From the tutorial to the final boss: My journey through Multimedia

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As told through the perspective of someone who has way too much time to spend on playing video games.

My friends standing in our old classroom the day our high school closed. The memories from this place helped shape me into the person I am today.

Rescuing the princess? That's easy since she's always in another castle! Avoiding obstacles and solving puzzles? All it takes is a little mix of practice, skill and trial-and-error. Defeating the final boss? Determination, my dear friend! Lots and lots of determination.

Getting through this class was a lot like playing a video game, maybe except for the whole princess thing. When you pick up a new game for the very first time, you don't just quit if the first level is too difficult. The same was for this class; you struggle through, level up your skills, gain some allies, solve your problems and conquer that final assignment!

This little bank marks the beginning of the journey.

The first level is usually a tutorial that helps you get a feel for the game's controls and mechanics, which was exactly what Assignment 1 was about: getting to know how to use a camera. With all the zooming, recording, framing and panning, it was a fresh opener to this course and its equipment. My only regret is that while everyone else branched out and shot various scenes, I just focused it on a single item: my hamster bank.

Azula has made her appearance in several of my videos.

Speaking of hamsters, that was the focus of my next two assignments: a photo essay and a photo essay with sound. Here, I encountered my first real problem that I had to work out. My audio recorder was missing a memory card, so I basically had to go on my very own hunt and retrieve side quest! At first, I thought that I could just use my camera's SD card interchangeably, but it became clear that that was definitely not going to work out seeing as how it almost formatted all of my photos. Luckily, I was able to contact the 'merchant' Michael Bohlmann with the IT Services who was able to supply me with my missing equipment. It was difficult, though, since it seemed like the man was always in a meeting every time I tried to pick it up. Other than that, the photos and the audio turned out nicely, and everything was easy to piece and edit together.

Michelle has been a great help this entire semester.

Assignment 4, much like this reflection, was very focused on video games. When it came time to actually start recording video, I was struck with the realization that I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. When it came to angling, lighting, sound and everything else, I was at a hopeless loss. So, I used this frustration to fuel my creativity all the while focusing on something that I understand and love by placing someone into a similar position: I made my non-gaming friend play a couple of different games and filmed her reaction. The video was subpar at best, but I was more'impressed by how I was able to use my hopelessness to my advantage.

Despite the many problems, the Horror video was my favorite to film.

Assignment 5, the 'How to' video, was the most stressful and the most fun for me!'I chose to move from video games and focus on something else that I love just as much: horror. I had actually been planning the different horror rules to go over for a long time, but the plans I had been making since the beginning of the semester inevitably fell through at the last minute. With some quick thinking and a LOT of panicking, I was able to recruit the help of two friends and got everything filmed in one day. The editing took a lot longer than I had hoped it would, and there was a problem with uploading the video in its format, but I’m not the kind of person who’s afraid to ask for help. Some of my classmates as well as Professor Collins were able to assist in the video’s uploading, which ended up being successful. Finishing a project an hour before it’s due? Now THAT’S horror!

In a game like Demon/Dark Souls, one of the hardest games to ever exist, you sometimes have to rely on random online strangers to help you take down a boss. It's a team effort in which you don't know these people personally, but you trust them to help you. It's uncoordinated, and you don't know what the other is thinking, but somehow it all works out. That sums up how the entire class was able to avoid Assignment 6's audio package: an uncoordinated team effort. A lot of us were having problems with the deadline since it was over Spring Break, so we presented Professor Collins with our idea of just dropping the whole assignment by bouncing off each other's arguments, opinions and voices. It was a difficult battle, but we eventually emerged victorious!

The focus of our final was Illini Wellness Week, which covered a lot of different events.

Assignment 7, the advanced audio package, and Assignment 8, the complete package, were the Bowser and Ganon of my journey. They were the only things standing between me and my 'Princess A-Plus.' Sure, they were intimidating, especially Assignment 7, which was an advanced audio package even though we had skipped Assignment 6. Luckily, I had gathered three very skilled allies to assist me in battle: the Rouge (Klaudia) in charge of the infographic and photos, the Mage (Jeff) in charge of the video package and the Warrior (Brett) in charge of the audio package. Be sure to check out the website to know more about this project!

I was more like the Scribe in charge of writing the actual article as well as the Scout who gathered some of the information, photos, audio and video. That skill came in real handy when my Warrior was struck down by the accursed finals, and we were all out of Phoenix Downs to revive him with. In layman's terms, when Brett had to study for his final and was unable to attend his designated events to get the audio, I was the only one available. It was really last minute, and I was in no way prepared, but I got the audio, and he was somehow able to work it into a good story. Now that is a good example of teamwork!

All in all, this was an interesting journey that really pushed me to challenge myself in new and very harsh ways. I may still prefer print journalism in the end, but this class has made me appreciate the hard work multimedia journalists do to get their stories to the public. And with that being said, with the puzzles finally solved, with the boss finally defeated, with the princess finally rescued, I think it’s about time I'finally put down the controller and begin experiencing life with my new-found skills of recording, reporting and editing.

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