Saturday, May 26, 2007

Free Reggie!

I've only got half a post in me. It's Friday and I'm kind of beat, but I wanted to share these pictures that were taken by a woman on staff from Councilwoman Janice Hahn's office.

Reggie the Alligator was caught yesterday. I was on another story in the Torrance area when I heard about the capture over my two-way. A couple of minutes later I got the call to pack it up and head on over to the park where Reggie had been holed up for the past couple of years.

Of course Reggie was long gone by the time I got there, but we had a liveshot to put on TV. I met up with Reporter Jaimie Garza and Photographer Steve Medina from our station. We worked the crowd and came up with enough to put together a quick hit for the 5:00pm show.

I'm running out steam. Let's call it a night and I promise to pick it up over the weekend. Lots of yard work tomorrow. If you can handle a shovel, I could use the help.

. . .hey, I'm back. Sorry to leave you hanging in mid post, but now I'm rested and ready to continue.

This would have been just another mildly interesting story for me, but I had a super geeky cool moment that involved these pictures.

It's frustrating when there's material that can help us tell a story, but it's not available in a format that we can immediately put to use in the field. We try, but we can't handle every format of picture and sound that's out there. For most folks there's no reason to lug around the cables that might be specific to their camcorder, cell phone, digital camera or-- well, you get the idea.

That was the case with the woman from Janice Hahn's office. She took digital stills and video with her pocket camera, but nobody had any way of getting the material out of the camera.

Until I got there and calmly said, "Why, yes. I can fly a plane."

That's not exactly what I said, but that's about how it felt. She had all these cool pictures and video and the best anybody was able to do was shoot it off the tiny LCD monitor on the back of the camera.

That was lame, but I understand. A lot of the time you have to do the best you can and improvise.

For me, improvising meant cracking open my laptop and popping the SD memory card from her camera into it. I transferred everything from her camera into my laptop, then moved it to my usb thumb drive (yeah baby, 4gigs). I plugged the thumb drive into a usb port on my Aurora edit system and imported her .AVI video clips.

Stay with me here, this is the good part.

The camera video format was slightly wonky. It imported the video upside down.

I didn't even blink (well, I did a quick little scream like Homer Simpson, but kept going).

The video was in the Aurora system, so I dropped the clip onto the timeline of a new sequence. With the Aurora edit system we have digital effects and it was a couple of simple mouse clicks to flip the video right side up. I rendered it, saved it and fed it back to the station. The video made air shortly after our liveshot.

Everybody say it with me. Go, Bryan. Go, Bryan.

With both freelance and staffers, we have almost fifty photographers that work for our station. We all do the same job and we're pretty interchangeable under a lot of basic circumstances. There's a handful who understand and know how to do what I did. Some guys even carry laptops and thumb drives. I'm not sure how many of them (if any) would have the SD memory card reader and know how to import media into the edit system. What I'm saying is that I'm pretty sure I'm the only guy who would have been able to pull it off.

Heh-heh. Cool.

Reggie's new home is going to be the L.A. Zoo. I might go visit him after he settles in. Right now, I'm going to start my weekend and have a little breakfast. It was a pretty good week. I'm looking forward to more of the same next week.

Pssst! Happy weekend.


darleene said...

Why must I always see these awesome pictures here first???

Wait, that came out wrong. You know what I mean!

dkgoodman said...

Action Man strikes again! You go, Bryan. The world needs more geeks like you. :)

dkgoodman said...

I see you haven't yet deleted that comment spam from "Alex".

Hey, Alex... you probably don't speak English, but I'm gonna say this anyway, just in case. Blogger adds something called "Nofoloow" to those links you just abusively put in my friend's blog. That means when Google comes along looking for links, it's going to ignore those. Got that? No Google juice for you! sheesh

beFrank said...

dkgoodman - Yeah, I try to ignore that crap, but I hadn't noticed there were three spams from the same loser.

He's gone.

Thanks for the heads-up.