The assignment: Create a sequence incorporating a variety of shots in a video that’s two minutes long. No interviews, no narration was required. Zooming, panning was prohibited. Creativity/news value were a plus. (The majority of students had never shot video before. Most used Flips.) Upon watching please consider posting a comment. That would mean a lot to the students (and to me).
On the last Friday of every month hundreds of bicyclists gather in downtown Seattle for a unique bicycle ride called Critical Mass. The ride is unique because it is not hierarchal or competitive; rather it is an inclusive celebration of bicycling. The path ridden is not predetermined and the ride begins when the crowd reaches a critical mass: enough bicyclists to take over the streets. Hours before the event bicyclists gather to converse and practice bicycle tricks. Over time, more and more bicyclists arrive, and the bicyclists begin to ride in a circle. Emotions and noise builds until the crowd reaches enough momentum and spills into the streets. With this video I desired to capture the buildup of emotion, noise, and excitement over time, beginning with the pre-ride casual setting and ending up with the riders spilling into the streets with shouts and camaraderie. Reporting challenges included the noisy setting of Westlake Park, where buses drive by and dogs bark at passing ambulances. Another reporting challenge was the setting of the sun and the consequent darkness, unanticipated because the ride began hours after the scheduled time. Also, spectators took me to be an authority on the ride because I was filming it and asked me questions, ruining some collected audio. — Jane Austin
After watching nearly all of the Media Storm samples and Travis Fox videos, I was halfway convinced I needed to fly to some AIDS-ridden village in Africa in order to get a compelling non-narrated video story. I circled the papers for local events, and shot footage at the Museum of Glass thinking that would be a great way to show “change” in the glass itself. However, I couldn’t get close enough since the public is banned from the demonstration floor and the visiting artist spoke in a room akin to a movie theatre, so I scrapped the Museum of Glass and started fresh. Per your advice to do something simple, I decided to cover the UW campus since it is familiar and I have easy access to it. Inspired by Travis Fox, I wanted to do a non-narrated, no interview piece like the cherry blossoms one. — Amy Monroe
For my project, I shot some film of the ducks that hang out in Drumheller fountain. I came into the project with some idea of what it was going to be about; while they tend to cluster in the fountain, I find ducks all over campus while I’m walking around, even as far as the HUB lawn and the quad. However, I never actually see them going from place to place, they just stay where they are. So my idea was to follow some ducks around for a while and film where they go and how they get there. My hyperbole that ducks don’t move to a different area wasn’t far off the mark; they do, but very slowly. Over a couple hours I followed a pair of ducks (a boy and a girl) as they wandered near the fountain, through the path, up the stairs and into Red Square before flying back to the fountain.
I think my ducks turned out to be pretty good subjects for the video. The ducks on campus seem very used to people, and while they wouldn’t get right next to me, they weren’t very shy. I worked on getting all five shots: there are lots of close-ups of ducks, and since the action is of ducks running around and eating crumbs there are lots of shots of that (there’s also a good one early on of a duck kicking his feet while swimming). I was on the ground most of the time trying to get to duck-eye level; there’s one good shot in Red Square when the girl duck walks right in front of the camera, and the viewer gets a good idea of her perspective. I also included an establishing shot toward the beginning of Drumheller. For my creative shot, I sat on the fountain’s lip and leaned as far in and as close to the water as I dared; I took a couple of these shots, but the only one that came out half-decent was the one I used at the end of the seagull edging out a duck for a piece of bread. I also went for a close-up of a duck foot; it happened to slip, which made for a unique shot. Overall I liked how it came out; I think it effectively conveys the steadfast disinterest with which ducks seem to move from place to place. — James Brown
Hidden in a corner along University Way is a wonderful little place, a place that serves as a hideaway for film junkies and those sick of the usual Hollywood fare on the big screen. The Grand Illusion was founded in 1968, and has always been operating out of its current headquarters at the corner of University Way and 50th Street.
Being a film studies major, I got interested in this alternative cinema which had both familiar and unfamiliar titles on its billboards. Thus came the idea of going behind the scenes for a look into what people usually take for granted – the projection booth.
The friendly people who run this place are volunteer projectionists, some of which were the original few who started a non-profit organization when the original owners could not afford the rent and wanted to close the place down. Avid film buffs who take pride in naming their Kurosawas, they form a rare breed of aficionados who still love their flicks on film rather than video.
My story focuses on the nooks and crannies of the projection booth, and an interview with the head programmer of the cinema, Ivan Peycheff. – Li-Cheng Tay
Steven’s Pass on a Saturday is probably one of the busiest places in Washington. I expected a quieter day, but despite the recession, Steven’s Pass remains popular. Obviously the truly dedicated are willing to shell out the $60 for the lift ticket, plus the cost of transportation and equipment.
I think what keeps Steven’s successful is the oasis the ski resort provides. You can sense the excitement of the skiers and boarders as they wait in line chattering, laughing and pounding each other on the back. I wanted to capture that perfect sense of isolation in the mountains, away from everything else going on in the world. – Erika Cederlind
I really enjoyed the premise behind Travis Fox’s “Cherry Blossoms” video: to film one place that may not be completely obvious. I decided to focus on Elliot Bay Park because it is a place I go often and have seen its popularity grow. There’s always a multitude of different types of people. The aspects of nature by the water are aesthetically pleasing and there’s also a sense of industrialism with the train and wheat mill that make this a really interesting part of Seattle. I wanted to get a variety of shots and because the park is a fairly good size, I knew I’d have to focus on certain things so the train, the birds and the dog in the beginning are probably my main focal points. While I was filming I was on rollerblades and realized halfway through that it might be interesting to get some shots while I was moving. So I included a couple of those shots and ended up liking them a lot. I think it keeps the video moving instead of being sort of stagnant. – Sasha London
Tequila Bowl is the annual flag football game that the Husky Marching Band plays in winter. It is held on the field of Husky Stadium and has two teams, the low brass and percussion instruments (White Team) and the upper brass and woodwinds (Purple Team). The game is refereed by former members of the band and is represented by the color yellow.
