Skip to content ↓

COVID-19

Learn more about how MIT Admissions is responding to COVID-19 in this blog post from our Dean and new dedicated FAQs.

MIT student blogger Abby H. '20

Is it a video? by Abby H. '20

two assignments from two classes

Before I got to MIT, I had never really made anything.

I saw something on the admissions website about a Maker Portfolio and got nervous because I had nothing to put in one of those and thought that maybe they only admit the people who submit one because those are the people who have been actively building up a portfolio of technically creative stuff they’ve made meanwhile I‘ve kept all my abstractly creative ideas in my brain because I’ve had no opportunity refused to create the opportunity to manifest them in the physical world because putting yourself out there is scary and a lot to ask of a teen whose brain is not yet fully developed and won’t be for a while.

I did not submit any kind of portfolio, but I got in.

Fast forward to now, and putting yourself out there is still scary, but with the help of assignments and deadlines,01 the most effective way to motivate me I’ve been able to Make things. Here are two examples of things I’ve made.


CMS.335 Short Attention Span Documentary: Profile02 look at how the f and i in that word merge this is a cool font

CMS.335 is about the basics of principles of documentary, particularly the production of short03 the final project had a maximum length of seven minutes video content. We went over some of the classic composition and editing rules, but most of the focus was on creating your own work and critiquing others’ work. This class is always over-enrolled on the first day. I imagine this popularity corresponds with the rise of short documentary content04 e.g. AJ+, NowThis, etc. on social media platforms. It could also correspond with the rise of people finding out that CMS is a really cool05 the coolest bloggers are CMS-affiliated subject area and the classes are just better than those in other subjects, but that might be just a little bit subjective.

The first assignment was to profile a person or a place in about two minutes. The instructor was considering removing the option to choose a place because people were reluctant to choose a place in the past, but luckily it was still an option in Fall 2017. I say luckily because I don’t know that many people, and I spent a lot of my time that semester in one place: working desk at MacGregor. (If you look closely at the video, Alex is in there somewhere.) Three birds, one stone: 1.) blogging about 2.) doing an assignment while 3.) working desk. My quality of work declined after this first assignment, partially because I had to involve human06 implying that the desk workers are not human subjects07 with their schedules and conflicts and consent-to-appear-in-the-video waivers... but mostly because that semester ended up being really busy for me. Nisha was my profile-ee in the final project, but that project file was corrupted and may now be gone forever.08 and tbh that project turned out kinda bad bc I had too much content, not enough space and/or time and/or spacetime


4.354 Introduction to Video and Related Media: Architecture of Vision

4.354 is about exploring visual space09 and to some degree sonic space, we just haven't gotten to that yet through the medium of video. I think these foundational ideas of space, composition, and design are why the class is listed under Course 4.10 architecture, art, design We’ve (Sabrina is also in this class) watched some classic cinema, delved into the theory behind it, and put together a few group projects shot on Super 8 film stock.

Most of the assignments have been about collecting footage, but this assignment11 which I turned in about 25 hours ago was about starting with all the footage our groups have taken in the past assignments and weaving together a short experimental film using Pudovkin’s and Eisenstein’s principles of editing. Filming on Super 8 is a slightly difficult12 we are truly spoiled by automatic exposure/focus and the instant gratification of being able to just delete footage and digital displays that let you know you're hitting the rule of thirds just right but nonetheless rewarding process; it’s one of those things that you won’t really “get” until you try it out.13 or unless you are much larger-brained than I am Here I am, amazed that objects do in fact reflect light, and that that light can be physically/chemically captured/converted into images. Our brains can do this too, I guess, but I can’t14 shouldn't handle my retinas with my hands.


These have been some of my favorite classes so far, in large part due to the critical process. Your classmates get to watch your work and say what they love or hate about it. Rarely in life do you get that kind of live feedback. Additionally, your viewers can come up with much more interesting interpretations of your work than you could have ever imagined, which feels nice for some reason.

My plug for video-making classes can be summed up as this: They’re HASS Classes But You Don’t Have To Write All Those Damn Papers. Take a video class.

  1. the most effective way to motivate me back to text
  2. look at how the f and i in that word merge this is a cool font back to text
  3. the final project had a maximum length of seven minutes back to text
  4. e.g. AJ+, NowThis, etc. back to text
  5. the coolest bloggers are CMS-affiliated back to text
  6. implying that the desk workers are not human back to text
  7. with their schedules and conflicts and consent-to-appear-in-the-video waivers... back to text
  8. and tbh that project turned out kinda bad bc I had too much content, not enough space and/or time and/or spacetime back to text
  9. and to some degree sonic space, we just haven't gotten to that yet back to text
  10. architecture, art, design back to text
  11. which I turned in about 25 hours ago back to text
  12. we are truly spoiled by automatic exposure/focus and the instant gratification of being able to just delete footage and digital displays that let you know you're hitting the rule of thirds just right back to text
  13. or unless you are much larger-brained than I am back to text
  14. shouldn't back to text