Gantt chart

Initially, I found it quite difficult to use the Gantt chart and its functions, having only had a very brief bit of experience with the software last semester. However, now I actually very confident in using Microsoft Project and think it’s been incredibly helpful in keeping me on track with my work throughout this semester.

I used the repeat task function to plan my weekly update of the Gantt chart. I tried to keep my chart quite chronological so it was a bit of a shame that this repeat function kept the tasks together. I’d follow the chart downwards as the numbers increased so it was easy to forget that these tasks were there at the top. I think if I were to use a Gantt chart in the future, I might just manually create a weekly task, rather than just use the repeat function, as I would be more likely to see it that way.

repeat gantt

As you can see, I’ve now completed all my work on the Gantt chart and my task completion is at 100%. The cost does seem high, but given the Gantt chart spans over 69 days, it does seem more reasonable that that would be the sort of wage I might expect. I thought I’d ticked off all my tasks, but when I looked at the project information, there was still a fair bit of work and cost left to be done. I wondered if this might be because of my inactivated tasks, but when I took a closer look it became clear that I there were some major tasks that hadn’t been put to 100% complete. Instead, I had just put subtasks to 100% complete. Once I made this change, the statistics showed as seen below.

project stats

One thing that can be seen a number of times throughout my Gantt chart are inactivated tasks. This was mainly due to interviewees cancelling or not no replying and was the cause of me having to choose a different story for my report. The inactivate function was an ideal way for me to leave these tasks on my chart to prove that they had been scheduled. It also means that there aren’t any time gaps where there was no work planned, which would be important if I was showing this to an employer. These tasks still being on the chart would help back up my explanation of why some shoots did not go ahead.

inactivated

You can see the critical path on this screenshot where one of my tasks got delayed quite significantly. This was due to me not being able to film when I initially hoped to. However, because I had planned for this to be done earlier than it needed to be, it meant that when I did complete this task a few weeks later, it didn’t have a negative impact on any other tasks.

critical path

 

I added notes quite a bit throughout the chart to make it clearer why I’d done certain things or why there had been a change in date or if something had been inactivated. This was a useful way to add more detail to my Gantt and helped me remember what happened throughout the project.

I baselined more towards the end because that was when things were most likely to have a significant impact on the final deadline and when the critical path was the most important to keen an eye on. Despite feeling the Gantt chart was a bit of a waste of time at the start of the semester (I felt I’d have a good grasp on what needed doing when without having it written down), I’ve come to find it incredibly useful. I was surprised at how many things I would be doing at once and I think using my Gantt chart and updating it every week allowed me to keep on eye on my work and, more importantly, how each bit of work would affect something else if there was slippage.

I feel that my time management skills have always been good, but this project has reinforced my view of how important they are. I feel much more confident at using the complex functions of the Gantt chart and think that I would definitely use it for future projects in my professional career, especially if I work as a freelancer, as it would be an effective way in showing my employer the breakdown of costs.

Module evaluation

Problems I’ve encountered:

  • Obviously, the most difficult part of this project for me has been organising the interviews. Being reliant on other people has proved to be quite stressful and it’s the thing that has affected my schedule the most. I overcame this issue with a lot of determination and hard work. When people were reluctant to be involved I tried to reassure them about where this project would be published and my angle to the story. When interviewees cancelled or did get back in touch, I would seek out alternatives and contact them as quickly as possible, bearing in mind any reasons I had heard about why others did not want to help me out and phrasing my invitation accordingly.
  • I think the fact I’m a student may have put some people off. If I was from a well known broadcaster such as the BBC, I believe they would’ve been much happier to be involved, possible because they might’ve hoped it would offer benefits for them such as good publicity. I still think my decision to be honest about the fact I am a student was the right one. I didn’t want to lie or trick people into being involved and if I had and they had searched my name on Google, it would’ve been very easy for them to work out that I hadn’t been truthful which might’ve caused them to change their mind about being involved.

What I’ve enjoyed:

  • I was very pleased I was able to tailor the module to what I want to do when I graduate and work on a piece of broadcast journalism. I have little interest in photography and have a good deal of written journalism experience already so it would’ve felt a bit wasted had I just done the option of words and images. Being able to create a video as my last piece of university work has allowed me to get an idea of what might be expected of me in the industry and made me more aware of the challenges that presents.

