May 2013 Archives

Wrap UP: Aaron Bergland

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Looking back on the three different productions that I was a part of on ATL and the three I was a part of on BTL, I feel like each productions had their strong points and should not be disregarded because of sequential order of each shoot. Although, I do agree that over all there was definite progress made from the production ones to production threes, I think it's important to remember that our roles had changed in each production. In other words, I was just as unaccustomed to being the audio controller in production three as I was being floor director in production one. Therefore, what I think helped us become better in our new roles in later productions wasn't from our own personal learning experience, but our observations between each production of where we could approve upon going forward into our next set of productions. A lot of the first productions lacked enough diegetic and non-diegetic sounds in comparison to the production twos. Whereas the third productions were more focused on non-diegetic sounds to best imitate the commercials that we were poking fun at. The greatest improvement came from our lighting. I think everyone agrees that the lighting in the first set of productions simply lacked enough light on each of the talents faces. In the second, and especially the third production each group did a much better job creating the proper lighting for each scene. This class has given me a brand new appreciation for those who work in live-to-tape production professionally. It is much more challenging than I would've ever imagined. This class was a great experience. I very much enjoined working with everyone and would like to thank everyone for their hard work and effort!

Best regards,
Aaron Bergland

Wrap Up - Bjorn

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I was super excited to get going in this class. I really didn't think it would be as complicated as it was. When we were doing production one, it was like an experiment. I don't think anyone really knew what was going on, but we all pulled off the first production and did pretty well anyways. Similarly to the entire class, the lighting was definitely the biggest issue in my first production. I didn't think so much light was needed to make the talent visible. We even had to add another light after a few takes because it was just too damn dark. All of that greatly improved by the third production. I think the third productions were greatly improved because we learned a lot through experience and because our class became closer throughout the semester. I think one of the most difficult parts about this kind of work is the fear of hurting someone's feelings. When someone pitches an idea to their group and the idea is not a good one, it actually takes a lot to say no, that's not really a good idea when compared to this other one. I feel like the fact that we became more comfortable with our classmates made it much easier to create higher quality productions. But our productions greatly improved throughout the semester in every aspect of productions. We had more daring shot compositions, smoother transitions between shots, better acting, more fun. It was awesome to see everyone improve.
My biggest piece of advice to future 3201 students would be to practice as much as you can. I know the productions I was involved with could have been much better had we been more prepared on shooting day. Sure we were plenty prepared and made awesome productions, but they could have been way more awesomer yo.
This class was beast. I loved it. You guys were beast too. Having talkative, funny and awesome classmates is not what usually happens in U of M classes, at least in my experience. So I thank you. If I don't see you again, have an awesome life! But to those of you in 3204 next Fall... LET'S GO!

Wrap Up

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There is definitely a sharp contrast between productions one and three for my ATL groups. In production one, everything was very simple, we were just trying to get a feel for a real-time live-to-tape production and with production three, we were a lot more comfortable in the studio and were able to do a few things that were much more effective than in the first project. Lighting is the main difference between the two; production one was extremely dark, impossible to see any of the flats and really difficult to see all of the talent throughout the scene. This had to do with the spacey feel we were going for, but we definitely could have made use of some better back lighting and overall more lighting in general. In the third production, we had great lighting. Granted, the scene was supposed to have a much cheerier, daytime feel to it. But regardless, it was a lot more effective. Our sound was also a lot better in production three than in one. We had a few interesting cues in production one, but we had a solid backing track in three and a really effective dialing sound. I think there was a major improvement on the overall levels of the sound in production three as well; it took a while for us to realize how loud everything has to be, especially in relation to what it will sound like through computer speakers. I like production three a lot better. As a team, I think we worked really well in all of the productions, but obviously in production three we were the most comfortable with each other as group members and it contributed to a really fun, but efficient work environment. But like I said, I had a great group experience with every production I was a part of.

The advice I would give someone who is just about to start a semester of 3201 would be to not let the requirements and work load intimidate you. If you look at it as a super fun opportunity to work with some really nice equipment in a really cool environment on campus, and you get school credit on top of it, you'll see that it will be a much more enjoyable experience.

