Friday, June 04, 2010

Volunteer Work - Hacks And Hackers

Two weekends ago I helped a Meetup group by doing some volunteer camera work for them. Hacks/Hackers provides an environment for journalists to meet application developers and work together on new forms of storytelling.

I used two Sony VX2000 DV cameras from KQED, where the event was hosted. The medium shot fed the live feed for LiveStream, the wide shot was the live feed for uStream. The cameras were generally good for locked-down shots and worked well on full Auto mode. The wide shot ended up looking better than the medium shot, which I was trying to operate in manual mode. The Sony flip-out viewfinder isn't detailed enough to show you sharp manual focus. The manual iris control is also the same dial that rides the audio input levels. As I changed f stops, it didn't roll through the exposures- it clunkily stepped from one level to another. When the room's power went out for a few minutes during the first morning, the camera's settings weren't saved. It came back with auto-white turned On for the last two presenters. The bright LCD projector in the picture frame caused a continuous psychedelic effect as the camera tried to compensate for the blue, then green, then red, then back to blue. And it wasn't visible in the flip-out viewfinder.

Despite the power interruptions and my unfamiliarity with the gear, I still managed to come up with six hours of tape from the two cameras. During the next week, I ingested all the video and started locking up the audio waveforms in the timeline. I had five guest presentations, one open forum, twelve project presentations and one award ceremony.

Each of the nineteen segments were about seven minutes long. During the Memorial day weekend, it took 24 hours of labor to do all the meatball editing- cuts and dissolves, ride the audio. Forget color correction. Forget ProTools. Just keep grinding.

Not my best technical work, but a yeoman effort for an interesting group of locals.