Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Keep 'Em Charged!

Monday mornings sometimes bring surprises at work. So was the case, when I arrived to learn that I had a job, one hour later. It was called "Build Playground Day," at Collington Square School in northeast Baltimore, in a neighborhood that's been forgotten and neglected. The Baltimore Ravens, along with Kaboom! and volunteers through the community and a host of organizations banded together, building a playground in one day.

Reaching for the Firestore FS-100 external recordable drive to mount to the HVX200 camcorder, I noticed that it faced the other way. Plugging the unit into the charger, I knew the battery hadn't been charged. With the prospect of having to shoot a great amount of footage over 5 hours of construction time, I decided to use the Lumix DMC-TZ1 and it's slightly bigger sibling, the Lumix DMC-TZ3 cameras as my visual arsenal.

Gaining access to the roof of the school, I clamped down a Nikon D2Xs camera outfitted with a Sigma 10-20mm zoom, to get as wide an aspect as possible. Calculating the frame rate of a movie against the time I had to shoot, I figured on setting the camera's interval timer to fire an image every 30 seconds, which yielded about 20 seconds of footage. At several stages, I clamped the small cameras onto different objects, gathering some interesting POV shots! You can't do that with an HVX200.

Starting the camera around 7:30 A.M., I returned to ground level, grabbing 5- to 10- video clips and switching on-the-fly to shoot still images for the web updates and for print publication. By 10 A.M., I started sending still images, then returned to the field to gather more footage. Gathering more still images for a picture package for the web by noon, I finished most of the ground-level recording just in time to return to the roof and take what was shot with the Nikon camera.

The nurse's office became a multimedia center, as I created a Quicktime movie, sent more images and the 20-second time lapse clip, and edited the main package for today's web update. Oh, working on the Macintosh platform is great in my eyes. While I write, Groove Salad cranks out tunes in my headset, while Magic iDVD creates a cool DVD disk of the whole project, for the school, complete with animated menus and a hip audio track.

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