I have been in the freelance video journalism world for about five years now. Prior to entering the VJ (video journalism) world, I co directed El Inmigrante, a documentary about the US/Mexican border crisis, I did some short narrative films, and finally I used to work on film sets doing various jobs. But I eventually, during those years I became a second assistant in the camera department. I really enjoyed being a 2AC. I loved when I clapped the slate I settled in and then watched the talent and the director do their work.
However, I got into film to make stories, not just be a crew worker. So after being inspired by working on a NYU masters film project in Creede, Colorado I decided that it was time to make my own content. After a few short films El Inmigrante got launched and we were full on in making a feature documentary. For a very limited budget we did pretty good with the film. I am very proud of what we did as a team in creating that documentary. By creating your own films and producing them yourselves, you may not get all the funding that you would love to have, but you get a lot of freedom to make the film you want.
I feel that it is important to teach aspiring VJ’s that once you enter the professional world of creating content for a news agency that you have to being ready to work as a team with your producers. It is nearly impossible that your first cut will be the final cut. Some times there are minor changes, but at some times there are major edits to your original cut.
Here is an example of my first cut of a recent story I did for the BBC. Since this edit is not the final, I went back and did some minor changes to the text slates that are in this version of the story. But for the most part this is my concept of how I wanted to tell the story.
After I got my edit list from the producer, here are the second wave of changes.
Finally, here is the edit that went live on the BBC.
I you have time to watch all three versions of the story, you can see the differences. In short, video and film is a highly collaborative work environment. I love the process of it all, but still to this day I love making our own content. It is in this place that I feel free.
Water Wars: US states fight over Rio Grande was a story that I worked on for the BBC. I did the camera work. I learned a lot about the subject of the complexity of the use of water for agriculture on the lower Rio Grande river in New Mexico and Texas. I hope you all enjoy the story. The link below will send you to the BBC’s website so you can watch the piece.
I was able to film the Snowshoe Hare in the San Juan Mountains in southern Colorado. They are fantastic animals. I used my GH2 with Driftwood’s Mysteron patch 24p Hi Res for all the Hare shots, the nature B Roll was shot on my old but worthy HVX 200.
Last week I was a judge for short documentaries at the Durango Independent Film Festival. Once again Durango Film produced an excellent festival. I highly recommend any film makers to submit their project to Durango Film. There is always great attendance for the shows and the DIFF staff has great hospitality. http://www.durangofilm.org
The short documentary category was very strong this year. There were several excellent films but we choose Hollywood Hair for best best short doc and for jurors commendation we had a tie with Among Giants and Full Time Ministry. In short Hollywood Hair is a powerful story about compassion. Among Giants is a quiet responsible film that deals with the peaceful protest of clear cutting ancient redwood forests. Full Time Ministry is an excellent visual essay on one mans dedication to Jesus and his art.
Here are the links each of the films website.
Full Time Ministry:http:
In April of 2009 I got invited to go raft the Black river in AZ with a great crew from Durango and two White Mountain Apaches.
We ran 97.5 miles of the Black River. It was a first decent in some ways. People have done sections of the river, but we got the green light to raft the river from the White Mountain Apaches. It’s illegal to raft the river with out permission. So don’t think about running it.
We launched over 8,000 feet in the cold and we dropped to about 3,400 feet. There are several class four rapids on this river. I was mainly running my video camera, so I did not shoot too many stills. But here are some pics form one of the best things I’ve ever done.
We were naming rapids as we ran them. Our map was an Arizona Gazetteer and some Google maps printed off. I hope we get to go back this spring at higher water.
Looking back at this footage I wish I had my Panasonic GH2 and I did not have to shoot this on SD. Nest Time!