Dienstag, 7. April 2009


Spring is here!!!

It is now official! Spring has reached Seattle since this weekend. Time to get the warm coats out - people will start turning on the airconditioning everywhere and it will rain extensively!

But for now, we are enjoying the fast that the SUN is out!

One of the greatest places to be right now in Seattle is right on the campus of the University of Washington. "The Quad" is an area surrounded by school buildings with nice patches of green and this time of year, blessed with the cherry blossoms!

Since the cherries bloom for only about two weeks, everyone and their grandmother tries to take advantage of it. The Quad becomes the Beach!

Students come to sit and read, to play frisbee with their friends, hang out, chat, burn their white bodies in the sun.

Some really do try to get the beach feeling going. Even if they have to climb trees for that.

Which is not that uncommon of an activity. Kamil enjoys a good read in a tree.

Although Hermina is a little more grounded...

Kamil and I oculd convince her to get up the trunk and so we took a couple of pictures in the bloom.

We hadn't had a chance to hang out like this in at least two months and climbing the cherry trees together was an awesome activity to get us back together and in tune!

Digital Journalism - A course on the pulse of news!

Leaving the trodden path

Yes, I'm here in the US as a grad student. Yes, I'm supposed to take grad courses. No, the grad courses offered this quarter were not inviting. Yes, I'm taking undergrad stuff! No, I don't give a damn about what Fulbright might have to say about this.

This quarter (my last here in Seattle) I have decided to doff all the thoughts about requirements, credits and expectations professors, sponsors, family and all the other people who might want to have a say in my life might have.

I am taking three undergraduate courses in totally new fields this quarter. Well, not quite. They really all aren't that new - only rediscovered.

Two of the courses are closely related and tie in with my previous studies of mainly immigration to the US.
  • "Forced Migration" will give me an overview of the theme itself rather than the sample of migration-related minority issues. If I am lucky, I might even get credit for this at home. For my analysis of a refugee interview - conducted by myself
  • "US-Mexican Border in Literature and Film", a 300-level course is one of these samples that I have wanted to get a piece of. It ties the migration issue with my interest in film.
  • "Digital Journalism" is probably the most exciting of them so far (although they are all cool!). Take a peek of what it is like:

Journalism Reloaded

Traditional models of journalism as in newspapers are in distress (to read more about this, see here)
This class (tought in a horribly dark classroom that doesn't make for good spontaneous pictures) is designed to bring journalist students into the digital age.

Some of my fellow students thinking about the future of Journalism

Since I have so far had experience mostly with traditional journalism, it is quite exciting for me. Over the course of the quarter, we will learn how to use facebook, twitter, podcasts, photo slideshows, digital video etc. etc. for journalistic purposes and will produce content in these media ourself!

On Monday, Kathy Gill introduced us to Twitter

Kathy's shirt says: "I'm tweeting this" Kathy's face says: "I'm lovin' it"

As a twitter addict, she knows the site like her own pocket and this is how she explains twitter: Twitter is a messaging system over the internet. Like text messaging (SMS), people can write short messages (140 signs) to other users over the internet or the phone. The difference is that Twitter is not limited to phones. It amplifies the message sent out (like Kathy visualizes below).

amplify your message: "Shout. Shout, let it all out" - but with the right manners!

Twitter is a useful tool for Journalists and businesses. It is a way to get business information out to a mass of people and it is great to get information and have your finger on the "pulse" of what is happening.

I have spent two days on Twitter now and I think I am already hooked. The world of web 2.0 and Journalism 2.0 is fascinating. I'm curious what else it has in store for me.

Part of the course is our own Journalism Blog. Check out both the course blog and MY BLOG for the course

Sonntag, 5. April 2009

Face to Face With a 35mm

Shooting in Spokane

On Thursday I got the chance to visit North by Northwest Film Productions and witness a commercial film shooting in Spokane, Eastern Washington. When amateurs meet big shots:

The commercial was shot on 35mm in high speed on an Arriflex. Although film is more expensive, it is also higher qualilty than HD. We shot on three different locations. A clockshop, a doctor's office and a yoga studio. I ruled the set within minutes. Of course I was the big shot and so I took it upon myself to help the guys with their shoot. ;-)

After I had told the (wannabe) director Dan to set up the camera, Thomas and Dug followed my instructions on lighting the scenes. I was watching each of their steps closely so everything would be in order and the clients would be pleased with the result. It took forever for them to get it right, but eventually I had managed to set the scene.
After dealing with the actors and getting them in position, Dan made another check on the light and we were almost ready.

I gave some last-minute instructions to cameraman Thomas so he wouldn't mess up the shot. Good thing the camera could do most of the work by itself. He soon improved after a few instructions, however.

When we were finally set I gave the Production Assistant a little boost of confidence and let her use the flap.

then it was "camera, action!" and the film roll started rolling rolling rolling. When I left the guys and their set, I felt great. I knew I had greatly improved their skills and understanding of what needs to be happening at a set! Well... or maybe the other way around :-)