Final Reflections

I am very pleased with how our group project turned out. Putting this resource together has been a learning experience for all of us, and pushed us all to try things we never would have done without this project. Despite the learning curve we experienced, our website has become a useful resource for lectures on James Farmer. I think our website will be useful for campus faculty, staff, and students, as well as others off campus who may be interested in James Farmer.

As far as our group contract is concerned, our group met our contractual requirements in all but a few ways. The major deadline we missed was producing the trailer on time. That requirement was entirely my job, and so the blame should not be placed on anyone but me. I got behind on the video trailer project, and ended up posting the trailer over the weekend instead of on the Friday deadline. While there were certainly things that contributed to this delay (there was confusion about if the audio and video matched up, and there were some issues with the video being different qualities from video to video, which meant I had to do some unanticipated conversions) I still did not produce the material on time. However, I am proud of the resulting video. I feel that if I had rushed to produce the video trailer on Friday instead of over the weekend, the trailer would not have been something I would be proud to show to the class. I also tried my hand at creating a graphic opening in After Effects entirely from scratch (something I had never really done before on that scale) and I was extremely pleased with the result. I had fun deciding what music to use; I thought jazz would work well, since it would be period. I used megatrax to find the music; it is a website which allows you to download music for commercial use that I have a subscription to. I also made a shorter version of the trailer so we could show the video during our presentation at the history symposium.

There also were some minor transcript issues Kelsey had to fix after the deadline for the final transcripts had passed. Quite frankly, though, I feel that this is entirely excusable – she transcribed thousands of words, and so realizing she’d made some mistakes and taking the time to fix them I think shows how hard she was working. Also, there was the same confusion over the audio and video I had. We all had assumed that the audio and video were exactly the same; unfortunately, there were some minor but occasionally significant differences. This meant Kelsey needed to transcribe the video separately from the audio, something she had no reason to suspect she would need to do initially. As such, I think her updates show how hard she was working.

As a learning experience, this project was a definite success. This project required that we all learn some new things we’d never done before. I don’t think Laura had ever managed a website before, but I know she put hours into learning and designing the website. The end product is excellent, though, and I think she should be very proud of the work she produced. Similarly, Michelle had never worked with Premiere before, but nevertheless helped me upload the videos to vimeo. She also edited the transcripts, and wrote a lot of the text on the website. Kelsey wrote the transcripts, which was an extremely time consuming task with relative ease. I had worked with Premiere before, but only once (in the History of the Information Age class last semester). I also had created small graphics before in After Effects (like lower thirds) but had never really done a complex opening graphic before. It took a lot of time to do, but I am extremely pleased with the result and I think I learned a lot. In fact, I put the opening graphic into my demo reel. All in all, I think we learned a lot that will prove useful in the future.

This semester, I have been so impressed by my group members – we got along and worked very well together. Kelsey worked exceptionally hard on the transcripts, Laura did a great job designing and taking care of the website, and Michelle worked really hard on uploading, subclipping, editing the transcripts, and managing the vimeo account. Even though we had to tweek our group contact somewhat, I think that we nevertheless produced an excellent resource. We have come a long way this semester, and I am proud of the results.

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