Would you watch this?

Not long ago, I began editing the Peer Assisted Study Session (PASS) mentoring video. I had footage of the first talent I interviewed, and footage that Zarese took of a second PASS mentor. But, to my mind, these limited scenes were going to be unengaging as a final product. I wanted the video to be more interesting, and I wanted the video to paint a better picture of what PASS was all about. Also, there were parts of the interview where the talent’s face would falter, or their eyes would dart to the side where someone else was sitting behind the camera. This is not ideal, as the credibility of the talent’s words might be lost in what might appear to be momentary ‘uncertainty’.

Sophie filling out Talent Release forms before filming a Peer Assisted Study Session (PASS) in UQ’s Chemistry Building (68)

I wasn’t sure if it was possible, but I asked Zarese if we could film an actual PASS session with real-life interactions. This would make the video more interesting, and I could also introduce a different scene where talents faltered. Zarese got in touch with the program organizer, and very soon we had a date locked in for filming! I’m really grateful that Zarese was so open-minded and supportive (and always is!). This particular ordeal was very exciting for me because it felt like I had made an independent decision, driven by a desire to produce the best possible video, despite uncertainty.

Zarese and I hired out the equipment from UQx, and lugged it to the Chemistry Building (68), looking for level 4. We got lost for a while as we had never been to level 4 before. But, we eventually found the pristine white corridors, thankfully without delay, and had a good laugh about getting lost. In future, I will definitely scout the location before filming.

A group of students filmed for the PASS Peer Mentoring video

As soon as students began piling into the classroom for the PASS session, I set up the camera equipment, and began pestering students to sign Talent Release forms (see picture below).

Zarese stayed for a bit, but left shortly after I began filming. I think we both (hopefully!) feel confident in my ability to film by myself now - exciting!
I spent a good hour filming snippets of the interactions I saw. The group was great. They tried to act natural, despite the camera inches away and me circling the room looking for the best angles. Towards the end, the group felt more comfortable with the camera. This was evident as they offered to change up their study method by writing on the whiteboard. The variety in footage I got was amazing! I even captured a mentor sitting on a desk explaining a concept to students. PASS talks about the informality of learning, and you can’t get any more informal than sitting on a desk!

After uploading the footage from the camera’s SD card to the computer (a long process!), I was able to properly see what I had captured. I was, and am, really happy with how the shots turned out. The lighting was beautiful, and the variety of interaction between mentors and students was more than enough to boost the PASS video’s I-would-watch-this factor.

I have begun extracting the best bits from the footage, and am now turning what I have into hopefully an interesting means of communicating what PASS mentoring entails.


Stress Less Week: I am stressed

Stress Less Week strolled in this week, and to showcase UQ’s initiatives for mental health at UQ, I filmed snippets of the Stress Less Week events lined up over a number of days. This week was very busy and hectic for me, as I had to squeeze in filming between classes, study and other responsibilities. Every spare chance I got, I went out to film.

Filming a huge event at UQ was a big deal for me and very exciting. But, I found that one of the greatest challenges I faced was asserting my confidence in what I was doing and why to others. Especially because I was receiving a lot of curious stares and smiles. In addition to this, I was setting up the equipment and filming solo. Hence, I felt anxious and hesitant to simply stroll into an event catering to hundreds of students, set up my filming gear, and hit record. It was also challenging to run after people with my Talent Release forms, asking for a signature and explaining why, especially in the buzz of large crowds. I also ran into multiple curious friends - an excellent opportunity for me to spread the word about the awesome Students as Partners implementation this year!

In the end, I got footage of students petting puppies to relieve anxiety and stress, students getting free massages and henna tattoos, food trucks serving discounted food, and an event on the Forgan Smith lawn. I had also planned to capture footage of the yoga and meditation sessions, but they were unfortunately cancelled. A few other events did not have a large turnout and thus filming was awkward and difficult. Furthermore, some events began after 5pm – the time when the ITaLI office closes and the camera equipment is due back.

Overall, this week was a big learning experience for me, and a step outside of my comfort zone.