What I’ve learnt:

  • It’s important to expect things to go wrong and to start tasks well before they need to be done to allow for slippage. I’ve really focussed on good time management this semester and created a very thorough Gantt chart to help me do this. From previous experience of working alongside interviewees, I decided that it would be important to anticipate setbacks. To combat this issue, I made sure that I planned for everything to be done weeks in advance. This proved to be an essential way of working. I had planned to film students on campus the week before Easter but it was very quiet and there weren’t enough people for me to film. This was followed by an empty campus over the two week break, which meant my shoot with the students was pushed back by three weeks. This could’ve been a big problem, but luckily I had scheduled it so early that it didn’t effect my final deadline. This has taught me that where possible, completing work in advance is the best course of action to ensure deadlines are met.
  • Throughout this course we’ve had to write in this reflective blog and I think with this module more than any other, it’s really helped me to develop my piece. Reflecting on each part of this project allowed me to really analyse what went wrong and why, what was successful and why and how I could do a better job the next time. Without it, I think I might’ve made similar mistakes on different occasions due to not taking the time to fully understand how I could improve my work. It is a time-consuming way to work, but for me, it’s ensured my work has been at the best possible standard.
  • I’ve learnt that creating this sort of content is much harder than it looks! It has given me much more respect for broadcast journalists who are expected to produce video packages in one day. I worked on this report for a number of months to get it to what I feel is a professional level, so to do it in a day is a really hard ask. I think this project has taught me that I need to continue to practice creating videos to a deadline to try and ensure I can work quickly and efficiently.

Personal development:

  • I mentioned this in my presentation, but this project has really made me think about the news we see and why we see it. Is it really the most important piece of news that day, or was there something else that happened but it was just too difficult to cover? I think the fact I am wondering this shows my ability to be inquisitive and think in more depth about what we see and why.
  • I’ve developed my filming and editing skills hugely this semester, as they were both things I had very little experience in prior to this project. I also challenged myself by picking to create something for a news publication. My work in the past has generally been on features and I’m therefore much more experienced creating stories for that genre. This report allowed me to explore my ability to produce a very factual and serious piece and also, pushed me to expand my presenting skills. My on-camera experience has always been doing very informal, friendly pieces, but I found that by researching the style of presenting adopted by news reporters, I was able to work in a similar way.
  • My technical skills have definitely improved because of this module. I set myself the challenge of creating graphics that looked similar to those the BBC use, despite being told by lecturers that the templates I had used on my editing software would be ‘fine’. My attitude was that ‘fine’ is very different to ‘professional’ and I felt that the more my report looked like one the BBC would show, the easier it would be for the lecturers to see it as a professional standard. Despite it taking a long time, I was able to create these graphics with some tips from Google, and it really boosted my confidence in my ability to use Photoshop and video editing software.

What I’d do differently:

  • It’s tempting to say I’d choose a less controversial topic! However, I am sure that there would be problems in getting people to participate no matter what the subject and this was something I was incredibly interested in and was relevant to my research report. I think the important thing to bear in mind is how I dealt with and overcame these problems.
  • If I could do this project again, I’d ensure I had a number of story ideas right from the start and would begin contacting interviewees from each one immediately. That way, I’d know early on which stories weren’t going to work and it wouldn’t leave me in the lurch should one idea not be possible. I was very fortunate with this project that I came across a second story that I felt would be appropriate to cover and had the awareness that my original idea wasn’t progressing as it should’ve been. If I had not found the second story idea when I did, it could’ve taken me much longer to come up with an alternative idea and that would’ve put pressure on me, knowing I had not completed as much of the report as I should’ve. Having a number of ideas from the start would’ve been a lot more work, but would’ve helped ensure that I was going to be able to pull something together.
  • I don’t think there is much else that I’d change as the interviewee issue has been the only one that has hindered me. There was some slippage when I wasn’t able to shoot at certain locations, but because I’d prepared for this sort of thing and organised to get work done with plenty of time to spare, it didn’t have a negative impact on my project.

I’ve really enjoyed this module and think it’s help me develop as a broadcast journalist. I have relished the chance to improve my reporting skills and develop new ones, such as creating graphics. It has made it very clear to me how difficult using so many interviewees can be and I think I’ve learnt how to combat the issues this presents. I am very pleased with my time management skills and think the use of the Gantt chart has really helped me ensure I’ve stuck to deadlines.

Final presentation reflection

I am very pleased with how my presentation went. I’m lucky in the fact that I am confident with public speaking and think this has really helped me throughout these presentations. I was a little nervous today, but I think that was simply because I’m very aware that this pitch was worth 50% of two modules.

There were no technical errors (unlike in my previous presentation where I couldn’t get the video to work), but I had prepared for them and had therefore exported my presentation so it could be used on both a Mac and a PC. I showed my video via YouTube, as last time when I embedded it into the presentation it caused the laptop to crash, which meant the quality wasn’t as high as it is when you watch the original file. However, I did address this after we had watched it so the tutors were aware the quality was less because it was being watched through YouTube and that they can watch it on the USB I handed in. We only had 20 minutes for both the presentation and any questions from tutors so I knew it was incredibly important to have everything run to time so I was able to show and say as much as possible.

