Video Production 101

April 15, 2010

We want to avoid incessantly moving views, movement from object to object, fast zooms, shots with too much sky or floor, and people who seem too close to the edge of the screen. These are the mistakes made on vacation videos.

Talk the talk:

Framing a shot
means determining what you want to include in the shot in terms of aspect ratio, field of view, vectors, composition, and psychological closure.

Aspect Ratio
The standard aspect ratio is 4 x 3–four units wide, 3 units high. Digital Television (DTV) allows a switch between the standard 4 x 3 and the 16 x 9 ratio of widescreen HDTV.

Field of View
reflects the camera’s closeness to the viewer, or how much of the “field” is in front of you in the shot.

Different kinds of shots… diverting from Field of View:
1. bust shot – upper part of person
2. knee shot – knee up
3. two-shot – two people or objects
4. three-shot – three people or objects
5. over-the-shoulder shot – camera looks O/S of another person nearer to the camera
6. cross shot – looking alternately at one or the other person. The camera-near person is completely out of the shot.

Vectors
are directional forces with various strengths.

Different kinds of vectors:
1. graphic vectors – lines created by objects that case you to look in a particular direction
2. index vectors – created by something that points unquestionable in a certain direction, such as an arrow or one-way-street. More definite.
3. motion vectors – created by moving object. People walking, cars speeding, or bird in flight.

Composition
“Our perceptual faculties are always striving to stabilize the chaotic world around us.”

Factors include:
1. subject placement – the most stable is screen-center placement.

–too much headroom exerts weird force.
–keep in mind picture loss when framing
–pay attention to noseroom when the person is turned towards one of the TV’s edges. If there is no space between the nose and screen edge, the person seems glued to it.
leadroom … don’t want to just introduce a laternally moving subject abruptly.

Psychological Closure
Combining visual cues or filling in missing visual information to arrive at a complete or stable configurations. Think about the example with the three dots… we picture a complete triangle.

Z-axis
The illusion of depth is created by placing an object along this axis. You can therefore define the distinct foreground, middleground, and background.

–with a wide-angle position, the Z-axis seems elongated, people look farther away.
–with a narrow-angle position, the Z-axis looks shorter than it is.

Depth of field
objects are widely scatter along the z-axis are all in focus. The range of distance where it’s sharp.

There is a lot to think about with video production. I feel like it would be better to get extraneous shots just so I could possibly use various material to fill in the gaps into shots. I want to make my video easy to watch. Since I’ll be speaking with various people again I want to make the same introductions for everyone. I was thinking of taking pictures of them… in the same setting–probably one of the blank walls of my living room. Just a couple bust shots… that will look identical to each other… introduce them like that… then have their video. I don’t think I’ll want to stick with the same job theme, but ask them questions like..
-what was your favorite moment in the past four years
-advice?

I’m hoping the end product of all these footage will be simple and a pleasure to watch :].

Let me know what you think…

Battle Studies: What it’s like to be graduating after the recent recession in terms of job searching and soul searching.

Made with love, patience, and plenty of Twizzlers to nervously chew on.

Ready Set Summer

March 27, 2010

ready, set, summer
ready, set, summer by perspectiveblog featuring Jeffrey Campbell shoes

Items in this set:
Rag & Bone Tail Race Dress, $325
Enchanted 2 Tank, $64
Jason Wu Silk Mini Skirt with Side Pleat Detail, 550 GBP
Elvis Avedon skinny jeans, $290
See by Chloé | Cotton-blend twill shorts | NET-A-PORTER.COM, 160 EUR

“The old bargain of the newspaper–world news lumped in with horoscopes and ads from the pizza parlor–has now ended.”

This is the harsh reality that print lovers have to come to–in an age of instantaneous satisfaction, newspapers have become inadequate. I still slide my UB card through the card reader on the newspaper holding station where the day’s NY Times waits for me to pick up before class. I feel bad not taking one on the way to class, but by this time, I have most likely browsed the Web enough to get an idea of top stories and the day’s breaking news. I also feel bad taking one because I know I’ll have to dispose of it, when the most topical subject of the day could be climate change, if the news is slow.

