Tuesday, September 23, 2014

What? You Work in TV News but Can’t Create a Video Package on Your iPhone?

Los Angeles, CA—Local news coverage here is as lame is it gets anywhere!  The entertainment capitol of the world and the second largest television market puts out pathetic  minimalist crap instead of comprehensive news. It's downright shameful!
What used to be called print media has now been forcibly moved to the Internet and they now must adapt to publishing quality video or simply become history.
I don’t give a rat’s ass if you’re at the bottom position and pay grade in your news organization there’s no excuse for you being unable to make a broadcast quality news story if you come upon breaking news.  If you can’t put together a watchable story on your iPhone you need to get out of the news business.  
You don’t have to be pretty or an award winning cinematographer to create a great news story.  You do need to be capable of using a little investigative effort and get some watchable video and simply tell your story.  What’s most important is that you never waste an opportunity to assemble the elements of important news breaking around you.
The new iPhone 6 plus with it’s improved camera and large screen allows anyone that can make a decent selfie still shot, to shoot, edit and make a really watchable news package!  Unlike the predecessor, smaller iPhones the larger 6plus screens are very adequate to professionally edit captured video in the inexpensive iMovie application. 
I’m not going to train in this story you but will give you a few solid tips.
Always hold you iPhone horizontal and NEVER vertical.  Get close as you possibly can to the action so that you can get both usable sound and video.   If you’re too shy and don’t get close enough you efforts will be wasted.
Always be sure to add your own voiceovers to your captured video during the editing process.  Doing that while you shoot is almost never a good idea.  
As you learn how to do this you will discover tricks and accessories to improve your stories with things like lavaliere microphones.  There are lots of new devices including those that serve as tripods when needed.  
If you have a camera drone and can get it deployed and operating over breaking news such as a natural disaster or a civil disturbance that could swing your career into high gear.
There are those amazing options for live broadcasting from your iPhone offered by Livestream.com or Ustream.com.   They must rely on a good 4G Internet signal.  You could for example be on vacation in Europe during breaking news and actually get video back to your newsroom.
Again, I’m going to bash L.A’s lame news coverage.  They can’t seem to do a crime story these days that was not totally created and controlled by the appointed police propaganda officers. 
I don’t understand why the reporters in this market won’t routinely check things like court records or take the effort to identify and seek out victims and witnesses for interviews.  What they call enterprising journalism here is getting a really worthless sound bite from a know-nothing neighbor saying, “it's so scary!” 
Despite so many wonderful new tools the quality of electronically gathered coverage has declined significantly over the last two decades. The competiveness and energy has dwindled as newsrooms have lost viewers and readers in droves.
The new technologies should be helping significantly but the news organizations are so painfully slow at adaptation.  Perhaps it’s that the ageing suits running the news business are simply a bunch of old dogs incapable of learning new tricks. They desperately cling to the things that worked for them when they were young.
The tools of computer assisted reporting, instantly obtaining quality video, the exciting GoPro cameras and now the inexpensive camera drones have made amazing leaps and bounds.   Unfortunately the suits running news refuse to embrace new technology and instead reject progress. 
If you’re working in a newsroom or hope to pursue this line of work, you simply can’t wait for the news bureaucracy to adapt to progress.   It’s you that must learn how to create and then demonstrate your abilities. 
The camera drones have made a big splash and the novelty has brought with it massive ignorance and contrived controversy. 
If you have a camera drone use it.  Get the video and worry about what your bosses will say later.  It’s better that they see your amazing images even if they are two cowardly to use them!
Why wait for someone else to do this and steal your thunder?  If you make something spectacular with a drone camera your bosses will soon be fighting to use what they did not have the testicles to allow earlier. 

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