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…okay, time for some overinflated self-promoting grandizing.
A bud of mine – Larry Nance (no not THAT one, THIS one) and I have been working on and off for the past five or more years on a textbook on videojournalism. We kind of slowed down and resumed normal life for a while, but then decided this year to make the push and get it done.
Problem is technology has changed so much we’ve pretty much had to do a major re-write. So we’re each writing a chapter or so a week and meeting weekly to discuss what to do next.
Larry – he’s the artist, video production guy, and businessman. Me? I’m the newsie.
But between us we harbor a wealth of information and tips.
The book is becoming a reality – I almost want to say, “Slowly.” But that aint’ the truth. It is moving along at a respectable pace and (fingers crossed and don’t hold us to this deadline) may be done with the writing portion by the end of May.
What’s up next? Planning and shooting the visuals (stills) and accompanying video (examples and raw footage to practice editing). That will add on another month…and then.
….publish…???…yeah, right. PUBLISH!!!
If you want to have input, go to The Basics of Videojournalism and check out the Knowledge Base. Let us know if there’s anything we should add or delete or change. Time’s a-wastin and once this puppy is done…well I’d like to think it is done…but reality tells me we need to stay on top of it and make sure it stays CURRENT.
From now on, go to the VJ classroom blog for announcements – I want to separate out my classroom assignment blog from this (more or less) professional blog. Depending on whether you are looking for class assignments or the latest real world assignments, you’ll find it at the VJ classroom.
As of today, July 14, Vice-Principal Solari called me to see if we can produce two videos for freshmen informational sessions. Go to the Real World Assignments for details.
Oh – and keep reading here if you want. But don’t expect anything related to school to appear here.
Got some incoming hits from a new site this morning and when I checked my email, it was revealed. A site called Learn-gasm, part of (link removed temporarily at request of site due to redesign), made up a list of what are supposed to be the 100 best sites for journalism students to keep up with trends and learn. Somehow I made (the very end) of the list. Wow.
If you’re interested take a gander here. There are some old friends and some interesting sites I plan to look into.
Gonna be offline for a few days. Buddy Newell and I head for the hills early tomorrow to catch some fresh air, fresh views, and some yummy (over the campfire) home-made cooking!
Got the anchor desk hauled into the studio this weekend (love you Ron and Lexi for working in 100+ degree heat to haul that monolith) and went in this morning to snap some shots.
If you want a closer view, just click on the individual photos.
Word of explanation – for the past three years I’ve taught broadcasting in “almost a studio.” It had the configuration, but I was also teaching English – which mean more than half of the room had desks, blocking off any ability to really do studio work. This year my English class is moving to another room, so the studio for the first time is dedicated to what it was meant for.
This past year the light grid was installed – and there it sat. I don’t have a variety of lights – just three 1K Arris, two of which were mounted by Theater Manager Brian Harrower last week. Big improvement – we can use the controls to light up and dim down AND no more potential disasters waiting to happen with power cords running all over the room.
My buddy Kathy Newell pointed out that TV station controls rooms do NOT look out over the studio…many times they are located elsewhere in the building. The response is – hey, I’m a teacher and have to maintain a visual on the kids. Besides, it kinda looks neat.
The anchor desk – formerly known as a store fixture – bought from the local Gottshalks, which is going out of business. Five by five foot platform with a four foot high desk. Just enough room for two anchors. It will be painted (most likely a neutral grey) before school starts. Oh – it has wheels, so we can roll it to any location we want in studio.
The hole in the wall!! I’m still excited about it. Just some corrogated plastic pipe and a couple of toilet mount fixtures. About five inches wide (I think). Mounted right below my monitors in the control room.
And the student comments and 48HFP (48 Hour Film Project) musings on the board…this is what happens when students are no longer learners but part of a team under deadline. I didn’t even really see these until I returned to the classroom the Monday after the event. Made me want to cry….
All scenes are reduced to both Quicktime and .avi files. The movie is edited (meaning cleaned up) and I’m adding music today. Will burn DVDs tonight and most likely mail out Tuesday or Wednesday…the latter at the latest since I’m going camping Wednesday.
Hope your summer is going great!
Added June 25:
Sorry for the delay guys. Here is the short list of possible nonlinear computer editing programs. For more details, check out Andy Dickinson’sblog. He has a great overview of the programs. Little heads up – he’s British so the occasional word or phrase might throw you.
And a couple of hints – don’t make your folks take out a second mortgage for technology. Start low and slow and work your way up. I list the low-enders first Second: many of these companies offer educational discounts – as much as 50% and more. So what could be a thousand dollar purchase could suddenly become affordable.
ADOBE – Premiere Elements, Premiere
AVID – PC/Mac/AVID Express is a low end version of what is considered the movie industry standard
APPLE – iMovie (low end), Final Cut Express, Final Cut Pro
CORAL – Ulead Video Studio, Media Studio Pro
MICROSOFT – MovieMaker/free with Windows OS
PINNACLE – Pinnacle Studio/low ender program/pretty basic
SONY – Vegas Movie Studio + DVD
Now I can’t really give you good insight about which to purchase…Andy gets into it better in his postings. From experience I know iMovie, MovieMaker work well at the low end. Final Cut Express and Premiere have similar desktops and work along the same lines…Andy says the Pinnacle does too. Good luck…I’ll post again when I’m ready to mail the DVDs. Oh – I have an extra tape (FujiFilm) that I think belongs to either Tom or Matt. And Tom and Emilio, you both forgot your workbooks…they’ll be in the mail too.
June 24, 2009
This for the great group who just completed three days of Digital Video Camp at Delta College: you guys rock! My head hurts from pushing you – and you managed to take everything you were given and did it! WOW.
