Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Recording good-will

Today I borrowed a video camera from the Council's chief projects design and development officer Tony Riches, who's been very helpful and taken an interest in our attempts to communicate with the public something of the rich life of the City centre's faith communities. I'll be using it to record clips of faith communities in action over the next month, especially to film seasonal greetings from faith groups in their places of worship. The first challenge is learning how to use it and get results worth editing.

It didn't take me too long to get to grips with it because it is a Sony Handycam and Sony products all tend to work with quite similar conventions.
I've used my digital camera to make short video clips before. This is the same thing, scaled up, improved quality and capacity to change focus and field of view.

Hmm - getting non shaky images without catching shoulder cramp when you can't find your tripod is a kind of zen challenge. So, I didn't get out of the house in time to see any of the evening's Christmas light switch-on ceremony, just down the road by the Law Courts. Instead I went straight to St Mary's to film the first memorial service held in Cardiff to remember homeless people who have died on the city's streets. It was a quiet thoughtfully prepared and moving event with about 45 people attending.

The church layout made it possible for me to film without being obtrusive, even if it did mean over reliance on the telephoto lens, with attendant shaky tendencies, to replace closeups. Seeing how deeply affected some of the young people present were by the opportunity the service offered them to remember friends and loved ones, made me wonder how sound-byte hungry media interviewers on occasions like this can approach people and ask how they are feeling and what it all means to them. The ritual itself says it all.

Now I have half an hour's film footage to edit, and none of the software tools I have for the purpose seem up to the task of HD video editing. Maybe I should have found out first how to switch to SD footage. Ah well, it's not a bad thing to have a new skill to master, as well as patience to acquire.

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