From Clay Shirky’s book Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations, the topic of the “mass amateurization” of the media is dissected and explained in a chapter called “Everyone is a Media Outlet.” He focuses on interesting points regarding the way people have approached the decline of print. People don’t know what to do, he says, because newspapers have been valiant for so long, and still remains a resource people have lots of faith in.

Shirky states that people often disregard the Internet as something that can be life-changing in essence because it’s not an institution headed by a visible leader. This thought is a “narcissistic bias” in the business. Well, I’m sure those people have had their wake up call by now.

The author states that people behind newspapers were utterly dumbfounded when they discovered all their ad revenue was being drained due to the popularity of free post Websites such as Craigslist.com or eBay.com

The media has also had a slight–or major, subjectively–downfall because of the ease of communication now. It used to be the easiest form of communicating a wide range of news because of the high cost.

What’s the best way to stay informed about the news now, is the all important question that needs to be asked.

My opinion is people will have their favorite news source that they will always turn to for news. However, they will start to look for people to interpret their news and tell them what to think or agree with their sentiments. I feel like that’s the role bloggers will play.

A walk into a new job arena for this year’s graduating students.

From the West Coast to the East Coast, people entering the job market–in addition to seasoned workers–are struggling to find jobs in troubled economic times. The unemployment rate has remained unwavering over the heads of Americans who watch it like a heavy boulder ready to fall.

After October 2009’s unemployment rate hit the double digits at 10.10 percent, there has only been a minor improvement in numbers. The current statistic at 9.7 percent accounts for 14.9 million people without work, which has remained unchanged since January 2010.

This year’s graduating classes from the nation’s institutions of higher education will be the second group to tackle the job market on the offensive since 2008 when the consequences of risky deals and surge of subprime mortgages on Wall Street came to fruition. Like a stack of falling dominoes, the plunge of the hedge funds of Bear Sterns caused its Wall Street lenders such as Merrill Lynch, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, and Goldman Sachs to take a tumble with the effects of lost assets. Bank failures came next, with IndyMac leading the way for the U.S. government to swoop down to save mortgage lending giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, American International Group (A.I.G.), and approve mergers of banking giants.

That was only the beginning. In October 2008, the stock market crumbled, dropping 40.3 percent, becoming the worst week for the stock market over 75 years. When stock markets suffer, the national employment rate is a passenger in the sinking boat. As companies and employers lose money in investment and downsizing is necessary, it costs people their jobs.

The stock market and financial situation has begun to heal, according to some financial analysts–including Chicago Tribune’s Gail MarksJarvis. The columnist cites Standard & Poor’s 500 index–gauges the U.S. equities market with reports from 500 of the country’s leading companies–at a current rise. As of March 15, the index is at a healthy 1,150.51.

The number of jobs has suffered from recession-induced budget cuts. Jobs have been affected in many areas of the economy—business, professional services industries, retailers, and leisure and hospitality companies.

Computer analysts, data communication analysts, network system analysts, registered nurses, postsecondary teachers, physical therapists, physicians and surgeons top many lists naming the most recession-proof jobs.

Seemingly, if you’re not planning on going into the medical field, there is a less chance of finding a job right away.

However, UB seniors, beside daunting numbers, are making the most of their time before their college years come to an end.

Semesters ahead of time, students anticipating graduation have tried prepping themselves for life after college with summer internships and year-round jobs. In talking to a couple of graduating seniors who recognize the challenges of a stale job market, it is evident that those who have worked for free, fetched coffee, and taken on an extra major/minor are the ones who are the most confidently stepping out onto the path they call life.

Katie Giangarra

On a typical Monday morning, Katie Giangarra, a senior health & human services and anthropology major, quickly combs her dark, freshly straightened hair into neat cast and looks at herself in the mirror while going over a to-do list as long as a grocery list. Giangarra, as an atypical senior, is taking five classes during her last semester including an internship at the school’s Student Wellness Center to learn valuable skill sets under the health office’s director.

Giangarra walks to class at approximately 10 a.m. every morning with a cup of fresh brewed coffee–creamer and a little bit of sugar–to help launch a long day, with gym visits and study sessions in between genetics class and work. If all the pieces of this daily puzzle fall right into place, she will land a job in the epidemiology field.

