One thing that is really throwing me about trying to become a multimedia journalist is the fact that I’ve only got two eyes, two hands, and one slightly-damaged, but still functioning brain. However, it seems to me that the Hindu goddess Durga in the above illustration, is much better equipped for multimedia journalism. I’m realizing that you need more like 6 hands, 4 eyes, and multiple brains to do multimedia…
Let me explain. I’m a travel guy, and many of the things I witness that would make cool audio slide shows are events—festivals, dances, rituals. Or situations, as in my recent visit to the Lipizzaner Stud Farm in Slovenia, where you have a very limited (in this case, 2 hours) time to do your work. This was brought home to me a couple of days ago here in Buenos Aires, where I attempted to cover the Feria de Mataderos for an audio slide show treatment.
As any experienced shooter knows, it’s hard enough to capture peak moments with your still camera when you’re covering a one hour dance festival, or a horse race, or any event with a start and a finish. But what is throwing me is this:
How do I know when to shoot video, when to do audio, and when to just take some “pitchers?”
Now, ideally, you want to do all three simultaneously. I thought I had the audio thing figured out by using binaural mics that fit into your ears like iPod earbuds. You get great sound with these mics plugged into your digital sound recorder, it leaves your hands free, but it records every click of your camera and every sneeze, sniffle, and any other sound that you may emit (!).
Still it’s a good way to pick up a lot of ambient sound, hands free. Not getting your camera straps all tangled up with the earbud wires is a major challenge.
Having video-capable DSLRs like the Nikon D90 or D300s also makes it a bit easier. But to really shoot video with these rigs, you need something like the Hoodman Hoodloupe 3.0 strapped on to the body so you can see what you’re shooting (especially if it’s sunny outside), and a mic like the Sennheiser MKE 400 in your hotshoe (but then, what if you need some quick fill flash for a still?!)
This is the big reason I haven’t been shooting more video than I have. And I think it’s the reason why we have “video crews” and not “video persons.” It may be that doing multimedia well is not a one-person job at all…unless, of course, you are a multi-armed Hindu deity!