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Week of Good Stories–Lea Wallace Olympic Hopeful

Published On June 1, 2016 | By Mike Carroll | GoPro, KCRA-TV, Shooting News

This is part of a series that I call “Week of Good Stories.” I can’t think of a single work week in my 33 years in the TV news business where every day was a good story that gave me both personal and profession satisfaction.
I once worked with a reporter who did not believe in resume reels, feeling that they were a false, illusory way of representing a person’s work.
“What would you want to see then?”
“A week’s work.”
The last week’s work is the best example that I could think of as being representative of the type of work that I can do in a regular work week.

I love the Olympics. I particularly love the running events–track & field and the marathon. I’ve met quite a number of Olympic medalists over the years and it’s always a special experience. So to be sent out to cover an athlete who already holds a number of records in running and is competing to be part of the U.S. Olympic team, bring it on!

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I was assigned to KCRA sports anchor/reporter Michelle Dapper (@KCRAdapper), with whom I’ve worked a few times and really like her energy. She brings it all to what she is doing. She writes fast-moving stories, like the events she is covering. Her scripts always seem long, but that’s only because she writes lots of short one-sentence tracks and cross-cuts with natural sound and interview bites, so her stories play like machine-gun montages.

That morning Lea Wallace was at an elementary school yard motivating students about running and fitness. With young school kids I though it would be a golden opportunity for the GoPro — low wide-angle running shots.

I shot a blend of handheld footage following Lea around as she was interacting with the kids, with a wireless mic on her to pick up her sound well.
–Then for the interview I wanted a shot that would contrast with everything else, so I shot that on a tripod with the camera backed away and zoomed in to get very shallow depth-of-field. This is very important when around children because if anyone waves in the camera in the background, they will be very blurred and indistinct.
–Finally, once I had plenty of “standard footage” I broke out the GoPro, set on the Wide lens setting, and got into the action, getting in close, and getting a little funky. One shot followed Lea around as she worked with the kids and the natural sound was so good, crisp and clear–using an external shotgun microphone plugged into the GoPro–that I used much of it in the story. I only had four GoPro shots that I recorded, but I used quite a bit of it in the finished piece.

Lea Wallace smiling for the GoPro

Lea Wallace smiling for the GoPro

I’ve written about my love for the involving feel that the GoPro offers. I look forward to moving up to the 4K version later in the year, combined with a stabilizer to get fluid & smooth floating handheld footage.
At some point I am going to do a story that is shot completely with the GoPro.

Lea Wallave runs with the students and the GoPro that my fabulous sister Margo sent me last year!

Lea Wallave runs with the students and the GoPro that my fabulous sister Margo sent me last year!

Between the energy of running with the GoPro with an Olympic hopeful runner, and the energizing rapport that I find working with Michelle Dapper to be, this could not have been a better way to start a work week.

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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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