An ideal job would be with the Center for Disease Control, studying evidence-based medicine to identify causes of disease and epidemics getting people sick around the world. She has been checking the career pages of various government Web sites and applying to graduate schools for close to a year now.

She is one of around 4,000 people expected to graduate together from UB this May. Going into the health field, Giangarra states she is not overly worried about finding a job because of the experience she has acquired from school and from her campus-based internship at the Student Wellness Center.

“I’m a little worried about it. But, with anything health related, there will always be a need for it. So, I feel … it may not be as much as a worry for me,” Giangarra said. “I feel like in the type of field I want to go into, studying other cultures and finding ways that certain diseases and health risks [spread], will never be something you don’t need.”

She is still waiting to hear back from the six graduate schools she applied to–some based in Georgia, New York and California. Giangarra reports being hopeful for life after college and hopes to reach her goal of preventing commonplace diseases around the globe.

Carly Clemons

Before starting a long stream of classes, Carly Clemons sits cozily in a UB-blue sweatshirt waiting for the steaming cup of hot coffee on the desk in front of her to cool. Her fingers hit the black keys of her silver Mac without a slight interruption, forming lines of an email response to a job ad newly uploaded that morning.

This is evidently a practiced routine. With a cover letter and resume fit for a non-profit entry job, she’s ready to land her email on top of the big pile of emails waiting for a CEO or HR person to read before the start of the work day.

“I’m hoping just to find a job that will pay me. I’ve been looking on job web sites like Idealist.com and Monster.com,” Clemons said, when asked what she is looking for in a lackluster job market. “I assume [it’ll be more difficult] because the jobs I am looking for are in the non-profit sector. Now they really don’t feel like paying me to do their office work.”

Clemons’s ideal job would be with a non-profit organization that helps either women or children. However, Clemons expresses the only way to garner the job she’s looking for is to start off at entry level–being an executive assistant to a CEO–surveying the general field before focusing her landing.

During her last semester, she is busy writing a senior thesis at the completion of a bulky research project through the Honors College at UB. With that and classes, she utilizes calm mornings for reviewing job vacancies and emailing possible employers.

A lack of responses all together keeps Clemons slightly apathetic about the search, as she jokes she can always return to a part-time job at Party City.

“I spoke to someone at American Cancer Society–I might just do an unpaid internship there this summer if I really can’t find anything else to do, which is clearly not the most economical option,” Clemons said, at the end of the interview.

Simone Battiste-Alleyne

Simone Battiste-Alleyne is always well-kept and well-prepared, as she is for our interview. It may be her effortless charm, big smile, Chanel-branded earrings she wears on occasion that pushes this persona, or simply the fact that she is always ready for anything.

Battiste-Alleyne has never liked going with the crowd–this is an attitude that has made her go far. She anticipates what the fad will be and goes the complete other direction. This year, she has decided to go against her original plans of getting an MBA after graduating UB with a BA in communication, simply because it became the trite option. Instead, she is pursuing a Masters in Public Administration.

Battiste-Alleyne believes graduate school is currently her best bet after foreseeing the difficulties in attaining a job even after going above and beyond in school–garnering extra skills with a sociology minor and internships at various companies including the Target Corporation.

One weekend after looking at job Web sites, Battiste-Alleyne figured that a focus on public administration would be the right approach that would lead to a non-profit or government job.

“I went online and I looked for jobs and then I was like ‘What qualifications do I need.’ I looked at what they wanted and decided a Masters in Public Administration would cover what they are looking for and then a little bit more,” she said.

Battiste-Alleyne hopes to garner skills like using Adobe Photoshop, Microsoft Excel, and problem solving in graduate school.

“If the job market wasn’t so bad I would be out doing the regular things. I probably wouldn’t have gone to graduate school. But with the competition out there with people who lost their jobs who are qualified and overqualified, you know, Simone isn’t getting a job,” she said.

She applied to Old Dominion University, University at North Carolina, and CUNY John Jay during this last semester. She recently made up her mind that North Carolina was the place to go–to pick up her bags and leave her hometown of Rochester as early as July.