Any current Husky Band member is allowed to play in the game but most just come and watch. In this video, crowd shots consist of those not participating in the game and of alumni members. The video is meant to be shown with a voice-over recording that summarizes and highlights the game-like sportscasts. Although the game lasted for about 2 hours and 45 minutes this video shows the highlights of the game. This video’s direction focused on the three key shots; wide, medium and tight and plays are broken up by various detail shots I also filmed. – Monique Vague
Overall, I was pleased with the news value of my piece. It would have been simple for me to interview friends or go to a local business, but the Emmert address provided many challenges.
To begin, I would have loved to have shots of the crowd in Kane 130. The room was almost entirely packed with faculty, students, and members of the UW community. Their energy and frustration was incredible to observe. However, with my main focus being Mark Emmert, and having only one camera, I kept it simple. I tried to take shots as I entered the lecture hall, but they were shakey and out of focus.
When shooting Husky Stadium, I choose a beautiful afternoon to get the best lighting and to portray the scenic backdrop of the arena. This turned out making the stadium look its best. However, in the context of the way Emmert talks about the stadium, it had the negative effect on the viewer. My footage begged the question ‘Why renovate?’ Anyone who’s stepped inside the stadium knows all the cracks and hazards involved. I wish I had more of those shots.
I would’ve loved to have the option to move around and shoot Emmert from above, or maybe even get some crowd reactions. The event was around 2 hours, so after the stadium was addressed, I left. I regret this and not getting reactions. – Helena Habes
My video spotlights a day at Pike Place Fish in the Pike Place Market. Instead of attempting to interview the fishmongers working at the stand I made an effort to revolve the video around the fish being sold as much as much as possible. In the video I show the process of a fish being sold, from Pike Place Fish employees chatting with potential customers to a salmon being weighed, and finally two different fish being boxed and bagged for customers.
The main challenge I found with attempting this video was that, although being able to shoot next to the fishmongers behind the counter allowed me to garner a few excellent shots that I would not have otherwise been able to find, by doing this I was constantly forced to move the camera to accommodate for the employees. I’m not sure if there is any definitive way to correct this, but one way might be to have stood further back and used a more powerful camera. — Julian Martin
I decided to do my video on “A day in the life of The Daily,” which sounded very boring at first to me, who spends every day there. However, I think the video is actually informative and interesting to people who may not know much about The Daily or how newspapers operate in general. Reporting challenges certainly included finding a story with an adequate video angle, and also the fact that I chose something with which I am involved. – Sarah Jeglum
I had a really hard time picking a topic to do my video on. So I ended up doing it on a friend’s house that is on the Ave and how they cook their meals. So I went one night and videoed with girls that I didn’t know and watched them cook salmon and mashed potatoes. I thought that it might be more interesting if I had more time and did narration or had an interview of them explaining why their house is different and how they don’t have a cook but each girl cooks dinner one night a week (excluding Friday) and/or cleans up after dinner. They order their food from Costco and have enough for them for breakfast and lunch but they make it themselves. But they all have dinner together.
When videoing them cooking it was hard to get a variety of shots since they were doing many similar things over and over. But I looked at it like I do a photography project and that is how I videoed. I got up close shots, or detailed shots of water boiling or even of the uncooked salmon. I took a photography approach because I have always thought videos that were like that were more interesting and more challenging. — Rebecca Anne Livingston
This assignment was billed as a sequence, so I really wanted to find something that contained a lot of activity. A construction site is in constant flux, building, tearing down and everything in between. I felt this also represented change on a visceral level – literally it is changing the neighborhood, blocking the view from the alley, creating more space for businesses and residents. Construction sites also have some really fun audio, the natural sounds of the nail gun, the clanging and the sucking of the machine really caught my attention. The close proximity of the Allegro Cafe meant that I could shoot the site from a second story deck, which gave my shots instant variety. — Sarah Greenleaf
The Real Change was the first video I produced. I developed the idea when the original assignment called for a theme surrounding “change” or the “economy.” My thought was I would follow around a Real Change vendor, as they generally seem to be interesting people. I was hoping to see this person interacting with passerbys and ideally, selling papers. Unfortunately, my subject was on his first day at the job and had sold no papers. I had asked his permission to film but when I followed him, he kept trying to get away. In short, the video wasn’t what I was hoping for and so I decided to film another. – Sasha London
I thought it might be interesting to have a sequence of customer/ employee interactions at some place like a candy store. These seem to be the businesses that thrive during a recession. My plan was to obtain several shots of customers entering the store, employees giving samples, packing boxes, the customers paying and then the customers leaving. This was much harder than I was expecting. In order to take a sequence of shots with one customer, the videographer must be extremely fast with setting up their next shot. I was only able to obtain a sequence once, and that was with the man who entered the store, got a sample and left. Other shots were somewhat mis-matched but I did my best to provide decent transitions. I also tried to set the scene by showing shots of some of the candy that was on the shelves. — Sasha London