KCRA Hollywood Park 4th of July Parade 2013
I love the Fourth of July and I love the independent spirit of the people of this country.
A part of that independent spirit is reflected in the local neighborhood parades that take place in little pockets of our communities across the United States every Independence Day. For the past seven years just such a parade of neighborhood and national pride takes place in my Sacramento neighborhood of Hollywood Park.
I’ve covered the Hollywood Park 4th of July Parade a number of times in the past and posted it here on this site.
n this year I was assigned to start work on July 4th at 10 AM. The day before I contacted the assignment manager about covering the neighborhood parade before I came into the station. On the 4th there are parades happening all over the area and we try yo gather as much elements as we can. The approval to cover the parade was immediate.
On the morning of the 4th I went into work early to get my news vehicle and gear and drove back home. I also took with me my Canon 7D with a Tokina 11-17 super-wide angle lens. At KCRA it has been no secret that we have been going through the process of making the transition to full High-Definition news coverage. Towards that end we are also in the transition from editing in Avid to working in Adobe Premiere.
Technical Notes: One of the great advantages of working in Adobe is the ability to work with native source material, meaning footage shot in standard definition, high definition, 30p, 24p, cell phone video, anything on the same timeline without having to go through a complicated, elaborate conversion process. You just bring whatever you want onto the timeline and Adobe recognizes and interprets it.
This story was shot with my regular Sony XDCAM news camera. But I decided to experiment a little by incorporating some HD footage shot on the Canon 7D to see how the system worked.
The parade’s kick off time was 10 AM, which is also my work start time. I was told to shoot by the assignment desk to shoot this quickly, then head in to the station to work with a reporter. So this was shot in a bit of a mad dash. I got to the rallying point about 15-20 minutes before the parade and gathered all of my interviews, then raced down the road a few blocks to get the parade coming at me. I had enough footage at that point, but I decided to go to one other leg of the parade route to shoot some test shots with the Canon 7D recording in HD 1080 30p.
By the time I got back to the station all the other stories had been assigned and there was nothing for me to shoot. I pitched to the 6 o’clock producer about putting together a package on the parade and she jumped at it.
I was now free to work on putting my package together as a reporter-photographer. But I didn’t want to relax with respect to time. When shooting and reporting you are up against intense deadlines. It was now 11 AM. I had until 6 PM to have my story delivered. I decided I wanted to have it in by a little after 2 PM.
When working with new equipment — in this case a Dell laptop and Adobe Premiere — it’s good to create false deadlines in order to push yourself for speed.
I sat down and quickly logged all my sound, which was kept down to simple Q&A interviews of three questions and about 2-minutes of interviews per person. On these types of stories I think it works best to get lots of different people on tape.
I logged and wrote the script in just over an hour and submitted it to the 6 o’clock producer, who immediately approved it.
With the new Dell laptops and Adobe Premiere editing systems the idea is to be able to cut your stories anywhere. So I put my iPhone earbuds into the side of the Dell laptop and retired to the KCRA lunchroom to edit. My goal here was to edit on a forced deadline of one-hour with the laptop just cradled on my lap.
The Adobe system is amazingly like Apple’s Final Cut Pro and I think it’s going to be a big plus for all of us to work in.
I got the story cut in just over an hour. I will confess to taking luxury at the end and taking my time to try and make the story look fun and active. I’ve become a big believer in fluidity and movement in keeping a story moving.
Just how the incorporation of mixed media — the Sony XDCAM material shot in standard definition (SD 30p) and the Canon 7D (shot in HD 1080 30p).
I’ve had one post-comment that the 7D footage looked a little funky and inconsistent.
I can only say that on the computer screen it looked fine. I also believe that once we make the full transition to High-Definition that this will evaporate.
William Faulkner famously said that to be a writer you have to be able to kill your babies. Meaning that you have to be able to cut out material that you love because it won’t fit into the story. This most definitely and most savagely applies to TV news writing.
The cardinal rule in television is not so much quality or quantity — but Time.
In this day and age a TV news story can be no longer than 1:30 (one-minute and thirty-seconds), and most commonly 1:15 (one-minute and fifteen-seconds).
My first script would have easily run to nearly two-minutes. Granted, it told a story. And if I was working on Common Ground, KCRA-3′s once-a-month magazine program, time would not even be on the table. I could do the whole half-hour show if I had a compelling story to tell. But this is daily TV news. Just as newspapers have word-count limits in order to sell space for advertising, TV news can only be so long. It’s the reality of the business. It’s also based on audience surveys that prove that after a minute and twenty seconds on the same story the viewers start to get restless.
