The spring of 2015 came along faster than I could have ever anticipated. It seemed like hardly any time has passed since I first set foot on campus at 18 years old and fresh out of high school. Now I’m 22, four years have come and gone, and I am less than two weeks from graduation from Shepherd University. I suppose one thinks of this point being so far in the future when we start on this journey of higher education, it is quite surreal when it actually becomes the present. It was this final semester that I feel I may have learned the most. I set out to do my Capstone project this final semester, and found myself trying to create a project that would be a culmination of my time in the Communication department. It was time to write the last line of the final chapter of this journey that sums everything up in a way that is fitting.
I started off with a completely different idea of what my Capstone would be. I knew I wanted to do something that exemplified the audio skills I had developed throughout my time at Shepherd, but I wanted to display more than just this. I had went through the entire Digital Filmmaking program in this department, yet had only recently really dove in to working with video. I wanted to challenge myself to produce a good quality video for my Capstone, paired with good audio work through the skills I had already developed. I had decided since I was working on producing an album for my band at this time that I would make a documentary film highlighting the “Making of” the album. This was a decent plan, but as working with multiple other schedules often yields, the project was not coming to pass quickly enough to complete.
I came to the realization that I had to change course around the time of spring break. This was far later than I should have waited to make this decision, but I had gotten caught up in the many other things on my agenda at the time and really hadn’t realized how little time I had left. I decided to make the change to doing a music video during spring break. I had a song of my own that I had written about a year ago, and could record that and work out a video concept for the song. The path was set, and I had lots to do.
I was able to record the track in an afternoon. I recorded all the parts of the song, then produced and mastered the track. The song was mixed in GarageBand, using free plug-ins that either came on the program or I downloaded myself. I then exported the song to Audacity to do the final limiting of the track and bring it to a commercial volume.
The video conceptually is about a man’s journey to find the one he loves. He goes around the city searching for her, yet they keep missing each other. Finally, when he feels he has failed and given up, they are reunited. My girlfriend, Katelyn Tolliver and myself star in the video, and it is a simplistic metaphor for how our relationship started. I shot the video with a handheld camera I own, doing all the filming myself. I put the clips in to Adobe Premiere, and created the final film. This has been the most complex video project I have undertaken so far, and had to learn a lot about filming and the programs used to get to the final product.
Overall, I was quite happy with how the video turned out. There are plenty of things that could be improved as with anything, but I learned a lot from doing this project. The project did exactly what I had set out for it to do, and effectively concluded my experience in the Communication Department here at Shepherd University.