I had a lot of fun in this class, it's definitely one of my favorites that I have taken thus far at the U. To my classmates, y'all are the bombest. Hopefully I'll see a lot of you in 3204 next semester. We should all grab a beer sometime, yeah?

peace and love, all


Wrap Up

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After reviewing all of my productions, I realized that my work has improved greatly. Overall, the projects were done better and had much better lighting designs. I think that was the most noticeable difference throughout the projects. Lighting is a very important part of productions and when it is even a little bit off, it is extremely noticeable. Also, sound design is very important and adding music or sound effects really enhance most productions. This was very evident in the transition between the first and second productions. The first one seemed a little boring and unnatural as there was no sound other than the talent's voices. The second and third productions that we did were much more life-like and natural.
I also really enjoyed the production process and working with a team. To make a solid production, the ATL members need to be on the same page and willing to listen to other's ideas. I was privileged to work with great directors who were decisive and accepting of all ideas. I think the key to being a good ATL member was to not take things personally. For example, if you have an idea, bring it to the director and if they decide to take that idea and use it or not, don't let that discourage you. Making a production is a collaborative process and you have to be flexible and voice your opinions/ideas.
Some advice I would give to students taking this class in the future is to always be prepared. Pre-production time is very valuable and needs to be taken seriously. The in studio pre-production is necessary and is a great time to figure out lighting/set designs. I think that we didn't really take this time seriously in the first production and as a result, were a bit unprepared for the actual shooting day.
Overall this class was very fun and I had a great time working with everyone!

My Final Salute

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Well after reviewing my production 1,2, and 3 I realized that even though I thought I did a good job on my first project, the third project I worked on completely crushed the quality of the first. That being said, I am still proud of the work we did on our first project, it just highlights how far we have come. Specifically for all groups, I think the lighting design was so, so much better in the third than in the originals. I think our sound designs made some advances too. In terms of shot composition we grew a lot as well, made less mistakes and more interesting dynamic shots. I am really proud of my idea to have just Brian fad in on the chroma key. My patience and quality of work with group mates improved as well. I think I just grew more accustomed to working with people who had different ideas throughout the semester. I think we had some awesome set designs as well, the Shafting Agenda and the tree setting we had in Production 2 were really cool. I think my knowledge of all the studio safety and functioning of the technology grew as well. I was fully capable of explaining the deko and audio, as well as mic fuction after the last few days in the class, as well as operation of lighting grids as well.

Another thing I took from this class was just how much work it requires to make a good production. Putting together the production book and make sure it is error free was a ton of work. There are an outrageous amount of things that could easily go wrong. I made some good friends in this class too and really enjoyed working with everyone. Learning to work on productions with everyone in pre-production time and planning time was a very interesting and fun experience. Time managment for productions was key. I also just have to say, we all had some seriously excellent acting. Movie stars, each and every one.

As a final farewell, I just wanted to stress how fun it was getting to meet all of you and creating such awesome accomplishments with you all. I can't wait for next semester to see some of you in advanced production. Hopefully that class will be just as fun for us. If any of you guys ever wanna hang out maybe film so stuff and make awesome movies, let me know. To Allyson I had a really good time this semester and I wish you the best of luck with your move back and with your career. I enjoyed you as a teacher as I think, we all did. Best of luck EVERYONE and have a fantastic summer.

Best wishes and most depressing goodbyes,

Wrap up-Jeff

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The difference between my production 1 and production 3 are night and day. While working on production 1 we all really did not know what we were doing, but come production 3 we were like a well oiled machine with everyone doing their parts well. When looking at the projects the first thing that really stands out is the lighting. The lighting is production 1 was much darker than what we intended. It got better in production 2 and was great in production 3. Our sound also improved a great amount. Production 1 was very limited, but come production 3, we had background music, telephone sounds, door effects, and everything in between. These sounds really helped bring the projects to life. We also became better at working as a team as the course continued. By the end of the of the course everyone knew their responsibilities and did them well.

One piece of advice I would give to future classes is to just stick with it and don't get overwhelmed. There were times early in the semester where I felt like this was too much work for my schedule. I decided to stick with it though and I am glad I did.

This was a fun class and I encourage others to take it.