Stay tuned to this spot – right now I’m capturing all of the video from the movie plus your edited material to my home computer. Then I’ll head back to campus to clean all of your animations and basic shots off the computers there…bring them home and get everything shipshape so you can get an encoded DVD with all of your animations, basic shots, and the movie. Plus a second disk with the raw video in two file formats so you can put it into iMovie or MovieMaker and play with it yourself. The second disk will also have the script and some additional resources. Oh – and Loren yours will have your music – no I didn’t forget.
Later tonight I’ll post more. Had a blast – hope you enjoyed yourselves too.
Here’s the link to the movie my students made for the 48 Hour Film Project competition in San Francisco a few weeks back.
Addendum June 22 – the link above isn’t working. I have to make the movie private on youtube because the 48 HFP rule state the only place you can post your movie is on your website. youtube posts to the world. I’ll have an alternative by this weekend.
Yeah – please do raise your hand. You are a techno-geek with all of the goodies and know how to use them. And (more than anyone else) you know it isn’t the goodies that make good video…it’s the mind and eye behind the camera.
How many of you have this fun rush every year (details may vary, depending on location, state, time of year)? Mine is called senior project…and I should have seen it coming last year when we produced our very first senior class at McNair High School. Each senior is responsible for a research paper and a physical product. The latter means show something that proves you learned a skill, a concept…whatever.
So last year a couple of seniors in my broadcasting class used video in their projects to demonstrate what they had learned. They realized the potential of video as a tool.
A few weeks ago I meandered through the admin part of the school and was cruising through this year’s crop of posters produced by seniors…posters had the name of the project and how they would prove what they learned. Oops. In a casual count, about 1/4 or more were making videos. I could see the tsunami heading my way, so put out a quick advisory to senior teachers. Do NOT even ALLOW your seniors to come to me on short notice expecting to borrow equipment or learn what I teach in one day.
But (not wanting to be a total spoilsport) I did demur. Next week during fall break I’m putting on a workshop for seniors only – a basic video production for dummies on how to pull off making a quick and dirty video with minimal gear. Will repeat after school later in October.
So why soften up? Reality. The kids are gonna make the videos – not matter what. Then when it looks bad or they just can’t figure it out, they’ll turn up on my doorstep, one by one, with big brown eyes pleading for help. The only sensible way to do this is to simplify and make them responsible. Give them the basic information they need so they can have some kind of success. And keep it simple. Students need to realize there are limits – they need to set realistic goals.
Not that I’m against setting high goals. But if you barely know how to run a camera and have no concept of production values, keep it simple. Know what your gear (and you) can do. And please keep your audience in mind and be kind.
Yeah…I’m one hard case all right.
Adam and I are staggering…we got to my place around 3:15am this morning after a full day of shooting and editing (and trying to find stuff in the school storeroom). But no, we still weren’t done – we edited most of the movie.
Still a movie with no name though.
What have we learned so far? Well, next year I won’t have construction crews all over my studio, so I can get in a few days beforehand and get all my gear lined up.
Always have food – these are teenagers and if they aren’t constantly fed, they slow down. Mentally and physically.
Be adaptable. What you planned doesn’t always work. We thought our breakers would all be there at 2pm so we could begin shooting…the last one filtered in around 6pm.
Don’t change your script too much…be adaptable, but stick with the plot.
Willfully independent teenage daughters can surprise you at 2am with near perfect readings of their portion of the script.
The quiet students turn gregarious once they feel comfortable with the group. And this group did bond. We worked through our barriers, shots that weren’t as visualized, always running late schedule and left on better terms than we began on Friday night.
So Adam and I will continue. My husband pulled me out of bed (ugh) at 8am. Adam beat me to the kitchen and had already slid into the edit chair, where he was fine-tuning some scenes.
It is now 10:36am. We have a screening for parents at noon. Thank the skies above we not only found suitable music…but the title of the music has become our movie title. Some days things just work out.
Late tonight I’ll post the final on this.
Last night was the night. I moseyed down to San Francisco with a load of students, followed by Becky, one of my mothers in tow in her supercharged pickup. We had time for a quick snack (dim sum) and then we were off to find Fat City.
Now I’ve lived and worked the streets of San Francisco and my old station wasn’t located too far away from where we were heading. But there are massive changes in every city’s face as years pass. The feel was the same, the names new.
Fat City was everything you would expect: plain, undistinguished storefront…dark and moody with tiny spotlights inside and a stage. Lots of bodies milling around. Anyone under 21 had both their hands “X’d” just in case they tried to get past the guard on the stairs up to the bar upstairs. Great preventative measure.
The noise level was high and excited…we finally figured out they were already drawing genres up on the stage for Group A. We were Group D, so kicked back and relaxed. Finally it was our time – Adam Nino/former Middle College High School student of mine – went on stage to do our drawing. He ended up at the end of the line – so, as it turned out, we would be stuck with the last piece of paper in the hat.
He drew and whispered in the MC’s ear…and she announced: Thriller/Spy!
A collective sense of relief. We’d been dreading several genres – felt we didn’t have the depth in actors to pull of Romance or Drama.
Then they announced the elements:
Character: Gus or Gloria Lorenzo/trade expert
Prop: bus, airplane, or train ticket
Line: Forget it. I already have.
We bunched together back at Becky’s hotel room and pushed ideas back and forth for at least an hour and came up with a rough, yet simple, plot with a killer ending.
No…I won’t tell you. Yet.
Wait til it hits the theaters (our movie will go on the big screen in San Francisco’s 48 Hour Festival on July 28).
So the next two days will be fun-filled with 8-10 hours of shooting, editing, collaborating. We called our key actors last night on the way home – Rhythm Emphasis/the McNair break dancing club – to let them know to be on campus at around 2pm Saturday.
And congrats to them – they made the semis in a competition in Fremont yesterday!