KCRA—First Baby Born in Sacramento 2016
Going into the 2015 Holidays, I told the news managers at KCRA that my goal was to turn a reporter-photographer package on all three of the major holidays—Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s.
I’d volunteered to work the holidays. It helps out the shooters with kids to be able to be with their families. And I get the double-time Holiday pay.
If you’re a dayside photographer on New Year’s Day you can count on the possibility of being sent to one of the hospitals to shoot a story on the first baby born after midnight of the New Year. I’ve covered this I don’t know how many times, at every TV station in every city I’ve worked in, both with a reporter and by myself to be used as a VO-SOT (Voice Over-Sound On Tape) for the anchors to read.
This morning, when I arrived, KCRA Managing Editor Angie Sheets had my assignment already printed out—covering the first Sacramento baby born into 2016. I could cover it as a VO-SOT or to gather elements to hand over to one of the anchors, or I was welcome to do one of my “Mike Carroll packages” with it.
Every station and the newspaper send photographers and reporters to these stories. This time, since I was doing the story myself, I chose to depict the “media madness” of the story.
To be fair, all the crews at all the station get along in Sacramento and we work together to not step on each other’s toes and help each other out when someone needs it. Like when a guy shows up at a story and all the AA-batteries in his microphone are dead. I don’t think twice & take out a spare pack that I always have worked into the Port-a-brace cover over my camera and give them over. You never know when you’re going to need a hand in return.
Former KCRA producer Chyrisse Hill was the media contact with the Kaiser Permanente Roseville Medical Center—Women’s and Children’s Center and let in two crews at a time to interview mother Amber White in her recovery room, and then down to the neo-natal intensive care unit to photograph newborn Ashynn White.
I was in the second pair of crews to go in to speak with Amber, however, Chyresse let me follow the first two crews in with my GoPro at the end of a selfie stick to get some behind-the-scenes shots of them to convey the media coverage around the annual first baby.
GoPro Hero 3+
Each pair of crews were being budgeted to fifteen minutes with the mother, Amber White. To be most advantageous of this time—and because I wanted to include the “media circus” to this story, I used my GoPro Hero 3+ extensively as my primary B-roll camera.
GoPro — I’m still waiting for you to find me and see how much I’m promoting your amazing camera as a primary camera for shooting news. I’d love to be a GoPro tester for you!
For the interview with Amber, I locked my Sony XDCAM down on a tripod, framed up a close shot on her, with a wireless microphone clipped to her hospital smock, then started the camera rolling and moved around the room with my GoPro. Later, back at the station, I synched the two shots together so that I could alternate between them, or edit from one to another, for butting sound bites together.
It may be a feature—but it’s news
It may be a cute story or a feature story, but this is a perennial assignment, it’s been in the news from back when I was a little kid watching the TV and it’s going to be covered long after I’m out of the scene. I know absolutely nothing about “birthin’ no babies,” but I want to try and cover as many different stories as I can, and do them as interestingly and compellingly for the viewers at home as I can.
And, frankly, I love the challenge.
Story Time Frame:
–The story was slated for the 6 pm newscast.
–Our arrival time at the hospital was 1 pm.
–I left the hospital at 2 pm.
–Started loading footage, logging and writing (and chomping down a salad) around 2:45 pm
–Finished script at 4:15-4:30
–Edited 4:30-6 There was a lot of GoPro footage in the story—my primary B-roll camera. I run this through the Warp Stabilizer effect in Adobe Premiere to smooth out the jiggle and give the footage something of a Steadicam look. That takes time to render.
–The story was uploaded and in the system by 6:01 pm.
–Story aired at 6:23pm