Saturday, December 15, 2007

... and here's that Current TV pod I was talking about:

This video was produced by Kate Valentine- a summer intern of SFGTV who went to a fall internship at Current TV.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

SF Votes Youth 2007

Not a title that rolls off the tongue, is it?

This was the attempt to do something "2.0" with our election coverage. My ripping off of YouChoose as a localized project. It begins with the assumption that very few young people would ever watch candidate statements or League of Women Voter debates on cable tv. There's too many great YouTube videos of cats using toilets to watch.

So I came up with the pitch: fast and cheap, as usual, plus non-linear. Or rather, user-driven. Instead of the push model of tv info, this would be pull model of internet information. You watch what you want, control the pace and are free to participate by leaving comments, linking to other pages, etc.

I set pretty small goals in the interest of time and completion: 20 questions, 2 per candidate, two minute answers. I needed to keep things manageable and within the short attention span of candidates AND online viewers.

The actual production was fairly easy. I found partners that could gather up the kids for me, instead of me hunting them down. For the candidates, I glommed onto three or four events that they would already be at. I was able to quickly get 90% of my responses this way. (The last few did have to be scheduled, but I ended up with 100% participation by doing this. The LWV official statements were all scheduled appointments and had about 70% turnout.)

One tip: don't put the random questions on slips of paper in a box. When you uncover the box for the candidate to pick a number, the wind swells up suddenly... and no more numbers.

So where did it all go wrong? In my vision of this glorious thing, I used "if you build it, they will come" when thinking of the audience. In reality, they won't come unless you tell them about it. I didn't budget any time for promotion. Without promotion, you might as well have not bothered with the effort.

I had figured that the mass of content would create its own gravity. Each video only had a half dozen hits, until I pitched it to SFist. Then we got something. A pitch to Calitics made a little more buzz. The actual candidates using links helped a little more. If I had done a proper PR campaign, I think it would have been a better social media election tool.

Current TV interviewed me about the project and the package will air in December. I'm not sure how much of the story will be about me vs. the big picture of online elections, but... its an honor just to be nominated.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

311 spec commercial

The goal was to be cheap, fast and have high volume. The plan was to make 12 of these, using some of the languages spoken in San Francisco.
The interview was shot on a black curtain using two cameras with matched time code. No cost (except two crew). The b-roll was a phone book in the office. Again, no cost. Editing was about 4 hours of crew time. The talent was a guy walking through the lobby of the library. No cost.

I really liked the end result. I thought they could be banged out, then expanded with more languages over time.

The client didn't like the idea of "average" people. We re-shot the same concept, but using 311 operators instead. That didn't have much punch to it. The client decided that a time-lapse project would be a more sweeping presentation. We spent many hours shooting time-lapse stills. And then the client's money ran out.

This cheap & fast YouTube clip is all that remains.

Monday, September 03, 2007

SFPL "Main Stage"

This is a fun and relatively easy production. Well... at least now it is.

Covering San Francisco Public Library events isn't really in the mission of SFGTV. We wanted to do the program, but had to find a production model that would justify it.

First I wrote the complete proposal of how the project would operate. This isn't as hard as writing a grant application. You just need a two-page brief of your project-
The Library books the guests and the guests drive the content (so pre-production is minimal).
The Koret Auditorium stage is pre-existing (no set construction, no lighting/dressing/teardown hours).

The key to Main Stage was keeping labor costs down. I wrote the first-ever internship ads for SFGTV and advertised online. Sean Mitchell, the new Media Internship coordinator at SF State, was a huge help.

The admin of a start-up show AND a start-up intern program was a little high. Interviewing candidates and establishing library contacts took time. Equipment training took time. Using an intern to create the graphics package was a chokepoint in the process.

After the summer interns came through: Main Stage is complete, on the air and everybody's happy. It now has institutional support, established work patterns and a new piece of technology has come along- the Anycast system from Sony. (More on that later...)

I like the show. It could be better (install lighting, audio feed upgrades, more crew, rehearsals) but for the cost of production I think its great. This is the kind of content that niche narrow-casters, i.e. PEG channels and podcasters, are going to be relying on.

Friday, August 17, 2007

SF Solar Map web intro

I was really happy with this because of the production backstory.
This final product is a good example of making chicken salad out of chicken s#^&. And doing it for the same cost as a static talking head shot.
This is a web-streaming only video, thus the locked-down shots.
Shoot at 9:15am, edit at 1pm, compressed and emailed at 5pm.
A satisfying day.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

favorite "Celebrate Heritage" video

I liked producing this segment the most from SFGTV's co-production of "Celebrate Heritage, Celebrate Unity".
The access to what we used to call "home video" is what holds it together. I added the red bars so I could have some wiggle room on re-centering shots that weren't framed quite right.
It wasn't that bad to begin with, though. Each generation of users is becoming more instinctually adept at working with video. 50 or 60 years of constant exposure to TV might do that to a culture.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

new mini-documentary

The last mini-doc that I did for CityBuild is now posted on YouTube.

I've been working on some non-"City In Focus" projects for the past few months. Some of those will be uploaded soon.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Localism: San Francisco videos

Last episode of "City In Focus" featured:
An introduction to the community health network system.
Charles and Scott's tour of Wastewater Treatment.
Tom's Digital Inclusion overview.
McLaren Park visit by Greg and Rich.