To the best of my memory, these were the questions the lecturers put to me at the end of my presentation:

Sarah: “You told the interviewees you were a student, how do you think their responses might’ve differed if you worked for a publication?” My response was that I think if I did work for the BBC or a well known publication, people might’ve been more willing to speak to me. Also, depending on the publication, they’d have had a better idea of the angle of my story. Being a student, I think people were a little concerned about my agenda and how they were going to be represented. If I had been working for the BBC they’d have known it was more impartial, if I was from The Sun they might’ve worried I was looking for dirt to create a controversial story, and FHM might’ve wanted a feature on how women working in SEVs was a good thing. I hoped this response showed I had thought about how they reacted to me being a student and also, that I have an awareness of how other publications are perceived.

Chris: “You said you chose not to use the clip that Gemma asked you not to; what would you have done if it had been a really good quote or your boss wanted it in the story?” I answered this question very honestly and admitted that the quote where she talked in more detail about working in a SEV wasn’t that relevant to my report and so I didn’t want to use it anyway. However, if I really was working for the BBC and my boss told me to use it then I would’ve had to. It’s not an ethical answer but it’s a realistic one and I knew that it was the right one as my journalism lecturers know that it’s the way that industry works.

Honey: “Why didn’t you give any visual clues about the anonymous interviewee so we knew more about the sort of person she is?” I thought this was a bit of a strange question, as I had earlier mentioned how important it was to keep this interviewee anonymous and also, I’d shown screen shots from BBC anonymous interviews to show why I’d framed/filmed in that way. I think any more visual clues could’ve compromised her anonymity. Also, it’s not actually that important for the audience to know anything about her other than the fact she’s a student that works in SEVs, and the video does this.

I think I really did my best, both during the presentation and the work that I’d put in preparing for it. As I said in my plan, I tried to stick quite closely to the mark scheme and I hope this will allow me to be awarded high marks for this presentation. I am happy with how I answered the questions and think my responses showed my knowledge of the journalism industry. Also, the questions were mainly that were put to me were ‘what ifs?’ rather than queries about the work I have produced which to me suggests that they were impressed with what I have done and that my presentation covered all the necessary information.

My final step for this project is to complete my Gantt chart by ticking off the last couple of tasks, which were all to do with my presentation. I will also have a thorough look through it to ensure that there are no over allocations or other problems.

Final presentation

Beth Krysta Wilson

Final presentation 

Final presentation.001

SLIDE 2

My story: Study by researchers at Leeds University found almost a third of strip club workers they spoke to are university students. My piece is a video report about this information and speaks to relevant interviewees.

Final presentation.002                        

SLIDE 3

Unbiased: doesn’t take an view and say whether it’s bad or good, that’s not the BBC’s way of doing things. (Didn’t say: she wanted to be anonymous so her boss didn’t find out.) If it had been Mail Online they would’ve wanted a clear angle e.g. young vulnerable girls being targeted by strip clubs.

Challenging output: To me, the use of the phrase ‘challenging output’ suggests that the BBC would be happy running a story about a sensitive subject, such as the sexual objectification of women. However, they later talk about protecting ‘the vulnerable from harm’ and go on to say ‘content which might be unsuitable for children will be scheduled appropriately’. This research indicates that the subject I will be reporting on must either be appropriate to be viewed by children, or else broadcast after the watershed.

Informative: The information I’m giving to viewers is new and factual, it’s important and relevant to the audience given release of the study.

Audience: Quite an adult topic but dealt with in a way that is appropriate for pre-watershed i.e. no clips of inside the clubs/dancing. I did consider trying to gain access to the clubs and filming inside, but I felt that given the BBC want to protect younger audiences etc, it’s one thing talking about it and another showing it.

The words truth and accuracy are used many times throughout the BBC Guidelines, and I think that really highlights their desire to be viewed as an honest and reliable source of news. I haven’t manipulated quotes or facts and their is no agenda behind the piece – it’s simply there to inform the viewer.

Final presentation.003

SLIDE 4

Relevant to the BBC, Radio 5 live interviewed Peter Stringfellow about it.

Final presentation.004

SLIDE 5

The style:

Accessible for all – complex stuff e.g. SEVs, but explained in a way that everyone can understand. 

Correct editorial tone – formal and informative.

Final presentation.005

SLIDE 6

Why this story? 

It’s a challenging subject: As we’ve touched on, the BBC like to cover this sort of thing.

Relevant to Look North demographic: Their mission statement on Facebook asks for significant stories from around Yorkshire. this report from Leeds Uni was covered my national media such as The Times.

Current: When I started this project it was in the news and if this was a real-life exercise, would’ve been filmed and published on the same day.

