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December 05 2010


The battle is complete…

The bboyz battle, that is.

About four years ago some of my broadcasting boys asked to use my classroom during lunch to practice dancing. That’s when I discovered the bboyz culture. Highly energized contortionists who threw themselve into dance with wild abandon. Turns out I love the music and the movement.

After my husbands near termination by accident, his first real smiles and laughter came at a bboyz battle at my high school. He too was captured by their love of life and energy.

So it’s no surprise that even though I’ve retired, I still keep an eye on the club and jumped at the opportunity to haul them to south Stockton on a field trip to battle another high school.

Tech stuff: used my HV20, handheld. Shot maybe twenty-five minutes of tape. Interviews done with a Radio Shack lav mike. It shorted out on two of my interviews…so, goodbye to that mike. I was able to pull off the edit over two days…with another day to upload.

This is true storytelling on the run. I went in with an idea of what I was going to see and a few ideas about how I’d shoot it. I knew (for my own safety) I couldn’t get too close and it was safer to stay wide. And I also knew that the audience would be just as jazzed as the dancers…so for a few minutes I would have to turn my back on the main event to capture the reactions. Summarized:

1. When in doubt, stay wide
2. Move in closer as you get to know the event
3. Get reaction in addition to action
4. Always keep your own safety in mind
5. Think about how you are going to edit…to tell the story

Regarding point number five, once I got the rhythm of the event…the dancers and hooting and hollering by the audience, I considered who to interview for the thread that would bind the story together. They included:

McNair club advisor – her view of the battle
Edison club advisor – ditto/unfortunately this was one of the interviews with problems and no time to go back and redo
A school administrator – official sanction of teen activities
McNair alumni – long time bboy and dancer who could give an overview of the battle

So check it out (above) and enjoy. And see what sparks the energy of young people in your area. Might surprise you.

December 03 2010


Editing is akin to weaving…

…especially when you use something like Final Cut. Me, I use FC Express. Most of the goodies at a fraction of the cost.

Right now I’m working on a battle – good ole bboyz in each others’ faces, dancing their hearts out.

Done it before, but this time I wanted to shove the dancers from each team into each other…so I’m spinning boxes, sliding images…and rendering like crazy.

If you take a gander at the timeline above, you’ll see that I’m up to three video and six audio tracks. And keeping that of what is where and what I’m placing next can be a nightmare.

See…I have a vision. It involves video juxtaposed in a fight against other video and sound battling with both. My goal is to recreate the mood of a bboyz battle (aka break dancing). And that required clashing images and discordant sound. As with weaving, there are many threads. And not just audio/video. There’s the continuum of the timeline/story…there’s what’s there and what’s implied. There’s memories of past battles and future battles. Tying all of those thread together into something coherent is gonna be a battle unto itself.

Below is a hour’s worth of work. Thirty-three second done. Gonna be a long weekend, but I hope the final effort is worth watching.

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