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by Becky Larson:
At peace on the river
“I knew I could make it great because I’m passionate about it.”
Senior Kelsie Frommel shared this thought while discussing her Fall semester Web Publishing final project, in which she used a GoPro camera and a drone to capture dramatic footage of the San Marcos river.
TX State lecturer Dale Blasingame’s class culminates, each semester, in a final project meant to be “a marriage of classic storytelling and digital tools.”
Students are expected to report on an issue or story of their choosing and build a website and incorporate multimedia components that present their work.
Frommel said her decision to highlight San Marcos’ river, and the conservation efforts around it, came from her deep love for the watercourse.
“I chose the river because I love being out there. I feel most at peace when I’m [there]. And, I really liked the different aspects I was able to capture.”
Bring in the drones
While for many, when tasked with taking a video the first choice of apparatus often comes in the form of a smartphone – Frommel said she immediately thought of a GoPro camera.
“I always had the GoPro out at the river and was always taking different videos,” she said, adding that her experience with the camera was part of her inspiration for her video-based project.
Taking a step further, Frommel asked a friend if she could borrow his DJI Phantom drone for aerial footage, after checking with her professor.
“I first wanted to confirm it would be all right with Dale. I wanted to make sure he would believe it was my video!”
One can understand her concern when they see her final product. The video pans across broad expanses of the river with incredibly smooth action and a crisp picture quality not always possible in student work.
The four-propeller drone weighs less than three pounds and is controlled through an app on the user’s phone. Frommel said the operation was simple and that the hardest part was keeping a steady hand.
While the senior said the Web Publishing class introduced her to digital tools she found challenging, she added that, “it really helped me find my path – I need to be creative.”
Protecting the future
In her piece Frommel highlights some of the native flora and fauna endangered by river pollution, such as the Texas salamander and Texas wild rice, a rare species of grass.
She ends her video entreating students and San Marcos residents to safeguard the river for the future.
“To protect the river and provide future generations with the opportunity to visit this beautiful place, do your part to keep the San Marcos river clean and beautiful.”