22 Things After 1 Year of CreComm


More than one year ago I made a list of 22 things.

Twenty-two bite-sized goals I wanted to accomplish in the months leading up to starting the Creative Communications program, and continue working on throughout the school year.

The 22 things Creative Change Challenge is actually something my friend Angie Richmond started to help herself and others begin taking small steps toward positive change. She posted the challenge on her blog and encouraged people to sign up and make a list of twenty-two small steps they could take to change their life for the better.

It's kind of funny to look back at the list I made in March 2012. Some of the things I listed are really cheesy (No. 9 - worry-wort? really?). On the other hand, I am surprised by how many goals I accomplished. I'm the kind of person that makes a ton of lists, yet I never go back to cross anything out. It bothers me too much to see hard evidence of the two or three things I didn't finish. I'm well aware of what I didn't get to in a day, I don't need a reminder.

But I completed a few long-term projects in CreComm this year and I learned how important it is to evaluate progress during and at the end of any project. I may have missed out this time on evaluating throughout the process, but with the academic year coming to an end, It's a good time to reflect on the things on my list I did and didn't accomplish.

My list of 22 Things (made on March 2012)

1. Experiment more with photography
2. Read more. 
3. Volunteer with an organization I am passionate about.
4. Finish one of my many creative writing works in progress.
5. Go to yoga.
6. Blog more. 
7. Utilize Twitter and Pinterest more often.
8. Live in the moment.
9. Try not to be such a worry-wort!
10. Research places and opportunities I may not have thought about in the past.
11. Organize/decorate my creative space. 
12. Be more positive.
13. Have fun with my craft.
14. Watch more “writers” movies.
15. Read a book about public relations and communications.
16. Network. 
17. Work on my patience.
18. Work on my writing portfolio. 
19. Get out and attend all the free workshops, information sessions, and events related to my field that I can!
20. Save money for the future.
21. Take Risks.
22. Believe in myself.

My new list of 22 things

1. Go to yoga.
2. Go running outside once a week.
3. Ride my bike more often.
4. Drink more water.
5. Get 6-8 hours of sleep each night.
6. Spend more time with family.
7. Cook with more vegetables.
8. Create art for the walls in my house.
9. Learn to sew.
10. Save money.
11. Buy golf clubs.
12. Go golfing.
13. Buy a camera.
14. Take LOTS of photos.
15. Learn more about Photoshop and InDesign.
16. Learn more about colour theory and typography.
17. Write for Community News Commons.
18. Go camping this summer.
19. Redesign my blog.
20. Create business cards.
21. Update my LinkedIn profile.
22. Have fun.

5 Tips for Editing Video


Editing video is both an art and a science. It takes creativity as well as technical knowledge to create a great piece of video. The good news, however, is that learning the art and science of editing video is easy. Websites like lynda.com teach the basics of using video editing software like Adobe Premiere, and trial and error is your best friend when it comes to applying your new skills. I recently completed a video montage for my college media production course and while I'm no expert, here are my 5 tips for editing video.

1. Rough Edits
After loading all of your footage into Adobe Premiere (or another video editing software program), watch all your footage and move only the best clips onto the timeline. Then do a “rough edit" of the best footage. Name each clip something that makes sense so that later when you are moving clips around to make the video, you can easily find the clip you want. 

2. Don’t Cut too Much
Shots should last longer than 1 second, unless the music and style of the video fits with very short cuts. Shots shorter than 1 second often don't give the viewer enough time to interpret them. If there is a lot of movement in a clip, it can last up to 10 seconds. Try varying up shot lengths to keep it interesting.

3. Music
The right music can make any piece of video 10 times better. The key is choosing music that suits the tone and style of the video. Don't be afraid to sample a few different tracks as it may take a few tries before you find the right music. If you choose a piece of music with lyrics, you may want to raise the volume of the music during certain parts of the video where the lyrics really speak to what is happening in a particular shot. If the piece of music you select is not long enough for your video, you can make the piece longer by editing the music so it loops.

4. Transitions
While it's fun to play around with different transitions during the editing process, too many different transitions in a video can look cheesy and is a rookie mistake. I prefer straight cuts over flashy transitions, but crossfades, fade-to-black, and fade-to-white transitions can also look professional if used once in a while.

5. Keyboard Shortcuts
This is something I am still getting used to, but keyboard shortcuts can save a lot of time. Shortcuts for play, pause, stop, copy, paste, and cut can save you up to 3 seconds each time. Although, 3 seconds may not sounds like a lot of time, when you are spending 40 hours editing a piece of video, it really starts to add up! 

Winnipeg Harvest - A Video Montage


Over the last three days I have been shooting video of volunteers at Winnipeg Harvest for a video montage assignment in my media production class. I've never shot video before, but let me tell you, it's way harder than it looks.

My biggest struggles were always making sure the camera was in focus, and being quick enough to catch on film interactions with people that would really tell the story of what volunteering at Winnipeg Harvest is all about.

Six hours of shooting and many, many mistakes later, here are my top 5 tips for first-timers shooting video.

1. Use a Tripod
Sometimes a tripod can feel limiting as you may not be able to get the variety of angles that you want. However, while professional videographers may be able to hold the camera steady, those with little experience shooting video will have a difficult time doing so. I attempted to go without a tripod for all of ten minutes and realized none of the footage I had captured was usable because it was still shaky, no matter how hard I was trying to hold it still. Using a tripod is simply the best way to ensure you footage isn't shaky, because shaky footage is only usable if you are shooting a specific type of documentary. 

2. Lighting, Lighting, Lighting
Nothing spoils a video shoot as much as poor lighting. Fixing poor lighting in post-production is possible, but make it easy on yourself and do it right from the beginning. Open the Iris of the camera up as much as possible without blowing out the shot, and whatever you do, don't shoot toward a source of light. Always make sure that the source of light is not hitting the back of your subject, and that their face or front is illuminated by light.

3. Avoid Zoom In and Out Shots
You rarely see a zoom in or out move on TV or in movies. This is because it doesn't look good. So forget the super 1000X zoom in and zoom out feature on your camera. Take a wide shot, then stop the camera. Zoom in and then record again and get your close up shot. Then edit them together. 

4. Establish Where You Are
Take a variety of shots to ensure you have enough to work in the editing stage to establish where the activities are taking place. Take a wide, medium, and close up shot of every single shot. Ask your subject(s) to repeat what they are doing a number of times to ensure you get a usable shot. If you only have a close up shot of something, and no wide or medium shot to establish where the subject is, you might be in trouble.

5. Keep Them Short and Simple
Try not to shoot long, drawn out video clips of more than two minutes. It's a chore to go through them in post-production. Shorter video clips allow you to edit more efficiently. Another tip is to name each video clip something that tells you what the video clip was about to help you edit even faster. A name like "C/U Chris smile" tells you exactly what the clip is and will save you time in the long run.

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