been far too busy, but it will all be worth it come mid-December. As a prelude to next semester (my last and final semester of college), I hope I will be able to update much more frequently as well as have more time to play around with After Effects, cameras, and documentary work – oh and looking for a job.

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Flash and journalism

The following piece is a class assignment for a web design course for journalists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Flash is not only used to make a website look slick but can better convey news stories on the web.

National Geographic developed a very creative site called Inside 9/11, which uses Flash to better tell complex stories pertaining to September 11th, 2001. 

The page features a section of video archives called “Inside 9/11 Interviews.” When opened, viewers see a display of many photos of people, and a side bar on the left. Site visitors can click people’s images, then watch a video interview of the person and/or read a transcript of the interview, read a short biography, and see suggested interviews. Once a person’s video interview has been watched or clicked on, the thumbnail ‘grays out’ so viewers know what they have or have not clicked. The sidebar lists subjects partaining to 9/11, and when the mouse moves over the subject bar, interviews on the topic are highlighted.

I like the Flash piece because it takes the documentary concept and adapts it to the web. Video clips are archived in an organized yet creative way. It widens the opportunity for telling stories and the news, and, now, a piece of history. It also allows viewers to interact with these archival materials. They can easily choose the subjects they want to learn more about. The information provided shows how people and subject matters are connected providing a timeframe and context, while an emotional stories are also told. Other types of media are much more linear, meaning someone has to read or watch materials from the beginning to the end, where as this Flash site allows people to ‘jump around.’

The site is quite complex and I am not sure how it was made in Flash and/or javascript. It seems the author(s) used a function like in Flash’s ‘button editing mode.’ When the mouse moves over a subject in the sidebar, people related to that subject are highlighted. When the mouse clicks the bar, a sound effect is applied and the interviewees are highlighted in red as the ‘lock into place’ for viewers to click on.

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Photos the Days – Last week

September 5, 2010

Heading out for a beautiful day.

September 6, 2010

UMass working on the world's longest sushi roll.

September 7, 2010

Some new graffiti to start the year at UMass. They are still at it.

September 8, 2010

This mural's got a secret.

September 9, 2010

This is a bathroom at UMass.

September 10, 2010

Just some plaid shirts.

September 11, 2010

Chalk art on the sidewalks of Northampton, Massachusetts.

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Photos of the Days – It’s been a while…

Due to my lack of access to real internet, the fact that I have an internship across the state and a nearly full-time job, I haven’t been able to upload my photos of the day or make some good blog entries. But without further agonizing, here are the photos!

May 5, 2010

Some hidden street art in Northampton.

 

May 6, 2010

Hearts.

 

May 7, 2010

Smith College gardens

 

May 8, 2010

Capturing footage at my new job.

 

May 9, 2010

Mint cookies!

 

May 10, 2010

The puppies have grown!

 

May 11, 2010

Firefly night.

 

May 12, 2010

Seriously, this cake was way too big. There's still some of that chunk in our fridge.

 

May 13, 2010

Strawberries.

 

May 14, 2010

Turkey run!

 

May 15, 2010

USFWS and UMass Amherst have joined forces.

 

May 16, 2010

Snow pea flower.

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Being extra prepared when things go wrong

Tis the graduation season, and about 4,200 University of Massachusetts undergraduates recieved their diplomas Saturday.

This entry was originally supposed to be about what happens behind the scenes and leading up to commencement day.

But, now, it’s about being prepared for the worst.

UVC-TV 19, UMass’ student-run TV station spends months preparing for the taping of the university’s undergraduate commencement.

Hauling equipment out of the station, into a truck, and to the football stadium.

 

The real meat of the operation begins a month or so before commencement when crew is finalized and the equipment is piled together and checked out for what is probably our most important shoot all year.

Preparation of the crew begins around two weeks before the ceremony when there are one or two meetings on what everyone should do. Someone has to remember the cash box for DVD sales. Someone has to set up equipment. Someone has to operate a camera. The list is never ending.

The camera that saved our lives.

 

The commencement shoot begins the day before commencement when a small portion of the video crew goes to set up and spool out hundreds of feet of video cable.

Back of the video monitor and switcher.

 

We spool out cables, tape them down, stand around and wait for an audio test, set up and wire a portable monitor and editing-on-the-fly system, turn cameras on and off, talk with special headsets, sweat in the sun, and go to bed early.

The audio setup before disaster.

 

The only technical difference about this year’s commencement compared to the last two years of commencement was that the university chose not to have a jumbotron and rather asked UVC-TV 19 to hook up a feed to the football stadium scoreboard. So we did. And it looked awesome.

The monitor unit was to direct and edit from.

 

The day of commencement began at 5 a.m. when all crew members telephoned each other a wake up call. We later met at the station at 6 a.m. By 6:10 a.m. we were at the stadium ready to go.

The crack of dawn.

 

Everything was looking good. Everything was going smoothly. Everyone was happy. It was sunny. The sky was blue. 

We were all happy and ready to go.

 

At 10 a.m. the graduating class and their professors and teachers were marching their way in. We hit record. The footage was up on the scoreboard.

When everything was on the scoreboard.

 

Then the power went out.

Everyone in the press tent suddenly panicked and scurried to find a new source of power or back up or something while the band still played and the happy graduates marched in.

The power-outage killed the portable monitor in which I, as the director, could see our three camera operator’s footage.

What was also killed was power for our recording unit. The digital file recording unit was powerless. The SVHS tape backup unit was powerless.

But what still had power was our field cameras.

I told my guys on camera to keep rolling. I couldn’t see any of the shots they were getting but having worked commencement two previous years, I knew exactly what to expect and what shots were important.

Soon, audio power was restored from some sort of alternative source. Audio had another source set up and ready to go. Let me put it this way – they have enough money to afford to have a back up. UVC – well, we are always looking for donations, but that’s another story. Anyways, commencement wasn’t ruined.

A power source wasn’t restored for UVC.

But it’s a good thing for camera batteries!

And it was even better that our camera operators were recording on a third backup with tape. And a fourth backup on compact flash cards.

Our recording was saved.

My assistant director got me a chair so I would stop pacing like a mad woman outside the press tent. 

I sat in the chair, watched commencement for the third year in row and directed my camera operators blindly.

I spoke into my headset, ‘Camera 1, slow zoom into the chancellor for a close-up. Camera 3 I need a wide shot of the stage, slow zoom out. Camera 2 we’re going to need some graduate reactions, they’re going to be clapping soon.’

We did this for an hour and a half, at times arguing over who had the best shot of the chancellor, even though no one could see what anyone had. But the beauty of having three cameras, is the alternative angles and shots, and the ability to change tapes and recording units at different times so not a moment of action was lost.

When the ceremony ended, it was a success. Everyone was thrilled we pulled it together despite losing power.

Our success was truly about having a backup – and several of those backups having backups because you never really know when the power will go out.

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Photos of the Days – Tech to Wilderness

As usually planned, here are my last few days of Photos of the Days, due to my only and inconvenient access to dial-up.

May 13, 2010

Greasy and greasy, yet so much fun.

 

May 14, 2010

This is the monitor and editing-on-the-fly unit we (UVC-TV 19) use for big field productions.

 

May 15, 2010

This is the morning of the UMass Commencement... at 5:55 a.m.

 

May 16, 2010

Old and dusty wilderness and hunting items.

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