“I’m in the process of how I’m going to work and where I’m going to work. Right now, I’m in the process applying to be an assistant hall director in the residence halls, so hopefully I get that. I’ll send out my resume and cover letter tomorrow… if anything I will just waitress,” says the girl with the plan.

Chris Di Matteo

When I catch Chris Di Matteo, a current senior anthropology major, during the middle of the day for our interview, he is the acting nucleus of a body of people. He catches the attention of the otherwise busy editors that work with him at The Spectrum with a story on a hectic production day. Di Matteo always seems to be the person seen making everyone laugh in the midst of the busyness of being a student and editor thrice, weekly.

A light demeanor and a smile are necessities everywhere he goes, it seems. Many know him around campus as the head of undergraduate paper’s Arts Desk where he writes about the music he loves and local events in his native Buffalo.

Music is just one of the many life loves of Di Matteo. He also loves what he does—has worked on The Spectrum staff for three years—and hopes to pursue journalism in some form after graduation, but has kept the door open for other things.

“It’s complicated because there’s a wide range of things I would like to do from working in journalism to possibly going on to law school. I feel I have a lot of options so I’m not really worried about it, but maybe I should be,” Di Matteo said.

Di Matteo has applied for Teach for America, as well. For now, nothing is permanent. No extra preparation has been put forth because of the stagnant job market because as he has described himself as already cautious and driven.

“I’m the type of person that would always keep my options open. I can’t see myself doing one thing for the rest of my life. I’d get way too bored, so I think I would have done the same sort of preparation either way,” Di Matteo said.

What is important to him now is to keep doing what he loves and to network at games.

“When I cover games I make it a point to speak with writers from other publications like the Democrat and Chronicle. I try to get out there,” Di Matteo said.

It’s essential, he said at the end of the interview, to believe in what you do, get real-life job experience, show you care for your field, and work hard for it.

Words to live by, perhaps.

Daniel Mecca

Meet Daniel Mecca. A charming senior media studies and English major, who has foreseen his fate in film.

It’s an industry that supports big directors, the A-list, and multimillion-dollar profit margins. While many only dream, barely touching this grand idea, Mecca has managed to create a movie niche online with The Film Stage amongst other things. (He has also dappled in screenwriting, acting, and directing.)

The two-year-old Web site, homegrown by Mecca and his fellow movie-adoring roommate Jordan Raup, already boasts more than a million visits.

The major film industry has thrived in the recent economic downturn because of its easy offerings of cheap thrills—cool comedies, heavy heaps of horror, and kid-friendly, other worldly 3-D adventures.

The more artsy, inventive, DIY-sector of the industry—that of independent films— made outside of major film studios, however, is drying up due to a decreased amount of investors. This is where Mecca wants to land after graduation.

“On one end, it’s bad news, but at another end, you can do something really great on the cheap, so hopefully that’s something I can figure out how to do,” Mecca said. “Technology has allowed people to make films for as cheap as $10,000 if you look at a movie like Paranormal Activity.”

Since the film industry has always been a hard business to step into, Mecca describes the process of garnering directing experience and interning at numerous places as natural, and not extraneous due to the recession.

The quick advance of The Film Stage, is the one thing that may have come about with the extra push of poor job conditions, he said.

If a production assistant job with a Killer Films, with whom Mecca has interned, does not come as planned, a move to L.A. may be possible.  A later goal may also come to fruition sooner than later—that of starting an independent film company through his Web site.

“We can get independent funding from family, from investment firms, and what not. Then we can start making our own movies independently, and shopping them around at festivals. That might actually be the next step, which would be crazy, but everything’s crazy with the movies, so hopefully it’ll work,” he said.

Wherever the road leads, Mecca knows hard work will be put forth in order to land his dream role.

“Having to talked to a bunch of people who are in the business they will tell you as long as you work hard there will be a place for you.”