Wrap Up - Austin

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After finishing production 3 there were a lot of things that I learned over the course of this semester. The most important thing I noticed was the improvement on basically every aspect of live-to-tape production. Not only were both the ATL and BTL roles performed more effectively, but the way we all worked together was strong and efficient.

There were many improvements from Production 1 to 3. For me personally, I was assigned Lighting Director for both Prod. 1 and 3, so I had the chance to address the mistakes I made at the beginning of this semester. We all seemed to lack sufficient lighting in the first production, and I felt like the majority of shots were too dark and gloomy. However, by the last project, I took what I learned from before and made sure I had sufficient lighting. This involved more fill lights than I originally assumed, but it just goes to show that on a set, more lighting is better than less. I think another major improvement would be the efficiency in every group. By the end, we all knew what to do, how to do it, and when to do it. Our first production seemed more unorganized and loose compared to the tight and focused roles in Prod. 3. It just goes to show how quickly a group of people can learn how to operate equipment and work in a manner that evokes the best in everyone. We all seemed to work with more confidence and less hesitation than when we first started out. I know for me, doing things like situating lights on the ladder was intimidating. But the more time I was able to spend working with the lights and figuring out how to do it, I was able to work much more smoothly and efficiently. Also, knowing how to work with the equipment opened up the door for more creativity in the groups because we were all more comfortable and knew what would and would not work in the studio.

My advice to future 3201-ers would be to learn as much as you can during studio training. The faster you can learn how to operate everything, the more fun and easier the production will be. Personally, I didn't pay much attention on the role of TD during training, and when I had to finally be the TD in Prod. 3, I was a lot more stressed out and confused than I should have been. So my advice is to not be intimidated, and be open to try everything right away and get used to the equipment as best as you can.

Final words...
I really enjoyed learning the inner workings of productions. It really changed the way I view television shows, and there a little things that I now notice that I would not have if I didn't take this course. I had fun working with all of you and I think we all enjoyed our company (especially the elevator rides after class). I know a bunch of us our taking 3204 next year so I hope to see a lot of you all again.
Thanks again.

Prompt # 11 Wrap-Up Courtney

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Looking at our production from project #1 to #3 was actually shocking, I cant believe how much we all improved from our first project to our last. It seemed to be a reoccurring theme in all of our projects that they were really dark. Im not sure if we were worried about adding to much light or what but they all seemed like we could add a couple more lights. It was also interesting to see how quickly we picked up on all the knowledge of the studio. It just goes to show that when working hands on you can learn things very quickly.

WIthin all the groups I feel like as a whole we got along very well which made the productions that much better. We were able to give constructive criticism and then channel it in a positive way for our projects. I also think that because we became so comfortable with one another it made us not be so nervous to act in front of the camera, which also made the productions much better.

For students entering into this class I would just say keep an open mind, and like any other class don't be so intimidated by the first day of class when all the information is thrown at you. It was a super fun class and gives you a chance to work with your classmates and make some friends rather than just sitting next to someone for 6 months who you never talk to.

My final words to everyone is bon voyage!! I had such a blast this semester working with all of you and getting to know you it really was a cherry to my final semester of college!! YAHOOO graduation in t minus 2 days!! Cant wait!! Good luck everyone on the rest of your schooling!

Prompt #11 - Wrap up: Brian


It was really cool to see the differences between our first and third productions. Obviously our first productions were pretty rough since it was all of our first times doing anything like this, but I didn't think they were awful. In my first production I remember feeling very stressed being the first group to film and having almost no idea what was going on. I think one of the biggest things we were able to improve from the first production was lighting. Our first production was very dark even though we wanted it that dark, it got way too dark. I think overall our lighting got a lot better throughout the entire class. As we got further into the semester we added a lot of new aspects to our productions so it is very interesting to look at all the new techniques in the productions. I think the biggest change from the first productions to the last productions is the fluidity of the projects. I think as we all got to know each other better e started to be ourselves more and that came out in the projects. It is easy to see that the performances by the talent improved drastically. I think we all started having a lot more fun as the semester progressed and that was clear in the productions.
I think my favorite aspect of the class is that we all had a chance to work with each member of the group for each production, whether it was on our ATL team or BTL. I loved being able to work with the same people in different roles every time. I think once we were all able to get to know each other and feel comfortable things became a lot more fun. Having a whole different team each time really helped to make sure each production had its own individual flavor, that was really cool.
My advice to future 3201ers would be to plan out your studio time. It really helps to have a set plan of what you want to accomplish. Also, don't stress out when a problem arises, because you don't have to solve it alone, you have your whole ATL to help and oftentimes BTL will help out too. Just be open to trying things that might make you nervous (like directing) because you'll have a lot more fun.