Research report: It’s connected to my research report which was about the sexual objectification of women.

Final presentation.006

Interviewees: 

Dr Teela Sanders: She conducted the academic study so is well sourced. I could’ve read more findings but it’s more relevant to hear it from her.

Final presentation.007

Gemma Ahearne: She speaks from experience, worked in SEVs then went on to further education.

Final presentation.008

Stringfellow: Offers a male perspective. I did try interview night club owners but none got back to me. Stringfellow is well known within the industry. A credible source.

Final presentation.009

Anonymous: Currently working in an SEV and is a student, exactly the sort of person the study is about. She wants to be anonymous so her boss at a health spa doesn’t know she works as a stripper – read between the lines the fact she wanted to remain anonymous. She’s not a friend, genuinely anonymous and I went and found her, not just someone I know.

Final presentation.010

SLIDE 11+

Shots:

If we look at the sort of shots in BBC packages, it’s clear that mine are of a similar standard and fit within their house style.

Final presentation.011

Final presentation.012 Final presentation.013 Final presentation.014 Final presentation.015

SLIDE 16

Duration:

Fits in with standard BBC package duration – 2 min 39s    

I did have more voiceover scripted and a graphics section with some of the statistics from the report, but I felt the piece worked well enough without them and the length it was at was ideal.

Final presentation.016

SLIDE 17

Journalism skills: 

Determination/perseverance: Kept going, emailed lots of people many times and then had to develop a new story when it looked as though original one might not happen.

Controversial topic:

Most people probably have views on sexual entertainment venues so it’s something that needs to be treated sensitively. As quoted by Pape and Featherstone (2006) in Feature writing: a practical introduction, when dealing with sensitive topics such as this, it’s always best to do face-to-face interviews to establish a rapport with the interviewee, which in turn, will help them feel more comfortable answering your questions. I found this to be true with my interviews, which were all done face-to-face.

Non-judgemental:

I don’t like SEVs but I made sure this did not come across in the report and it remained unbiased.

Integrity:

I was honest throughout the report and didn’t manipulate quotes to change their meaning. 

Was honest throughout the process, didn’t want to lie and say I was a professional – a range of different ideas and the one I felt best was to be honest.

Protecting sources:

I made sure my interviewee remained anonymous, both in the report and in my reflective work she cannot be identified. Sanders (2004), says in Ethics and Journalism “A journalist’s work involves a constant tension between nurture and trust and maintaining scepticism. This is nowhere clearer than in the relationship between reporters and sources.” This quote is absolutely relevant to my experience creating this report; Gemma Ahearne talked in more detail in one clip about working in an SEV but afterwards asked me not to use it and I chose not to. 

Development: 

Has made me re-evaluate the news we see on TV; is it being broadcast because it’s the most newsworthy story, or, was it just easy to create a package about it on time? I had found a relevant and topical story, but due to a lack of willingness from interviewees, I had to cover something else. I have developed my editing and filming skills. I’m used to working on features, not news, so this was really different for me new style of journalism.

Final presentation.017

Final presentation.018

SLIDE 19

Evaluation – I think this project has gone very well. I’m happy with my final product and think it would be appropriate for use at my chosen publication. I met the deadline with a good amount of time to spare and have utilised the functions of the Gantt chart, such as keeping an eye on the critical path. 

Final presentation.019

SLIDE 20

Problems – Was more difficult that I expected, I was very reliant on other people, who sometimes did not get back to me so plans I had made as you can see here, had to be deactivated when they did not happen.

Final presentation.020

SLIDE 21

Problems – Some people not willing to be involved which caused the necessary change in story.

Final presentation.021

SLIDE 22

Development and documentation – Uploaded to YouTube as it went on and reflected on each shoot to develop the project and document my progress. Helped me to keep on track and develop an understanding about why certain things went wrong and how they could be done better the next time.

Final presentation.022

SLIDE 23

What I’ve learnt – It’s incredibly important to expect there to be set backs. Throughout this project I’ve always planned to do things earlier than necessary so that if there was slippage, I would still have time to re-arrange it. And it can be difficult working on a project that is so reliant on people and it’s important to have back-up ideas.

Final presentation.023

SLIDE 24

What I’ve learnt – Things change. Something you thought might work could later on feel unnecessary as I found with some ideas I had for my report.

Final presentation.024

SLIDE 25

What I’d do differently – It’s tempting to say I’d choose a less controversial topic, but I think the issues I encountered could be experienced with any subject. If I did this project again I would ensure I had a number of story options and would start contacting potential interviewees as early on as possible to help avoid the struggle I encountered trying to encourage people to be involved.

