Farewell to Multimedia Class and a New Chapter for Skylight

I have learned what I expected and more of this Multimedia Production class. I entered this course wanting to learn how to do a proper news report for TV, and even though I am still in need of more storytelling tips, I had the chance to try many things for the first time.

Especially, I learned how to use the softwares for editing photo and video. Photoshop and Premiere Pro were unexplored territory. I used to look at them as I look at French language: so chic, so useful and so unreachable. Well, not any more. Maybe it is now time for French.

This was also the first time I shot video with camera, tripod, microphone and headphones all by myself. A few days ago, after I finished the last work for the class, I had a bittersweet moment: I was proud of my first news feature and uncomfortable with my limitations. I was able to see my mistakes, an ability that will help me to avoid them next time. Shooting and editing video may not be my specialty, but from now on I can look to my cameraperson and editor and tell them exactly what I want, in the technical words.

But, most of all, in this class, I have got the chance to see pass frustration when doing something for the first time. After a while, I started breathing and repeating myself, “Relax and focus, because you can and will do this. You don’t have other option”. This class has been my very own self-help book.

I only have 5 classes left to graduate of Broadcast Journalism, and so far Jay Sandhouse has been the most caring professor I had in my college student life, including my time in Cuba. At least in my experience, you can expect his answer to your emails within an hour, and he always says, “yes” to students asking him to check their work. But, the biggest proof that professor Jay is only interested in your learning is the chance he give students to fix their mistakes after they turn their works in for the opportunity of getting a better grade. This was also a first for me.

Since I started working for the three platforms at the Office of Cuba Broadcasting, radio, TV and webpage, I have introduced myself on my resume as a multimedia journalist. But, it is not until now that I truly feel one. For all this I have to say, “Thank you, professor Jay!”


“Officially Stressed”

I thought that I had everything under control, but as one of the Murphy’s Laws says, “Everything that can go wrong will go wrong.” OK, maybe I am being a bit of a drama queen here, but seriously, it has been a lot of work, and sometimes inexperience bits preparation.

Last week I told you my interviewee changed our meeting because a last-minute family business. We agreed on doing it on Monday. No big deal, right? Monday afternoon I was at his house at 5 p.m., and between doing the interviews and shooting the b-roll, more than 2 hours passed. By the time I was ready for the stand ups there was no light. “Tomorrow morning,” I said.

Next day, I went back to the place were my interviewee trains for his run. All set: memorized lines, natural lighting, camera set, mic set, headphone set…wait! “I cannot hear a thing.” I checked the equipment; did a sound test reading the script and nothing. The microphone battery died. I just could not believe it. I went to two store looking for a battery. When I finally put on the new battery, I realized what the problem really was: I had misplaced the headphones and the mic’s cable connection. Unbelievable! After that, I only had time to drive to work and postpone the shooting for another day.

Wednesday, I was finally able to finish the recording and start the editing. Thank God I was on schedule with the chroma key project, so I dedicated all my time to editing the news report.

As you can see, I had my share of stressing moments this week, but I managed to make it alive and with my video projects well. I can only imagine the rush TV journalists live in and I’m not sure I would like it. Maybe it is just a matter of getting used to. We’ll see, Skylighters. Keep by my side in this journey, OK?!

“So Many Options: That’s What I Love About This Country”

A few months ago I got rid of the cable service, because it was a lot of money for no reason. I spend my screen time between news websites, Hulu and Netflix, so I decided to buy and a regular antenna for network channels like ABC, NBC, CBS or PBS. When I saw the article that I am recommending you, I realized cutting the cord is becoming a trend, and people have excellent ideas for alternative ways to substitute the cable.

Your Guide to Cutting the Cord to Cable TV


“Unforeseen events”

I have encountered the first unexpected event in the recording of my final project and hopefully the last. My interviewee cannot make it to the agreed date, because he will be out of town. It is nothing to worry about too much. We will meet Monday in the afternoon, but this proves me that there is no such thing as too much preparation. On the bright side, the situation gives me the opportunity to deal with unforeseen events, because they sure happen.

Nevertheless, I have everything ready: questions, script for the voiceovers, scenarios I want to shot and the equipment. I will use this weekend to test the camera and the rest of the devices, because I have only used them once in class for an hour or so, and to be honest, after the warnings of the person assigning the equipment I got a bit afraid to touch it. He was a little intimidating, but he explained everything very well.

As for Premiere Pro, I already feel comfortable working with it. The two exercises we have done in class have given me more and more confidence to do a good job. Practice is everything. The new edition challenge will be the chroma key project. I am not sure of every step I need to take, but I have learned not to despair. I cannot wait to see the final product. The recording in the studio was a lot of fun; too bad it was done is less than 20 minutes. But it reassured me that I was born for this.

With the promise of a new video, I leave you, Skylighters. ‘Til next week!