Inter BEE 2013: Our live coverage of Japan’s biggest broadcast show starts tomorrow

By site editor Dan Chung:

Tomorrow sees the start of Interbee – Japan’s equivalent of the NAB show in Las Vegas. The country’s largest broadcast event is a chance for the big Japanese manufacturers to show off in their home market. We are expecting some interesting announcements and the Newsshooter team in here in Japan to report.

Expect 4K products to feature heavily at Interbee

Expect 4K products to feature heavily at Interbee

We are going to be broadcasting live every day of the show from the Atomos/Teradek booth on the show floor. I’ll be introducing Japanese guests from some of the biggest names in the industry, as well as talking to key industry figures for a spot of crystal ball gazing. We will be live every day of the show from 12.30am EST, 9.30pm PST, 5.30 am GMT. You’ll be able to watch the stream here on or directly from the Teradek website.

The show will be broadcast live by the guys at Teradek and Atomos

The show will be broadcast live by the guys at Teradek and Atomos

Sony's A7 and RX10 will be on show

Sony’s A7 and RX10 will be on show

As usual we will also be filming pre-recorded interviews from around the show floor. Be sure to check in every day for more.

Jonas and Li Lian prep our cameras for Interbee

Jonas and Li Lian prep our cameras for Interbee

Posted on November 12th, 2013 by Dan Chung | Category: Journalism | Permalink | Comments (0)

Ebb and Flow: Jonah Kessel on Commercial Video Fueling Editorial Possibilities

By Newsshooter contributing editor Jonah Kessel:

How Lili Learned How to Travel Smart from Jonah Kessel on Vimeo.

It was the moment that I got my first payment from a newspaper that I realized I would have to supplement my income as a freelancer with more commercially oriented work.

What I didn’t realize then was that the financial necessity fueling my venture into the commercial video world, would not only change how I view the online video landscape, but also elevate my ability as a video journalist dramatically.

In the commercial world — I am in control of the elements. I want all of my frames to be planned out and perfectly composed. I want light, sound and the technical side of my videos to be precise and fine-tuned.

A hidden gaffer in our opening shot.

A hidden gaffer in our opening shot.

However, as I‘ve developed my skills as a commercial cinematographer I’ve been noticing a philosophical ebb and flow between the two worlds I exist in (editorial and commercial video). I know what type of quality I can create in a controlled environment, but I want to create the same quality level in a world where the elements are out of my control.

At the same time, my skills as a real world storyteller have become intrinsically important in creating powerful commercial work. A technically perfect brand video without a sense of story or authenticity is meaningless.

In many ways, my audience is the same. It’s the 21st century media consumer who is over-saturated with content and exists in a world of tabbed web browsing and 15-second video bursts on their phones.

Whether I’m making a corporate video or a newspaper doc, the reality is it’s the same impatient and distracted viewer. If my commercial videos feel false, people might click off. If my newspaper videos don’t have production value that matches the standards that these people have come to expect in online entertainment and cinema, people might click off.

Left, lighting for Mr. Gong and Lili's tea scene. Right, The Canon C100 on Kessler Crane Cineslider.

Left, lighting for Mr. Gong and Lili’s tea scene. Right, The Canon C100 on Kessler Crane Cineslider.

In a recent project for Chinese travel company I had a chance to create a story that became a really fun example in my portfolio of combining two skill sets.

This video was storyboarded out per every shot you see in the video (except the opening shot which was unplanned). It’s the work of over 20-people and it took about a month to conceptualize, write and produce. Shooting time was three days.

However, the 12-scene video is shot completely in real world environments and in many cases, in public places where the elements are certainly not in my control. But this is where I thrive. This is the environment where I produce news videos by the dozens annually. I love this environment.

Left: Lighting a yoga studio. Right, DOP Jonah Kessel on an apple box with Miller 2020 Compass15 at full height.

Left: Lighting a yoga studio. Right, DOP Jonah Kessel on an apple box with Miller 2020 Compass15 at full height.

The return of investment for doing jobs like this has impacted me far beyond my bank account.

First and foremost: commercial video production has pushed me to demand higher quality of myself in video journalism. I can’t say that I can achieve the same quality working by myself as I can with a small or medium sized team, but just aspiring to it has made my news and documentary video better. While commercial jobs don’t necessarily have the same ethical backbone that I strive for in my editorial work, I do view each job as a new chance to push my ability with technology and cinema.

