THE FIRST STEPS TO MARS
ROCKET PROJECT DOCUMENTRY
A photo of Luke and myself at the recovery site after all photography and videography planning was successfully executed.
Having just joined the SDSU Rocket Project student organization, I felt that the best investment I could make as a freshman without any rocketry or engineering experience was to spend as much time as possible meeting the active members. I wanted to fully integrate myself into the club’s social dynamic because without friendship tying me to the lab space I wouldn’t have as much drive to maintain my extracurricular education at RP.
So I tried to fit in as a predominant part of the team in the best way I could think: help the club through my previous media expertise and meet all 50+ active members that way. So I shadowed Luke Hedberg, the Outreach Director that I preceded (learn more about my position here), and together we planned, recorded, and edited a full 26-minute project documentary which we affectionately named The First Steps to Mars.
Up until this project, every video that I have ever created was a “shoot-first-edit-later” approach. With a project this big, initial planning was imperative in the success of the film. Luke and I sat down and brainstormed out ideas for the video, what shots were necessary for capturing to draw the video together, and finally listed each sequence of the film to gain a detailed, organized understanding of the shoot. I maintained a shots list comprised of over 100 items, sorted them temporally, and finally listed any and all equipment we would need.
If anyone tells you that tasks other than editing are the most time-consuming parts of an amateur video project, they are wrong! This editing task was my most complex challenge to date and included a plethora of new organizational methods to form a quality product for viewer enjoyment. Primarily, the editing procedure was to first organize, sort, and name all of the files that we had on hand, duplicate the file architecture onto Luke’s portable storage device, create a shared project for the best collaborative editing experience, and finally sequence creation to fit the file structure. After those initial tasks, the main source of time consumption came when Luke and I sat down every weekday for the next month to stylize and edit the sequences based on the rough paper plan. With the launch happening in February 2020, we wanted to complete the video by March 1st, 2020 to make the deadline for the ‘Post-launch Event’. We successfully did so.
For me, the most rewarding process for this documentary creation was watching my peers, mentors, Rocket Project donors, and SDSU faculty and engineering professors sit down to watch, in full, an amateur video creation that I oversaw and masterminded. As seen on the right, the ‘Post-launch Event’ started in the other room of the Rocket Project lab where the previously listed individuals could chat about the project and its topics. After roughly 30 minutes of build-up, the guests were asked to take their seats for our video premiere of ‘The First Steps to Mars’. I remember speaking in front of the entire room as to what the video projet meant for me, and what I hoped it meant for others. The video was extremely well received, with faculty, donors, and the Chair of the Aerospace Engineering department all congratulating my video.