I work with a small news team of mostly writers at Florida International University in Miami. The institution is fairly young and we created a news website just a year ago; the department only recently began incorporating videography in its coverage. We’re still working out what videos we do and how we do them, but the introduction of video has definitely opened up all sorts of possibilities for storytelling.
I try to create videos that take a deeper look into the news, life and personalities of a college campus. Instead of just making a news report about a recent law school graduation, I want to know what it really means to have a law degree. I have been shooting on my Panasonic GH1 for the past seven months and my most recent piece was a pre-season weight training video for the Florida International University football team.
It was the team’s last day of weight training before they moved on to training camp, so this was the heaviest lifting that they would do all season. I wanted to capture the raw power of these athletes. At 5:45 a.m. I arrived at the quiet and empty weight room before the team arrived. Fifteen minutes later the air was filled with shouting, grunting and weights slamming onto racks. The noise was deafening.
For another football video I created the previous week, we wanted to feature the voices of the players with more journalistic storytelling.
This time, I wanted to try something different and create a piece that was less journalistic and more stylized, capturing the intensity of the atmosphere. I believe some stories are told better with images than words. For this particular video I used a Panasonic GH1 mounted on a Barska Accu Grip, a Dynex Video Accesory Bracket, and a Tascam DR-07 portable recorder. This is a very simple and affordable set up that really works well. I have nicer rigs than this, but it seems to be my favorite run-and-gun setup right now.
I keep changing my rig and eliminating more and more gear because I get frustrated with how limiting shoulder rigs are to my mobility and I usually end up going hand-held. The dolly shots were done using the Motion Slider 36, mounted on a Velbon DV-7000 tripod. My camera has the Tester13 firmware hack installed and the difference in image quality is quite astonishing. The Tascam DR-07 is much more affordable than the commonly used Zoom H4N and it has wonderful sound quality, especially with the Redhead Windscreen. I use various prime lenses such as the Canon 50mm f1.4 and 85mm f1.8 or Panasonic’s 20mm f1.7 and Leica’s 25mm f1.4, I even use some CCTV lenses. Whenever I go out to an event, I go along with a reporter who organizes everything and gets the interviews but I never actually show the reporter in the video. This is as much a stylistic choice as it is because we don’t have anyone trained to do on-camera work. I edit all of my videos in Adobe Premiere CS5 and do my coloring in Magic Bullet looks.
Please take a look at some of my other pieces on our YouTube page, such as our recent video on the White Coat Ceremony.
This is an annual event where incoming medical students are given their medical coats for the first time. We used a wireless Sennheiser G3 microphone and plugged it directly into the GH1 for the interviews. For event filming with large crowds, I find that the wireless hand-held mic gives the most isolated audio possible.
I post my personal work on Vimeo.com/DougGarland