Day 3: The Future of Newspaper Videography


My watch. Please don’t call it “Lindsay.” Friday the 13th fame is a fickle thing.

I’ve noticed a trend recently on TV web sights. Instead of a “cameraman” or “camera person,” the video shooter is usually described as a “photographer.”

Bah. Humbug. To me, a photographer produces photographs, still images that freeze an instant of time forever and communicate in a visual and emotional language that video doesn’t have. And yet, a digital SLR that shoots high-def video is the future of photography, and photographers are all going to need to know video.

Medium shot of the camera. Closeup coming--trying to vary the images.

I got to work with in a team of three today to produce an entertaining video before heading out tomorrow to shoot a web news video story. The Canon EOS 7D that we used was very, very cool. It’s an SLR that shoots beautiful video—as Val, our instructor, says, it’s so detailed it is like shooting film. She claims—and she’s not given to overstatement—that a screen shot from this hi-def video is so detailed it could run as a 6-column photo in a newspaper.

Six columns may not be what it used to be in this day of the shrinking web (not the internet, the paper web at newspapers), but still, six columns is all the friggin’ way across the page.

Wow. Try that with most videos, and you’re talking tragic chippy pixel-land.

Today was not without problems. Many groups struggled with the wireless microphones we were using, and my group had to re-shoot our main video. Focus was also an issue. That was, in some ways, a worse tragedy than the audio foul-ups. After all, if unfamiliar equipment fails, so be it. But the cameras aren’t to blame for the focus being fuzzy; that’s operator error.

Anyway, Santa, if I’m on your nice list (as a journalism professor, it’s extremely unlikely), and you don’t mind blowing about 3 grand or so on me, get me a Canon EOS 7D, a fairly standard zoom lens (like 25 to 70 or so) and a long-range zoom lens (130 to 400 or something like that) plus a sturdy tripod and some microphones. Pretty Please. With Splenda on top.

Today was a very long, tiring and at times frustrating day. But it was an instructive day, and I’m really looking forward to tomorrow. We each are going to individually edit video tomorrow, and I think it will be quite an experience for me.

Plus, I get to cover Habitat for Humanity, one of my favorite groups, and not just because Nalena works with them in Seattle (Jon, too, as a volunteer). I got to work with Proyecto Azteca in McAllen Texas several years ago, a group that builds houses near the U.S.-Mexico border using a philosophy and approach a bit like H for H. It’s very satisfying and important work, building homes, and it’s especially satisfying to work directly with the people who will live in those homes.

I’m excited about tomorrow.

Finally, on a more somber, sobering (I hope) note, a word about my watch.

It had a major role in a video today, and it seems to have gone a little wild.

Poor thing. Fame came to it at way too young an age. It’s starting to party too hard, it expects its every need to be instantly gratified and it’s taken to “clubbing” into the wee hours of the morning. It wants me to call it “Lindsay,” but I’ve told it that’s just a lawsuit waiting to happen.

I know you don’t believe me, watch, but you’re better off not being young and famous in this day and age. Try to be happy just being an Iowa professor’s watch. You’ll live a much richer and more balanced life. Trust me.

Santa, please take notes. OK, it's not really a tight closeup, it's just a little closer. I shot more of a closeup, but I think my Kodak was feeling jealous or intimidated or something or maybe I just messed up the focus. Fuzzy photos are usually photogapher's fault.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Day 3: The Future of Newspaper Videography

  1. Nalena

    You could probably settle for a 50D? Still an excellent camera or a used 40D like Jon has. I hope you enjoyed Habitat today, we are heading out to the dedications of the four homes I worked on for the last year. Very exciting. 🙂

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