Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Crimes of the Camcorder

Uncle Stew's video tips

It's not often The Suits surprise me. This morning, they did. For no sooner had I waltzed into the morning meeting - confident I'd spend my last day before vacation editing this piece on a local cheesecake palace - than I noticed I'd picked up an additional assignment.

"Hey Stew, we want you to do a little thing on shooting better home video. You know, go on camera and share some of your wisdom..."

I turned slowly from assignment editor to producer to news director, then looked up, expecting Ashton Kutcher to drop from the ceiling tiles at any moment and envelope me in one of those insincere bear hugs. When that didn't happen, I looked back at my bosses and replied the way I always do whenever I think they're trying to punk me.


With that I turned and left the conference room, wondering how long this 'little thing' would take. Turns out, it didn't take very long at all. That's because I has very little time to give it. After hammering out my initial project, I slumped at my desk and pounded out a quick script about the fundamentals of good video. Then I read over what I'd written and dumbed the whole thing down to about sixth grade level. Still unhappy with it, but anxious to end the year's longest three day work-week, I threw caution to the wind and hit Print. But instead of finding an anchor to voice my thoughts, I followed the whiff of a holiday cheese-log all the way to Studio 'B'. There I rendezvoused with veteran shooter Jeff Kilduff, who stopped rolling his eyes long enough to shoot my stream of consciousness lesson on how to take the 'suck' out of your home video this Holiday Season. Fifteen minutes later we were done, and whiel I still wasn't sure I wanted to foist my visage on the greater Piedmont Googolplex, I proceeded to the edit bay and ordered take-out. One righteous steak and cheese sandwich later, I emerged from sequesterment, confident that - while Anderson Cooper can rest easy - I'd at least avoided embarrassing myself too much.

So here you go: Crazy Uncle Stew's Video Primer. The tenants I espouse in it are the same ones I break on a daily basis. The cute kids featured within are not mine, but rather that of the aforementioned Mr. Kilduff. I'm told it aired around 5:45. I wouldn't know; I was on the interstate by then, air-drumming on my pick-up's steering wheel and puttting the last workday of 2008 far behind me. I'm traveling East now, to see my Grandmother. Merry Christmas.


Anonymous said...

That was great. Good tips.

My only question:
Where did you get the cool b-roll t-shirt? Cause I want one now.

Anonymous said...

I laughed, I cried, it moved me.

Seriously, it was tight and it made me chuckle a couple times. That's more than I can say for any of the last dozen newscasts I've seen where I live.

IamMe said...

Where were you 45 years ago when my Dad shot every Christmas with Super 8mm film camera and a light tree straight out of the 40's with 500,000 candle power!? It is amazing I am not blind or at least have a burned retina!

Of course we cherish those films now that he got them transferred to VHS years ago. Guess it is getting time to transfer them to DVD before the oxide falls off the backing. God knows if the glue that was used to edit the film stock together back then would even hold up a single run through to transfer. Christmas memories. (ah)

Darkmoon said...

Stewie! Have a wonderful Christmas! That was a great thing there. Watched all of it, and went... STEWIE!! heheh...

Great shot and glad the station decided to let you to it.

Anonymous said...

I'd love to share that with my students, but if I tried to stream it at school it would be the day the net was down or they blocked your site. Is there any way you can post it to a site where teachers could download it? Please! ;-)

Thanks, TeachJ

FlutePrayer said...

How is your Grandmother doing? Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Anonymous said...

Very nicely done....

Glad you started with "zoom with your feet". That's the first lesson I learned, and it's one of the best!

I'd say the next installment needs to have you sitting in an edit bay:-)

turdpolisher said...

kewl. next week you'll be fronting the epics you chase.

nice b-roll shirt. does kev get royalties?

Anonymous said...

If only the VJ's had people with real talent to teach them how to shoot we would be in big trouble.

Great tips.

Merry Christmas

Anonymous said...

Who was your photog?

Great job Mr. Lenslinger! You are talented both behind and in front of the camera!

Anonymous said...

Sorry, reading comprehension has been affected by an overdose of turkey.

Jeff Kilduff did a great job! said...

Great tips!!!

I wish I saw this a year ago!

Keep up the great work and hope you have a great new year!

Just got back from Dubai. Imagine all of the skycrapers from NY, the big hotels of Vegas, and Disneyland, then double it, then you have Dubai. This was definitely engineer heaven.

Best Wishes


Chris said...

Our station just got its new photog training video.

Bravo, fine work! And those home video reactions were priceless.

Tonight I learned not to shoot into the sun. Oh man, my interviews are gonna start looking sweet!

Anonymous said...

See, you too can be a hairdo.