Life in front of the lens

I started out doing Skyline’s weekly updates because one of our other newspaper staff members really, REALLY didn’t want to. And I’m the type of person that if something needs to be done, I will get it done (Just call me Olivia Pope!).

So I started my career behind the camera. I started off my first Weekly Update reporting on sports for the week.

That was my first mistake.

My second was thinking I had to get everything down in one take. Let me just say, this is a lot harder than it seems. It was a shaky start, but I was becoming a part of something.

I learned that it’s much smarter to report on what you know (AKA not sports), and that doing a jump cut (being able to cut together the good footage instead of trying to shoot one perfect continuous shot) will save your life.

And from watching my colleague Miguel, I learned that making eye contact with the camera and not reading from a script is the best way to connect with viewers (even if half of the viewers don’t care, because they are my relatives).

From working with our camera man Will, I learned how to set up different shots (thanks Will!). Another thing, shooting B-roll is a lot of fun. And most of what we shoot ends up in B-roll.

B-roll is the footage that we don’t publish on our website. So lots of singing, dancing, photobombing, and weird inconsistencies in our film. Also, filming the Weekly Updates takes a lot longer than you’d think. It takes at least an hour to film, but we only end up using a few minutes of the footage.

Also, being camera-ready isn’t really a thing. At, least not if you are doing a video that needs on the spot coverage. You gotta film in whatever you’re wearing and just get the news across. The news is always the first priority.

Also, as someone new to the newsroom, it gives you a taste of what being an anchor on a news show is like. You might not have those hard-hitting investigative stories but you are reporting for the people and that is pretty cool.

Basically, doing this was a way for me to get involved and meet new people and it has ended up teaching me a lot more than that. It’s a good experience and learning how to cut together footage is great way to gain some experience for a career in broadcast journalism.

So go watch the videos! And join the newsroom! You’ll be glad you did, I know I am.

Olivia Bowman
TSV Staff Writer

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5 Tips to get started on creating videos and how to create better quality videos

Here is a quick list of tips for beginners to get started creating videos and help you avoid some pit falls that may stop you from creating work. It will also show how easy it can be to start making videos, and show that you don’t need a lot to create videos.

1. Audio – Make sure you have good audio in your videos. It gets looked over too often, with people just starting out not thinking about it. But if you have terrible audio a viewer will be faster to stop watching the video than if it was bad visual quality.

2. Story telling – Have a clear story or message in your video. You don’t want to confuse the viewer by getting off point and going on random tangents. You want to have short and concise video, get from point A to point B in the most efficient way possible, while keeping the attention span of the viewer.

3. B-roll – Is secondary footage you get, that shows off the product and can save your audio if your main footage gets messed up. When you are editing you can also use it to avoid jump cuts. It can also show more detail of what you are talking about.

4. Framing – Set up your shot so that it is pleasing to the eye. You generally want to have the subject center of frame but not with to much room to the left or right of them, with a few inches of room above their head and make sure you don’t cut off the subjects head.

5. Just start shooting – With how advanced technology has gotten you can start creating videos with your smart phone. Most smart phones can record video at 1080p if not higher, and with proper lighting and in a controlled environment you can get great sound quality too. You can even do some light editing right on the phone and upload the video online.

From a writer to photographer and learning manual control

When I first joined The Skyline View, I hadn’t even considered becoming a photographer, or for that matter, being anything but a writer. But, as I quickly learned during my first semester, in this day and age journalists can’t afford to be a one trick pony anymore.

Media outlets want reporters who can write, edit video/audio, take photos, and more. They want reporters with different skills, reporters they can throw at different assignments with the knowledge that they can do whatever is required of them. Instagram? Twitter? YouTube? Live streaming? Vine? Soundcloud? Blog? Podcasts? Some people can do it all, and they’re the ones getting hired.

No longer is a reporter just a reporter. Rather, a reporter’s workload has increased with the additions of social media, video, and audio sites. And, depending on what platforms a media organization is on, editors may require a story, social media posts, and multimedia product. And the reporter may be required to do all of them when covering an event, if there aren’t enough reporters to cover it.