Second: commercial work has given me the financial backing to take lower paying documentary jobs that I feel passionate about, without having to worry about how to get food on the table.

Throughout the year, I’ve been writing about my experience shooting in Burma on this blog (see here and here). But guess what? No one pays me too much to spend months of time wrapping my head around complicated stories in the middle of nowhere: arguing with a Chinese state-owned mine undermining democracy outside of their own borders.

Director Jim Fields from Studio Output attempting to clear people long enough for a three shot sequence on a busy bridge in beijing.

Director Jim Fields from Studio Output attempting to clear people long enough for a three shot sequence on a busy bridge in beijing.

While no budget or quote will reflect this on paper, jobs like the one above pay for those more meaningful jobs, or newspaper video in general who don’t really have budgets. Without the commercial work, these more meaningful videos might not be possible, at least in the same capacity.

Its also hard to ignore that commercial work has transformed my backpack full of gear into a very large room full of gear. The tools I use to create commercial work with are now at my fingertips to create more powerful editorial work. Having options on different sets of glass, cameras, jibs, motorized dollies and a plethora of stabilization devices is quite the novelty for some newspaper video journalists.

Now when I look at creating a doc, I think about it with the eyes of a cinematographer but the mind of a journalist. This is a shift compared to some years ago where my entire income was editorial based.

While trying to integrate cinematic technology and philosophy into my editorial work has brought up lots of interesting ethical questions, I do believe that the greatest benefactor of my commercial work is my editorial audience. Simultaneously, I believe a lot of the commercial work I do I get because of my skills as a real world storyteller.

This is the ebb and flow between editorial and commercial video in my business and creative equation. They fuel each other and in many ways live a symbiotic relationship. Without one, the other couldn’t exist.

Jonah M. Kessel is a Pulitzer Prize-winning visual journalist and cinematographer based in Beijing, China. He covers China for the video desk of The New York Times and makes videos and photos for newspapers, magazines, multinationals, nonprofit and governmental organizations around the globe. He always wants to know what’s on the other side of the mountain, regardless of what side he’s on. See his site here or keep up with him on Twitter here.

Posted on November 2nd, 2013 by Jonah Kessel | Category: Branded content, Canon C100, Journalism | Permalink | Comments (1)

BBC shooter Christian Parkinson: Moving from cameraman to video journalist

Guest post by Christian Parkinson:

Christian at work in Kenya. Picture by Ben Gurney

Christian at work in Kenya. Picture by Ben Gurney

For too long the news shooter has been seen as a techie. News often seems to be about the correspondent while those of us who shoot, edit and sweat blood for the report go unrecognized, even within our own organizations.

For a while now there has been a growing trend, especially in news, for the one-man-band video journalist, both shooting/editing and reporting. There are obvious financial motives for this but the journalists who can tell a good yarn while still getting their shots in focus and correctly framed with good sound levels are few and far between. It’s not their fault, of course. It is an incredibly difficult job and the majority of those doing it are often new to shooting and editing.

That’s why I think people like you and I are perfectly placed to step in and fill this role when needed. Many of you probably already do. I’ve just started, and I am loving it. I’ve been a shooter/editor for the BBC for eleven years, four of them with the Africa Bureau. Recently I began an attachment (temporary posting) as a video journalist working for BBC World News. Suddenly I’m having to find and plan my own stories. I shoot them, cut them and sometimes even have to write a script and show my face. It’s demanding and stressful but always incredibly rewarding.

This Indian martial arts film is the first I made in my new job as a VJ. Shot on my PMW 500

0055 2

The work I’ve been doing has been a mixed bag so far, ranging from quirky arts films to covering the Westgate mall siege in Nairobi. Sometimes I still work with a correspondent, though those occasions have been few and far between. Mainly I produce what we call “authored pieces” with no voice except that of the interviewee. It’s the sort of film making that guys on this website have been doing for a while now and to me it really is the best way to tell a story. Why should we shoehorn in a voiceover and piece to camera unless you are trying to explain a very complicated story?

Syrian refugees in Jordan. Filmed on a Sony PMW500.

I’ve been using a mixture of kit depending on the piece. Sometimes I use a Sony PMW-500 ENG camera, sometimes my Canon 5D mkII and at other times my tiny Canon S110 compact which is incredibly useful for filming my own pieces to camera and behind the scenes footage. I’m still to find the perfect VJ camera but I’m enjoying experimenting.