Final presentation.025

Final presentation.026

References:

Pape, S & Featherstone, S. (2006) Feature writing: a practical introduction

Sanders, K. (2004) Ethics and Journalism

Final presentation plan

For my final presentation, I knew it was vital to be as detailed as possible in the time I had. My aim was to be so thorough that there would be no questions at the end. This is probably unlikely, but it is the motivation for me to be very detailed.

I showed my draft presentation to a couple of the lecturers I would be presenting it to and they had some really helpful suggestions. One lecturer advised me to add some academia to the pitch, to show I can apply academic theories to my work. I found a couple by searching for journalism related publications on X-Stream and this quote really stood out to me: “A journalist’s work involves a constant tension between nurture and trust and maintaining scepticism. This is nowhere clearer than in the relationship between reporters and sources.” Sanders, K. (2004) Ethics and Journalism. I felt this was really relevant to my report as the part that refers to trust between reporters and sources is definitely applicable to me developing relationships with my sources to get them to open up. Also, one of them trusted me to ensure she remained anonymous. I did think it might sound a bit strange reading out an academic quote in my presentation, however, given that this is the advice of my tutor, it’s something I think I should follow. Another lecturer suggested I should it clear in my presentation that the video would be prefaced by a presenter introducing the piece, but other than that they were both very positive about the presentation which was very reassuring. We were given a very detailed mark scheme for this final presentation and a booklet explaining what our tutors would expect to see in the presentation. I made sure to read this information a number of times and ensure that I was including everything that had been asked for.

I am going to give hand outs to all the lecturers in the room. One of the report’s script so that they can read it after they’ve watched the video. I think when you watch something, you’re often distracted by the visual side and often don’t listen fully to what’s being said. Giving out the script is my way of ensuring that the lecturers can read through my piece and see that the journalistic content and the story is as strong as the visual material. I will then also print our a copy of my script that will accompany the presentation. Although I won’t be directly reading from this, it will be there for me to refer to so I make sure I address all the points I feel important. For Project Evaluation I will also print all the risk assessments I’ve done for this project. The consent forms and a document with all the emails I have sent throughout this project will be available on the USB I’m handing in during the presentation and will also be submitted on X-Stream with the Gantt chart and link to this blog. I thought it was more appropriate for these to be submitted electronically as they contain the personal details of my interviewees and also other people who I emailed. The only documents I won’t be releasing are those with information about the anonymous interviewee on. so she cannot be identified. I did want to submit my ethics form with all my documentation, however, I did the form online and there doesn’t seem to be a way to download it. My lecturer for this module approved it at the start of the semester and will have access to it though so I’m not going to worry about it too much!

I think I will talk through the project implementation side of things first, and address what I did and why and explain why my piece would be appropriate for publication at the BBC and then show my video. I feel that having given the lecturers some information about my video and who the interviewees are etc, it will help them understand it better. I will then discuss the evaluation side, talking about what I think went well and what didn’t. I will show screen shots of my Gantt chart to show how I have used it to help me with this project and also some screen shots of this blog and explain that I’ve used it to aid me in reflecting on my shoots to get a better understanding of how I could do better next time.

Having done two presentations already, I feel I have a good template to be working from and some slides can be used again as they will be relevant when talking about the audience and publication etc. They were obviously both much shorter than this presentation, so I expect to have many more slides to show. As in my previous presentations, I don’t want too much copy on the slides. I think it’s important for them to be cues for what I’m going to say, rather than something for me to read. I will write a set of notes for each slide to ensure I explain everything in sufficient detail and don’t forget anything important. I will post my slides and accompanying notes to this blog in the next post.

 

 

 

Creating the graphics

As I had anticipated creating these graphics really challenged my skills and it was a very time-consuming process.

After experimenting with existing titles in the editing software I was using (iMovie) and Final Cut Pro, it seemed there just wasn’t enough flexibility. I wasn’t able to change the colours or the position of the title and for that reason, I decided to create the aston in Photoshop and then export it into the video as a JPEG. I knew this would take a while, but I felt confident my Photoshop skills would be strong enough to create something that looked like the BBC titles.

One of the things I’ve learnt from this course is that typeface is very important and font has a real influence on people. For this reason, I felt it was essential to use text that looked as much like the BBC’s as possible. After trying a few different fonts, none of them looked like the BBC’s style. I therefore searched the internet to try and find out which font the BBC tend to use. Thankfully, there was this link (BBC 2014) which listed the main fonts used by the publication. I was then able to use this font in Photoshop.

I looked at the example below from Look North and tried to create a similar looking aston. I managed to do it without too much trouble and the trickiest part probably was choosing the opacity for the white bar. This really was a trial and error process and eventually I thought it looked very similar to the one Look North use. I obviously changed each aston to show the relevant person’s name and job title. For my piece to camera, my research showed me that usually the presenter’s name and location is all that is shown so that’s what I did for my graphic.

