Stillborn videos

December 14, 2012 

The juggling act of shooting video and stills leads to some tough decisions about when to shoot which and last Thursday's ribbon-cutting for Pacific Northwest National Laboratories' upgraded Aquatic Research Laboratory was the latest example.

Armed with a waterproof GoPro, I had lofty expectations for the video. News & media relations specialist and former Herald reporter Franny White was a willing assistant while I shot and I had a mind toward video throughout the assignment, shooting almost as many video clips as I did still images. I ended up gathering far more interviews than I had use for in the final edit:

That's fine, though, as it's not uncommon for only a small percentage of my take in still photos to end up in print and photo galleries. What was frustrating was not having some clips that I needed, most notably while Senior Research Scientist Richard Brown was talking about the pressurized chambers used to simulate conditions near dams.

It's no coincidence that shortcoming came where I spent the most time on my stills, keying in on Lisa Wright as she checked out the tanks:

In my mind, I had plenty of extra footage of the room, apparently a lesson I still need to learn six months later. This resulted in a too-long clip of the slowly expanding balloon, though I was pleased with timing the rupture with his explanation. That was partly due to cleaning up the interview with Richard, editing out a small stumble in words. I kept the clip long to hide that edit, but having more clips would have helped.

I also need to get a better grasp on what makes a good sound byte and noticing when people who aren't used to being on camera make those small mistakes that glare in the final edit.

The ongoing learning curve shouldn't be a surprise really. I've had no formal training in videography or editing and as I've painstakingly chronicled in this blog the last four years, I still have much to learn about photojournalism and portrait photography.

That much was obvious as I looked over my work from November for the National Press Photographer Association's monthly clip contest and begrudgingly submitted my weakest entries in recent memory. Here's hoping my still-photo funk is merely coinciding with my push to improve my video skills, and not a direct result of it.

Speaking of change...

Jim Colton wrote a lovely piece commemorating the demise of Newsweek's print edition, sharing stories of his days at the magazine and lamenting its recent decline.

Part of his piece relives the glory days when they went head to head with Time Magazine to see who beat whom. Coincidentally, Time's Lightbox kicks of 2012's best of's with edits of their best photojournalism, their best portraits and their top 10 photos of the year.

Freelancers may want to check out these free sample legal forms for photographers.

And Manny Pacquiao's aides apparently only want flattering photos of their fighter, allegedly attacking Getty Images photographer Al Bello after Juan Manuel Marquez knocked out Pacquiao. This obvious overreaction speaks to the flawed idea that many people seem to have — that capturing failure in sports should somehow be off-limits.

It does make you wonder what those aides would do to the people who responded to Deadspin's Photoshop contest after the knockout.

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