Video production class weblog--Day 2--A comedy of errors
"For the shooter, finding a unique perspective is not easy. It's painful. `You have to suffer!' Ralph bellowed, his voice shaking with passion. `Great photographers have to suffer! Running around with a camera can be fun once in a while, but mostly it's just a lot of suffering.'"
--photographer Ralph Steiner quoted in Barry Braverman's Video Shooter.
1) Day two. The madness continues. I can hear the sound of a man screaming repeatedly due to the students editing a horror scene in the next room.
2) Thus far, I have been showing the class lots of the student videos made last year and the year before. I like to freeze shot compositions on large screen and discuss the poor lighting, the distracting backround, the wrong dominant, problems with automatic focus and exposure on the camcorders, awkward editing, and mediocre music. Since students tend to use music to gloss the sound deficiencies in our equipment, much depends on the songs they choose to set a mood, and sometimes the videos end up looking like little more than glorified music videos. Plausibility and editorial polish often makes the better videos stand out.
3) Otherwise, I brought all of the shooting equipment into the classroom, placed them on several desks, and asked one of the experienced students to show everyone else how to use the JVC camcorders. She placed the camera under the Elmo so we could project her presentation on the class screen. The class also divided up into three groups, with four students in each one. One student works as the director, one the camera person, and another edits and/or acts. I learned that two mounts for tripods had disappeared since last year, so I found myself scrounging around in storage for an unpleasantly long period of time, without finding anything. Then I asked the students to type up an inventory of all of the equipment (even the wheelchair we use for dolly shots), and then e-mail it to me. This afternoon, I will have them all sign the inventory, preferably with blood, in the hopes that that will help them keep better track of equipment during the upcoming shoots.
4) This afternoon, the students went off to shoot practice scenes. One involved a mugging, another a scary door, and the last shows a guy's up and down relationship with a teddy bear. Since then, I have watched one computer's editing software freeze up due to the fancy new camcorder. Also the Pinnacle 12 softwear doesn't work on the computer. In the course of trying to get that to function, someone bent a prong so now the monitor now no longer connects to the main computer. Not being much of a tech wizard, I have mostly looked on and tried to be supportive as people wrestle with cords and machines.
5) When I asked for help, the normally friendly IT administrator gave me a testy look. His assistant may no longer speak to me. Outside, the weather is grey and damp. We are not at all prepared technologically for our guest teacher tomorrow. Wish me luck for tomorrow's class.