My Time @ WNET

During my first day at WNET it was also the first day of a new employee, and the last day of employee that had been with the company for five years. During his goodbye I was able to meet most of the people that would be around me for my stay, and I was no longer a stranger. The rest of my first day was spent getting a feel for the WNET learning media website, which I would be working on for most of my time there. In a nutshell the learning media website is a collection of educational content from WNET and all PBS stations nationwide.

Later on in the week after getting to know the learning media website I was introduced to the project that would become most of my time at WNET, which was the learning media website maker’s collection. Like many educational website’s the learning media website was categorized by subject and grade level. The learning media website also included collection’s, ranging from specific subject area, to different cultures, water solutions etc. The maker’s collection that I was forming had only two main criteria which was that all of the content that I could use would be already existing in the learning media website, and that I seperate it within approximately 6 categorize. Halfway through my apprenticeship I was also told that I would also have the opportunity to design the page banner that would accompany my collection. The criteria for this was simple; create three versions of what the banner should look like, use only official NASA images (because of right’s issue’s) and follow the learning media collection banner format 1170 by 150, the rest was up to myself.

After I was tasked with creating the collection I immediately started searching the learning media website for videos using keywords such as make, how to, and design. I quickly realized that progress would be slow. after about five hours of browsing through videos on my second day I had only acquired about eight videos that fit my image for the collection at the time. It was while watching at a video about a national university competition where teams were tasked with modifying a car that would autonomously drive 120 miles that I came to the realization my definition of make was to narrow. After watching that video I realized it was one of the most exciting, and informative videos of the day yet it didn’t fell to me as if it belonged in my collection. I had been focusing too much on how-to videos and I was acting as if how-to and make were the same category. I decided that for my collection video’s would be structured three ways. Videos would focus on problem, technology or process behind creating something, this would later became part of my description for the collection.

I was about halfway through my collection when I started working on three different proposed versions for the collection’s banner. I was limited to using GIMP a photo manipulation program that was preinstalled on my cubicle’s PC, a program that I had never used before. Being tasked with creating something on an unfamiliar platform is hard to explain other than confusion, and anger at the speed in which I was passing through the learning curve. After finally getting use to the program I learned how much of a handicap it is to be limited to only legally sourced copyright and royalty free NASA images. I decided Using only Nasa images would get me one good banner. For the other two I had to become more creative, I created many images from scratch using Google’s drawing program, downloading them and later transferring them to GIMP( An effective way I found of cheating the learning curve). I was very pleased with my final products.

Apart from working on creating the maker’s collection the other fifteen percent of my time at WNET was spent getting to spend time observing what people in different roles throughout the company work on. During my first week I got the chance to observe Anna a editor for American Graduate Day (AmGrad for locals). In a nutshell American Graduate day is an 8 hour telethon style event aimed at raising awareness of how many students nationwide drop out of High School and do not graduate. As part of that eight hour programing there is a local time slot in which local PBS stations get to insert segments about the different high school programs available in our area. Anna’s role requires her to take the raw camera footage that was shot for those segment’s and edit them down not only to the required time but also so that they still focus and portray the intended message. Which in this case is the goal of the program or organization the segment is about. Anna edit’s the segments using Final Cut Pro, and during the time I shadowed her I got the chance to learn most of the key control’s and how it’s used within a corporate style network setting. I also got the chance to talk to Jermaine an associate director who is in charge of editing technical support and managing footage in company servers. Talking to him I was able to learn a lot of his history, where he went to college and some of the skills necessary to work in the TV industry.

On my last day at WNET I got the chance to observe Winter and Heather who make up WNET’s archive’s department. Part of their job of course is to store footage of show’s after it’s been shot, edited, aired and is no longer immediately needed. But as I learned from talking to them there are many other miscellaneous task that are part of the two person archive department. One of those tasks include transferring old and aging paperwork that corresponds with old footage from the outdated Microfiche format. Also when producer’s require footage of old show’s it’s up to the archive department to find not only the footage but also to find the people in the footage that is being used again for royalty purposes. On my last day at WNET I was also able to present my completed makers collection to Sandy the Director of Vital ( the local name for the learning media website ). I felt that she was satisfied with the work that I had done with the collection itself, categorizing it and the three iterations of the banners.

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