Uni work, time lapse

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I didn’t realise how long it has been since I had last written anything on this blog. Well, one thing is for sure, a lot has happened since the last post back in March.

For one, I have moved out of home and the town where I had grown up, and moved down the country. Bought a house with my partner, and also still looking for a new work position – for the full story, go and have a look at my other blog page ‘Big move, Small Town‘, which is also on WordPress.

Also, in regards to my life as a student, I got enrolled into the Masters programme at AUT, and am now in the process of writing my thesis as well as working on the analysis part of the thesis study. Yayy!!

Although, at times I don’t know if I am doing it right, or if enough at all. Daily, I am certainly doing something to do with it as a whole, but I haven’t had to do something of this magnitude before. I have written long essays before, but this… this is… wow. At least around 30,000 words is the target and I’m just in shock when I think about it at times.

But I am looking forward to getting through it all and seeing the final product in my hands, and know that I had worked hard to get to this point. And that all the stress and what I am feeling is all worth it. At times it sounds like I am going through a terrible pregnancy… Thankfully not, but at times it does feel as much.

Back to Uni. First day of class

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Well, I am back into the study life, though thankfully not quite as busy as it was last year. As of this moment, I’m not doing the Masters *cry* and this is due to not quite getting the grade average to get into the programme. So hence, I am redoing some classes to hopefully up my marks to then get into the programme for Semester 2.

I’m not saying that I will be getting into it then, that is just my hopeful plan for the year ahead, as well as a number of other personal things that are going on right now – which I won’t get into just yet. Least not here =)

Anyway, classes so far are just little steps. Getting people use to what is to come for the semester, the assignments and so on. This class compared to last year has a very different feel to it. Firstly, likely due to the fact that the lecturers running the Research paper are two women – last year I had two men taking the class. Also, the class is – in a way – split into areas on how people are wanting to tackle the use of research for their area of interest.

And on another point that I feel this is going to go differently, is that there may be a few more people in this class that have a similar area of interest, as I do, which is a really nice change to last year.

Well, that is it for now. I have another class, but that isn’t on until tomorrow. I may write a blog later as to how the first week went and what is going on elsewhere, if I feel up for it.

End of year catch up

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So, it has been a while since I wrote anything here. I have been so busy in the lead up to the Christmas season with everything from Uni to paid work and personal life.

I will do a quick recap from my last reflective assignment; I had my final assignments all handed in on time – thankfully, I felt like I would miss the deadlines but I made them with time to spare. Woohoo!!

Then came the waiting game of all the results from the whole year. It felt like ages, I even jumped the gun and went ahead with ordering my regalia gear for the summer graduation almost six weeks early.

When I finally saw the results though, I was so happy. Thought I could have done better, but hey, a pass is a pass. Got a good B- average overall, so that also means one more piece of good news…

I’m going for my Master’s!!

So I have another full year of study again, though it might not be as busy as 2015, I am really looking forward to it.

Graduation also went really smoothly too. Was an awesome day with just the folks, as well as my fellow classmates \ grads in the lead up to Christmas.

And then literally the next day was the start of a week long stint of work, so I hadn’t stopped at all until the 26.

So for now, I think I might try and enjoy this New Zealand Christmas sun and just have some serious chill time, least for part of the new year anyway.

Happy holidays to all and see you all in 2016!

Reflection on Video Assignment 4 – Interview Piece

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Well, this is it. The final video assignment for the year. It has been one heck of a ride with this class, been an amazing learning curve to say the least. The use of new video tools have been really interesting to use, and have certainly made me think of possibly getting them at a later point in the future.

But anyway, here is the reflection for the final assignment; the Video News Interview. When this assignment came around, I was not at all sure as to what kind of topic I wanted to cover. With so many other assignments going on, at times it did get rather confusing. I first thought of doing a topic surrounding something from another, unrelated class, though we learnt that it wasn’t allowed.

Although, I did think that maybe I could use an interview from maybe the Feature assignment. Least that way, everyone in the class was in the same class in that regards, so none of us were left hanging, so to speak. Once I had the area I was wanting to look into; which is fandoms and fans, it was just a matter of finding the right person to interview.

I firstly was hoping to maybe interview a person that I had spoken to the previous semester for a slightly similar story. Sadly, when I spoke to her, she turned it down, as she was too busy with an upcoming event (Armageddon), as she runs one of the stalls that will be at the event for all of Labour Weekend.

