Author Archives: mkellerladybug

My Traveling Dream

Overview

This project has truly been a blast to work on. It features my dream to travel to three distinct countries. I would love to travel to a lot more countries, but for this project, three felt like a good number. The challenge was to use my imagination and the locations/resources around me to create what I “think” visiting each country would be like. I chose to focus on only what came to my mind from years of watching travel channels or seeing gorgeous images. For Ireland, it was the beautiful green hills, ruins, and pubs (hence the video in the credits). For Canada, it’s vast acres of. And for Italy, I am initially drawn to the vineyards, but I couldn’t “see” the product as easily as I thought of the romantic dinner. I also sought to play with soft focus for that dreamlike state and capture the raw beauty of the locations I went to for my footage (except my dining room).

Pre-Production

Before I started shooting, I knew I needed a more concrete visual aid to help me move through this project. I began by expanding the rough sketches I had sent to Teresa for part 1. I then sketched every frame in detail and combined sketches that began to flow into more of the story. I wrote notes and FOV. Then I hoped for good weather.

I did have to change my plans for the Italian dinner. I “saw” this series being shot outside during night fall. I thought the lights would have more contrast. Due to weather, I decided to have the dining room would suffice. Though the initial couple for this series was not available, but my parents (always willing to help) volunteered. I made them spaghetti. And all was well. This is also my first-time filming in a much dimmer lighting environment.

Post-Production

When I got all my chosen video in Premiere, I really did not know where to start. I came up with a ratio of 45:35:20. I knew that the movie would be 3 minutes, so I figured out how long each ‘country would take. I hit every mark.

I used the Snow Ball microphone for the first time. That was interesting. When I started recording, I couldn’t figure out why my playback sounded so far away. I realized that my laptop microphone was picking up my voice. But everything worked out. The audio was not too bad.  Playing with the audio levels in Premiere was fun. I have never done that before. The song choice had to be the best part of the post-production. That result was a happy mistake.

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This project has taught me a lot. I found pan-zoom to be much harder. If I could, I would remove these now that I know they’re a no-no. But I am new to film and audio, so I feel pretty good overall with my project.

It was a pleasure working with everyone!

 

By: Maurissa Keller


Still Dare to Dream?

 

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Have you ever let dreams fall to the wayside? Maybe life has hit unexpectedly, and you find yourself not where you thought you’d be. Maybe you always had that dream and are waiting for the right circumstances to make that dream a reality. Regardless of whether you let your dreams die or are waiting for them happen, I want to let you know that I am familiar with that feeling all too well. In fact, I am at a place where I am starting to let my dreams fly again and think purposefully along the lines of what it will take to make those dreams more and more my reality.

 

 

Back in high school, I went to a job shadow for graphic design and I let some elements of that interview scare me into not pursuing design as a career. I pursued Accountancy instead, thinking that my introverted self would like to sit at a desk and record transactions. How wrong was I? I went back to school to give graphic design that chance. And it has been the most amazing, frustrating, and rewarding decision of my life. Before graduating, I was given opportunities that I found recently are leading me to be the design entrepreneur I have once dreamed of. It both excites me and scares me. Yet that fire is starting to be rekindled. And things are falling into place that are becoming stepping stones towards that dream.

A few interesting resources:

I would like to share a few tips to help you pursue your dreams:

  • Don’t lose sight of what you want to do
  • Be open-minded
  • Only let fear push you forward, not behind

I hope you find this helpful in some way as you progress forward in your life’s journey.

-Maurissa K.

 

(Photo by Benjamin Davies on Unsplash)


Chocolatey Cake Goodness

This project started out with a list of my top 5 favorite foods. That quickly changed to focusing on one of those foods-chocolate. It did not take me long to think of the five factor. So I decided to summarize the process of baking a cake in 5 unrealistic steps, or phases. That factored down to just incorporating 5 throughout the video: five letters in the title and five phases. I wanted to incorporate 5 summary photos/video in each phase but some images did not come through well and I ran out of video time.