For those of you who are craft cameramen or editors, I think showing a willingness to step up and do this type of work can really increase your employability. After all, if the technical side of the job is already second nature then the rest is fairly straightforward. For too long news crews have been complaining of producers and reporters taking jobs from them, but surely with our skill set we have no need to worry? You just need to be willing to take a risk and step outside your comfort zone. If you want to keep a job until retirement or if you are a freelancer looking for work then it may be time to realize that the opportunities in news are increasingly limited for anybody except those who can do everything – well.

Chessboxing feature shot using 4 cameras including the Gopro Hero 3, 5D mkII and my Sony HX9v.

It’s far from easy. I’ve made lots of mistakes and still do. It is tough to get your shot perfect while trying to make eye contact with an interviewee. It can be quite daunting to turn up at an event where not much is happening and to make a film about it for that evenings newscast. But imagine how much worse it is for somebody who can’t remember how to white balance, doesn’t know which mic is right for each circumstance and still has their hyper gain on from the night before. Believe me, I think we “techies” can be better VJs than anybody if we put our minds to it.

Christian Parkinson is a cameraman and video journalist based in London and covering the world. His work has won the David Bloom award and was shortlisted for an International Emmy. Christian is currently writing a book about how to succeed as a news cameraman. He also edits the popular camera blog and on twitter is @imagejunkies

Posted on October 20th, 2013 by Christian Parkinson | Category: Journalism | Permalink | Comments (0)

How should we judge the best multimedia? An open letter to World Press Photo from Jonah Kessel

By contributor Jonah Kessel and edited by site editor Dan Chung:


The World Press Photo multimedia competition is now a few years old. It seeks to recognise photojournalists and multimedia professionals for excellence in this field. The criteria used to judge these awards have been controversial and their definition of multimedia for the purposes of this contest has varied. After visiting their headquarters, our contributor Jonah Kessel decided to send them this open letter:

To Micha Bruinvels:
Contest coordinator at World Press Photo

Thank you for inviting me to visit World Press Photo in Amsterdam last week. It was a true pleasure to meet you and your colleagues as well as to see and learn about all of the work being done to promote and improve visual journalism around the world by WPP.

It was also very insightful to be able to talk to you about WPP’s young multimedia contest and the challenges that occur in trying to create categories that are applicable to a constantly changing media environment across the globe.

Every year, following contest season there seems to be quite a lot of debate about who wins what as well as what categories and merits multimedia journalists are judged in. While debate and discussion are healthy, there has been some criticism of the contest categories of WPP’s multimedia site, including on this site here and here.

Leaving the office of World Press Photo with a greater understanding of some of the challenges involved in creating contests like this, I started to ask myself: How would I create a contest that would best judge the work being done in multimedia journalism on a global scale? Well, here’s how.

First, I would outline some divisions and factors that shape video production quality and issues that could occur in judging them.

    Examples: Feature, Sports, Politics, Election, Breaking News, Feature
    Can we judge a sports video against a politics video?
  • TYPE
    Examples: Character Profile, Calendar Video Journalism, Breaking News, Issue
    Should a single source character profile be judged against an issues based piece?
    Example: TV, Newspaper, Web
    Newspapers and televisions are very different in terms of production style. Is it fair to judge the work of a solo newspaper video journalist next to a television journalist with a team of five?
    Example: Under 5 minutes, Over 5 minutes
    How does length play into judging videos? Can a 2 minute video be judged against a 5 minute video?
    Example: One team spends one day shooting, another team spends a month.
    Should someone who shot something in one day be in the same category as someone who spent a month on their production?
    Example: $5000 vs $500
    If one team has $5000 and one team only has $500, is the bigger budget team at an inherent advantage?
    Example: Newspaper with 25,000 unique monthly hits, vs network with 5 million nightly viewers
    With photo contests, we often separate larger publications to smaller publications because the journalists have different resources at their hands.

Having too many categories is not a real option, because you might not have enough excellent entries in every category — and there’s certainly no use in awarding things that aren’t excellent. If we took the above list for example, you’d have around 20 categories.

