Vexed by video

Even after watching the video examples in lecture this week and reviewing the resources provided on our Multimedia Journalism website for shooting good video, I worry the pieces I produce for our two video projects will be less than inspiring, more closely related to the bad examples we were shown in class instead.

I wanted to get a head start on my filming because I was anticipating the troubles I might have so I went to the CoMo Derby Dames practice on Thursday just as I have for the past several Thursdays, this time with a video camera and tripod in tow. What I discovered when I pushed record and began documenting the Derby Dames in motion was that wide shots are no problem. The derby players zoomed in and out of the screen as they rolled around the track. I got a little closer, changed my angle and captured some medium shots. But the tight shots? Tight shots and the 5-shot sequence just may be my downfall.

I was able to record a few pieces of film that could work as part of my 5-shot sequence: a close-up of a players hands as she laces her skates, another of a player’s face as she puts in her mouthpiece. But my attempts at getting these 5 close-up shots, especially the over-the-shoulder shot, while the players were practicing were–or at least felt to me–largely failed. One of the biggest issues I had with these close-ups was the fact that roller derby is not action that takes place in a single place. The action involved in roller derby requires that participants move, quite quickly, from one location to another. I would find a good shot to close in on, but would get just  a few seconds of footage before the subject was on the roll again. There is so much quick-paced action that it is hard to get film the subjects closely because, within seconds, they are no longer in the shot.

I plan on attending Monday’s beginners practice, during which time members of the Derby Dames will be teaching girls interested in roller derby how to play the sport. The action will be broken down and performed much more slowly as this is a practice for learning the basic skills, not honing them. Instead of mass drills that are up to competition speed, there will be demonstrations and, hopefully, more repetition that should allow me to get close and film the action without feeling like I have to chase my subjects down.

If all goes as planned, once the skates and the film are rolling on Monday night, I will no longer feel like video has knocked me off my skates and lapped me on the track.

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