Kanye put his face on 66 screens last night…I got some work to do.
What a long and crazy two weeks it has been! A good chunk of the Washington Post video team (including director of video Andrew Pergam, technical director Meghan Sims, segment producers Theresa Poulson and Jason Aldag, video editors Jayne Orenstein and Kristen Boghosian, and videojournalist AJ Chavar [hey, that’s me!]) has been on the road for two weeks, first covering the RNC in Tampa, Fl., and then the DNC in Charlotte, N.C.
The video above, though I may biased in being its creator, is one of our “must-watch” videos from the conventions. I spent the in-between moments during both conventions shooting, planning, sequencing and reshooting scenes for video diptych at the top of the post. Planning for the project started almost three full months ago, when we were first formulating our ideas for covering the conventions. I was inspired by a number of things while shooting, but it is no secret to fans of their work that a big influence on this video was the Everynone video "Symmetry:"
My hope was to expand on their split screen concept and tell more of a direct, linear story about the political conventions, showing how very different, and how very similar they could be.
Before even arriving in Tampa I had a short shot list, a skeleton file in Final Cut Pro that cut the screen in two and was filled with dummy footage, and some music selected. I felt that I was somewhat underprepared, but this turned out to be a good thing. Every day I pushed myself to find more and shoot more because I was worried about undershooting—there were no second chances!
(shot list, RNC)
Over the weekend, in between Tampa and Charlotte, I took all of my RNC footage and began to edit it down and sync it with the music. This took a few hours spread out over the course of a day, and let me go into the DNC with much more focus—I knew what scenes I had to find compliments to, so I had a checklist. At this time, I also asked Jayne Orenstein to start pulling clips of politicians from both conventions and matching up their hand gestures.
By the last day of the DNC everything was completed and in place except for the final shot of President Obama. It went surprisingly smoothly. I watched the President’s speech from the Washington Post workspace, waiting for him to formally accept the nomination. By the time he had ended his speech, the video was done and on its way to our video CMS.
But of course, we did simply TONS of video from both conventions, and you can find all of it, and new political video reporting daily, on our website. For all the video from the RNC, just click here. Those playlists include a ton of Post-original content, including analysis and takeaways from our top political reporters and bloggers, as well as the footage of all the major speeches, and original reporting by our videojournalists. And don’t forget the same playlists for the DNC, here.
(two weeks worth of press credentials)
You should definitely check out the “Say What” player, spearheaded by Kat Downs. It allows you to watch full speeches with embedded transcripts, and see where both Post reporters and Twitter decided to weigh in.
Overall, here at Post Video, we’re trying to give you the most complete, and completely unique coverage of politics. You can always let us know how we’re doing by getting in touch with us on twitter.
May. 25, 2012 - The week before Memorial Day weekend, the Ocean City Beach Patrol veteran Surf Rescue Technicians train the newest batch of lifeguards. Sgt. Tim Uebel has been taking part in this tradition for 29 years. (AJ Chavar/The Washington Post)
I shot this video the other week, and man, it was a ton of fun. For one, I love the outdoors, so I couldn’t complain about a few days at the beach, even if it was threatening to storm the whole time. Plus, I love any assignment that gets a little “extreme.” In this case, it was wading out into the ocean with my DSLR to film lifeguards in training. That didn’t go so well, check out this raw clip:
Yeah, I misjudged the strength of that wave. Thankfully my camera was kept safe in a waterproof bag called a DiCaPac, and the only thing bruised was my ego.
I used the new GoPro Hero 2 camera to get all of the water shots you see in the final piece. Subject Kevin Stang was nice enough to wear one on his head when he did the grueling swim around the pier that you can see condensed in the video, and other lifeguards-to-be wore them when running through training exercises as both victims and first responders.
While cool technology can never substitute for real storytelling and editing skills, sometimes they converge perfectly to help you tell a story in a way you couldn’t before. Keep an eye out for more footage from our new GoPro cameras as we experiment with them as a new tool in our camera bags.
** NOTE: The Washington Post is not endorsing, nor are we endorsed by the products/companies mentioned/linked to in this post. **
Peeps are kind of a big deal this time of year at the Post newsroom.
That’s right, this year finalists for the ever-popular Peeps Diorama contest were finally announced. The winner, Occupeep DC, is above, and you can see all five finalists here.
I was assigned to shoot the video of the winning dioramas, and two of our video producers, Jayne Orenstein and Kristen Boghosian (who, by the way, are often the voices behind the @postvideo twitter handle) took care of editing the footage into something beautiful. Its always interesting to see how another editor handles your work. My edit probably would have been entirely different!
I spent about four hours in our video studio filming the different dioramas, and then chose the best clips to hand off to Kristen and Jayne to work from. The nice thing about working in the studio is that I could reshoot each scene as often as I needed… the bad thing was that then I had to edit through all of those takes! But in the end, with a little help from some fancy camera supports I was able to add in some movement to the static details in the dioramas.
All of the finalists put together great scenes using the popular marshmallow peeps, but my favorite remains the winner—Occupeep DC. Maybe its because I spent so much time covering the occupation in Macpherson square myself.
