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Most high school journalists are on level one, with a few managing to get to level two.
Most broadcast journalists are on level three, with some still struggling at level two.
Level four is for the masters…the names you remember. Charles Kuralt is probably the best known of these. Steve Hartman is another. They weave their magic with words…with interviews…nats…visuals.
Level four is the golden standard we should all strive for.
Bob Helmes was my first chief photog – 1974, KXTV in Sacramento (aka Sacra-tomato), California. He gave me (more than) a word of advice: “It doesn’t matter how pretty it is or how much time you spend on it if it doesn’t make air.”
Deadlines. They can kill ya. I recall missing two in 28 years. One I can be excused for – stuck in bumper to bumper traffic trying to get back from the high Sierra. Took us two hours to move a couple of miles in a snowstorm (the us was me and a VERY pregnant Rita Holman). Second time I was just plain stupid. Estimated drive time from the Stockton bureau to the live location in Modesto and didn’t check to see if there was any road construction on the way. There was. We could see the light on the live truck as the clock hit ten and we were three or four blocks from making it.
So I gotta include something about deadlines in the book. What brought this home is the fact a few of my students DID NOT LISTEN over the past few months when I said I do not accept completed assignments as iMovie files. All files must be “shared” or converted to full quality QuickTime files. So on the last day of school as I was downloading and grading, I left at least two files in computers and gave the offenders a “Z” for zero on the assignment. They didn’t take the final step.
Ouch for them – but a good reality check too. Do the work AND get it in properly. It don’t count if you didn’t make air.
No need to be dramatic about this – we missed the 48 Hour Film Project deadline by 15 minutes. My goal was to have my students take part in a real challenge – make a movie in two days. That we accomplished. And there were lessons learned…mostly by me, but also by them.
They learned how to use prosumer cameras properly. How to use the manual iris, focus, and white balance. They learned how to improvise when plans had to be changed. They learned that making a movie is a LOT of work…but there is fun to be had along the way.
I learned that a two hour trip into San Francisco is not a good time to finish editing the movie. Adam Nino got motion sick.
We couldn’t export our final movie to tape after numerous tries, so exported as a video file. Now you know and I know that five minutes of video takes up one gigabyte of hard drive space. Sure – it doesn’t. Our final video was about 4:57 – and 1.3GB.
At 7pm we went for a quick cut – took about :10. Still too big. Finally whittled it down to 4:35 and an 857mb file that would fit on a 1GB flash drive.
On delivering our movie, we found out we weren’t the last – there were still six or seven teams still out. Elena Cruz, the San Francisco coordinator, said about 20% of films come in late on average.
So the bad news – we were late and can’t really compete.
The good news – our movie will still be shown in San Francisco in a week to a real live paying audience AND we are still eligible for the audience choice award.