STORY OF THE WEEK: Oct 3, 2012

First off…I’m flattered at the chance to have some of my work featured in this forum. Thanks Bill.
We all have such an important job to do…and we are very lucky to have the opportunity to do what we do. Do not take it for granted. Be in the moment…every day.

“In Concert” is a nat pkg that aired Sunday. While I’m not proud of the story’s depth, I always try to apply the “try something new” adage. I also like to break a few rules along the way…it is refreshing. For this one…I floated text to advance the story and dropped in a few jump cuts.

Floating text- I see this technique used in independent films quite a bit. It basically involves creating a title on your NLE…some fact or piece of information…and tracking it to a set of pixels on a clip. I find that this technique is most effective when a shot has slight movement, nice depth of field, and at least 2/3rd dead space. For the featured story, I shot tight shots of a large brick wall (off the shoulder) knowing that I would later be adding text. We use Avid Newscutter. I created a title and dropped it on a second video layer. I entered the effect mode and checked the “tracking” option. The editor then gave me a set of cross hairs that I centered over a point of sharp contrast…edge of a building for example. I clicked the begin tracking button and the editor created a key frame for every frame. You can set X, Y and Z points depending on your angle or direction of action. Keep in mind that your title will track to the action of where you centered your cross hair and that might not always be the best location. I don’t like the tracking location I set for the “Bill Anderson” font…but was pleased with most of the others. It will take some practice…and by no means do I have it down. Most NLE’s have this option. The next time you are asked to do a story about the percentage of teen’s texting while driving…imagine pinning those figures to a VW Jetta driving down I-40.

Jump Cut- At one point in the story, Jeannie Seely climbs a scaffold…and it takes forever! So in 4 short edits, I moved her from the ground to the top. It was shaky, off the shoulder and not flattering angle. So to advance the action, I found small movements to cut on…reaching for scaffold…extending arm…turning around…and ending on a hardy “Yeah Haw!!”…which topped that sequence off and made the jump cuts (in my opinion) tolerable.

My suggestions are nothing new…but hopefully it will make you more aware of all the trending production techniques. Take risks; apply new techniques while staying true to the story at hand and have some fun along the way.