Video Stories: My Struggle

Only 15 minutes had passed in the class, and I felt great about the video already shot. As I pressed the stop button and took a calming breath, I reminded myself to check the audio on my last interview. Without audio, there is no story. My heart immediately sank when my left earbud came within six inches of my ear and I could already hear the buzzing. There is almost no way to fix audio overpowered by a loud buzz. I floated through the rest of the shoot in a semi-daze, unsure of what to do next. How could this possibly be mended?

It is essential to monitor audio whenever multimedia elements of a story are involved. No audience will remain with a story that lacks quality audio. Photo taken from http://www.parentmap.com.

It is essential to monitor audio whenever multimedia elements of a story are involved. No audience will remain with a story that lacks quality audio. Photo taken from http://www.parentmap.com.

The project I was working on was the final portion of my enormous seven-week multimedia project for a journalism class. I had never struggled with any equipment troubles before, and it was just one more thing to add to the list, the list being the seemingly endless catalogue of points to remember while shooting video.

Because I have little to no experience with shooting footage, the litany can overwhelm me if I do not take precautions. By entering a shoot with a definitive plan, as Colin Mulvany, a multimedia producer at the Spokesman – Review in Spokane, Washington, suggests in his blog “How best to approach a video story,” I can ensure that I record all the material I need in an organized, efficient manner.

However, no matter how organized a journalist tries to be, something is bound to go wrong. I was lucky enough to download my video clips and discover that the audio was not affected by the mysterious buzzing, but I know I will not always be so fortunate.

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Lost becomes reality

Stealing the spotlight from the potential for a second Cold War is an incredible feat, but Flight 370 managed to do just that Saturday, March 8. The Boeing 777 departed Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia at 12:41 A.M. and was scheduled to land in Beijing, China at 6:30 that morning. However, less than an hour into the flight, air traffic control lost all contact with the aircraft. The Malaysian government, assisted by officials from the passengers’ 14 home countries, has been frantically combing the plane’s supposed flight path.

Malaysian Flight 370 disappeared from radar Saturday, Mar. 8. Investigations are ongoing to uncover the mystery behind its vanishing.

Malaysian Flight 370 disappeared from radar Saturday, Mar. 8. Investigations are ongoing to uncover the mystery behind its vanishing. Photo taken from http://www.telegraph.co.uk.

 

As family members of the missing travelers demand answers and those following the developing story make comparisons to J.J. Abrams’ hit-television series Lost, Caitlin Dickson of The Daily Beast compiled a list of the top eight conspiracy theories surrounding the disappearance.

After reading the article, which includes plausible explanations like a terrorist hijacking and Uighur militant attack and implausible ones such as an invisibility cloak and alien abduction, I cannot help but become more invested in the story with every new proposal.

Pieces like the Flight 370 disappearance, while tragic for those involved, actually benefit society at large. They provide ample material with which journalists can toy and garner the public’s interest in current events. Americans are notorious for being uninformed, and enticing stories such as this hold their attention.

While the clues come together, authorities deemed a hijacking the solution to the mystery on Saturday, March 15, the world will hold onto every word, and hopefully learn a little more about Russia and Ukraine in the process.

Award show hosting 101

After considering her hosting a self-titled show for over ten years filled with phenomenal ratings, one would not think that Ellen DeGeneres would feel apprehensive about hosting the Academy Awards. According to an article published in UK’s The Telegraph, however, DeGeneres’ performance counted towards more than just her own reputation as a comedian.

Prior to the Awards, which aired Sunday, March 2, the Academy struggled to decide in which direction they wanted to take the show. The last several years have been a fight to increase viewership with Anne Hathaway and James Franco falling flat in 2011, Billy Crystal lacking his usual charm the following year, and Seth MacFarlane insulting anyone and everyone with his crude humor last year.

Host of the Academy Awards on Sunday, Mar. 2, 2014, Ellen DeGeneres distributes pizza to some hungry celebrities assisted by Brad Pitt. DeGeneres earned 43 million viewers Sunday night. Photo taken from http://indianexpress.com.

Host of the Academy Awards on Sunday, Mar. 2, 2014, Ellen DeGeneres distributes pizza to some hungry celebrities assisted by Brad Pitt. DeGeneres earned 43 million viewers Sunday night. Photo taken from http://indianexpress.com.

The instant DeGeneres began her opening monologue, though, it was clear she was taking a different approach than her predecessors. By offering subtle digs at several of the “untouchables” in the audience (Meryl Streep, Brad Pitt, June Squibb), taking star-studded selfies, and even ordering pizza for everyone in the first several rows, DeGeneres humanized the celebrities who normally appear enclosed in the Hollywood bubble.

Her efforts did not go to waste as she garnered 43 million viewers, according to Rolling Stone.

I will be the first to admit that I live for awards shows like the Oscars to provide me with an opportunity to peek into my favorite celebrities’ lives. Without someone to artfully guide my fellow audience members and me through the spectacle, though, the three hours of presenting can tend to drag.

Ellen kept me thoroughly entertained throughout the Academy Awards and provided the perfect mix of cringe-worthy and just pure hilarious jabs. I also think she is probably the only woman besides Angelina Jolie who could ask Brad Pitt to pass out paper plates to his fellow hungry audience members. Congratulations to the Academy for selecting a wonderful host this awards show season.

What happens after the torch is put out?

While the Olympic host city is the center of worldwide attention for several weeks every two years, after the games have ended, most locations are lucky to receive even a snippet of media coverage. This lack of coverage often leads to the city disappearing into oblivion with its numerous predecessors.

Russian President Putin holds a lit Olympic torch Oct. 6, 2013, in Moscow to mark the beginning of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Torch Relay. The torch was extinguished in Sochi Feb. 23, 2014, marking an end to the games, which drew an enormous worldwide audience to Sochi. Photo taken from http://www.rferl.org.

Russian President Putin holds a lit Olympic torch Oct. 6, 2013, in Moscow to mark the beginning of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Torch Relay. The torch was extinguished in Sochi Feb. 23, 2014, marking an end to the games, which drew an enormous worldwide audience to the city. Photo taken from http://www.rferl.org.

According to a New York Times article posted Sunday, February 23, “Sochi is at risk of becoming a gold-rush town that just ran out of gold.” Unlike many host cities, Sochi was largely undeveloped prior to Russia receiving the Olympic bid in 2007. Therefore, President Putin had more than 220 miles of roads and bridges and 700 sports grounds built and revamped the power grid, airport, and sewage system.

Now, the city faces a seemingly impossible feat of drawing more than 5 million visitors per year to keep its hotels occupied and economy persisting.

This issue introduces the question: is the cost of the Olympic games (not solely the monetary cost) greater than the benefit? If Sochi will become a detriment to Russia’s national economy in years to come, was it worth the billions spent in the first place?

After reading the aforementioned article, I feel that the Olympic games are no longer just intense sports competition between nations, but instead, a fight to see who can put on the most elaborate display for the rest of the world.