Anyway, my point in mentioning all of this is that I’m thankful for it. It has forced me to take my own photos when covering a story. I was forced to learn from each image I took, while also learning from each story that I wrote, and every mistake that I made. Then, I would take those mistakes and apply them to the next photos I took for the paper.

When I first started taking photos, I took them using my own digital camera before I started using the newsroom Canon Rebel camera. It reminds me, that when I first took photos, my friend @JoeBarrack had to set up the manual controls for me, and between switching between it and the other settings available on the Rebel camera, it was a semester or two before I started adjusting the manual controls myself. Mainly because I was busy learning other skills in the newsroom, but in any case.

It took a while of learning, from doing test photo shoots in the newsroom and experimenting with the Rebel camera manual controls, before I finally got the hang of the shutter speed, ISO, and everything else.

So, taking photos on sunny and cloudy days? Got that quickly enough, but there were two areas of trouble that I quickly ran into. Taking photos during really dark places (like the Skyline College theater and night) and sports photos, where players are always moving very quickly.

Both proved very annoying, and seeing the failures pile up did leave me with a sense of dread. But I’m happier for having gone through the pain of learning, because in the end, I have become a better photographer for it. Now I can take photos inside the theater and at night, fast moving sports photos, and all sorts of other things. Although, I do still have problems with adjusting for motion, but that is a work in progess.

In the end, I’m happy that I’ve done countless photo assignments for The Skyline View. I’ve learned from each experience, and in doing so I’ve built up the set of photos that I can use professionally and for my resume.

If you’re interested in seeing the photos I’ve taken, you can click here to be taken to my Flickr account. If you’re interested in using my photos, just drop a comment or message me on Flickr and we can talk about it.

Will Nacouzi
TSV Website Designer

Why do I love making videos?

So I’m back, as The Skyline View’s multimedia editor, even though I’ve been the multimedia editor two semesters now and have been working on multimedia for more than two years straight. So you have to ask me the burning question, what is it like editing videos and multimedia, and how do you keep doing it?

I just love videos.

I was one of those kids who always wanted to create content for others to see, and growing up with YouTube inspired me to make videos and post them online. I didn’t get into filmography until recently either, as I used to be an engineering major, which is a huge jump too.

Watching YouTube channels like CorridorDigital and RocketJump, I was inspired to work with videos, albeit not in the Special Effects department. Just as long as I’m making edits to videos, cutting and trimming, mixing audio, all that jazz. It’s fun to see the fruits of my labor, to see something work so well even when I unintentionally make an edit and it turns out to be perfect. It just makes me really happy and proud about my work.

I joined the news room two years ago, not expecting to want to do multimedia and make videos. I really jumped in as a writer, expecting to write stories, to interview people, and all things journalism. But after one semester of being the multimedia editor, I fell in love. I didn’t realize that making videos could be so fun, that editing was what I wanted to do. Even if I still am not a journalism major, I wouldn’t mind doing broadcast or being a video editor for a news publication.

Here I am now, making videos, learning as I go. Unfortunately, Skyline College doesn’t have a film program, so I can’t expand my horizons here. I’m going to transfer, maybe to San Francisco State University or San Jose State University. Or Academy of Arts, who knows.

Either way, one of my professors is the one who got me into making videos. He was a film major before he decided to go all the way around and become a Biology major and teach. But he said it was a fun experience, even though it was taxing on his personal life. I feel like I could totally handle that, and I wouldn’t mind the stress video editing as a profession can bring. So I’m going strong with this, and sticking as a film major.

Miguel Garcia
TSV Multimedia Editor

Taking the chance to be a part of The Skyline View

The year prior to this one, I had given up on school and decided to work full time as a USPS mailman. The money was great, but I didn’t picture myself living the rest of my life that way. No offense to those who have made a living working for the post office, such as my father, but I just felt as if I was cheating myself by settling for the job.