A Visual Society

March 21, 2010

“The Video Explosion” written by Charles Leyton captures the evolution of news as it quickly advanced in 2008. He sticks a video link from an article from WashingtonPost.com in the first paragraph of his article as an example. It’s a video, which shows blurry footage of a “one time child prodigy” violinist playing to a crowd of people in a train stop during an early morning rush to work. I don’t think it’s a pressing argument for the “The Video Explosion.” The video is blurry and we can’t see clearly what is occurring. However, we can hear what the musician is playing, which is the argument Leyton later makes when describing the article describing the social experiment pointing out the ignorance of the majority of passerby that morning to such talent. Leyton’s article would have been better with a greater example of a video bringing an article to a whole new level in terms of the understanding of readers.

I feel like now, more so than in 2008, it’s not surprising to find a plain video link on news sites and blogs. It’s simply the way of the media world now. Go to any blog and there will be a plain entry with one sentence urging you to click on a video that will take up 4 minutes of your time at most. Nowadays, we expect so much out of our multimedia. If it takes more than 4 seconds to buffer, we give up. There should be clear audio, exemplary photos, streaming video, or else it’s not good enough. This is something Leyton acknowledges that is even more pressing a point two years later.

It’s an expensive mode of expression when you consider the standard equipment needed to produce short news footage, but sometimes it’s the most adequate form of communication.

Take this brilliant mini doc on MediaStorm [through Washingtonpost.com] for an example. Filmmakers have captured the travesties that took place in Rwanda in 1994 in a mere 14-minute movie. Watching personal accounts of the women in their own words has a direct force that you wouldn’t get with print or pictures without the said accounts. Their words hit you in the gut with a heavy dose of rawness–it’s unbelievable that this happened and still allowed to happen. Because these women are recounting tragic moments, they can include hard-hitting details that would seen inappropriate in print. This video seems to account for all the moments the audience would have to pause or need a couple seconds to take in what is said.

It’s video journalism at it’s best. It is effective as it leaves the person watching breathless with a head full of facts and an urge to do something about it.

WATCH HERE

“In the old days, most journalists thought it was their job to write a story, and it was someone else’s job to distribute it, market it and find an audience for it,” –Alan Murray, executive editor, online for the Wall Street Journal.

This quote from the “The Distribution Revolution” by Bret Schulte sums up the new role of journalists who will brainstorm stories, interview sources, document scenes, make multimedia, and distribute their work. I feel journalists are somewhat becoming their own agents. You could have written an awesome feature or created an innovative piece of multimedia, but it doesn’t matter if no one see it. With the worldwide Web as extensive and full of information as it is now, people do not need to look far for relative information. Distribution of an article matters now when numerous companies are trying to spread the same piece of news to the world audience.

Companies and spreaders of the news are using Web sites like Digg to make videos, pictures and stories exponentially more popular than they would be just linked to on their homepage.

What other Web sites are distributors people are using?
1. Twitter
2. Reddit
3. Propeller
4. Newsvine

I guess it’s exciting for new journalists if they are interested in the PR aspect of making sure their story is being seen. I believe because the spread of news is currently community driven. I believe this will only make journalists produce their best, otherwise their stories will not be read or spread. This is why stories are starting to become more personal and exciting–driven by the author’s voice.

The Distribution Revolution [American Journalism Review]

The first thing I’m drawn to in The Long Haul by Lucian Read is the essay portion rather than the pictures that I have deemed too intense for 10 o’ clock in the morning. He talks about his son, not yet born, and his morning breakfast habits of fresh pomegranate juice and weak tea while he is away. I love this view from the inside of Afghanistan from an evident outsider. He is armed with camera as the others around him are incessantly ready to aim and fire bullets.

Looking at the three pictures available in The Long Haul Gallery, I don’t get as transparent a picture as the one he provides of Kabul in his introductory essay. Of the three pictures, I only connect with this one.  Probably because the man baring a nameplate of “Stafford” on his camouflage uniform is staring right into the camera. I would have loved to see pictures of pomegranate plants, or pictures of the people of Afghanistan sweating or shriveling because of the extreme change of temperatures Read has described previously in his essay.

Another Digital Journalist feature called Sides of the Wire: America in Afghanistan by David Bathgate features more personal documents of life in Kabul.