So based on the above factors and this consideration, I’ve compressed my contest to six categories that I believe would (1) better reflect the current media environment from a production stand point, (2) help to recognize a variety of visual journalists from different areas in the media and (3) still allow the simple and inherent qualities of powerful multimedia to speak for itself, regardless of how it was created or what it is about. In my contest, awards would be given for:

    Awarded to a staff member of a television station. Three videos must be submitted.
    Awarded to any staff member of a newspaper or web site who makes video or multimedia to be used solely online. Three videos must be submitted.
    Awarded to any video or multimedia journalist who does not have a staff position. Super stringers or accredited journalists working for multiple publications should apply here. Three videos must be submitted.
  • 4) SHORT
    Defined as: Under 3 minutes or 1 day production
    This category awards excellence in short form reporting that happens on the fly. Breaking news, nonplanned events and daily assignments. If the production was shot and edited in the same 24-hour period, regardless of length, you may enter in this category.
  • 5) FEATURE
    Defined as: Between 3 and 10 minutes.
    This category was designed to recognize excellence in short form, in-depth reporting for video and multimedia journalism. Pieces in this category could have been reported out over a long period of time, but the final product is still short form.
    Defined as: Any video over 10 minutes in length or three or more videos on a single topic.
    This category is designed to recognize visual journalists in long-term, in-depth reporting.

A division like this would allow the best content to be judged for what impact it has while simultaneously evening our the playing field for visual journalists by allowing them to compete with those who have similar production conditions.

Categories 1 through 3 are designed to allow for factors of budgets, team size and organizational support. A freelancer might have more time to do work on a production while a staff member might have more support from their organization or more team members. Budget terms might follow the same theory. Bigger publications likely have bigger budgets. So smaller budget productions could still compete against each other without being leveled by a Goliath.

But categories 4 through 6 are designed to award video and multimedia based on its intrinsic quality and impact, no matter how they were made. I left content variation out of this list because I believe any type of content can be powerful. A good video is a good video — and the audience knows it when they see it. To help judge videos across a variety of topics a point system from judges would be applied that take into consideration factors like: (1) overall production value, (2) audio quality, (3) video quality, (4) story and narrative arch (5) editing/post production (6) news value (7) creativity (8) photojournalism. Factor 3 in this list refers to technical video quality while factor 8 refers to actual cinematography.

While we all make different types of videos, the time constraints from categories 4 through 6 would help group together things of a similar type or nature since certain genre of news multimedia tend to follow similar timelines of what’s acceptable to audiences, given their content.

These are my thoughts based upon the variety of work I am asked to do by employers as well as the work I see professionals doing on a day-to-day basis in the field. I’m sure there are still some holes in my theory, and if anyone reading this sees some, I would encourage you to list your ideas in the comment section below: How do you think multimedia and video journalism should be judged?

I do wonder however, if such a contest (like mine) were to exist, if the same post-contest moaning would still occur? Perhaps it is inevitable and this is the nature of Internet commenting. That is unclear.

But what is clear is that World Press Photo has a history of excellence and has helped award those who have dedicated their lives to photojournalism for decades. More recently, video and multimedia have had a growing importance in helping our world better understand the issues which shape the globe. However, annual contests don’t seem to be giving multimedia the same attention that audiences have been. As the role of video and multimedia grows, I hope World Press Photo can be a leader in helping to recognize the journalists at the forefront of this important transformation in visual journalism.

Looking forward to seeing what you guys came up with this year.



Jonah M. Kessel is a Pulitzer Prize-winning visual journalist and cinematographer based in Beijing, China. He covers China for the video desk of the York Times’ and makes videos and photos for newspapers, magazines, multinationals, nonprofit and governmental organizations around the globe. He always wants to know whats on the other side of the mountain, regardless of what side he’s on. See his site here or keep up with him on Twitter here.

Posted on October 6th, 2013 by Jonah Kessel | Category: Journalism | Permalink | Comments (0)

Pete Pattisson’s shocking Guardian report on Nepali migrant workers in Qatar

By site editor Dan Chung:

Pete Pattisson’s film about the hardships faced by migrant workers in Qatar ahead of the World Cup has made waves internationally since it was featured on the Guardian website earlier this week. Pattisson should be no stranger to followers of this site – he’s a news shooter who likes to take on challenging subjects such as the Kachin conflict in Burma. I spoke to him about his latest project:

What inspired you to do this story?
I’ve been documenting different forms of slavery around the world for a number of years now. When I say slavery I don’t mean low pay or poor working conditions; I mean people being forced to work under threat of violence or some other form of penalty. My early work on this issue was a major photographic project, Forgotten But Not Gone.

