R.O.C. Race Phoenix – November 2013

I was most nervous about the video project before starting this class, but it ended up being one of the most fun assignments I’ve done. I went out to the Ridiculous Obstacle Challenge, or R.O.C., Race on its first trip to the Phoenix area on Nov. 2. The 5K race resembles the TV show “Wipeout,” with its set of intense inflatable obstacles that guarantee that everyone participating eventually stumbles. Between a set of swinging wrecking balls that knocked contestants into the water and a pair of long slides made slick with foam, participants left the race wet, dirty and having had the time of their lives. I stayed dry, but came away with some great shots and interviews.

This was the first package I ever shot and edited entirely by myself, and it was a definite challenge to put together. Unlike print articles, which are easily repaired through editing, it’s difficult to fix a video clip when you realize after leaving the event that you talked over your source in one interview, or that another source is poorly lit and facing the camera because you forgot both to ask him to remove his hat and to stand on the other side of your tripod so he talks across the shot.

However, despite the challenges I had while shooting and editing this video, I ended up being really happy with it. Video production is certainly more challenging than writing up a 600-word article, but the end product is worth it.

ASU Homecoming Block Party – October 2013

Fortunately for me and my terrible habit of procrastinating, our audio slideshow assignment was due a couple days after ASU’s Homecoming weekend. This provided ample opportunities to capture the sights and sounds of an event, and so I set out with a phone in hand to cover the Homecoming Block Party on the Tempe campus.

I decided to challenge myself by using only an iPhone to record audio and take photos, in part because of continued photog cuts at many news publications. Publications including the Chicago Sun Times, which cut its entire photojournalism department this summer, have been pushing for a move to reporter-generated iPhone photos and videos in place of professional shots. While there is plenty of backlash from the laid-off photogs and their supporters, it created an interesting question: Could I create a good audio slideshow using only an iPhone?

The answer: maybe in better lighting. I was unprepared for the midday October sun, and no amount of editing in Photoshop or Premiere was able to save the photos from being washed out. However, the presence of a few live cover bands performing provided great nat sound, and although the events that day had relatively few attendees, there were still enough people and displays to show the University’s Sun Devil spirit.

Nightmare in Mesa – August 2013

One of the best things I took away from my internship with The East Valley Tribune this summer was the chance to learn video editing from Tribune staff photographer Tim Hacker. This culminated with a package for my final story, a preview of the Halloween event Nightmare in Mesa.

In the middle of August, Tim and I went down to the hollow shell that had been Monsterland, the themed venue that previously hosted the event. There, we met with A. J. Hernandez, a Mesa resident with an affinity for zombies. A. J. did a brief interview, showed us an abbreviated version of his process to becoming a zombie and then demonstrated his scariest zombie moves. While Tim shot all the footage, I conducted the interviews and then put the package together with his help a couple days later.

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