Managing media…

(look at bottom of post for updates)

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.

12/19/10
So I let this go for a while…it is, after all, a busy time of year. When last I posted, I had just sorted all of the clips into four main bins or categories.

Today I came back and revisited them…cruised through the preparation clips, looking and listening. Especially the latter, because I want to recreate the chaos of the event…the many sounds, hustle, bustle, and apparent disorganization…

So I grabbed some SOTs (sound on tapes) and arranged them…nice. Wanted info in there too but really didn’t want my voice interfering with the story, so chose to use titling.

And so it goes…NATS, NATS, NATS, interview. Repeat.

The interview with Clifford is my mainstay…my theme, which will weave throughout the story. I’m about one minute in right now (and two hours of editing) and the pace is picking up. I’m remembering sound and pulling it in…the interview of Jennifer Howe segues right in after Clifford talking about giving back. She takes that and contributes and then we’re off again…into the shelter for more portraits and interviews with residents.

More in a bit…

…and here it is a bit later. The edit is complete and the story is below.

TRT: 2:31
Edit time: about six hours.

Am I happy – yes and no. In my years of shooting I’ve had only a handful of stories I could walk away from, truly happy I had done everything I could to make them good. So this does show the event…and kind of captures the spirit. I could have done a better job shooting the clients and gotten more shots of the photographers shooting. But that would have been at the sacrifice of my students getting their time with the gear.

So…yes, happy.

One thought on “Managing media…

  1. I had read this at Mr. Oto’s blog and posted it to my Facebook page. I thought it was an incredible story and I’m glad to see you shared it here as well.

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