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December 11 2010

23:36

Managing media…

This past Monday Stockton Record photographer Clifford Oto created a field of dreams of sorts in a sorry part of town.

The location: Stockton Family Shelter. A lot of folks who could have lost hope live there, struggling day to day and hoping for the best for themselves and their families.

On Monday, December 6, a little more hope seeped in with the sunshine outside as dozens of volunteers answered Clifford’s call for help, setting up four mini-portrait studios and dozens of hair and make-up stations.

The event: Help-Portrait.

Their mission: To give back to the community…to serve those in need. To provide professional individual and family portraits to folks who may never have been able to have a formal sitting and memory.

So how is this about managing media? Well – three of my (former) students and I went down to observe and help out. Our assignment was to document the event and turn a video. The students (Gabe, Tim, and Tou) shot about half an hour of tape and quite a few stills. I shot another 50 minutes or so – but wasn’t able to shot many stills because (ahem) certain students were gripping the camera too tightly.

Now here it is – six days later – and I’ve got to get the video edited. There are several hundred clips, shot from when preparations began through the day until gear was broken down and put away hours later.

Step number one in media management. Create bins (Final Cut Express), which are kind of like file folders, for the main categories of your project. In this case, I created the following bins.
Then I looked at each clip quickly and placed it into the appropriate bin. It really helps to have these categories when you’re searching for a specific clip. If you have the time, you can even label each clip.

BYW, the Oto SH Video is the main project – the sequence I will be editing.

I generally begin a project by listening to interviews and taking notes. Notes will include which clip and time in clip for significant sound bites. Otherwise I may just jot something down to use in my narration.

But if possible, I’m going to try to avoid any narration with this video and do it all with interviews and natural sound.

So stand by…I’ll be posting and updating as I edit.


December 05 2010

18:33

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.


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