Wednesday, August 23, 2006

HVX200 Shoot: Another Section Front for the HD Camcorder

Well, it's done again. The local section front for the paper now has an HD movie frame from the HVX200. Here it is, children taking part in a clown school. Yes, I had my doubts, but I got what I needed. I shot strictly with the Panasonic, only using the Nikon camera to shoot still images for ID's of the children I captured on the Panasonic. Bob needed the images for the section because he had nothing else to run. Between this job and the one of the football field being dedicated, I wanted to shoot everything with the movie stills. Only the ultra-wide angle of the Nikon was enough for me to use the digital 35mm for the field dedication, but the secondary image of the players' legs standing on the turf (thanks for the shooting idea, Chris Detrick) completed the publishing of the images inside sports.

I didn't even check to see whether any other images were used of the clown school; I wound up going crazy when I scrambled to shoot the rowhouse fire that destroyed a dozen beautiful homes in East Baltimore. And I was ANGRY. I have been waiting to get the 100gb Citidisk HD recording drive to mount on the camera, which shoots HD files at 1 gig per minute, but with my clown stuff already filling the 2- 4gb P2 disks, I'd have to wait for around 16 minutes while the files transferred from the drives to the slow laptop of mine.

I called Dudley and left an angry message: "I need that hard drive NOW. I have a spot news assignment and my disks are filled. This needs to be changed!" I yelled on his voice mail as I booted up my PowerBook to transfer the first 4gb drive. I wound up not even shooting with the camera, but it highlights the need to have a large drive to write on.

I took the HVX200 to the Orioles game this evening, and another batch of journalists -- this time, the photographers -- stared at my new gear. And Bill, with the Orioles PR, was shocked. He simply didn't know what to say, so I told him that this is the future of the still photographer. And I agreed that we couldn't use any of the footage online. The photographers shook their heads, and some of them are clearly upset about the new equipment, saying that there will be lost jobs because of the merging of formats.

Honestly, I see this on the horizon. The downsizing will come into the field visual journalist as it has in other aspects of reportage. There will perhaps be mergers between papers and TV stations, if that's okay by law, and there could be double duty for the photographer to shoot for the local TV station. People will be canned to make way for another wave of journalistic streamlining. And another realm of pure local journalism may very well be hurt.

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