How I Prepare for a Video Shoot

Everyone has their own style when it comes to shooting video.  A lot of it is how you learn, but some things you just develop along the way.

Whenever I’m asked to shoot a video for someone, I always check to make sure I have time.  The worst thing that could happen, and it’s happened to me, is that you take on a new project only to realize you’re not going to have time to create the product you and the client want in enough time.  Learning to say no, when you don’t have time, is a valuable skill I have learned.

On the day of the shoot I’ll make sure I have my camera charged with extra batteries.  I’ll pack everything into my Manfrotto Backpack (I LOVE THIS BACKPACK SO MUCH) and head on to the location.  At this point in my career I don’t normally need to scout a location or anything because I’ve normally already been to the location where the video will be shot.

You can never shoot too much video.

 

Another lesson I learned the hard way.  Don’t be afraid to shoot anything and everything!!  When I come back to edit, there’s always something I wish I had more video of.  It may seem repetitive at the time, but get as many angles and as many shots as you can.  You’ll thank yourself later.  Because of this you need to make sure you have plenty of memory card storage.  I recommend using type of GB’s above 64.  I have a 128 GB memory card in my camera right now and that usually is plenty for me.

Shooting video can be tricky.  I’m a huge advocate for tripods and monopods.  Nothing distracts me more from watching a video than if it’s shaky.  It’s not hard to put a camera on a tripod and again you’ll thank yourself later when editing.  I’ve recently been using monopods when I have to move around quickly.  It provides stability for the camera and doesn’t take up a ton of space.

My favorite part of the video process is editing.  I first started editing in Windows Movie Maker way back when.  I upgraded to iMovie and then in high school I started using Avid.  Thankfully my teacher got me started on Final Cut Pro and that’s when I began to realize how powerful editing is.  Now in college I use Premiere Pro, but I’d have to say nothing can beat Final Cut for me.  Take time to watch tutorials.  There are still so many things I don’t even know how to do in post production and I’m constantly learning.

As I continue to learn and get older I know I’ll change how I prepare for shoots.  Right now I have a good routine going and I can’t wait to see what the future will hold.

 

The Opportunities I’ve Had While in College

Drake has given me SO many opportunities while in college.  I have trouble fitting it all on one page on my resume.  I’d like to share two of the opportunities I’ve had while here at Drake.

Drake Relays

Every April, Drake University becomes the hub for track and field.  High schools, colleges, even Olympic athletes travel to Des Moines to compete in track and field events at the Drake Relays.  My freshmen year I was fortunate enough to get involved with Drake Broadcasting System.  This club is responsible for broadcasting one of the largest student produced programs in the country.  They stream races live on their website and local TV.  The coolest thing is that it’s entirely student run.  I was given an all access pass during the Drake Relays.  I could go anywhere and videotape anything.  This pass was better than what major networks like ESPN got.  I also got to go on the field where all the races where happening and record reporters interviewing athletes.  As a sophomore I was given even more responsibility and produced packages that were aired during the Drake Relays.  Now as a junior I’m excited about the next year will hold.

NBC

My dream job is to produce or direct the Today Show.  I’ve had this dream ever since high school and I watch the show everyday.  Iowa is know for the Iowa Caucuses.   Media comes from all over the country because this is the first state in the US where ballots are cast.  I’m not from Iowa so February 2016 was the first time I experienced it.  NBC came to town and they were looking for some production assistants to help during their multiple broadcasts.  I had put my name on a list of who was interested in helping and they contacted me!!  I could not believe it.  I was going to work for NBC.  This is by far the coolest experience I’ve had while at Drake.  I was responsible for helping out with anything and everything.  From running to FedEx to get more signs made in time for Morning Joe to picking up talent from hotels I did it all; and I loved every second of it.  The worst part though – I signed a contract that said I wouldn’t take any photos.  When I met Matt Lauer it was so hard not to ask for a picture with him. But I do have my memories and my press pass.  The most important thing was that I made connections with people who work at NBC and who work on the Today Show.  The dream I’ve had since high school may actually become a reality in the future because of this opportunity.

 

 

What It’s Like Going to Work at 4am

Currently I’m a production assistant at KCCI 8 News in Des Moines, IA.  I work on the morning show from 4:00-9:00 am Monday through Thursday.  I’m also a full time college student at Drake University in Iowa.  I also live in a house with 34 other women.

