Hangin’ up the Camera Bag – Roger Blanco

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This class will forever go down in the history books

I can’t believe it is the end of the semester and my sophomore year! I remember the first day of this class, I had no idea what to expect. It has been a long journey, but I am glad that my classmates and I made the right strides to becoming better journalists. We all progressed throughout the year and that is evident throughout their'work and also in mine. Let’s take a look at my work as a whole throughout the course of the semester and my experiences!

For the first assignment, it was a learning curve for me.'This camera had so many features to it, so for the first assignment''- Getting to Know Your Camera, was very beneficial to me. I have had previous experience working with cameras before but not with this specific type. Overall, this assignment was a good first assignment to start off with to get myself and my classmates into the groove. The editing aspect was my favorite part, I was making and producing my own stuff, in which was something I was really looking forward to in class. In general, having a camera of my own to shot and take pictures of what I wanted made me excited to what this class had in store.

Wide shot of the view outside my apartment.







After getting to know our cameras, the next assignment was the photo essay. With this assignment, we were free to do whatever we wanted, it just had to tell a story. For a while I was kinda stuck on what I wanted to do. I ran out of ideas, and one day after class I just decided to take a tour around campus and take pictures. I actually went out multiple days and got shots, it felt great just roaming around campus and exploring new places. I was happy with my footage and I got some pretty good shots and when compiling the pictures I wanted, I was happy with the stuff I got. Overall, I think this is one of my best assignments.

The Boneyard Creek sign with snowflakes falling.







To transition into the next assignment, we had to create a video essay this time. Once again I was stuck on ideas. I watched previous classes video essays and I wanted mine to be different and unique. My idea turned out to be a campus tour of our great university. I really wanted to document how great our school was and possibly recruit more students to attend here. Attending this university has been one of the best decisions of my life and what better way to show my gratitude than make what I think an awesome video. While making this, I went around majority of the campus and saw places and buildings I have never seen before. It was an eye opening experience and made me grateful to attend such a nice campus.

Stream of water as one walks to the Grainger Library.







The next assignment was the audio package. This assignment was probably the most stressful'and hardest assignment. The whole class struggled about deadlines and the implementation of scripts. This audio piece needed good sound bites and good natural sound to help one stay tuned. Without images or videos, quality sound bites was essential. My topic was relevant at the time, as a new website called Professor Watchlist started up and students were reporting their teachers on what they said and what they deemed offensive or radical. This assignment allowed me to get better at interviews, by practicing on prepping and by asking good questions to get juicy sound bites. I was glad that I got through this assignment, this piece allowed me to get the hang of editing audio and the transitions that go with it, as they are different with stills and video.'

Logo of the Professor Watchlist website.







After learning all the aspects of what goes into a video package from the first four assignments, it was time to put it all together. For the video package''I was struggling to find an event to cover. I went through Plan A and B, but thankfully Plan C turned out well. I took my talents to the Springer Cultural Center to cover and attend the Bach Lunch Concert Series. The concert is free to the public and one is allowed to bring their own lunch or order from the website menu. The performing act for this event was the Katie Flynn Quartet, performing their jazz music. It was a very soothing show in which I enjoyed and the wide range of public members did as well. This assignment really allowed me to perfect the “Larry Bird” of editing, in which this assignment contained everything from prior assignments.

The Katie Flynn Quartet performing live in front of the attended audience at the Springer Cultural Center.


The last solo assignment was the How-To video. This was by far the most relaxed and fun assignment that we were given. What was key was that it was given right as we went on spring break. I knew instantly that I wanted to do a Mexican dish that was fun, easy, and very tasty. I decided to teach you guys how to make Flautas. Flautas is a dish that is a fried tortilla with chicken inside and cheese can be put if wanted. I personally never made it alone, I would always help my grandmother or my mother, but I took initiative and did it myself. Overall, the dish came out to be a success that my friends and I demolished right after they were done. It is a quick and easy dish that can satisfy that Mexican Food craving!

The finished product. Served and ready to eat.


The only thing remaining in this class was the grand daddy of them all, the final project with the website. This project contained every type of video we had prior to this assignment, along side our own website. The topic of this project was to target the marginalized and give them a voice. As a group we decided to research and inform the public about accessibility at the University of Illinois. 'Illinois is often regarded as the most accessible campus in the nation. But, how exactly did we deserve this title? We explored the various levels of how and why we have repeatedly been called the most accessible university in the country, and how far we still have to go in order to really be fully accessible. We were able to speak with students with varying levels of disabilities, as well as professors, assistants, and other experts on the subject that were able to give us a lot of great information on how much further we really have to go. Throughout the different levels of our project, we hope that you can see how advanced we already are, and where we may be heading in the near future. At the end of the day, I was really glad how this project came out, everyone in my group worked hard. Our main goal with our videos and website was to show people that everyone is the same no matter what.

The Men’s Wheelchair Basketball performing drills during an early morning practice

Final Thoughts'

This class seemed literally impossible when Dr. Collins introduced us to the syllabus, I for sure was having second thoughts. I heard the class was very time consuming and that I would learn a lot. Both of those statements were true, but this class was worth it. I learned so much in regards to editing, producing, and prepping for interviews. Although, I have had previous experience with camera work via Fighting Illini Productions, I realized that there was more to learn and this class taught did that for me.

Throughout the semester, Dr. Collins stressed self-empowerment and throughout the semester I started believing in my work. Before, this class I was timid on presenting my work and begging people to like it, but what really matters is what you think of your work. Dr. Collins has been a wonderful teacher and guided not just me, but my classmates on the right path to becoming successful journalists in the future. I thank her for all that she has done and I am very happy that I took this class with her.

-Roger Blanco

(Mic Drop)

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