I sketched my shots first with notes for what I was to aim for. This helped me a lot and saved me a lot of time. I used my Canon Rebel T5i. I wanted to use my iPhone, but it died and I wanted good quality. As I started shooting, I became aware of lighting and shadows. This played heavily into directing the people who helped. In the opening video, I played a lot with shooting smoothly and in focus while moving down the counter. I also became aware of the fact that photographing food is not easy. When the light sources were rather poor, how I positioned people and set up props was all the more important. Also, baking, being a poor college student and being on a time crunch, I had to make everything I did count. I took tons of stills when the shots were needed (and to factor in that my hands are shaky) and made sure that my video tools were set up right.

With Premiere, I have never used it until this project. It is not as intuitive as I would have hoped. When I opened the software, I had no clue what I was doing. But a few classmates gave me some helpful tips and then I ran from there. I did do some research on the zooming out effect and I think the pan effect too, but after doing that once, I was able to figure out some things. Keeping my work organized was huge. I created a folder for each phase that contained all the images for that phase. I then pulled the hopefuls out and edited them in Photoshop. Then I exported the finished files into subfolders for the top picks. When I started placing my work in Premiere, I just went to those subfolders. One challenge I faced included showing the stills correctly in the Production window. In this window, my stills were zoomed in and it took awhile to fix that. Setting the text was also a challenge that took me some time to figure out. After playing around, I found the solution. I just knew that I needed to get this project done, so I kept my effects simple.

Overall, for being my very first video, I am pleased. And I appreciate my mom and my neighbor helping me out. This was a fun project.

By: Maurissa Keller

 


Food for Thought from a Professional Freelancer

photo-1493309907469-693921760e42As many of you know, I have been digging deep into the world of freelance. Primarily this is due to where I am right now and the income/skill opportunities that have come up within the past few months. As students in the Media Arts program, you get your first taste (unless you have a past in business) in Business Practices. In the class, you cover different types of work, contracts, and important forms to have when meeting clients. These are great things to get you started. But that is just it, the class is a starter kit for much more. Hence, I am in that “much more” category.

This need for more information and insight is how I met Chris Elliott. She was referred to me by Teresa. Chris is a delightful professional freelancer in multimedia with an impressive background (which is rather important to have) that provided her the foundation to start her own business, called Elliott Image. When Chris started working, she began in the restaurant business. Her responsibilities ranged from traveling to hiring managers. That, I thought, is quite a significant jump from multimedia. On her website, she stated that one word, however, had changed her life (these are my own words-not hers). I became greatly intrigued. When I asked her more about this, she said that after she started a family, she had wanted to return to school, but did not know what to pursue. When she went into U of O, she looked in a catalog and saw “Advertising.” You could now say that the rest is history, but there is so much more to tell. Anyway, what drew her to advertising was that, hopefully like many of us in the graphic design/multimedia programs, she wanted to do something that enabled her to be creative while also using strategical and analytical skills at the same time. Creative problem-solving-that is what we do.

This next question was geared towards whether Chris’s professional knowledge came mostly from her experience working for an ad agency (she was hired on after graduating) or research. Since I don’t have the solid background of prior experience, I have been wondering if I can make it still being a fish only swimming in the shallows, grasping at info-tidbits when I can understand them. Chris replied that most of her knowledge did indeed come straight off the job (again, in my paraphrase). While her restaurant experience gave her the ability to communicate with businesses (a HUGE plus being both a designer and a freelancer), she learned about doing creative work with television and radio and how to build campaigns for those creatives. But she learned the most while working at a tv station. It was here that she found herself doing more than what her education provided her with. And she succeeded to the point of becoming manager. This is where she did audio/video to help promote the tv station, worked with both small and large businesses, and software research (more for her know-how, but her research came in handy).

Hands-down, while you in are studying at Lane, either in the arts or not, you have either been asked, or pondering still, or already know what you want to do after graduating. For some of you, it may to work with an employer, others-freelance. So I asked Chris about when she knew that starting her own business was the right move. She replied that it has been a desire of hers for a long time. For the last 4 years of her 18-year employment with the tv station, the thought of starting out on her own was much heavier. I am used to hearing of freelancers being successful, but not so much when they were in a good position at their employers. Chris was scared and, despite her professional experience, still insecure. However, she has made a very successful business. Taking risks-that is definitely a trait of a freelancer. If you are not a risk taker, then being a freelancer may not be the right career move for you. Yet again, if you want to be moved out of your comfort zone and like making your own schedule, then it might be worth considering. When it came to resources, Chris said that it did not take much, such as equipment. I then asked about the business side since my research has not been super successful. Chris was very helpful in telling me that Commerce (I think) offers free consulting for small businesses or online research. Chris did need to research insurances a bit as there are a few different kinds to consider when taking your business startup to the next level.