Source: Washington Post
So often we create infographics via After Effects or Photoshop or Illustrator, I felt the urge to work with Clark to make something tangible. Plus, now we have some sweet art hanging around our cubicles!
Also of note, the beautiful artwork drawn through the video is actually Patterson Clarks’s first attempt at using soft pastels (he normally works digitally, with a Wacom pad and stylus, directly into Photoshop). Of course, he didn’t tell me this until we were done, and if he hadn’t I would have assumed he’d been sketching with pastels for years. Hope you enjoy!
CES 2012 and New Hampshire Primary Timelapses
Post Videojournalists AJ Chavar and Whitney Shefte both chose to use timelapses as a way to tell a story last week. Timelapse photography is a pretty popular trend in current video production, but it is not just a fad. By speeding up our perception of time, the technique actually serves to make the passage of time more tangible.
In the case of Whitney’s video from New Hampshire, it condenses a day at the polls into a one minute vignette about GOP voters in the state, whereas AJ’s longer video drives home the massive scope of the Consumer Electronics show.
Have you ever done a timelapse video? Share it with us by tweeting @ajchavar.
Source: Washington Post
Mini RC helicopter with built in camera: #bestgiftever? (Taken with instagram)
I posted to my own tumblr a few days ago about a Christmas gift I had gotten—an RC copter with camera. After buzzing around the office with it today and yesterday, I’m pretty sure I could actually use this on assignment. The video quality is low, and indoors I crash quite a bit (see below), but I think I might be able to work it into a project.
Granted, the journalism being done by real drones isn’t being done on a micro-RC copter from Wal-Mart (seriously), but the proliferation of cheap electronics makes me wonder how far off this technology is from being widespread.
It is an interesting notion to think about as drone journalism becomes less speculation and more reality, with legitimate labs and websites (dronejournalism.org, the first professional organization for drone journos) devoted to the practice and development of the burgeoning field.
Its a hotbed of ethical issues as well, with detractors and supporters from all angles debating the idea of reporting from a safe distance versus losing the connection and human angle you can get from good ol fashioned shoe leather journalism. Of course, the fact that drones are most strongly associated with the UAVs used by the military for reconnaissance and airstrikes also clouds the issue.
What are your thoughts on drone journalism? Does it detach the reporter from the essence of what they are covering, or does it provide a safe way to report objectively? Let us know in the comments, tweet @postvideo or @ajchavar, or email aj (dot) chavar (at) wpost (dot) com.
Best of Post Video Week: Uniquely Washington
This week we’re highlighting the best video created by our VJs and producers in 2011. Each day we’ll be posting one video from each and all of our talented staff. Consider it a holiday gift from us to you! We’re kicking it off with stories uniquely Washingtonian—U Street, Arlington Cemetery, Mambo Sauce and even a trip to a Washington outside of the District, watch it all below:
Bob Taylor, 81, carries a Polaroid camera near Adams Morgan and U Street bars on weekend nights. He does portrait shots for $5 and tells people why it’s important to “get a picture.”
Thirty students from the District, Maryland and Virginia played against Maurice Ashley, the first African-American chess grandmaster, at the same time. The exhibition was part of a fundraiser for the U.S. Chess Center in D.C.
Mumbo sauce, also known as mambo sauce, can be found in carryout restaurants throughout Washington. It is a staple for many residents in D.C. and part of a completely unknown subculture to others.
Chuck Jensen is one of only a handful of people that own their own train car. He rents out the nearly century-old heavyweight Pullman observation car for private trips, but mostly uses it to vacation across the country with his family.
The U.S. Army Center of Military History collects and catalogs items of interest left at graves in Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery where soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan are buried. For the past two years, a team of U.S. Military curators visits the section every Wednesday to archive the mementos left on graves.
The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein talks about how the GOP and Democrats came to an agreement despite contentious rhetoric on both sides of the debt ceiling debate and how the United States was able to avoid default.
In Washington, a town of 4,000 in rural Georgia, the 2011 campaign for mayor became a contest rife with tension. (Photos)
Fact Checking the Candidates
Over the past week we published a series in print and online in the Post called "The Contenders" in which we profiled all of the GOP presidential hopefuls. For video, we wanted some unique content to enrich the online package. Videojournalist AJ Chavar partnered once again with the Washington Post’s resident fact checker, Glenn Kessler, to review each of the major candidates’ biggest misleading claims. Additionally, video producer Jayne Orenstein collaborated with Pulitzer Prize winning Washington Post dance critic Sarah Kaufman to produce videos on what the candidate’s body language can say about them. Watch the videos below, and use the fullscreen button in the lower right to view them larger than the thumbnails:
Photo via Jason Aldag
Post Video Producer Kristen Boghosian and Videojournalist AJ Chavar working on “monster” timeline. This is from Kristen’s 2011 Headlines in two minutes video (below). Tune in later this week for some behind the scenes info on creating that video, and the monster timeline involved!
Look back at 2011 through the front pages of The Washington Post from Jan. 1, 2011 to Nov. 30, 2011. (Kristen Boghosian/The Washington Post)