A friend of mine, Rick Stevens, is involved in the Land Park community here in Sacramento. When the city started having financial woes one of the first items to be slashed were the city’s parks. Maintenance staff have been cut by over 65%. To keep the William S. Land park running and beautiful the people who live around it are turning out to make up the difference and keep the park running themselves. Rick called me to tell me about this effort and I immediately promised to do a story on them. The Land Park Volunteers turn out the first Saturday of every month.
Yesterday I turned out with the Canon 7D to record their work and try the DSLR again as a news and documentary tool. After my first time out shooting the neighborhood 4th of July parade I learned that the 7D doesn’t like to be moved too much when it is recording. This time I used more static shots.
As this was always intended to be an all nat-sound piece, meaning without any written reporter track, getting clean and usable sound was going to be a priority. The one drawback to using the 7D is that you still cannot manually ride audio — everything works automatically inside the camera. I wanted to keep this simple and unencumbered so I used a Rode Videomic plugged into the camera’s audio jack. During interviews I kept the camera as close as I could, usually around a foot and a half from whoever I was interviewing. The lens is a basic kit lens — a Canon 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6. Everything was strictly handheld, no shoulder rig as yet. Also no follow focus or matte box, just the lens’s sun shade. The one item I have splurged on is a Zacuto 2.5 Z-Finder, which, when pressed to the eye during filming does make a big improvement on steadiness.
Footage was processed thru MPEG Streamclip into DV files, then edited in AVID NewsCutter later that evening and broadcast on KCRA‘S 10 and 11 o’clock news.
As I’ve mentioned in an earlier posting, I’ve been broadening myself from being a news shooter to doing as many stories as a shooter-reporter than I can. After last week’s story on Nello Olivo’s vineyard and award-winning wines Nello phoned to thank me and also told about his neighbor Nancy Siegler, who has battled breast cancer this past year. During the rough times she found strength in the beauty and life of sunflowers. She has published a book called The Power of the Sunflower and this year planted a special garden dedicated entirely to sunflowers. It will be open to the public next weekend, August 14th and 15th, as a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.
This was shot with my regular news camera, the Sony XDCAM. Thanks goes out to Caroline Taylor, a KCRA news intern who is majoring in filmmaking at University of the Pacific (U.O.P.) in Stockton.