If you are wondering what a multimedia freelancer’s day typically looks like, I did ask Chris. One of the perks of course is making your own schedule-that includes the ability to sleep-in or not. Overall though, she does a variety of tasks, especially those related most to multimedia. These tasks range from writing (she writes scripts and creates concepts), doing post-production, and photography. She did say though that 75% of her time goes to the computer.
Due to the variety of jobs she has and their varying complexity/priority, I was curious about her means of balancing it all. Her remedy? Lists. She said that lists help you keep current with projects. Sometimes those lists are categorized by the time frame of the project, sometimes it’s by type of job. As a freelancer, you could choose what you do during the day. Chris also uses a calendar as well to track information such as mileage (you may be needing to travel) and client work. I should say right now that if you are considering freelance, you need to be go-getter. As part of your job (maybe a large part of it) is going to go to self-marketing.

What about pay? This topic is tough and every freelancer I have talked to has a slightly different reply. Chris has a plan, though this part of her work is still challenging. Because she knows her skills, her capabilities, and resources, plus has an excellent work ethic (this is also HUGE), she treats each job with its own price. I have heard this from other designers too. She has a flat rate, but it varies. I currently have an hourly rate, but unlike Chris, I am starting right out of school. So my rate is also a lot cheaper. Even when bidding for projects, she provides a safety net within her budgeted price and never exceeds it. When considering how you’ll charge people for your work, be real about this. And really know yourself so that you charge what is fair for you, but also for the potential client.

I also inquired about industry competitors. This is a decision I am facing, and I am sure you will too. Chris’s approach (so that you maintain professionalism in everything) is to purposefully change gears. The people who work with Chris know that she is highly ethical and will not give out information. She literally changes ‘hats’ between jobs and solely forces herself to focus on that one job. As she said, “there’s always enough room for everyone to play in the sand.”

What about interns? She has worked with them before. However, she is not taking any right now. She loves providing them experience and understands the value of on-the-job-learning aspect of internships. So I asked her about an ideal intern. Her reply? Passionate and excited! Excited about learning and is energetic. That is contagious for lots of creative fun. So I asked her her advice for recent graduates. One of the bigger positives of getting employed after graduating is that you get to know a lot of people. That networking is very important, and could be helpful when freelancing.

Chris was incredibly insightful and really fun to meet. If you want to learn more, visit her website: www.elliotimage.com.

Image provided by: Verena Yunita Yapi from Unsplash.com

By: Maurissa Kellerphoto-1493309907469-693921760e42


The Story that was Never Told

I have never done an audio recording before, so this whole experience was rather interesting. I wanted to come up with a story. I really did not know what kind of story, expect that I had wanted to play with voice fluctuations-which in my spare time, is a lot of fun. But recording my voice deliberately was a whole other can of worms. But I learned a lot.

When it came to equipment, I had hoped to experiment with the Snowball microphone from the Media Equipment checkout. But my schedule was rather conflicting, so I opted to use my laptop’s built-in mic for the first time…ever-for this kind of project. I also recorded about 90% of this audio in my room. And that is not built with any sort of acoustics whatsoever. Plus, I was facing my wall, so that sound, I think, was reverberating back into the recording. I was also a bit congested, so that only added to the outcome of the audio. The last few seconds was recorded in one of the study rooms within the library. That was fun.

So in all, the audio is not a great as I had hoped. I found myself doing a lot of retakes, one right after another, on the same track, repeating the same line. If I found a combo that I could work with, I cut and copied, moved, or recreated a new track. That was actually a lot of fun. Unfortunately, I did not give myself enough time to really play with Audacity, so most of what I did was copying, pasting, or cutting.

It was definitely a challenge when the time came for post production. I had recorded three, no, four different voices and had to align them so that, as the story flowed, the sub-voices would come into the right locations. The music was a lot of fun to play with. I learned rather quickly how to pick apart the parts I liked and wanted to use.

Overall, though the quality is not as I had hoped, I did have fun and learned a lot about audio.

