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Karin asked me if I could be her model to take photos of the new compost bins in the CoHo. I thought it was just going up for the new sustainability website Russ is designing but Sam pointed out it was on the homepage when we were working today!
Behind the scenes (Thanks Russ for taking the photos!):
It was fun being on the other side of the lens and there was much less pressure when I found out they’ll probably just use the hand shots. We took some shots of me dropping it too. Hard work!
Carpe Davis is the theme of this year’s Picnic Day. For our internship at University Communications, my friend Samantha and I were assigned to cover UC Davis’ annual open house for the UC Davis homepage along with the other interns. This was a wonderful opportunity because annually thousands of visitors will be visiting the site to learn more about planning their day.
We met Nicole and Chris to decide what topics to be covered. It was cool meeting the other students that also work at UComm. Nicole would cover how alot of the events would be moved to Vanderhoef Quad where alot of our new buildings are and Chris would do music.
Sam had the idea of going around and interviewing students about their favorite parts of Picnic Day in the style of what she worked on for last years graduating classes. I also wanted to interview as many of the Board of Directors as possible especially since they are students as this is the largest student run event in the nation. I have always wanted to create an interactive Google Map ever since I saw how easy it is but never found a topic that would be fun and also that other people besides myself would find useful. Picnic Day would be a perfect topic and I envisioned using the videos of students we filmed and including that in the map so when you click on a point that is about the Chemistry Magic show there would be a student raving about it, a photo and the schedule included all in one place. I knew that it would not be possible unless we had the final schedule of events.
So we stuck with Plan A since our deadline was Thursday April 8th and fast approaching. We spent morning and afternoon filming for three days and lucky us it was beautiful sunny weather. We shot the Board of Directors at the arboretum and approached students around the quad and outside the MU to see if they would like to give their opinion. It was a lot of fun and we got comfortable with talking to people we had just met. We were so grateful that Monica, Megan and Missy took the time from their busy planning schedule to help us out!
Filming Chair Monica Lindholm talking about the bus shuttles and the parade.
Best partner ever – Sam!
Finally, the night before our deadline we received the schedule of events via email – exclusive press access before the final version was designed and released to the public. I was editing the clips that we filmed from the first two days filming because I wanted that done first if a map was not possible which I finished close to midnight, went home and stayed up until 5AM creating the first draft of the map. I wanted it to be as complete as possible before pitching the idea to Susanne our web editor we work with to show that it could be done pretty quickly and see if the deadline could be pushed a bit more.
The next morning…or well a few hours later, I showed Sam what I created and then asked Susanne if she’d come take a look and to my delight she loved it and commended me for my initiative. In fact the whole department was excited about it. Laurie, the design manager, gave me a hug and told me that this was the most useful thing created for Picnic day ever. I was so elated that we got the green light to continue. By the afternoon, Russ, one of the graphic designers, had already created the first image that would go up for the Spotlight on the homepage using a screenshot of the map. I remember it said something about Google-ize your Picnic Day, I giggled because it reminded me of googly eyes. We finished up filming Megan & Missy that day and I helped choose pictures from the archives that should be uploaded to Flickr to use to embed into the map. Every day up until the end of the Monday before Picnic Day Sam and I worked on the map. A lot of it was having to redo work because sometimes the Youtube videos would disappear when switching to Rich Text mode from HTML mode such as adding a photo after a video. We learned how to work the system like remembering to add the photos before adding videos and lots of little details like that. Renaming videos and having to re-embed them after the edited descriptions was also doubling and sometimes tripling our work.
I was in class when Sam texted me that it was up Wednesday morning and I flipped out. It’s very satisfying seeing your work displayed for the public to see. In the end, all our hard work payed off. It was a great collaborative effort. Since the map went live it has neared 45,000 views and we’ve received compliments from students, staff and visitors.
Spotlight of Picnic Day on the UC Davis homepage
The feature (Click photo)
The map (Click for larger version)
For the future I would love include stock footage of the event. I know AggieTV filmed almost all of Picnic Day 2009 that could be edited for an updated map which would enrich and entice people to come up especially if they’ve never been. This year our campus photographers Karin and Cheng took more shots that could also be included. This assignment was definitely an opportunity seized!