I had already made some films on slavery in the Middle East, which were published by the Guardian: here and here.

The combination of the World Cup being awarded to Qatar and the fact that I now live in Nepal created an obvious opportunity to explore this issue further.

How did you get the access? Were the families keen to talk? How did you win their trust?
Every day the bodies of three or four Nepalese migrant workers from across the Gulf and Malaysia are flown back to Nepal. Although it’s not evident in the film, I spent 11 days at Kathmandu’s airport documenting the return of these bodies and waiting for a case which I thought would illustrate some of the main issues facing migrants in Qatar. That case was the story of Ganesh Bishwakarma, which features in the film. Ganesh’s family live 12 hours drive from Kathmandu, but fortunately their village is close to a very well respected NGO, Backward Society Education which I already had links with. They were instrumental in arranging the logistics for me, including travel, accommodation and a translator.

The families I spoke with at the airport were almost always willing to talk. Many of them were still trying to make sense of what had happened to their deceased relative (they often receive very little official information) and they were keen to discuss this.  

Who funded your project? Was this commissioned by the Guardian or did you submit it to them on spec?
This was a joint project with the Guardian as part of their Modern Day Slavery in Focus series. I almost always work on my own and then deliver films on spec, so it was a really refreshing change to collaborate on a project, and to know I was going to be paid for it. On the flip side, this also brings the pressure of knowing you have to deliver. 

Was it hard to work in Qatar?
Yes and no. I had some great local contacts who were able to take me to the right places and people. In one sense it is simple to find the stories I did in Qatar – the exploitation is that widespread. On the other hand it is quite risky doing this work. I could never stay at any location for very long – you just have to grab some footage and leave. You are always looking over your shoulder.

What has been the response to your Guardian story? What action would you like to see the Qataris take about the matter?
The response has been overwhelming. We all felt this story could have a big impact, but I don’t think any of us could have predicted it would be this big. There’s a real sense of anger that this is happening to some of the poorest people in the world, working in one of the richest countries in the world. And really there is no reason for the Qatari authorities, or FIFA, or the multinational construction firms not to act. If I, working with one or two local contacts, can find so many examples of abuse in just one week, it should not be difficult for the Qatari authorities to do the same and begin to enforce their own labour laws.

The relatives of Ganesh Bishwakarma, prepare his body for cremation in his village of Dharana, Nepal

The relatives of Ganesh Bishwakarma, prepare his body for cremation in his village of Dharana, Nepal

Do you have plans to make this into a bigger piece of work?
It’s already become far bigger than any of us imagined! I’m going to do a bit more work on the Nepali side of the story, particularly the recruitment process, which we weren’t able to cover sufficiently in the report. The Qatari government is at fault, but so is the Nepali government. It’s the combination of failings on both sides that leaves these workers trapped and exploited.

How much assistance/editorial guidance did the Guardian give you for the video?
Whenever I’m making a film for The Guardian, or a film I plan to pitch to The Guardian, I can always hear the editor’s voice ringing in my ears, “Make sure you get plenty of actuality.” 

My definition of actuality is any footage, which you have to nail in one take. A funeral, a happy reunion, the Olympic 100m final. You cannot ask your subjects to re-enact any of these. It’s happening live, right in front of you, and you only have one chance to document it. And so that was one of my aims, which I think I achieved to some extent.

To make a slightly wider point however, I think there’s been a real decline in actuality, and the popularity of large sensor cameras is partly to blame for this. Large sensor cameras undoubtedly produce gorgeous images, but they are also slower to operate. They are not really suited to the chaotic, fast-moving world of actuality. 

To some degree the rise of large sensor cameras has begun to determine the types of films we make, rather than the films we want to make determining the types of cameras we use. As a result we are drowning in beautifully shot but (in my opinion) tedious ‘portrait films’, travelogues overlaid with funky music and documentaries where the loudest voice is the voiceover. I’m guilty of all these things, but I’m trying to explore ways to do things differently.

Pete at work

Pete Pattisson at work

Since your last blog post what have you been doing? Is video journalism now a full time profession for you?
I’m now based in Kathmandu, Nepal, but I’m still involved in both education and journalism. I love them both and I’ll continue to do both.

