Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Stage is Set

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Panasonic Lumix FZ30
Focus Enhancements FS-100
Panasonic AG-HVX200
Macintosh G5 Tower
Baltimore Sun
Olympus DS-2 Digital Recorder

It's time for me to get ready to rumble. With multimedia, that is. The new schedule's set, which means the first 3 days of the work week will be spent by starting at around 7AM, gathering footage and producing packages for our website. Thursday and Friday will be spent sleeping in (to start the afternoon shift) and work general assignments, since there is a shortage of late night shooters.

Weekend time will be spent recharging the batteries for the next week. Yesterday was rough. While trying to understand a Focus Enhancements Firestore FS-100 100-gigabyte DTE (direct-to-edit) recorder for our production camcorder HVX200, I had to roll out to Catonsville to document the scene with the still camera where a resident was killed and a state trooper was shot while serving papers early that morning. The father was upset as I entered his home, and the family shared their accounts of what happened.

Grabbing the Lumix FZ30 to capture some footage, he talked to other family at the top of the stairs, showing the large number of bullet holes that tore through the walls, describing the events that he witnessed. The still images were an afterthought as he expressed his account of watching how his son died, and told about his upcoming birthday near the end of December.

The time neared 6:30PM as we wrapped up, and a couple of calls later, someone was ready and waiting in the office to edit and post the captured footage. Attempting to transfer the files into our FTP site, the transfer rate for regular video clips was so slow (even for our high-speed network) that I simply sent the first half of footage into the multimedia folder and grabbed a CD and burned the other 5 files, running them out to the web point-person to edit and post.

The editors seemed rather pleased at the finished package when I reported to work this afternoon. Dudley, Chuck and I talked so I could understand the new schedule and what was expected of my efforts in 2007, and I retreated to one of our Macintosh G5 towers to try mounting that FS-100 onto the desktop so I could extract the 40 gigs of high definition footage I had been capturing over the past several days for a project several of us have been working on.

Listening in to a conversation between Chuck and Lloyd nearby, I heard about a convict who had been released from prison after spending over 30 years in jail for a crime he says he never committed. Lloyd had taken some great images as the family met the released man outside court, and my own creative juices flowed, expressing the regret that we didn't shoot any footage for the web. "That's just what I want you to do," Dudley said. "Look at the daily log for interesting jobs and shoot some packages."

Torn between word of a family party to celebrate the release north of town, and having to shoot the Maryland Terrapins' men's basketball game just a couple hours later in College Park, I called Steve to let him know that I'd try to document the party. Parking nearby, I grabbed the trusty Lumix as well as an Olympus DS-2 digital recorder and small shotgun microphone to back up the audio, since there would be a house filled with loud, happy guests.

Maryland Terrapins' Ekene Ibekwe rejects a shot attempted in Maryland's 101-50 trouncing.

The guest of honor sat at the center of the dining room table as friends, family, and defense attorneys broke bread together, celebrating the end of their terrible nightmare. Lloyd and I tripped over each other once or twice as we captured the event, happy that no one from the television stations were even there. Wrapping up with about 9 minutes of footage, I returned, burned a DVD with the audio and movie files for Steve to edit and post, and then hit the road where I sit in our cubby after Maryland's 101-50 beatdown of Missouri-Kansas City. I put the new Nikon cameras back to work, leaving the HVX back in the office and shooting a couple decent frames with the D2Xs in the first half.

The images from the Catonsville shooting are still at work on the desktop, so be my guest and hop over to the Baltimore Sun online. On this current page, there's multimedia taken with the Lumix of the father after the shooting and soon there will be footage of the wrongly-convicted man released, but get it while it's hot; the site is regularly updated.

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