Finally to my wonderful classmates and our fearless leader Allyson: You were all so awesome this semester. I truly had a blast working with all of you whether it was on my ATL team or my BTL team. I won't be there to take the final with you guys this Saturday, but I wish I could. I'm holding out hope that some of you will be in my advanced production class next semester! Thanks to all of you for making this semester a total blast!

P.S. Sexy Six Forever!

Prompt #11 Wrap-Up - Lindsey

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After looking over Production One and Production Three, I can't help but feel a sense of pride. I think the work, not only that I have done, but our class as a whole, has improved tremendously in terms of the quality of lighting, sophistication, sound design, etc., and in terms of working as a team. In Production One, I think we did the best we knew how at the time. It's definitely a different experience from reading all the things that you are suppose to do, and then actually doing it. For example, when talking about lighting I thought it would be something so simple and when actually setting up the lighting for the first production, it was evident that I really didn't know what I was doing, because although in the studio the set looked bright, on camera it was a different story. Another thing I noticed from Production One to Production Three was the sophistication of our projects in that we were adding more elements such as sound design, focusing more on blocking, and shot composition. This is very clear in comparing Production One to Production Three in that everything seems pretty stiff in Production One. There isn't really any purposeful sound cues, blocking, or shot composition. When looking at Production Three, it's drastically different. For example, my group used the rule of thirds and pulling of the frame to really illustrate that the frat bro and sorority chick had no interest in each other and were more concerned with their phones.
As in working as a team, I don't really know if I can say that we ever really had a problem with that, besides a random member of the group not showing the day of production and dropping the class. I think it became easier throughout the semester just because we got more comfortable with each other and were able to be our goofy selves.
My advice for future fellow 3201-ers would be to take studio time (outside of class) seriously. There were plenty of times where we really should have used that time more successfully so that the day of production we weren't still trying to figure stuff out.

Last words: I'm really bumming that I won't be there Saturday to celebrate with all of you. I had such an amazing time this semester getting to know each and every one of you! You guys are awesome and next semester will never be the same without our Tuesday/Thursday elevator rides where we all were packed in like sardines. Like I've said from day one, I hope if you see me around campus, you won't be afraid to say hi... because if I happen to spot you first, you best believe you'll receive an embarrassing hug.

Prompt #11: Wrap Up

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At the beginning of the semester, I went into the class thinking that making good looking productions would be a piece of cake. After the first production, I had to totally rethink that idea. The lighting and camera shots in my first production were really lacking. The lighting turned out to be one of the hardest things throughout all of the productions. The lights would look good to the eye but then not good on the camera. It definitely took some time to perfect good lighting and how to execute it. You can definitely see the progress on how well lit scenes were when you take a look at all of the different productions. Like I said earlier, the camera shot compositions were definitely lacking from the start but got a lot better as the productions progressed. The shots in production one were out of focus, not steady, and weren't very good at all. By the end of production three, we had a lot more experience and the shots were much more artistic and looked a lot better. I really enjoyed working as a team and it definitely helped make our productions look a lot better once we perfected our specific jobs within the productions. For students who are incoming into this class, I would definitely emphasize how important it is to get a rehearsal and practice in before the day of the shoot. Going in after class and setting up the flats, lighting, and setting up the camera shots was something that was extremely important and saved a lot of time on the day of the shoot. Overall, it was a very fun class and it was very interesting learning how to use the equipment and create some great productions.

Final Blog Wrap up

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Throughout this semester I grew to completely appreciate how much work actually goes into making visual media, even very brief clips. I believe that my work has definitely improved from the first production where I was so nervous I remember my hands shaking as I was controlling the bus as Technical Director. Where as in m last production as Audio Operator I felt more comfortable in the control room doing the tasks for that specific ATL role.