What gear did you use? Was the gear determined by the assignment? I assume you shot on a DSLR; could you have done it with a big camera?
I shot this on my Canon 60D, with just a Rode VideoMic Pro, Canon 28mm f1.8 and 17-40mm f4 L, plus a tripod and a Rode lavalier for some of the interviews.

To be honest, I chose this gear because it’s all I’ve got! The Guardian asked me for photos as well as film, so it made sense in any case, but shooting photos and film is a nightmare. When there’s a lot of action and a little time, how do you decide which to prioritise?  

However, a lot of the time I felt frustrated by the limitations of the 60D. It’s great for interviews and adequate in low light, but it’s simply not designed for the footage I was trying to get (although the autofocus on the 70D might change that somewhat). 

I sometimes found myself spending so much time fussing with the camera settings that I lost focus on the story. The reality is that you don’t need (and often can’t get) the glossy footage and shallow depth of field that these cameras can produce. When you’re filming a fast moving scene, or working undercover, you can forget about attaching ND filters or changing lens. You just have to try to predict what’s going to happen and then stick with the decision. Circumstances, not aesthetics, determine so much. I shot a lot of the film at either at f1.8 or f22, not because I wanted a particular depth of field, but because there was simply not enough or too much light. The demands of the scene trumped any ‘look’ I might have wanted. 

If I had the chance to start this project again, I would probably film it with a conventional camcorder. The Canon DSLRs demand too much attention. I want a forgettable camera. 

Finally, the small size of the camera has its benefits, but I’m not small! A big foreigner in a labour camp in Qatar, or a village in Nepal, is what attracts attention; not the size of the camera he’s holding!

Meena, 35, mourns the death of her cousin, Ganesh Bishwakarma, as his body is brought home from Qatar to the village of Dharana, Dang district, Nepal

Meena, 35, mourns the death of her cousin, Ganesh Bishwakarma, as his body is brought home from Qatar to the village of Dharana, Dang district, Nepal

There seemed to be a lot of low light shooting – how did you work with that?
Everything I shot in the village at night as the family was receiving Ganesh’s body, and every interview in the workers’ accommodation in Qatar was shot with a Canon 28mm at f1.8. In fact, I had to discard a lot of the footage I shot at the village because even then it was just too under exposed. I would have loved to have had a 5DMk3 with me! However, I find focussing at f1.8 in low light quite easy, much more so than trying to focus at any f-stop in bright light. 

What advice do you have for anyone wanting to get into video journalism? What qualities does it take to become a successful video journalist?
The challenge is to try to tell new stories in new ways. Try to break conventions. I love the film Stateless Media recently published about Anthony Weiner’s campaign for mayor of New York. It’s an outstanding example of covering the news in a fresh and different way, and something I aspire to.


Second, sometimes it feels like filmmakers today have got their A-roll and B-roll mixed up. Typically the A-roll consists of an interview, pimped out with a bit of B-roll to give some context. I know I’ve done far too much of this. However, what I’m trying to do is make films where the B-roll is the A-roll. In other words, the footage of what’s happening is so compelling that it takes centre stage. 

Finally, I was really inspired by what Darren ‘DC’ Conway said on this blog: “People are letting us into their lives and some on what is usually their worst day. Sometimes they are heartbroken or just broken; they are vulnerable, they are confused and they are lost. Sometimes they are inspired or they are inspirational. No matter what, though, they generally trust us to tell their story, so use that trust and that emotion for them! It is such a privilege to be able to tell their story – don’t let them down!”

Posted on September 27th, 2013 by Dan Chung | Category: Canon Eos60D, documentary, Journalism | Permalink | Comments (2)

IBC 2013 Teradek replay: New York Times shooter Jonah Kessel on why he dumped DSLR for the C100

By site editor Dan Chung:

IBC 2013 – News Shooter with Jonah Kessel – Transition from DSLR from Teradek on Vimeo.

IBC is all over for another year and we’ve now posted almost all our pre-recorded interviews. But if you still want more then don’t despair! We have a few more replays of our live show from the Teradek booth to post up for your viewing pleasure.

In this show we talk to Newsshooter contributor and New York Times contract video journalist Jonah Kessel. He was well known as a DSLR shooter but has abandoned them in favour of the Canon C100. We ask him why he made the switch? He also offers some interesting insights into how he works as a solo operator.