Although, I was told a few times to maybe try and find someone on social media. So I put a post up onto my Twitter account, along with the user-tag for the Armageddon Expo. As luck would have it, someone quickly responded. Sadly though, he wouldn’t be in Auckland until the 23rd, the last day the whole assignment was due. So I asked if he knew anyone that was in Auckland and I was able to get in touch with.

That was how I was able to get my interview person – Kelly Fisher. Such a lovely woman to speak to, by the way. One a side note, both her and I could talk for hours, as we have a similar fondness for some fandoms; such as Supernatural and a few other television shows.

We tried twice to conduct an interview, firstly on Sunday, which didn’t happen due to the loan out place being closed. But that was alright. I used that to my advantage for other assignments. So, we rescheduled the interview for the Monday afternoon. Nilam was such a great help being my camera-person and Director. She did great work with getting all the shots the right way, as well as setting up our corner where we conducted the interview.

I’ll admit at the time, I wasn’t thinking about the use of the clip-on microphones. I did remember them being used in the tester during class, but I don’t think we got them from loan out at the time. But the answers and questions all came through the camera-mic really well. Ms Fisher spoke really clear and since the area we were was ‘mostly’ quiet, it worked well.

Though, if I had to do it again, I would remember to use the mics the second time around, when I am interviewing. Although, when it came time for me to be the camera person for Nilam, I completely forgot the second time. Not that I was trying to sabotage or anything. I guess I just didn’t realise the amount of atmos noise that would be at the location. But the location had perfect lighting, and it was such a fun experience to watch, after conducting my own interview.

The interview seemed the easy part. Piecing the interview together to fit the requirement was something different entirely, even compared to the previous assignments. As the clip shows above, I got it done to the best of my abilities (considering no mics were used). At some points, it felt rather tedious, getting all the little cut-outs in the right place, using the right sort of noddie for the question, or answer, and trying to cut out any long pauses that were not necessary.

Same with writing/transcribing the script for the final paperwork, rather tedious, but once it was done and dusted, a great sigh of relief came over. It was done. Done and all handed in. Now is just to actually hand it all in the next time I am at uni, which will hopefully be before the Wednesday deadline.

Thanks again Danni for all the help on all the work we have done this semester. I know I will try to do my best to remember what you taught us. Now, time for sleep I think, this post has gone on long enough.

Reflection on Video Assignment 3 – “Live” Cross

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At first, I thought this assignment would be rather daunting, as the other three are done in pairs, while this one is on your own. But I will say that it does not end up on a news show. I despise seeing myself – or evening hearing myself for that matter, played back to me. I don’t seem to sound right.

But anyway, at first I was a bit unsure as to what sort of ‘newsworthy’ topic I could cover. For a while, I was not sure on if I could cover something I had already done, whether it was in my news intensive period, from the previous semester… I had no idea.

But, the day before the cut off to email through our scripts for the assignments, I finally got an idea. The junior playground that is going to be built not to far from where I live. I wrote a story on it, though sadly it wasn’t published to the old Te Waha Nui website, but I had used it for another assignment as well, so I thought “Why not this one as well?”

I was surprised when I had all the information from the previous work on the piece, on how quick I was able to write the script. I had it done within half an hour of starting, and I thought that it may not have sounded ‘newsworthy’ enough for the assignment. I was stoaked when it was approved, with some slight changes to be made. I felt at ease at that point.

Now it was just to do it in front of a camera. For me, sitting in front of a camera doesn’t feel completely comfortable – many people tell me otherwise though. At least with the ones in the Media Centre, they are not the huge, hulking cameras you’d normally see in a newsroom, which made it that bit easier to read the script on the auto-cue.

I read through the script prior, even with it coming up on auto-cue, just so that I didn’t end up freezing during a recording. I felt good to see that I was also doing it rather early in the day. Get it done and out of the way and get other parts done afterwards – like this post for example.

As I read through with a few practices, it didn’t actually feel all that bad. Not too many people were in the room, looking at me, so I didn’t feel all that nervous on it. The only thing that I felt may have thrown me off, was my breathing. I do notice that I seem to keep speaking, and not take a breath as often as I should. In my mind, it feels as if I am meeting someone new, and having to talk to them. I’m not sure why that it, it’s just what I have noticed, thinking it over in my head.

