Taking JRN 320 has definitely been a learning experience for me. It was very different from the other two camera-focused classes at Stony brook — JRN 211 and JRN 310. Here’s some advice for all of those who are planning to take this course.
Start thinking of ideas now:
Yes, now! You don’t have to wait until you’ve started taking the course to start thinking of ideas. This actually helped me for one of the major assignments we had due because I’d been thinking of ideas for this course since this past summer. It really is never too early. The earlier you have an idea, the earlier you can work out the kinks, the earlier you can contact a source — or the earlier you can scrap it and move on to the next one.
Don’t wait until you have to shoot a big assignment to use the cameras for the first time. Take out the camera early on in the semester (they’re less in demand at this time, which is good). Things will go wrong while you’re out shooting, so practicing just helps to prepare you for those moments.
Fill out the equipment check-out form early:
This is especially important if you don’t have a camera of your own. You never want to have to cancel an interview or not turn in an assignment because you didn’t fill out the form! Fill it out correctly, and please, don’t fill it out during class…
Test out the equipment BEFORE you leave the equipment check-out room:
The cameras used in 320 don’t have headphone jacks to hear your audio while recording. Test all your mics before you go. Check the camera’s battery. Is there an SD card in there? These aren’t things you want malfunctioning, ESPECIALLY YOUR MICS, while you’re out on a shoot.
Spend a little money, it’s worth it:
Getting your own spare batteries, lavalier mic and SD cards can go a long way. Just trust me.