LEAVING THE LAND: Urban, But Left Behind from Jonah Kessel on Vimeo.

Kessler 640x120-1



Posted on September 19th, 2013 by Dan Chung | Category: Canon C100, IBC show, Journalism | Permalink | Comments (2)

IBC 2013: BBC R&D — The Future of Television is at Higher Frame Rates

By @Jonah_Kessel:

IBC 2013: BBC R&D — The Future is above 100 Frames Per Second from Dan Chung on Vimeo.

One of the more interesting halls at IBC this year was the “Future” hall where research and development peoples have a chance to show off their findings. Among them, the BBC R&D challenging the future of standard frame rates.

Frame and field rates have been largely standardized for the better part of the last 100 years. However, as our displays have grown, issues relating to motion portrayal have become more evident. Moving into a 4K environment, with 8K down the road, the BBC’s Manish Pindoria explains how faster frame rates will create a “more immersive” television experience, with less motion blur, less aliasing and more realistic images.


However, for televisions around the world to broadcast at over 100 fps, consumer and production technologies would have to be wiped clean. In this notion of the future, any camera not shooting 4K and at least 100 FPS would not be broadcast ready. At the same time, your grandmother who lives in the countryside with a square television, would also be out of luck (although, if you are a reader of this blog, it’s probably about time you went and picked up Granny a new 4K display, eh?).

On display at IBC were multiple televisions showing various frame rates: however, you won’t be able to see the difference, as our video above was only recorded at standard frame rates.

Check out this explanation from the BBC for more detail:

CORRECTIONS: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the BBC claimed the future of television is at 120 fps. The BBC’s R&D departement is still investigating higher frame rates across the range between 100 and 150 fps. In a note to, the BBC clarified “This is because, in a future production environment where HDTV at 50Hz coexists for many years with a transition to UHDTV at 120 fps, multiple conversions are inevitable, and would degrade the quality due to “judder” if it were used in European 50 Hz HDTV programmes and vice-versa. As a result, there is growing consensus that the European 50 Hz community needs a high frame rate standard based on a multiples of 50 fps.

Video shot and edited by Li-Lian Ahlskog, Jonah Kessel and Scott Karlins.

Kessler 640x120-1



Posted on September 15th, 2013 by Jonah Kessel | Category: Journalism | Permalink | Comments (1)

IBC 2013: BBC Research & Development – Measuring and Improving the Quality of Live Subtitles

By @Jonah_Kessel:

IBC 2013: BBC Research & Development – Measuring and Improving the Quality of Live Subtitles from Dan Chung on Vimeo.

Following my post last week on “Robbing our subjects or helping our audience” on voice-overs vs. subtitles, I was happy to see BBC R&D’s work at IBC 2013 on the future of subtitles.

The BBC reports over 7 million people regularly use subtitles to view television and video. More interesting, is that most of them do so for reasons other than hearing impairment or disabilities. Looking to create a rich and improved experience for these people, the BBC has been researching how we perceive and understand content with subtitles.

I got a chance to talk to Senior Engineer Matthew Brooks on what the research could mean for the future of subtitles. Brooks’ research shows our conventional methods, may not be in fact the best way forward into making sure our audiences understand content.

From the BBC:

We have been examining ways in which we might use language models for individual programme topics to improve the performance of speech to text engines and to detect errors in existing subtitles. We have had some early success modelling weather forecast subtitles which suggests there may be some value in this approach, but it will require a great deal more work.

We have carried out a ground-breaking study into the relative impact of subtitle delay and subtitle accuracy. This work required the development of new test methodologies based on industry standards for measuring audio quality. A user study was carried out in December 2012 with a broad sample of people who regularly use subtitles when watching television. The results are being presented at IBC2013 in September.

Most recently we have been exploring ways to take the live broadcast subtitles and carry out automatic post-processing to remove the original delay and improve the formatting. Early results are promising and we are in the process of talking to the iPlayer team about the potential for this work. We are also looking at how live subtitles could be realigned and reformatted for delayed streaming.

More on the BBC’s R&D Lab here.

Video shot and edited by Jonah Kessel, Scott Karlins and Li-Lian Ahlskog.

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Posted on September 15th, 2013 by Jonah Kessel | Category: Journalism, Uncategorized, Video editing | Permalink | Comments (0)

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