Epiphany…

A sudden awareness of something wonderful! And it all came about because a former reporter asked where the reporters were in the photograph of newsreel cameramen that graces my facebook page. I responded that there were no reporters…just cameramen until the late 20s when soundmen appeared with all of their apparatus.

Epiphany.

No reporters for a visual storytelling media. Wow.

Well, of course – just ask Amanda Emily of newsphotog.com – there were writers back at the main headquarters, who took in the reels shot by the field cameramen and with the help of editors turned them into fodder for the masses.

But the sole responsibility of gathering information and visuals was done by newsreel cameramen, who were looked up to heros of the day.

In fact (I’m guessing here folks – and I know Amanda WILL correct me if I’m off base) there probably weren’t any real in-front-of-the-camera reporters until TV happened along.

So those of you lenslingers, shooters, camera carriers, BPJs, one-man-bands, videojournalists out there, laboring without any apparent support. YOU are who I salute today. You can trace your roots back to a noble profession that broke ground at the beginning of moving pictures.

Now quit wallowing in your glory and pick up that fifty pounds of gear and get back to work.

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Stacking the studio show…

Audiences love both novelty and familiarity. They want consistency, but also look forward to change.

Here’s how to make these opposites work.

The consistency/familiarity are the format of the show. Have a recognizable format. Here’s mine:

One minute bars/ten second countdown (not part of the show/professional requirement)
Show open
Anchor intros
Pledge of Allegiance or Patriotic Moment
Announcements
Sports
More announcements
Anchor farewells
Credits

The audience knows they will get a consistent product each day. They know when to watch (for sports, Patriotic Moment, credits) and when they can tune out (I hope not).

The variables include:

Show open – each week I change out an anchor. We shoot the new anchor and include them AND the entire crew in the show opening.
Each day we are required to either have the student body pledge the flag OR recognize a historical fact or current event that contributes to student knowledge/understanding of our country.
Pledge of Allegiance – run at least once a week. We broke the Pledge down in to separate phrases and had different students/groups of students each recite a phrase. I plan to keep changing out parts of the Pledge every month to include new students.
Patriotic Moment – produced by students. Students are required to use history.com to find an interesting fact each day and then they must research it, write a short script, find (copyright free/open source) visuals and then produce a :30-1:00 narrated segment.
Sports – anchors read script while scrolling credits roll with duplicate information (sport/date/time/opponent).
Credits – this is where I hook my audience. We change this daily and tease it at the top of each day’s show. My goal is that every student on campus can say at least once a week, “I was in the credits” or “I know someone who was in the credits.” Credits run :30-1:00 and have included animations by my students, an English field trip to “West Side Story,” stills of the cross country team, video of finals in a French class (focus was on food of France and food was served), a male beauty pageant.

Staff tells me that students look forward to the daily announcements now and still (relatively) quietly while they are on.

So when you get your show up and running…remember to break it into manageable segments and remember also that your audience wants to be included. Personally I feel that one reason the news media may be in trouble today (and this is only one of the reasons) is that they have disconnected with their audience. Regional and national news do not serve local audiences…and unless the regional or national news impacts a local audience, they will tune out.

Focus Enhancement MX-4 Digital Video Mixer

July 20 Update
I must say the tech support at Focus is excellent. Here’s the latest they sent me/couldn’t take care of this earlier because I was out of town.

Try pushing the tick bar all the way up or all the way down and see if you have a blinking LED light on your unit, if not or you still don’t see a preview screen the unit will need to be sent in for repair. If not under the 2 year warranty, there is a $495.00 flat rate for repair.
If you wish to send your unit in, please first fill out an RMA form and send the unit in with the RMA number we will issue you. The RMA form can be found here: http://focusinfo.com/rfi/rma_request.asp

So I’m off to the control room to see if this works – we’ve had the unit for more than five years.

Another update July 9 at 9:46pm
Well, tried to do the factory default reset as shown below. Didn’t work. Still can’t bring up the preview screen. I’ve emailed Focus again to see what they suggest next.

Update at 8:30pm
Got the following advice from Focus Support:

You might want to try a factory reset which will set the unit back to factory defaults, you may have something routed wrong.
The factory reset is done by holding down the Shift and Setup keys while powering the unit on.

Original post:
Does anyone out there have one of these or have you worked with one?

We’ve got one in the studio at my school and I’m having a HARD time getting some of the features to work.

I’ll go web-cruising (again), but would appreciate a say-hi from some of you hidden experts out there…

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