KCRA—First Baby Born in Sacramento 2016

Published On January 1, 2016 | By Mike Carroll | GoPro, KCRA-TV, Mike's TV News Stories, Shooting News

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.

Going into Amber White's hospital room, following with the GoPro. (Frame grab from GoPro)

Going into Amber White’s hospital room, following with the GoPro. (Frame grab from GoPro)

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.

Starting the first day of the New Year, the parking lot at KCRA.

Starting the first day of the New Year, the parking lot at KCRA.

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.

TV crews setting up for interview in Amber White's hospital room. (Frame grab from GoPro)

TV crews setting up for interview in Amber White’s hospital room. (Frame grab from GoPro)

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.

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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.

High wide shot from back of Amber White's hospital room. That's my Sony XDCAM set up on the tripod and rolling on my interview with Amber. Cheers Hill is in the lower right of this frame.  (Frame grab from GoPro)

High wide shot from back of Amber White’s hospital room. That’s my Sony XDCAM set up on the tripod and rolling on my interview with Amber. Cheers Hill is in the lower right of this frame. (Frame grab from GoPro)

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!

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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.

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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.

My log sheet -- all the interview bites that I think are worthwhile, with clip number and time code. Once I know exactly what was said in the interviews and where to find the bites, I start working/editing the story on paper, creating my script. Generally takes about 30-minutes.

My log sheet — all the interview bites that I think are worthwhile, with clip number and time code. Once I know exactly what was said in the interviews and where to find the bites, I start working/editing the story on paper, creating my script. Generally takes about 30-minutes.

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

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First Baby 2016 136

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About The Author

Mike Carroll joined the digital revolution in 1999 with a Sony TRV900 camcorder and Final Cut Pro, when it was only Final Cut Pro and not version 2, 4 or a Suite.

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