During the first production I feel as if I had no true understanding about three-point lighting or even shot composition. I kind of nodded my head and agreed with my other group members and attempted to contribute as much input as I could. I learned that lighting is difficult. It was hard to decide which filter, gel or cookie to put on and how many lights we wanted and which kind. It proved to be most difficult when the set and talent looked well lit in person and even through the camera screens but turned out to be very different looking while watching it on my computer. By the end of production three I had a better understanding about how lights work and how they cast shadows and what each separate accessory does do the affect the lighting. I know I definitely felt more confident in my role as camera operator by the third production, sounds stupid right? Like who gets nervous to operate a camera during production well apparently me. The first production I was too nervous about messing up a camera shot and having a bad production for the ATL group on me but by production three, my second time as a camera operator I felt more at ease in knowing about each of the camera functions.

For future Comm. 3201 students I'd advise them to take time in the studio as much as you can, it can mean the difference between having a smooth production and being stressed out the day of your production. The studio time even if its only thirty minutes can give you extra time where you don't have to worry about another group to really concentrate on lighting scheme and the set design. Also like Laura mentioned definitely take a look at lighting through each camera with the cameras in place for the production, placement of the camera (and which camera is being used) can drastically change the lighting. Also don't get too stressed out, everything will work out and if you need help from another member in your group ask because chances are they are definitely willing to help, because its their grade on the line too.

I had a great semester with everyone and thanks to everyone in my groups for making great productions with me! have a great summer:)

Blog 15 Wrap Up


I think my work has improved greatly over the semester in terms of the lighting, shot composition, and collaborative process. In the first production, I thought the lighting setup would be easy, how difficult can it be to turn on a light? As we got to production day, though, I saw that lighting makes a big difference in the production and often requires a lot more time to setup than one may initially think. What I thought was a pretty bright set turned out to be darker than I thought. I also learned that chiaroscuro lighting is very difficult to pull off because the lighting can look good from certain cameras, but very dark from another camera.
The second thing I learned between production one and three was to focus on shot composition because it isn't always clear in the shot sheets what should be in the frame. Often, we found ourselves changing the shots the day of our shoot because it seemed like a good idea in theory but didn't actually work in practice. This last minute change was a result of a lack of BTL camera people and talent showing up, but it was also a lack of the ATL to try and go through shot composition before the day of the shoot. As a cameraperson myself, I learned that shot composition can be a little subjective and that it's more important to get the characters you need in the shot, rather than trying to follow the shot sheet exactly.
Lastly, I think our groups did a good job of improving our collaborative process throughout the semester. In the beginning, we each annotated our own scripts and each of us had an idea of what the scene should look like. This was good in that everyone was familiar with the scene, but it was a little difficult in how we each had a different vision that didn't always match with the director. This sometimes caused problems in when we were answering questions, how we sometimes had an answer that was different from what the director envisioned. On the second production we did a much better job of following the director's vision, but we were a little disjointed in that the rest of the group didn't really help the director with the annotated script or shot sheets, so we as group didn't have the best idea of what the vision for the scene would be. By the last production, though, we struck a good balance of each person contributing to the vision of the scene while still following the director's overall idea. We were able to take his script and each contribute an idea about what should be in the scene. This way allowed us to have an idea of what the scene will look like, while still following the director's vision.
Advice: Always check your lighting scheme on the cameras. It's easy to think that everything is bright when you're looking directly at the set, but the lighting can look completely different on camera, and even look differently from camera to camera.
Take pre-production and extra pre-production time seriously. It was really easy for us to say, "We'll just worry about it tomorrow." But often these little worries could turn into big problems the next day when everyone is already stressed and on a deadline.
Have fun with the production, it's easy to get overly stressed, but keep your cool and be open to new ideas because these ideas can sometimes make things easier on you.
Words to fellow 3201-ers: For many of my other classes in the past, I didn't look forward to coming to class, especially when the weather was icky like it was all semester. But I had a blast in class and looked forward to working with everyone. Each and every person played an important role in my enjoyment of the class! I hope you all have a great summer and I'll maybe see some of you again in class next year!

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