Michael Gearon

Weeknotes #2 – Graduating University

Michael Gearon

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Next month, July the 9th 2015, I will be graduating with a First Class Honours in BSc Media Technology at the University of South Wales (Cardiff).

The last three years have consisted of about 30 different projects and investigations into the media industry. Topics covered were video production, audio production, web design and development, business in the media industry and plenty more interesting subjects including the investigation into the iBeacons which achieved the highest score in the three years.

The Three Year Breakdown

First Year

The first year provided a good introduction to the media industry, studying radio production and how to record and publish for broadcast as well as business skills on how to advertise a radio show to a potential radio station. Computer Graphics investigated why we use JPEG’s or PNG’s and what are the differences between different file formats, we then designed print based material and interactive Flash based content using the findings from the research. Internet Technologies introduced HTML5, CSS3 and designing graphics for the web (compression and optimisation) and also looking at Visual Basic and how we can develop interactive applications with logic.

Video production was another module which was an introduction to using on location cameras such as the Cannon 600D and the Sony NX30 as well as boom microphones then using recorded footage how to import, edit and then publish in the correct format taking into consideration where it was being published too. With all this software being used and professional kit it is important to understand the inner workings, this leads to Technology Concepts for Media, this module provided a good level of knowledge into fixing equipment in a safe and controlled manner.

Second Year

With the first year under the belt, which provided a strong introduction to the media industry the second year concentrated on expanding on these skills and learning advanced subjects such as 3DS Max. A theory based module was Professional Practice, although a dry subject the module gave a strong guidance on how to present yourself in the industry with expert tips and tricks. The assessments consisted of an online portfolio, and research into companies and the job role.

This is where it gets interesting, Virtual Environments and Computer Graphics 2 used a combination of 3DS Max, Adobe After Effects, Photoshop, Illustrator and Indesign to design both print and interactive materials for a range of purposes. Projects in these two modules were CD design covers, 3D and 2D opening credits, research into 3DS Max and 3D software and much more. Internet Technologies was an expansion to the first year, instead of the front end coding languages it also involved the back end languages such as MYSQL and PHP to develop web applications, one project involved a login system, where a user can create new entries and post them as well as delete them. The final module for the second year at the University of South Wales was a 2 month work experience placement, luckily a great company in Cardiff Bay, CELF Creative, kindly gave me a placement and working with Kael Matthews and the graphic design team it was my role to develop websites using WordPress (a CMS platform).

Third Year

The final year was wrapping it up, the icing on the cake, using the last two years as well as college education this year was about being independent. One of the major modules was Independent Study, a classic module in University, the topic was around iBeacons and User Experience (UX). This will be a separate post which I will write soon, but to sum it up the investigation lasted a year, and the end result was a fully working IOS application that worked with Estimote beacons as well as a five thousand word research document into the subject. As mentioned before this module was the highest mark in the last three years was a great achievement.

The next major module was the Group Project (which is similar to the Dissertation) this module involved working with a great group of people to develop something in one year which could become a business, and to formulate a three year business plan. Our group setup an organisation called A Little Chance and we ran an event in the easter of 2015 in The Little Man which was successful.

Two theory modules were Business, Copyrights and Contracts which investigated the key issues in the media industry and how to avoid them, as well as presenting a business plan to an audience and to be subject to questions and answers. The second theory based module was Reflective Professional Practice, which after meeting Ollie Wells from Sequence investigated the web industry and how to obtain a job in the industry.

The final module was to create a brand identity from scratch, this involved research into the area, design the branding and logo and then to develop a website. After creating the initial identity we then had to produce a radio advert and a video advert which reflected the branding.

Final Words

So the gowns have been ordered (or sometimes named the Harry Potter costume), and the marks have been confirmed. The last three years have given me plenty of guidance on a range of subjects and plenty of inspiration. The future is now ahead and I am more than ready to start. I would like to also thank everyone who has helped me over the last three years professionally and personally and I have made some great friends and connections.

Michael Gearon

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Michael Gearon

Senior Interaction Designer and Co-Author to Tiny CSS Projects