Media Day 2013: Students explore video as storytelling medium

by Jessica Strothman, Victoria Baltzell – Grand Junction High School

When originally looking at a video made by a friend or even a professional, one may think it could be easy to do on their own or even the opposite – it can be more complicated than they know.

Different people view videos with completely different opinions on the medium showing how much potential it has to expand.

To start just by letting “the camera roll,” said Greg Mikolai. Mikolai teaches Video Productions 1, 2, 3 at Colorado Mesa University and is also the digital editor with production duties both at CMU as well as PBS.

Monday morning at CMU video students gathered with Mikolai and video editor, Sam Kilman to learn more of what they already knew dealing with the news medium. One of these students, Jeremy Poland, senior at Grand Junction High School, chose to do a story on an ongoing set of chemistry experiments.

At around a 90-degree angle to the experiment itself and a 180 to the student (of choice) Poland said, “it’s going to be all about what she is doing… and it’s going to be glorious.”

Level of comfort is a large part of this confidence though; “I [make videos] all the time, I used to make videos on YouTube,” said Poland, “I think I started making videos in 6th grade.”

Kilman on the other hand attended CMU “for four years, before as a student,” and now works at the university full time with a major in Mass Communications and New Media.

“I’m also the founder of the campus TV station here so I concentrate more on broadcast,” said Kilman.

He, like Poland has much experience with working with Mass Communications if not more. “I started working for a production company when I was 14 so I was pretty big into the video stuff,” Kilman continued by saying, “I didn’t become a Mass Com. student until my junior year of college.”

Originally, Kilman started out as a secondary education history major and soon began editing for the Mass Communications department as a history student. It wasn’t until they mentioned he would make a good Mass Com. student that he actually took it into consideration and switched majors.

Now, he states, “I’m the media asset coordinator so I’m in charge of ordering all the equipment for Mass Communications. I assist with video production and photo journalism classes, I also work part time for marketing so I work on recruitment videos and viral videos and stuff like that.”

This sets up the standard for what quality really is.  The difference between a cheap camera verses one that drains your savings according to Poland is that “it just looks good, it doesn’t look like a cell phone anymore.” And to some people this can make quite the difference, “I think people prefer high quality productions over webcam or lame looking stuff because it looks good. Its mainly just because people like good quality rather than awful quality that they can make themselves.”

And being known as a high quality video maker, “it’s pretty cray,” remarked Poland.

However, Kilman changed the point of view by stating, “I think the quality depends on who all is there; if someone captures more of a subject than the person who had something that is high quality video,” it’s obviously going to get more views.

“The event is defiantly more important than the video. It’s all about what you have,”

For example, “If someone is able to do it with higher quality equipment than of course someone is going to view that; but if someone has better footage, even if it’s not as high quality, it’s what people are going to go after.”

Over all video can be a way to make or break a story. Depending on the person both over all story quality, what’s happening in the video and  definition quality can affect how popular the video can become as well; it is all lies in the eyes of the beholder and the effort placed to find a balance between these three items in order to receive the best quality.

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