But, it is done. I feel I did alright. I don’t think I mumbled too much – if at all. Now it’s just the waiting for the results. Least I know before going in, everyone seemed nervous, but came out so calm and happy with what they had done. I did too in all honesty.

Bring on the last assignment!!

After the “study break” of Semester 2…

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Phew!! Finally, a moment to stop and think. Since my last blog post, not related to assignment reflection, there has been a lot going on. More assignments have been completed, I went and did my internship and I even had to go and work on top of that! Not much ME time at all, unless you count when I’m asleep….

Anyway, everyone has been asking me on how my internship went, or how I found it. And I just have to say that it was really interesting. I was able to see the function of a newspaper newsroom, the dynamics of the reporters from other papers working with where I was in particular, and vice versa. It was really amazing and they were a lovely group of people to get to work with.

As well as that, I had to try and get an assignment done – a 4000 word essay!! If I had time during the weekends, I know I could have easily gotten it done, but I got asked to cover the weekends at work, so I felt as if there was almost no time to actually get it done to the quality that I wanted it at.

Though, thinking back on it now, I am thankful that I missed the first few days of my internship – was meant to be two working weeks, but was more one and a half. With those two days, I was able to get the assignment at least half way and I could then just add to it when I had a spare few moments.

Oh, gotta stop now. More assignment work to get done by the end of today.

Next time!!

Reflection on Video Assignment 2 – Vox Pops

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Now, for this assignment – in different groups this time, we were told to go and do a one minute ‘vox pop’ piece on a particular topic of choice. I found it rather funny that the topic of the speed limit possibly changing on motorways and open-roads came up, as I had only just covered this topic the day before for my News Intensive with Te Waha Nui.

Anyway, Georgina (or George) and I went out and decided to go along Symonds Street and a little along Karangahape Road (K Road) and speak to some of the people walking along those road this morning and asking them their thoughts on the possible change to the speed.

Both George and I thought it best to keep the thought of continuity for the piece, so George conducted the interviews and I was recording them with the camera, both on the stand and hand-held, which wasn’t too bad, apart from my nails getting in the way to turn the camera back on. (not part of the assignment, but I am hoping to have that sorted before the mid-semester break)

As we spoke to more people, I felt we got rather confident in being able to get enough people and keep asking our question. We did encounter a few people that either couldn’t speak much English, or didn’t understand what we were asking them, but it was fine in the end.

We got a good amount of people with varying views on the topic and good shots of them all. However, it wasn’t until we got back into class that we noticed some of our shots, we could see ourselves reflected back in the glass behind the people we spoke to. It was only with maybe one or two, but… again, learning curve.

Also, with the topic being on speed along the motorways, the fact that one of the one-ramps onto one of Auckland’s motorway was along Symonds Street worked perfectly. And we were able to shoot some ambient shots of cars going onto the motorway for both the opening shots and the ending shots.

We also used that spot to do the introduction piece with George speaking to the camera and cars were going past in the background as a link.

Once back in class, we got into it. We did encounter problems with the video editing program, it decided to crash on us, before we properly saved what we had done, and it would not allow us to open it up again on that particular computer. We were starting to get worried that it would not be done in time, but we got it to open on one computer and we were able to get a start on a whole new video.

Once our other class was finished, we got back into it and we both were able to easily piece all the clips together that we thought were good enough. George went and recorded the outro voice-over for the final part of the piece and I relistened to the video clips to make sure they flowed well and made sense.

And just for fun, here is our final product. Enjoy!

Blogpost Reflection on Video Assignment 1

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For this assignment, I worked with Nilam, and I felt that we worked really well together. We both had ideas as to what to cover, and had a few back-ups, in case they fell through.

As the deadline neared, and we were unsure on some of our ideas, we got one regarding development in the Wynyard Quarter on Auckland’s Waterfront, which was an idea Nilam and I found as a last resort.

We both had a go at setting up the shots, finding locations, filming and even editing it all together into the final project.

I hadn’t had much experience with editing video software before, only with the iMovie during a Certificate study. I had no former understanding of Adobe Premiere, but it seems easy enough once I knew how it worked.