When I told my mom and dad in June that I wanted to work at a news stations, they were enthusiastic.  They knew that I wanted to experience a live news show because my dream is to produce or direct the Today Show.  When I told them the time, they became a little worried.  How was I going to be able to balance work and school?

Fast forward to August when I was moving into my new home for the year, my sorority house.  I moved into a triple with two other girls that were aware of my unique work schedule.  One of them worked at the local hospital so she had some weird work hours too and the other was a pharmacy major and was always at the library studying.  I like to joke that the three of us win for the weirdest sleeping schedules.

The first Monday of school came quickly and rather than waking up with all the other girls I was up at 2:50am ready to take a shower.  I was pumped with so much adrenaline ready to work at a real news station!!  I wasn’t sure how long it would take me to get ready in the morning so I thought getting up earlier was better.  Well I was ready to go by 3:30…and the news stations was only 10 minutes away.  Rather than sitting in my quiet house I headed to work, half an hour early.  I saw maybe two cars on the road to work.  It was beginning to sink in it was still the middle of the night for most people.

Once at work I was taught my responsibilities for the morning show.  It took a few weeks, but I soon got the hang of what speed the anchors wanted the teleprompters and when I should cue them.  I was loving my job!

Now we’re in the beginning of November and I’ve been working every Monday through Thursday 4:00am-9:00am since August.  I’ve learned a few tips and tricks on how I can get as much sleep as possible.  Ear plugs and a sleeping mask are a must, especially when you have roommates.  I try to be in bed 6:30pm every night, but usually end up procrastinating and hopping into by around 8:00pm.  I end up regretting that when I wake up the next day.  I’ve learned that hats are my best friend and everyone has learned that if I’m wearing a hat I probably haven’t showered.  I’ve learned to plan ahead and have my clothes and breakfast packed the night before work so I don’t have to worry about it in the morning.  I’ve learned that I can wake up at 3:35am and still get to work on time.  Although I have cut it close a few times.

I’ve learned that this experience is something I couldn’t picture my life without now.  I have begun to love the mornings and have learned how to manage my time.  I like to tell people that I do better when I’m busy. I prioritize my tasks better.  I love working at KCCI.

Why Drake Is Not My Home

I love where I grew up.  This isn’t a statement I hear many say when coming to college.  Most students can’t wait to get away from their “bubble” or parents or even their high school friends.

I would say leaving home was the bravest thing I have done thus far in my life.  I’m from a small suburb of Chicago, Geneva, and I absolutely love it there.  It’s a small community and my family is well known.  My brother and I were the sixth generation to graduate from the Geneva Community High School.  I formed an amazing group of best friends.  Life is pretty dandy for me.  Why would I want to leave all that?

I knew I had to get outside my comfort zone.  Experience life by myself.  On the drive to Drake in August of my first year my mom and dad and I piled into the our Chevy TrailBlazer ready for the journey.  As we were approaching Des Moines, my dad decided to fill up on gas so we stopped at a Kum n Go on I-235.  As I got out to stretch my legs I realized that my life would never be the same again.  Once I stepped foot on Drake’s campus I was going to change and grow more than I ever thought possible.  It was a crazy moment to fathom and even now I’m struggling to put this into words.

Now here I am, a junior in college.  I look back at my freshmen self and wonder how I was able to make it through the first semester of college.  If I had known then what I know now I don’t think I would do it again.  The constant homesickness and missing my family.  I was miserable.  I missed my friends. I hadn’t had to make new friends in six years.  It was hard!!  The number one thing that made me upset was when people would say let’s go home and mean to the dorms.  That’s not my home.  Geneva is my home.  Where my parents and dogs live is my home.  To this day I still do not call Drake my home.  It’s a four-year vacation.  I don’t think anyone really notices it, but I’m so conscious of it.

I’m happy to say that even though it has been a struggle I have found some lifelong friends here at Drake.  They’ve come to visit me and I’ve been able to share my love of Geneva with them  They’ve become friends with my high school friends, and my family.  It’s honestly the best case scenario.  So although it may seem unpopular I can’t wait until I’m done with college to move back home.  I can’t wait to come back from my vacation.

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