Friday, July 28, 2017

DIAL Lab Internship

Hi, I'm Sofia and I'm a rising sophomore interning this summer with BURECS. I spend my days working in the DIAL Lab--the room connected to the BUARG Lab that's filled with cameras, tripods, computer monitors, and other tech-y stuff. As a journalism major with an interest in films and documentaries, science has never really been up my alley and I opted for an internship that would allow me to communicate scientific findings rather than do the science research myself. The DIAL Lab provided me with that exact opportunity.

As an intern in the DIAL lab, I get to do cool things with the stunning photographs and video footage that have been taken during trips to Antarctica over the years. I help to edit and create media that promotes the program to prospective students, and helps the general public understand what exactly it is we do here.

My first major task involved creating another slide for the ginormous slide show that's in the Earth and Environmental Dept.'s hallway. You've probably seen it--those three huge TV screens that are constantly cycling through gorgeous photographs paired with text about how much energy we're wasting, how much ice is melting, etc. etc.? Yeah, those. It was so exciting to know that the footage I was working on would be showcased to the thousands of BU students that would walk through that hallway. However, the task was difficult and came with a lot of guidance and self-teaching. Though I'm pretty comfortable using Adobe Photoshop, this task required me to pick up a whole new program: Adobe AfterEffects. Thankfully, in today's digital era, online tutorials are plentiful and it only took a bit of Googling and YouTubing to learn the skills necessary to do what had to be done.

Overall, the process took about a week and a half. I was working with a photograph, and it was so cool to see the image literally come to life: icebergs began to floating through water that looked like it was glistening in the light, and plumes of smoke swirled in the background. Check out what the end product looks like!

This picture really doesn't do it much justice though, so if you're ever walking down the east side of CAS through the EE dept's hallway, take a moment to stop and look at all the little details!

Aside from that footage, I did a few tasks for helping future BURECS generations understand the mechanics of using and updating our website and blogs. I edited a video tutorial detailing necessary steps via Adobe PremierePro, and conveyed the same information in a beautifully designed (in my humble opinion) pamphlet created on Adobe Photoshop. If you're a future BURECS student learning how to operate Blogger and the BURECS website or calendar and you're being assisted by a video or pamphlet, those were made by yours truly.


Finally, a huuuuuuge portion of my time was dedicated to making time lapses of videos recorded in Antartica. This process was extremely lengthy because several steps required rendering or exporting afterward--so I'd edit a little bit, wait for it to export, edit a little bit more, wait for it to render, then edit the last little bit and wait for the final thing to form! Eventually, it felt like I had a "conveyor-belt" system going on: while one batch of pictures was exporting, I'd be editing another batch; and while that batch started rendering, I'd be prepping the next-time lapse to get ready to be exported! Time efficiency at its finest.

All the Antarctica footage I had to sort through! And this was only one folder.

However, there were still moments where tasks overlapped and I'd end up waiting for two time lapses at the same time. Luckily, the DIAL lab had a few other great interns, Ricardo and Julia (who were BURECS interns last year as well) and our mentor, Keith, who all kept things fun. Aside from our biweekly runs to Insomnia Cookies for ice cream, we'd listen to Keith's stories about his side projects working with Nick Cannon on a documentary about Adderall or his brief encounter with world-renowned chef Anthony Bourdain at a shoot. Ricardo and I would grab lunch together and he'd tell me about his adventure traveling to Ecuador with Keith to study monkeys.

... and Adobe Lightroom!

If you want to see some of the time lapses I've been working on, I posted a snippet on the BURECS's Instagram here.

Time lapse essentials! LRTimelapse...
Overall, my time in the DIAL lab has been rewarding but also entertaining. I've honed my skills in using some programs like Premiere or Photoshop, but can now say I'm familiar in AfterEffects and LRTimelapse as well. I've seen the inner-workings behind how to take scientific research and effectively communicate it, hopefully to inspire and educate other people about all of the beauty and information Antarctica holds. Though I only have one more week interning in the DIAL lab, I know that the skills I've gained will stay with me regardless of what career path I pursue and my appreciation for Antarctica's landscape and scenery will last for the rest of my life.


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  2. This post is great, thank you for sharing. climate change