So, I returned to school after spending the semester and summer working. Still undecided on a major, I decided to take a journalism class because I heard how much a friend enjoyed it. Unfortunately as the semester finished, I still had not committed to any major, and again felt as I was cheating myself by settling.

It was just past midnight, making it the early morning of January 20. For many, it would be the first day of the current spring semester at Skyline College. But for me, it was an empty day on my schedule; I had only been registered for two classes. An online lab biology class to meet my lab science requirement and an english class. So, I decided to join the The Skyline View to fill the void in my schedule. I figured it was time to take this seriously.

There I was, walking in as one of the last people to arrive to class, not knowing what to do, let alone where to sit in the newsroom. Returning staffers had their established computers and taken seats, while a few new staffers were able to grab the remaining ones. So I sat in the corner of the room, on a stool, under the white board until we moved to an actual classroom. Even then I sat away from the other staffers.

This went on for a couple of weeks and I was about ready to drop school again to work as a mailman. I was struggling to establish myself in class because I felt that my writing skills were nowhere ready to be published on the school paper. Thankfully one of the beginning staff roles was to be a photographer, something that I’ve always had as a hobby. Still, I feel it wasn’t until I took pictures of the Chinese New Year’s performance that people actually knew what my role was in the class.

If had not taken those pictures, I may still be sitting under the white board not knowing what to do. Funny thing about it was, I wasn’t even assigned to cover the event. I just happened to be there.

I got a couple of pictures in the paper but it wasn’t like everyone was ready to be my friend. It was more like “Hey, that’s pretty cool.” But people started to talk and give me assignments, which was all I really needed. I even got to write a baseball story, but I messed up by not getting any interviews. In fairness our team took a really bad loss that day, but I should have asked anyway, so that I would have quotes for my story.

The Journalism Association of Community Colleges (JACC) conference was the next chance I had to take photos, and also allowed me the chance to see how other community colleges school’s papers were like. I was told it was going to be competitive weekend, and one of the few things I’m sure of about myself is that I love to compete. More so physical competitions though.

That weekend I got to test myself and I was glad with the outcome but I was sure I could have done a lot better. None the less, just being able to see what I got against others was enough to satisfy and energize me for the rest of the semester.

This might sound like a bunch of random events but it ties together somehow. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m glad that I took a few chances with journalism, and that I am figuring a lot of things along the way. Or it might actually just be a bunch of random events. I don’t know.

Kevin Perez
TSV Photographer

What’s it like to be a Sports Editor?

Being the sports editor was something that I expected coming into the newsroom. I know that it is the most declined position on the paper; some people just aren’t into sports. Personally, I’m indifferent to being the sports editor for plenty of reasons, but the main one is just that I’m not a “sports guy.”

I didn’t know particularly how to follow sports at first and I just wasn’t into it. Like I said though, I expected to become the sports editor. Once the fall semester of 2015 was over, I tried to learn more.

Although I had a small knowledge of basketball and boxing, I tried to learn more about the analytics. After a few months, I felt like I had a good base to write sports stories from, but I still needed some help. Getting help here is pretty easy though, because almost everyone is happy to help. Unfortunately, it got to a point where I felt like I was being coddled. That is why I always felt crappy every time I messed something up.

The thing about being a sports editor is that getting sports stories isn’t hard at all. You just bring up a website and see which games you want to cover. The hard part is getting writers and photographers to go and cover the games. I don’t know how many times I needed a writer for a game and they were not available. It was always the same group of people that wanted to cover the games for me, and I am grateful for them. It also didn’t hurt to write some articles myself, in case of emergency. And there are emergencies, trust me.

In all, this has to be one of the most intense but rewarding positions I’ve had so far. Being the sports editor was a blessing in disguise. Although I came in not expecting anything except doing my job, I learned a great deal. Without the partiality of sports, I was more focused on the job at hand and it kept me from going crazy when experimenting. It also helped me be more diverse with my writing as well as my experience reach.

Everyone who wants to have a career in journalism has to cover whatever is available, whether it is sports or a feature story. Make sure you take every opportunity that you can, it might just serve you well like it did me.

Blynn Beltran
TSV Sports Editor