Last week the Westboro Baptist Church came to town. Although we were reticent about giving any more attention to Fred Phelps and his message of hate than absolutely necessary, we had to acknowledge that the Spokane community was planning to turn out in numbers to protest. We had to be there. And in the end, we produced out some solid coverage.
With Westboro’s well-publicized schedule of appearances, it seemed an easy opportunity to try something new with our live coverage at spokesman.com. Drawing from advice I got from Danny Gawlowski at the Northwest Video Workshop, I decided to try Ustream to shoot some live video.
For a trial effort, it went well. I shot live feeds of the counterprotests at Gonzaga University, Whitworth University and Eastern Washington University. Below you can check out the (choppy) replay of the EWU counter demonstration, easily the biggest of the day, then read on for some specs, tips and observations about using Ustream with an iPhone.
I attended the Northwest Video in Workshop in Seattle on Oct. 16. I made new friends, talked shop with other journalists and picked up some inspiration. A couple of (seriously overdue) notes and musings.
By design, the conference was high on inspiration and low on technical training. And that’s cool. The speakers shared more than a dozen great examples of video storytelling that reminded us of why good journalism matters.
My friend Starr visited last week and showed me the early cut of a video that she made with our mutual pals Johanna and Kyle. It’s a send-up of “I’m on a Boat, and now the finished version is on Funny or Die. If you’ve seen the Lonely Island original, you might get a laugh.
We’ve been hard at work these past few months on an ambitious series about the 1910 forest fires that consumed huge swaths of the Inland Northwest. The series, titled Flame and Ruin: The fires of 1910, launched Sunday, and I encourage you to explore it. It’s a treat for history buffs and lovers of the outdoors.
My favorite parts of the online package are the above video scripted by Jim Kershner and produced by Colin Mulvany and a then-and-now presentation inspired by the New York Times featuring photographs by Christopher Anderson and a Django+jQuery app by Ryan Pitts and Mike Tigas.
But I certainly don’t want to overlook the reporting and writing that went into this package. I especially recommend Jim Kershner’s opening narrative and Becky Kramer’s story about Ed Pulaski, the tunnel in which he saved his fire crew, and that tunnel’s discovery in 1979. It runs Tuesday and will be found on the main page of the special series.
It’s not my best video work, but it’s serviceable, and the talent was top-notch.
What moved me about this story was the barely spoken relationship between Lucky the Belgian Malinois and his handlers. Just listen to the way Staff Sgt. Gerald Martinez talks to Lucky as he’s running him through the obstacle course. The way Tech. Sgt. Levi Wilson wishes he could adopt Lucky. This dog has seen far scarier situations than I ever will, but he’s had good people taking care of him.
My latest video was a collaboration with our summer intern, Asia Hege. She was interested in learning some multimedia, and when I asked her whether she had any story ideas, she pulled out a gem passed along by our environment and natural resources reporter. The video tells the story well, I think, but you can read the version that ran in the paper too.
It was a real treat of an assignment because it involved hiking in the Colville National Forest. It was a good three miles with about 1,200 feet of elevation gain.
This was a hard story to tackle for a first video, and Asia didn’t get to attend one of Colin Mulvany‘s training seminars. So after the briefest of introductions to shooting, I used this as a chance for her to practice with the camera. I incorporated a lot of her B roll in the final edit (you can tell which parts are hers because the colors are, puzzingly, richer). I also asked her help on the script, which she read well for the voiceover. And we did some of the editing together; it’s helpful to have feedback from another person, and she saw things I didn’t.
I played director the other day.
I was shooting an instructional video about the proper installation of a rear-facing infant car seat to go along with a story Rebecca Nappi was writing for the Sunday Spokesman-Review. Officer Teresa Fuller of the Spokane Police Department was our expert, and Rebecca’s niece and her baby boy, Rocco, provided the talent. Watch the finished video below, then click through for my post-mortem.
Description from spokesman.com:
Brothers Cody and Kyle Ives travel the world performing a motorbike stunt known alternately as the Globe of Steel, Globe of Thunder and Globe of Death. They performed in Spokane at the Inland Northwest Motorcycle Show and Sale on Friday, Feb. 12, 2010.
I shot and edited this Friday night at the Inland Northwest Motorcycle Show and Sale in Spokane. It was definitely a Plan B effort. I’d intended to get footage of Spokesman-Review columnist Doug Clark standing in the middle of this globe with rider Cody Ives buzzing around him. Let’s just say technical difficulties changed that.
At least I managed to salvage a little eye candy for speed geeks.
I found myself in unfamiliar territory this week covering live action at the National Veterans Wheelchair Games at the Spokane Convention Center.
During my high school and newspaper reporting days, I wrote no more than four sports stories, all features. And I’d never tried to photograph, let alone video, athletes on the fly.
So it was ambitious to choose as my subject the game of quad rugby, also known as “Murderball.” But damn if it wasn’t worth it. The game is filled with collisions and athletes breaking up and down the court. The players exert themselves quite visibly. And the crowd gets into it.
Here’s the result. Dive deeper into the post for more post-mortem. Also, find the trailer for the outstanding documentary “Murderball.”
Last week I found the time and inspiration to produce a new video. The National Veterans Wheelchair Games were coming to Spokane, and I decided I’d find an angle.
Here’s where media relations people are your friends. At the official games site, somebody had helpfully prepared bios of Spokane-area athletes who would be competing.
A lot of these guys – and they were all guys – were competing for the first time. But I noticed one who had been to the games before and seemed to be pretty active in the veterans community. When I called up Brent King, of Cheney, he was happy to work with me.
Check out the almost-finished* product below, then keep reading for why I’m not happy with it.