As the time in class came to piece the whole thing together, Nilam and I worked together to get as much of the footage together, as well as the script – Nilam typed up the script, while I pieced the video together and we were always making sure we knew what was happening with the other person’s task.

Since Nilam had done her undergrad and had a bit more experience than myself in how a news piece flows, she looked over what I had done regarding piecing the video with her voiceover. There were a few little changes she did, and I looked and listened over them again before I went and posted the video to YouTube.

Overall, I thought it wasn’t a bad assignment. It was rather fun, once an idea was in place and we knew what it was we were wanting to see.

Hanging in there. (So tired)

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Well, here I am. Into week 5 of the second semester at AUT and the burning question in my mind is “WHERE HAS THE TIME GONE?!”

Already, classes have thrown out assignments to get done before the semester break – which is at the end of next week. And for me personally, I have had more moments where I felt it is becoming too much to handle.

As well as classes, we all are to go through what we are calling “News Intensive”, where in groups over a two week period, we are ‘working’ for the university’s online newspaper. Doesn’t sound too bad, but when you throw in the fact that we still need to attend classes, come up with story ideas for this, and try to get a story up onto the website within the day…

All I want to say on it, is that it seems a lot to ask of us. We are rather constrained with our timetable already and it just… *urgh* At least it is only two weeks of it, and on the positive side, I am glad that I am in the first group with the News Intensive, seeing as the next group does one week before the break, and their next one the week we come back. YIKES!!!

At times I feel as if my social-life (what is that again? Haha) is either struggling to keep up with this, or is interfering with the workload from uni. Is that weird??

Anyway, that is my rather brief update. Gotta go and get this story written tonight to be looked over tomorrow and (hopefully) posted tomorrow as well.

Back into it… and it ain’t gunna stop!!

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Well, after a nice look five week hiatus, I am back into the flow that is Uni life, and already, it feels like there is a lot coming my way.

For one class that took place on Tuesday, the class has already been asked to get our thoughts into a journal format, so that we can ‘keep track of what we are doing, how we feel’, etc. Much like what I write about here, but this is on one thing specifically, which I won’t bore you with too much… least until the time is right.

Wednesday is a pretty full on day as well.

Three classes, starting from eight in the morning, till four in the afternoon (stress!!). I have kept my fingers crossed that they will be really enlightening classes, due to what the other lecturers were saying about them in the previous semester.

The class was right back into it with Shorthand first off. Though it was a lot like the testing conditions from last semester than learning a new writing technique. For that first topic, I personally don’t think I did well, but I just hope that it was well enough to be considered as a pass.

The next one covers Global Crises within the media. Such things like natural disasters, rights of the gay and transgender community, obesity, ‘the war on terror’ and even ‘the war on sugar’. From what I have seen of it so far, it does seem to be a really good class to be in.

Last class for Wednesday was the Political Economy approach to the media. Well… that one didn’t quite go as planned. Apparently the lecturer for that class had cancelled it due to personal reason – won’t go into them here, but I understand them, yet, about nine members of the class were sitting in the room at 2pm, waiting patiently for the lecturer to show. It wasn’t until 20 minutes later that someone rang an office to find out what was going on. “Oh, the class has been cancelled for this week and will begin on the 29th.”

Well, once we heard that, everyone just quite literally grabbed up their stuff and walked out.

Then there comes the next intense day – Friday.

Two three hour classes that are a crucial part to gaining my Post Graduate Diploma. I kept my fingers crossed that they will be something to look forward to, even if they took up most of my Friday.

The video class was just… awesome.

Even though it was in the same room as a previous class, the feel of that environment is now completely changed. The whole class even got to make a few Vyclone videos. Though they took a while to load, they looked both funny and awesome and we were able to point out what may have been wrong with some shots, and what worked with others.

And finally, the News Production class.

I did not realise that the class was to be in another computer lab, hence why I had brought my laptop with me. But hey, learning curves are all over the place. It was such an amazing class to be in, we learnt so much. Again, the class was thrown into the deep-end of learning, but it did not seem like class work to me, it was that fun.

We got to work with the Adobe InDesign programme, and once I knew what everything did and how to use it, it became a breeze, as if I were in Microsoft Word, which is what I normally deal with for writing.

Overall, it was a pretty intense first week, but it has certainly been an interesting one nonetheless.