Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Video: Call Ripken's Hall of Fame Send-Off

Having been asked by the bosses to return from vacation early to cover the pre-game ceremony of Cal Ripken who is the most recent inductee into the National Baseball Hall of Fame museum in Cooperstown, my brain cooked for some ideas to deliver a decent package.

Getting into town the night before, I attempted shooting some B-roll of Cal's poster as it hung from the east wall of the warehouse, facing the inner harbor. Dissatisfied with the results, I woke up early Tuesday, just before sunrise, taking the Sony camcorder and shooting some shots. By mid-afternoon, I sat in front of a workstation, searching for archive photos of Ripken during his career with the Baltimore Orioles, burning a CD of some images taken by a host of former and current staff photographers.

Rush hour traffic was harsh, since so many people decided to get to the ballpark early for the 6:30 ceremony and speech, and I began rendering the photos, sizing them for a horizontal widescreen production. The video, which is interlaced, had to be processed as well, taking a decent amount of time to not only upload the footage, but process the files through Mpeg Streamclip, which removes the video jaggies.

With the time reaching 6:30, I scrambled to the field to get into position, using a monopod as my camera support. The event started late, because Ripken had also gotten held up in traffic. Finally, the dignitaries, including Mayor Sheila Dixon, as well as Hall of Famers Brooks Robinson, Earl Weaver and Eddie Murray took their cues to appear, and finally Ripken was introduced.

Using the external shotgun microphone to record audio, I pointed it behind me to capture sound, since the speakers hung from the upper level seating areas, instead of a central speaker system in the outfield, like the old Memorial Stadium. Unfortunately, the moment Ripken was introduced, a shrieking scream of an adoring female directly behind me, overpowered the usual applause and cheer. She sounded more like the victim in an underground horror flick.





Ripken's speech lasted around 10 minutes or less, and we headed for the editing room in the lower press box. Processing the interlaced video seemed to take forever, and the game was already in the second inning before the new progressive videos were completed. Dropping the main speech into the sequence window, I added a little B-roll footage and then played and marked the clip for places to consider placing the file pictures. Starting with a picture by staffer Paul Hutchins from 1978, I tried placing images along the speech to help break up the monotony of a podium shot. By the time the editing was finished, I had used every file picture, and added a neat clip of the outside of the warehouse, with Cal's large photo being reflected in a mirror that traffic uses to watch for the light rail trains crossing the stadium drive. It was strategically placed at a point early on, when Cal talked about reflecting on his career.

At the very end, a shot taken as Cal's last game celebrated his accomplishments was used. The shot was a vertical image, and fireworks shot into the air beside a large U.S. flag. Dragging the image to the left portion of the screen, I added the photo credits of all the staff photographers whose pictures were used.

Returning to the office, I discovered that there had been an internal server problem, and that the video couldn't get uploaded, so I went back to a Macintosh G5 desktop and tweaked the video, splicing some of the cheering to remove that screeching and irritating cheer by that fan (she can be seen holding a sign, and watch how at least one irritated fan turned her way several times). I also made a slight change to let the photo credits fade and keep the still image up for about 3 seconds longer, before allowing it to fade as well. Finishing the video was done in plenty of time; the server hadn't even been fixed, so the video had to wait until Wednesday morning for posting.

3 comments:

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Drey A said...

Hi. I know this is a long shot since the video was posted about a decade ago, but is there any chance you're the owner of the "Extreme Baby Skydiver" video on Youtube? I work for a media company and I was assigned to find the owner of the clip, and yours is the earliest instance of the video I could find on the internet. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
- drey@lpe360.com