Really quickly, I wanted to list the resources used:

  1. From Teresa’s music library. I used All About Us-its Royalty free.
  2. The image used in my audio file is from Photo by Anete Lūsiņaon Unsplash

I hope you enjoy the audio. Thank you!

By: Maurissa Keller


Freelancer Tid-bits, Anyone?

Blog URL: http://www.elleandcompanydesign.com/blog/aspiring-designers

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I particularly sought a blog that provided freelancing tips or even invoice design suggestions (I highly recommend researching this). Presently, I am finding myself in the freelancer’s world since graduating, having done branding for two small businesses and now I have a small commercial client with challenging demands. It is really making me think.

This blog, titled “Top 10 Tips for Aspiring Graphic Designers”, written by Lauren Hooker, provides a solid foundation for anyone starting out in the creative field. There are a lot of insights that speak to experiences I have faced in my short freelancing career. One being # 8: Being leery of working for free. This section described Lauren’s experience as being very frustrating but great for gaining experience. I have also found it helpful that if you are a student and unsure about compensation, ask that your payment be to add your client’s design to your portfolio. # 5: Educating your clients is another tip that speaks. The author writes about the importance to use your skill set to inform the client to help them (easier said than done when starting out), rather than to let them make terrible design choices. I am in that boat right now with a client. One mistake I made that is painful is never show your clients ANY of your working files of their projects in their presence, even to make a few tweaks. They may see a design that you purposely moved on from and want it.

The website design of the page, with the white space, the simple colors and beautiful use of the sans-serif headers adds to the authors credibility of being a designer. Each tip is labeled nicely that adds to the aesthetic and has enough content to help the reader understand its importance, supported with personal examples and clickable resources (one being about working for free by Molly Jacques) or bold information for emphasis, without losing the reader too much. I appreciate that the blog has a date stamp and that Lauren welcomes input from her readers, so others can read the comments for more advice.

Overall, this blog is a nice resource to have and these tips are still in effect today. I also wanted to share additional insight from my experiences to better help others make better professional decisions in their freelancing work.  I hope this helps.

By: Maurissa Keller


Resources for Lane’s Media Arts Students

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This handle has watched the passing of much equipment.

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Don’t cross the yellow!

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The Center for Student Engagement is home to all of Lane’s clubs.

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Lane Community College: Faculty Art Exhibition

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I really should buy something from this machine.

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Shed to the Rescue!

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Being well in life has more impact than just being physically well. 

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Mary Jo’s dainty decorations.

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This library gem (right across from Shed) has been
a project saver in the world of media arts.

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Judy is SO helpful when navigating any media arts program.

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This lab is small but a great way to meet other artists.

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Reflections tell a lot of the story.

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The CCS, short for Construction Coffee Supervisor.

This whole assignment has been a lot of fun! I discovered that treasures were not where I thought they’d be-but that is what made the whole assignment enjoyable. I had almost more fun taking pictures once I found the destination. I lost track of a lot of time….

By: Maurissa Keller


About Me

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Hello, my name is Maurissa. I live in Corvallis and have been there most of my life.  I come from divorced parents and was raised by my mom. She is my best friend and I am humbled by her sacrifices to take care of me. I grew up being independent and doing my best at what I did.

I had always dreamed of being an artist. Specifically, I wanted to be a fine artist and make a living at it. I took art classes from middle school all through college; it has always been apart of me. Ironically though, I was not keen on becoming a Graphic Designer. I did not like the idea of creating art with a computer. Yet, I thought of majoring in it. After a mandatory job shadow in my senior year of HS, I freaked out and majored in Accounting.
Fast forward past obtaining business and accounting degrees, I went back to school and just recently graduated with an Associate’s in Graphic Design and discovered that I needed this. In the process, I also fell in love with Web Design. So in the Winter term, I will be seeking my Certificate in Web Design.

When I am not in school, I work part-time at the DMC and just picked up a second part-time job doing design work. I love craft projects and have a laundry list of them to do. I also like watching movies and going out with friends, but if there is a good adventure to be had, I am in!

When I am done getting degrees and certificates, I might become a freelance designer. As of right now, though, I am taking it one day at a time.

Here is to a great term!

By: Maurissa Keller