One of the most enjoyable parts of this new digital era the Campbell River Mirror now finds itself fully immersed in is the abundance of video.
It probably seems ironic that a person who makes his living composing written words finds so much satisfaction from a visual medium. But it’s actually not anything new for me. My first desires to be a filmmaker go back to my early-to-mid-teens when I lived in some pretty isolated communities on the doorstep of wilderness.
Those dreams faded or morphed into other things and receded into the background but they never died. I see the profession I’m currently in as a somewhat natural progression. I studied communications, particularly the media, but not journalism per se. After graduating with a B.A. in communication and political science, I was kind of left wondering what to do. Circumstances opened up the opportunity to get into journalism and I said, yeah, I could do that. A lifelong interest in news, current affairs and sports were a natural fit with journalism.
Life took over and the journalism career path took me down the road I’m on now. But then the digital “revolution” broke out and this year, our company jumped into the digital pool with both feet and video has become an important component of the work we do here.
Added to that has been the importance of video to social media. Consumers of news and information – that’s you and I – like visual formats. So now my colleagues and I are expected to generate video content along with all the written word and still imagery. Which is fine with me (although, as is typical in the newspaper field, these other skills and tasks have been added to what we already do). I love doing video.
But it is a pain.
Video is a much more labour intensive medium. First of all, there’s the equipment.
the medium does encourage the collection of sundry gear. The audio on DSLRs is crappy. So, you buy a microphone or you get a recording device to record audio. I first bought a Zoom H1 digital recorder. Ooooh. Entry level, but top quality. But it’s still a separate device .
So I then bought a Rode Micro microphone which I can pop onto my DSLR – and my iPhone – and boost the audio quality by just having an attachment to my camera. Sweet.
Then there’s the whole handheld thing.
But to provide stable video, you have to buy a tripod. And if you want to move your camera around, you start to investigate steadicams – bulky handles that stabilize your camera while your hand and body bounce up and down and around. So, gotta get a steadicam.
If you really want to splurge, you can get a gimbal. What’s a gimbal? Oh, I’m glad you asked. A gimbal is a pivoted support that allows the rotation of an object (in this case, a camera or cell phone used as a camera) about a single axis, to quote Wikipedia. They’re electronically controlled and really expensive.
So, the days of scrambling from the office to a news story with a pencil and a notebook in hand have passed.
Now, you have to gather up your DSLR, your cell phone , your recording device, a tripod (or a monopod) and maybe a steadicam.
Welcome to the digital age of reporting.