Creating a PSA

Reading & Writing:

Now that I have completed Tom Schroeppel’s book, The Bare Bones Camera Course for Film and Video and I have reached the end of this course, I realized just how much I have learned. I have recently graduated with a degree in Graphic and Interactive Design, and have mostly learned how to create captivating visuals with images or by creating my own graphics but nothing compared to this. I was worried at first that I would have a hard time enhancing my design skills, but after taking this Audio and Video Design class I can certainly say that I have been able to approve and learn more than I thought in this class.

For the most part I knew the basics of shooting a video or audio piece and what you should and shouldn’t do while creating one. However, there are so many useful tips and tricks that I never would have thought about before and now I can even apply it in my own pieces later on after grad school in the future.

While I learned when and how to use the right camera, microphone, and light and even how to edit a video and audio piece that is interesting in the end, I found that learning more about continuity in video design to be extremely helpful and surprising because I never really thought about it until now. I knew the basics of what it was and even noticed some continuity errors in shows and movies that I have seen before, but I was able to expand on it and learn more about the rules to keep the continuity in the piece. The rule to not cross the 180 line was definitely the most useful, surprising, and helpful rule that I learned. Before when I watched a show or movie, I really only focused on what the characters were saying and now I really notice all the tricks on how the director and editor will cut away to something else in the shot so that they are able to cross that line to make it more interesting and not confusing. At times I even find myself looking for any continuity errors that I missed the first time.

For sure it was difficult at times to complete an audio or a video piece. But it wasn’t just because I did it during a pandemic which brings on more distractions and new ones and less resources to use, but the most difficult part was that I couldn’t work with others as a group. I was having to rely on myself a lot more to figure out how to do a lot since I am more used to sitting in front of a laptop, opening up Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, or After Effects, and creating a still visual or an entire video in one software. However, in this class I had to actually go out to different locations and shoot multiple different shots in order to get everything to make the video in the first place. It was also difficult because I hadn’t done any kind of filming like I have done in this class before, instead it was mostly just taking pictures and videos (not the greatest videos) of anything I found to be interesting no matter how it was set up and I never followed any rules that most photographers and videographers/ filmmakers do. So it was definitely a learning curve for me for sure, but it was fun and interesting to see what I can come up with without having to rely a lot on others.

I created a lot of pieces during this class, but I enjoyed doing the podcast the most. While I hated listening to my own voice over and over, it was interesting to see how to get people interested in what I’m saying without any visuals since I am a very visual person and anything I do has to have some type of visual component. I was also able to talk about something I am passionate about which allowed me to feel more relaxed and to just have fun with it. I haven’t listened to any podcasts before this, but now that I have learned more about it and have done one, I appreciate them a lot more and now I’m listening to 2 or 3 podcast episodes a day and now listening to 4 podcasts.

In the future, I want to learn more about podcasts but also about editing in the Adobe programs. I have been using a lot of the programs since my sophomore year of high school, but I haven’t been able to learn and use the majority of the programs because of how big and advanced they are. I feel like once I’m able to learn this then my final visuals whether they are still visuals, videos, or audio pieces then they will be better than ever before because I am able to know how to do more and even stand out more with my work. Overall, I have learned so much about audio and video design but I have also learned a lot about myself that I can’t wait to see what new and exciting things I can come up with and what opportunities are out there for me in the future.

Research to Inform:

ASPCA Commercial

This PSA is one that’s extremely well known to everyone. The visuals that is shown throughout this PSA is very effective in telling the story that there are tons (more than we care to admit) of abused animals that are in need of rescuing and a better home. While the visuals alone are very powerful in getting the point across, the song that is used throughout the PSA, “Angel” by Sara Mclachlan, elevates the video as whole and makes it even more powerful and emotional. Now no matter who you are you automatically associate this song with the commercial which makes it very effective. I even heard this song as part of a routine on So You Think You Can Dance and immediately thought of the ASPCA PSAs.

Distracted Driving

We see a lot of commercials and PSAs about how dangerous distracted driving can be. The distraction can involve texting, eating, drinking, or no matter what the distraction is. For the most part they are very similar to each other, except for this one. It included a car filled with friends and the driver beginning a text and swerving into the other lane. However, it included a section where the drivers got out of their cars to talk. The mother begged the girl to not text and drive and to get back in her lane because she has her children in the car and doesn’t want anything bad to them. While on the other hand the distracted driver is trying to explain why she is distracted while apologizing. This is a very effecting PSA to show just how dangerous it can be and how if you are the one distracted, you don’t know whose life or lives you will be destroying in the process. The music also adds to the story this PSA is trying to tell. You can hear the song the friends are listening to and then when the cars stop and the drivers are talking the music suddenly stops and it all becomes incredibly serious. Even the last few seconds we see the drivers looking at the passengers worried that they may not see them ever again and then the actual crash with the sound of the impact heightened. This shows the audience just how serious distracted driving is. Doing it this way, makes it more memorable because it’s so different than all the others, which makes drivers think twice about texting and driving.

Sandy Hook: Back to School

This PSA starts out all cute and happy, but then as soon as the kid starts talking about how great the headphones are for studying it turns into everyone’s worst nightmare, a school shooting begins. Then as the PSA continues the students go on talking about how great the back to school items and clothes are but are no longer happy and instead scared for their lives and preparing for the worst. The students are ultimately trying to get people to wake up and start looking for the warning signs and be aware that a school shooting could happen much sooner than they have been, since it’s been happening way more than it should.

Sandy Hook’s version of a school shooting PSA is different than any of the others and yet it’s more memorable and powerful. We hear the students talking, but after the kid with the headphones talks no one really focuses on what they are saying and instead are focusing on everything else happening in each shot. While we hear serious music that helps the audience to feel what they feel during this situation, we can also hear the screaming from other students and even gun shots but never actually see the shooter. This helps to focus and understand how the students feel when a school shooting happens from their perspective. Also, parents believe the back to school supplies that they buy and send their kids off to school with are being used properly, but in this PSA the students are showing how they can ultimately be used for something that could have been prevented in the first place.

This PSA is so effective in that it doesn’t give the shooter the satisfaction of being the main focus of the piece, but instead it focuses on the students and what they do and how they help one another during this kind of situation. They do this hoping that people start paying more attention to any warning signs so this never has to happen in the first place.


So many people nowadays are so involved and glued to their phones, computers, and video games, that we are not fully present when we are with our family and friends. The amount of activities that can be done with others without all the technology and distractions are endless. Below is a PSA showing just how much fun and excitement we can be missing out on if we are constantly distracted by all the technology in the world.

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