Screen Shot 2014-04-30 at 14.36.11 (BBC Look North, 2014)

I was able to work out how to insert the graphics by watching this video clip (MrQualityVideoClip, 2013). It was a very easy way to include the graphics, and it seems with a lot of video editing software, once you know how to do something it’s not that hard, but until you learn how to it and all the available functions it can be very frustrating! Once they were in the video editing software I was able to change the size and position of the JPEG, which was really essential as I felt it was important to ensure the position matched where the publication display theirs to keep continuity within my report.

Screen Shot 2014-05-01 at 11.03.28

 

As you can see from the Look North example, BBC packages often have the logo at the top left of the screen. I created this in the same way as I did the title, in Photoshop and then saved as a JPEG. Again, setting the correct opacity took quite a while but I think little things like this are vital to ensuring my video fits with the house style of my chosen publication. The only difficulty I had was that you can’t have two images on the video timeline at once, so when there’s a title, the BBC logo won’t appear at the top left. It’s a quick transition so I think it’s not too much of a problem and viewers probably won’t even notice.

Screen Shot 2014-05-01 at 11.40.17

The final bit I needed to create was the section that would be played during the voiceover about Peter Stringfellow. As discussed in earlier reflections, I did consider using an image of him and having his quote written by the side, however, I was not able to gain permission to images of him and it’s not actually that important for people to see his face. For this reason, I chose to use some stills of letters related to students from my footage. I thought that this although the quote itself doesn’t talk about money, these images would bring the viewers’ thoughts back to the cost of further education and the fact that it might play a part in women choosing to work in SEVs.

Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 16.13.13

Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 16.12.59

As you can see below, I worked on this graphic for a long time and made a number of revisions to it. I thought it was very important for the copy to be easy to read and the background images just there to give a bit of context to it. I therefore used the erase function on Photoshop and played around with the opacity of the images to fade them out, all the time keeping in mind that the quote is the focus of this shot.

Screen Shot 2014-04-30 at 15.17.43 copy

edited with stuff

new graphics

This is the graphic I have used in the report. I think it’s clean and simple and informs the viewer on what they need to know, whilst still looking more interesting than just a few words on a screen. Once I had a Photoshop image I was happy with, I exported the file as a JPEG and dropped it into the video’s timeline in my editing software. I then faced the issue of the video panning and zooming with the graphic on screen. This meant I had to ensure the text was positioned so that when the video did zoom, no copy was cut off. It took a long time, but I’m pleased I spent so long on it as I think a lesser-quality clip would’ve made the whole video feel less professional.

final graphic

 

Watch the report with the graphics added here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0biWlzy2No8

I am extremely happy with how these graphics have turned out and it’s really boosted my confidence in my own ability. I was very concerned that I’d struggle to make professional looking graphics, but I think what I have made is in keeping with the BBC’s style and has made my piece look professional. When I showed my report draft to people, everyone said they thought it would be fine as it was with the existing graphics as they did what they needed to. My belief was that if I were to show the BBC this piece, if it looked like something they would produce, it would help them see it as something they would be interested in publishing. I am very happy that I persevered with my aim to make these icons and despite how time consuming and frustrating it was at times, I think it’s transformed my report into a very polished piece.

This task taught me that Google can be a big help! It’s not always reliable and sometimes can’t answer your questions, but in this case it was very successful in me finding the information I needed to learn how to use the editing software to its full capacity. The fact that the BBC actually have a section on their website where they outline the fonts they use was extremely lucky and I think without it, I could’ve spent hours searching for a suitable typeface.

My final stage of this project is to show my report to my lecturers and get some viewer feedback. I am happy with the report as it stands and in my opinion there is nothing I think needs changing. However, in my experience of working on videos or written journalistic content, when you’ve been working on something for so long it can become difficult to judge it objectively and it often helps to have other people look at your work and see if it makes sense to them and if there are any obvious things they think need changing. I hope that this feedback will give me some useful ideas, however, if there is nothing people think needs changing I will be very pleased!

BBC Look North (2014) Tuesday, BBC One [Online video], 29 April. Available from: <http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b041swhh&gt; [Accessed 30 April 2014].

BBC (2014) BBC GEL [Online]. Available from: <http://www.bbc.co.uk/gel/web/building-blocks/typography/fonts&gt; [Accessed 30th April 2014].

