Sunday, June 06, 2010

Adventures in Television

Tuesday morning I wheeled myself into UM Disability Services (DSS) to start work on my first television production project. I met up with my professor Kagan to begin shooting the B roll footage for my final project.

My story deals with the expansion of DSS to better serve students with disabilities here at the University of Montana. The B roll portion of footage I shot last Tuesday will supplement the interviews I will shoot this coming week. I will lastly edit everything together into a cohesive story by using Final Cut Pro. If things go as planned, hopefully it will end up on my blog in a few weeks.

Kagan arrived shortly after I did and the work was set to begin. Before it was time to work though, I had to run through my mental checklist. Operating a television camera is somewhat complex and it requires following numerous procedures. You first have to get the tripod level before attaching the camera or all your footage will be crooked and unusable. Next you have to white balance the camera so your colors will look like they are supposed to. You need to white balance the camera each time the lighting or shooting environment changes. Now the camera iris must be set to let in the right amount of light for the conditions. It’s similar to an f-stop on a still camera so it wasn’t a huge deal to learn. The last thing left to do is focus the camera and adjust the audio levels.

I wanted to get a feel for what was going on around the DSS offices because I felt it was important
to the telling of my story. This involved shooting some of the office staff working, staff moving boxes to the newly expanded DSS area, and the front desk/lobby area. My professor offered me great advice as the shoot progressed and that helped my confidence grow. The biggest hurdle was using the viewfinder of the camera but my professor solved that by letting me use an auxiliary monitor. This allowed me to see the shot and then I could adjust the camera accordingly.

I’m not planning a future career in television but you just never know. My decision to take this class was based on my need to become a well rounded print journalist. There will be few journalism jobs for those of us who can’t write, gather audio, shoot video, and take still photographs. The goal for now is to enjoy the rest of this class and possibly look at taking a professional level television production class. After that anything is possible.