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Archive for May 7th, 2007

ABJ’s car jumping video

Monday, May 7th, 2007

I hate to pick on the Beacon Journal. I really do. But it happens to be one of the news sites I frequent, so I see it at its best and worst, and a lot of in between.

Tonight, I happened to click on the story 22-year-old hopes talents will take him to new heights. Even before I clicked it, I was hoping there’d be video. (There was no indication on the story list. Come on, guys, you should advertise this to entice me to click!)

I spent the first minute or so — I actually have no idea how long it was because there’s no timer on the video, but it was more than halfway — wondering, OK, when do I get to see him jump the car?

I am not a videographer. I’ve never actually produced a video for a news Web site. (This is going to change soon, as when school lets out later this month I’m going to have more time for that and they’re going to train me, even though I have a solid grasp now from my classes/fiddling around. And I’m pretty happy about that. But, another day.)

But as a video consumer, I can tell you this video fails in pretty much every critical area except for the fact that they did have the foresight to capture video to help tell the story. And yes, they get brownie points for that.

Other than that I found myself wondering what the person shooting and editing the video was thinking. Or if they were.

First of all, zooming in and out of the man crouching by his car — not cool. Focus please. Take a few of those wide shots and alternate them with a few close ups and a medium one or two. Also, what is up with the lack of tripod? I can tell it’s a windy day (because I can hear the wind on the guy’s lapel mic as he’s talking and, btw, that’s pretty distracting, too). I can also tell when the videographer gets tired of crouching because you can watch him stand up mid-quote. It’s even shakier from there.

Second, the sound is mediocre at best, barely audible at worst. As I mentioned, you can hear the static from the wind, etc. And the reporter off to the side asking the questions is distracting. Edit these out please, they’re unnecessary.

Third, why is he crouching by his car for the entire first half of the video? If I hadn’t been watching to see if it got any better, I would have closed the browser about 10 seconds in. Also, what’s up with the jumpcuts/quick transitions? It’s jarring.

It seems like the video has all of the, to be honest, boring interview up front. Then at the end it’s like a fireworks display where they have a grand finale and just set off everything they have left. You suddenly see some cool angles and creative shots. You finally see him talking not on bended knee. You get to actually see him jump his car about a dozen times, which would have been way cooler if the videographer had used all these ample opportunities to catch him from different angles instead of sticking to his spot on the sidewalk. (It’s not like there was a unwieldy tripod holding him back).

I wish I could pull this out of flash and try to edit it in a way that I think would have been more appropriate. That shot of him running toward the car as seen from below the car? That could have been an interesting opening shot. At least you had some action. And when he talks about everything else he can jump, why not get him showing off some of those skills? Or a shot of him making a slam dunk on the basketball court? And why don’t we have a shot of him bracing himself for the run? Or a shot of the faces of the onlookers as they watch him perform his trick? Even if they had only spliced some of those “fireworks” from the end into the middle, it would have eased the transitions and held the viewer’s interest better.

If it wasn’t 1:30 a.m. and I didn’t have my alarm set for 7:30 a.m. I’d go through and try to find a positive example of video on the site. But again, their video list is daunting and I don’t have the paitence to sift through and watch it all. I should probably get to bed so I’m not running on empty tomorrow.

But I will say this, it’s pretty cool that the guy can jump over cars. And I am glad I got to see it not just read about it. So I guess a poorly executed video is better than none at all.