MrQualityVideo (2013) How to Overlay Pictures and Video in Final Cut Pro X [Online video], 25 June. Available from: <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VAXWXB422i8&gt; [Accessed 30 April 2014]

Penultimate lecture

Today we got to see the printed posters, flyers and invites. Personally, I thought the image on the invite could’ve been better. The one that’s been chosen is clearly of a street in America with a yellow cab driving past. I appreciate that most of the photos in the exhibition won’t have been taken in Leeds, but I felt this image doesn’t really give an insight or have any relevance to Project 44. That being said, I think the way it’s been printed looks really good and the information is written in a clear way so the invites will definitely do their job. The posters and flyers have also been printed really well on good quality paper. I think they look very professional and as there are so many images on it, it will really interest people who see them and attract them to the exhibition. I’m pleased that one of my New York photos has made it onto the posters/flyers and think that group has done a really good job on their task.

We can be in to start hanging our work from the Thursday, but I am away until the Friday so there is no way of me being there until the afternoon before the exhibition starts. My photos are being printed this afternoon so over the weekend I will go and buy frames. I wanted to have the images printed before I chose frames as I thought seeing them printed out might influence what sort of frames I want. This is really the last thing I need to do for the exhibition now, as our space is looking clean and tidy and we have finished decorating. My last step after printing and framing will be to hang my work on the day. I am not too concerned about this, as I think it should be relatively simple to use nails and a hammer to put up my work.

I have agreed to be the MC for the night, which will involve me welcoming the Lord Mayor, introducing him before he makes his speech and announcing the raffle draw. I did wonder if it should be our lecturers that welcome people to the exhibition, but think it’s probably more appropriate that a student does it. I am happy doing this as no one else seemed keen to take on the responsibility and presenting is what I want to do after I graduate. I am now waiting for the preview night group to finalise the running order for the night, then I will know exactly what I need to do and when and work out if I should write a script for any part of the evening.

I am continuing to keep the Twitter account updated with relevant links, images and information and following more people everyday to try and help get Project 44 noticed. I imagine that I will be doing more tweets next week and during the exhibition to maximise the publicity at the most important time. I will also be tweeting various galleries and photography enthusiasts in Leeds closer to the opening night asking for retweets as I think their followers would be the most likely people to be interested in the exhibition.

I am feeling very confident with how things are going and think that I am on track to have it all done in time for the exhibition opening night. As stated above, I think my role working on the Twitter account will be most important over the next couple of weeks and I hope it will help us get more people visiting the exhibition.

Updating the report

As noted throughout these reflections, the final stages of editing this report were filming students and adding graphics. I think I will have to add the graphics in a different editing software and export my film to edit it in this software. For this reason, I decided to add the footage of students and get the video finished before adding the graphics.

The footage taken outside the university needed very little editing due to the good quality of light. I was careful when framing each shot so there wasn’t much cropping to be done, either. However I did increase the contrast on the clips of the paperwork as it looked a bit washed out and I needed the logos to be bold so viewers can easily read them. The clips from the library didn’t look as exciting or as colourful as the footage taken outside and for that reason, I decided not to use it in the report. Also, I thought it was better to have two sets of clips: the SEVs and the students on campus. Adding shots from the library creates another location, which I think is one too many.

I swapped numerous shots around to maximise their effect and tried to match them to what was being said in the voiceover. I.e. if the voiceover said “Peter Stringfellow has two SEVs” it would show the exterior of a club in Leeds. Adding the footage of students really gave me the freedom to prioritise clips and I was able to just use the ones I felt were strongest which I think has made the report look more professional.

I also changed my piece to camera as when I showed my draft report to one of my lecturers before Easter, he said he noticed the sound changed slightly at the end of my piece to camera. This was because I’d used two different audio recordings, as the piece to camera I chose didn’t have a successful ending. I chose the original piece to camera because I felt the intonation in my voice was slightly better. However, I felt that fixing the audio issue that my lecturer noticed was more important, so I therefore changed the clip to one that worked all the way through. I actually think it is just as good as the original one, and seeing me for the entirety of this piece flows much better than changing to another clip at the end.

Watch the updated version of my report here.

My only concern is that because the rest of the report other than this outdoor footage of students was shot on cloudy days, it might be obvious that they were done at two different times. That being said, I know that the BBC often use stock footage for their reports, so I don’t think it would be too much of an issue. Also, if this had been a real-life task to create a package for Look North, I’d’ve been expected to do it in one day and therefore the weather would’ve been the same on all shots.

I will show this updated version of the report to as many of my lecturers that will be marking it as possible to get feedback on any changes they think would improve it. I also think I will show it to some family and friends to ensure they understand it and there’s nothing obvious that stands out to them they think could be changed. I think this would really help me to test if this piece would appeal and be relevant to my target audience. I will watch a number of BBC packages and see how they compare to mine and if there are any key components that make it fit the BBC brand that I am missing. Once I’ve done all of that, it will be time for the final step which is to add the graphics.