That said, I am presenting here my original full-length TV news script. I always tend to write long and then cut out the fat to meet the time requirements. I’ve done this enough times to have earned the confidence of the KCRA producers to know that I will deliver a story within the time limits that are required — and without their oversight.
However, for the benefit of journalism students or anyone out there who might just be curious about what a TV news script looks like, here is my original full-length script. I’m not suggesting that the story would have been any better this way. When writing and making my movies I always tell people that you can never cut your material down too much — that the more you cut, the better is the material that you do, in fact, keep — and there’s no reason why this rule should not also apply to TV news writing.
So here is the original TV news script which I submitted and had approved for this story:
ON THIS INDEPENDENCE DAY, PARADES HAVE BEEN GOING ON ACROSS THE STATE AND ACROSS THE UNITED STATES. KCRA-3’S MIKE CARROLL NOW TAKES US TO THE INDEPENDENT PARADE HELD THROUGH THE SMALL SACRAMENTO NEIGHBORHOOD OF HOLLYWOOD PARK.
Nats, car horn.
CL10 CINDI JONES, Organizes Hollywood Park Parade
4.48 It started about seven years ago and the last three years it keeps getting bigger and bigger and bigger.
CL 14 DARCY CROUSE, Hollywood Park resident
|8.19 This is our third one, I believe.
CL06 SUZANNE HANCOCK
2.24 Oh yeah, this is our fourth one since we moved to Sacramento.
Cl 13 RICH CORWIN, Santa Rosa
6.51 Number one – this is my first one.
BEFORE THE PARADE KICKS OFF EVERYBODY IN THE PARADE IS GIVEN A NAME TAG. BUT ON THIS FOURTH SO MANY PEOPLE TURNED OUT THAT THEY RAN OUT OF THEIR NORMAL JUMBER OF 200 NAME TAGS.
CL04 ROB WHITLOCK
1.29 The neighborhood parades are great because you get to know your neighbors.
1.38 A sense of community and, you know, a reminder of why we do this because our forefathers setting a great example of what it means to be a great country and what it means to be an American.
WHEN THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE WAS SIGNED ON JULY 4TH, 1776, THOMAS JEFFERSON WROTE, “IT OUGHT TO BE SOLEMNIZED WITH POMP AND PARADE, WITH SHOWS, HAMES, SPORTS, GUNS, BELLS, BONFIRES, AND ILLUMINTATIONS, FROM ONE END OF THIS CONTINENT TO THE OTHER, FROM THIS TIME AND FOREVER MORE.”
CL 14 DARCY CROUSE, Hollywood Park resident
9.09 I mean, we’re out celebrating today. We’re continuing on their legacy. At 200 and – but at least 200 years later!
CL14 KENZIE JONES
4.12 Hollywood Park isn’t a big neighborhood, but we have a lot of people – a lot of young families – and it’s really great for them to come out and make friends. As you can tell, there’s a lot of kids on bikes right now.
Cl 13 RICH CORWIN, Santa Rosa
7.05 I heard about this parade but I didn’t know it was going to be such a big event. This is terrific.
THE PARADE HAS ONE STARTING POINT, BUT AFTER THAT EVERYBODY – MEN, WOMEN, ADULTS, CHILDREN, DOGS, WALKING AND ON TRAINING WHEELS – PROCEED, IN THE SPIRIT OF INDEPENDENCE DAY, AT THEIR OWN INDEPENDENTLY PACE.
4.57 CL10 CINDI JONES, Organizes Hollywood Park Parade
It’s low-tech. We don’t do any advertising, it’s just word-of-mouth, little signs here. No floats. Very little planning. It just all comes together.
CL06 SUZANNE HANCOCK
2.34 We’re a neighboring neighborhood, but this is such a great family event – I love bringing my boys here.
PERHAPS IT CAN JUST BE SAID THAT FOR THE HOLLYWOOD PARK 4TH OF JULY PARADE, IT ISN’T HOW YOU FINISH . . . IT’S HOW YOU START.
CL 11 JADE SMITH
6.24 Kind of like you’re going all together and you’re having fun and you get to see everyone that you know.
Nat “Happy 4th of July!”
IN HOLLYWOOD PARK IN SACRAMENTO, I’M MIKE CARROLL, KCRA-3 REPORTS.