The photo of the completely covered Shiite Muslim woman, turned away from the camera is the one I connect with the most. It might be the ghastly green color of the doors she is trying to feel her way back in through. These photos capture the little details that convey important things about life in Afghanistan. In this picture I noticed the little photos he has glued to the little step stool or seat the baker has next to him. As you can see, the photo is very grainy even though it’s apparently very bright when Bathgate took this photo. I wonder how come. Maybe it was a lack of access to high-quality photo equipment that was easy to lug around.

Dslrnewsshooter.com offers another look into the Afghanistan War with photos taken by PBS Frontline photojournalist Danfung Dennis. This feature offered a limited behind-the-scenes look at how Dennis has managed to capture the story of the U.S. Marines on a mission against the Taliban.

The photojournalist who is sent to this war ridden plane is the most objective eye to capture what’s going on. I feel photojournalists are more looking for artful or emotional scenes rather than hard news. Reading an interview with Dennis linked on the DSLR feature, it seems as though he has only a rough idea of why he is there.

“I didn’t personally see any Taliban. The Marines say it is very much like fighting a ghost. They’re very difficult to see, and even if they did actually kill or injure one of the Taliban, there were never any bodies.”
–Danfung Dennis

The Long Haul [The Digital Journalist]
Sides of War [The Digital Journalist]
How I Cover the Afghanistan War with the 5dmkII [DSLR News Shooter]

From the West Coast to the East Coast, new and old employees are struggling to find and keep jobs in troubled economic times. The unemployment rate has remained unwavering over the heads of Americans who watch it like a heavy boulder ready to fall. In the time after October 2009’s unemployment rate hit the double digits at 10.10 percent, there has only been a slight improvement in numbers. The current statistic at 9.7 percent accounts for 14.9 million people without work, which has remained unchanged from January 2010. The number has been a sort of litmus test that people have dip to test the waters of the U.S. job market. It has historically coincided with the gross domestic product as well as the overall economic growth of the nation.

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2010 9.70 9.70
2009 7.70 8.20 8.60 8.90 9.40 9.50 9.40 9.70 9.80 10.10 10.00 10.00
2008 5.00 4.80 5.10 5.00 5.40 5.50 5.80 6.10 6.20 6.60 6.90 7.40
2007 4.60 4.50 4.40 4.50 4.40 4.60 4.60 4.60 4.70 4.70 4.70 5.00
Source: http://www.tradingeconomics.com[with statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics]

This year’s graduating class of colleges and universities across the nation will be the second group to tackle the job market on the offensive since 2008 when the consequences of risky deals and surge of subprime mortgages on Wall Street came to fruition. In order, like a stack of falling dominoes, the plunge of the hedge funds of Bear Sterns caused its Wall Street lenders such as Merrill Lynch, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, and Goldman Sachs to tumble with the effects of lost assets. This was the first stack to fall. Then came the bank failures with IndyMac leading the way for the U.S. government to swoop down to save mortgage lending giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, American International Group (A.I.G.), and approve of mergers of banking giants.

That was only the beginning. In October 2008, the stock market crumbled, dropping 40.3 percent, becoming the worst week for the stock market over 75 years. When stock markets suffer, the national employment rate is in the same boat. As companies and employers lose money in investment, downsizing is necessary, costing people jobs.

The stock market and financial situation has begun to heal, according to financial analysts–including Chicago Tribune’s Gail MarksJarvis. The columnist cites Standard & Poor’s 500 index–gauges the U.S. equities market with reports from 500 of the country’s leading companies–at a current rise. As of March 15, the index is at a healthy 1,150.51. Look at the five-year span of performance and the huge dip in 2008: <http://money.cnn.com/data/markets/sandp/

-This is the starting lay out of my story on the current job market

London Bound

March 6, 2010

London bound
London bound by perspectiveblog featuring Lulu Guinness bags

Items in this set:
PRINGLE OF SCOTLAND, 2.230 EUR
Christopher kane dresses, 1,500 GBP
Check sleeveless dress, $105
Burberry Tumbled leather brogues, $375
BEATRIX ONG BRANDY NUDE/CHAMPAGNE/GOLD LEATHER –, 225 GBP

featuring prim pieces from Brit designers.