BA (Hons) Media Studies student Ciéra reflects on her first year at ARU, and modules on video, radio and audio production.
As of September 2020 I officially entered my second year. It feels amazing to have gotten to this stage but, simultaneously, I’m still in disbelief that the first year flew by so quickly. It just seems to hit me sometimes that I’m actually at university, despite the fact that one would assume by now that I would be more than accustomed to it.
I thought that I would take some time to talk about my experience of modules as a first year student on a degree course. This module review contains two of my past classes, which is half of my modules from semester one of university.
Introduction to Video 1
Intro to Video was a fun class and I appreciated the way that the content was delivered. I remember being taught from PowerPoints with YouTube links to relevant clips, through group discussions that occasionally ended up resulting in a presentation task, and via an assortment of small creative tasks. These small creative challenges included experimenting with video techniques such as specific cuts, camera angles and the 180 degree rule. I enjoyed how with each task that we was set, we could see ourselves becoming more comfortable with the software such as Premiere Pro, as well as around each other after showcasing our mini productions.
For my major project I produced a piece based on the 180-degree rule idea. The idea of this project was to present two people walking towards each other through alternating clips, demonstrating that they were both on a journey. My group consisted of three members and the final production was a three-minute black and white piece accompanied by piano music to assist in the curation of a mellow atmosphere.
Introduction to Radio and Audio Production
Radio and Audio Production was my favourite class from semester one. I loved the broadness of the tasks, enabling my mind to go crazy with all sorts of ideas, and having the chance to experiment with splicing sounds together was really intriguing.
The first task that I got to do was something called a soundwalk. The class walked around Cambridge together with recorders, capturing mundane sounds from the city, which we were then asked to create an interesting audio piece with. After doing this task many people, including myself, were left feeling incredibly aware of every sound occurring around them. It can be easy to not even hear everyday sounds as we are so used to them but, after taking the time to purposefully record and layer them together, you really do see them shine.
This class included many other great tasks such as the production of a five-minute group radio documentary on a topic of our choice (my group produced an interview with people about mental health) as well as the task to create a Foley piece. We were asked to pick from a selection of three silent videos and then to go off and record suitable sound effects to insert over the actions (eg walking, nature and speech) and potential sounds that we could see taking place.
For my final individual production I chose to expand on the soundwalk task from earlier. I approached my production in an entirely different way and decided to make use of the fact that Black Friday was nearby by making it the subject of my project. I recorded mundane sounds from my morning prior to going to the Grand Arcade shopping centre, such as flicking light switches and clicking pens, which I then juxtaposed against the loud in-your-face nature of advertisement sounds, excited chatter and music lyrics encouraging people to consume. I really enjoyed creating it, hence why I am here in second year taking the Radio Production class again.
I hope that these personal reviews of first-year Media Studies modules have been useful and/or interesting. Look out for part two of semester one (hopefully) coming soon!