A little about gear…a little about storytelling…
I was on assignment today doing work for a client that wanted a multimedia piece done. I had to do a combination of still photography and audio recording, pretty similar to what we’re planning to do on the road. When I got back, I started debating about what I would be bringing.
During my last few tours I’ve been shooting with a Canon G10. It works pretty well, but still not up to the quality of a good DSLR. It’s strength however, is that I am more likely to pull it out. Which means more pictures. I’ll be getting a Lumix LX3 from Panasonic in a few weeks to test out. Maybe that will impress me more. Fingers crossed.
I’d like to avoid carrying a DSLR, primarily because of weight and space, but might opt to if I don’t think the compacts will be up to snuff.
I’ve been using a Sony PCM-50 for the last few multimedia stories I’ve posted on the site with a Rode NTG-2 shotgun mic. Prior to this, I had a Zoom H2, which while small had really poor pre-amps that sort of killed the quality of the mic. It’s onboard mics are great for actualities and environmental sounds, but weren’t directional enough to pick out a clean voice.
The downside of the Sony PCM-50 is primarily the size. It’s pretty big, it fills up the palm of your hand and then some. Then, there’s the issue of the shotgun mic which is about 10 inches long and rather fragile. They may end up living in my handlebar bag. Not quite sure yet. I’ll have to see how often I need to access them.
As of now, it looks like we’ll be bringing this very computer I’m writing on now. It’s a 2007 15 inch MacBook. A little bigger and heavier than I would prefer, but others have carried larger (and smaller, I suppose). Ideally, I’d like to try to get either a powerful sub-notebook or a MacBook Air to economize on size and weight. We’re hoping to get business sponsors to cover some costs or lend sample products for a sort of Ultimate Review as we use their gear on this trip. Again, fingers crossed.
To say I’m a big fan of This American Life is an understatement. So it’s probably natural that I really look at the show to try to understand how to structure a story. I’m not even going to flatter myself and pretend I’m even close, but it’s ok. I know I’m going to put together a TON of bad stories before I get the hang of it. It’s a lot like when I first got into photography, I took (and still take) a lot of bad pictures — but my editing has gotten better : )
I also have to work on my reading. It’s a real unnatural process, I assure you, to point the mic in my face and read. I get real self-conscious and fidgety. I think I’m a much better editor. My background as a lit major (hey my degree at work!), has given me a pretty good ear for a compelling narrative.
That said, there’s a lot to learn. Thank goodness for Youtube. Here are some videos of Ira Glass talking about structuring a story. I’ll be honest, I feel a little derivative at this point. But that’s how it was with photography. I got into a real Magnum/Henri-Cartier Bresson kick and shot a lot of photos of people jumping over puddles before I found my eye/style for a lack of a better term.
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