I’m currently confident that I’m still on track to meet my deadline, however, being unexperienced in creating graphics, I’m not sure how long they will take to do. This really reinforces my view that it’s essential to try and plan for things going wrong and to set deadlines earlier than they need to be, which I have done throughout this project and so far, it’s worked and helped me to stay on track.

Filming university students

The reason I didn’t create a specific plan for this shoot was because I knew it was going to be down to trial and error, filming in different places and seeing what worked and what didn’t as I went along.

The first sets of shots I got were of some university-related paperwork. I brought these in from home specifically because they have very clear logos that people will recognise. I was really pleased with how these shots turned out and think the depth of field I used has helped make them more interesting and because I didn’t use a tripod, there is a slight bit of movement which in my opinion, makes for a better shot than a static one. I think these clips will work well in the report and give a different visual to the exteriors of the SEVs that currently dominate the piece.

Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 16.12.59Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 16.13.13

Next, I filmed a few different students in the library. Some of these clips looked okay, but the bright lights washed some of the colours out. Although this could be edited in post-production, I think that if possible, it’s always best to get the colours right when they clip is shot as editing can often look unnatural. Another issue was that a lot of the time, there were mixed gender or all male groups of students, and given that the report is about female students stripping, I knew that I needed women in the shot.

Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 16.12.31

Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 16.12.46

I then went outside to get some footage of the students around campus. Thankfully, after it being so quiet before and during Easter when I tried to do this shoot for the first time, today it was heaving with students. The sunny weather had brought a large number of people out and many were relaxing on benches and grass which allowed me to get a range of shots. I tried to get as much variety as possible, from shots of women by themselves, to groups walking about or a couple of friends sat talking together. I think it’s quite clear this is a university campus and that all these women are students, and I therefore think this footage will work perfectly in my report.

Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 16.15.42

Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 16.12.03

Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 16.13.31

Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 16.14.02

I felt a lot more confident with my camerawork on this shoot compared to previous ones, which I think shows how my abilities have improved, as when I started this project I often struggled with getting the footage I wanted when I filmed. Some of the shots I did for this shoot were quite tricky, and involved changing the focus of the camera as the students walked around. However, I think many of them have turned out really well and I used the skills I’ve been developing throughout this project to combat tricky shots.

I’ve learnt from this shoot that natural lighting can do wonders! In some of my other filming for this project, such as the interviews, I had real problems with artificial light and although there is an option to edit the colours and exposure of shots in iMovie, it’s much easier and more reliable to get it right at the time, which I think shooting outside on a sunny day will have done.

I am very happy with the results of this shoot and think I have some strong shots here that will be suitable for use in my report. My next stage is to edit them in to the video, replacing some of the existing footage. I think these clips will really brighten it up and make it more interesting and keep the viewers interested.

Viewer and tutor feedback

I thought it was really important to get some feedback from my tutors for this project to ensure they were happy with the standard of my work and to see if they had any suggestions on how I could improve it. I find that when I work on a project for a long time, whether it be an article or a piece of uni work, you become very familiar with it, which makes it hard to be objective when looking at it because you know it so well. I hoped this feedback would make me aware of anything that wasn’t to a professional standard. The only change that they suggested was to maybe add a bit of voiceover at the start to explain that the video would be prefaced by a presenter introducing the story, because that’s what would happen if it was being shown on Look North.  I think adding it to the video itself might hinder the flow of the piece, so I decided instead that I will simply say this before I show the video in my presentation. I think this will help give the report some context in how it would be published. At first I was a little disappointed my lecturers didn’t have more ideas of improvements to my report, but then I was pleased that they obviously think it’s at a good standard without any changes and I hope this is reflected in the marks I get for it.

Given this project is aimed to be published on the news, I felt that after asking for technical and journalistic advice from lecturers, it was also important to ask people with no experience in journalism (i.e. the sort of people who are my target audience) to watch it and tell me if it made sense and if there was anything they thought could make it better. I asked about six people, both men and women, between the age of 19 and 63. Their feedback was all positive and there was no constructive criticism. Although it was reassuring to get such good comments, I was sceptical about the fact they didn’t think anything could be improved. It’s hard to know whether they were just being kind, or if to someone who isn’t a journalist, it does exactly what it needs to to get the information across.

If I had more time I would’ve liked to try and get more feedback on the report, but the deadline is getting closer and with having so many other commitments it’s just not possible. I am very pleased with the report and think it looks professional and fits with the BBC’s style and there isn’t anything, in my opinion, that I could do to make it better.

Watch the finished report here. 

My final task now it to create the final presentation for my report. Given how successful my previous two have been, I hope very much I can create something that is just as informative. I will look closely at the mark scheme to ensure I am including everything my lecturers want to see.