An informational video about the Fit Girls program at Lucy V. Barnsley Elementary School in Montgomery County, Md. Fit Girls is a program for fourth to fifth graders at the elementary school to learn and practice healthy eating and activities such as running. Students and teacher coaches run every Tuesdays and Wednesdays for 20-30 minutes around the bus loop. The video was for Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” contest.
In my Digital Media Convergence class we had to tell a story through photos and audio. There were no other restrictions — it had to be a complete story. During Family Weekend, my mom and sister came to visit and we went to South Point mall in Durham, NC in search of a story. I took pictures of all of the people there who perform and entertain hoping to collect tips. There was a singer, with kids dancing around him and putting money into his tip jars. There was a comedian magician who moved around a lot and made fun of the audience. And then there was Frankie, the balloon artist who happened to be a dwarf. Originally from New York, he joined the Ringling Brothers and began creating balloon animals. His story, I felt, compelled me the most, so I decided I would tell his. He was a great talker and narrates his story.
For my Digital Media Convergence course, I had to make a 2 minute or longer documentary. I wanted to focus on an Elon student creating a homeless newspaper in Greensboro. The newspaper is called The New Greensboro Voice.
A few homeless individuals who come to the Interactive Resource Center, a day homeless shelter in Greensboro, write for and produce the paper with Mary’s help, ideas and leadership. I caught the newspaper at just the right time — the group was putting together their first issue, folding the papers and preparing to go out into the community to distribute the papers.
I really enjoyed getting behind a videocamera and doing what I know best — asking questions and listening, learning. This was my first experience videotaping, setting up the camera and the white balance and audio levels, asking sources to thread a lav microphone under their shirts and onto their shirt collars, recording an interview and editing video. It was almost too much to be in control of, at times. I’m used to interviewing people for the school newspaper, but this project added on the videocamera to what I had to pay attention to. I had to keep glancing over at the LCD screen to make sure I wasn’t cutting someone’s head off or that there wasn’t too much or too little head room, I had to ensure that the audio was good and not too loud or too quiet. I had to pay so much more attention to sound and environment — if other people were moving around behind the source I was interviewing I had to either relocate the interview or ask people to stop moving (it causes distractions in the final product, viewers would be focusing on the movement and not the person talking, who I wanted to be the focus) or if other people were having conversations during my interview I had to kindly ask them to pause their conversations for a few minutes. I had to focus and be in charge of so much more for an on-camera interview.
I was really surprised by the willingness of some people to speak on camera. One homeless person, Russell Williams, came up to me and asked to tell his story on camera. While I couldn’t use most of his story for the focused documentary I was producing about the homeless newspaper, I asked him several questions about his life, how he survives and I listened intently — he was very interested in having someone listen to him, in being able to tell his story. This encounter helped me to see how important it is for a documentary, for a newspaper article, for a radio clip, to get to know a source as a person. This is something I strive for because I want to focus on feature writing.