Friday, September 28, 2007

Maybe he had a sick friend?

Okay, so this guy steals an ambulance.  What was he thinking?  I don't know, but they caught him (loser) about 200 miles North of Los Angeles-- wait, I'm getting ahead of myself.

This happened two days ago.  I've actually been in the field all week, just working a regular shift in my guise as a normal mild mannered news photographer for a major metropolitan broadcast television station.*

Not a lot of excitement for Action-Man these days, but I'm glad I did roll out on the stolen ambulance story.



I got to be part of a smooth little slice of gadget geekery that helped us get an element of the story which we wouldn't have had if we were less high-tech.

One of the firemen at the hospital (it was actually a fire department paramedic ambulance) took a picture with his cell phone of the surveillance video which showed the suspect.

I should also mention that the hospital didn't seem to be in any particular hurry in sharing that video with the media.  Sure, maybe this guy was likely going to be caught without the video, but I can't help wondering why the hospital would be so guarded and reluctant about releasing it.



At this point, it's not my worry.

So, back to the order of events.  The fire fighter emailed the two cameraphone shots he took to our reporter (Dave Malkof, husband of Angie Moriconi who writes the "Is That Thing Heavy" blog), who forwards it to me.

We had done a liveshot with Dave for the 6:00pm show and I was staying with the story for the nightside newscasts.



I opened the files on my laptop and transfered them to the Aurora edit system with a USB thumb drive.  Once it was in the Aurora computer, I was able to drop it into the package we cut for the story.



Shoot, it doesn't get much geekier than that.

You know, it feels good to be out in the field shooting, cutting and putting people on TV mostly solo (my thanks to good old Marvin for the "2nd man" assist on the 6:00pm show). 

I've missed shooting, but now it feels like going to the gym after not exercising for a while.  I'm getting the job done, but I'm not in the same shape I was in back when I was doing this on a regular basis.  There's nothing to worry about, because it's also like exercise in that I just have to keep working out until I get back in shape.

Let's hope I can have that done by later today.  I start jury duty next week.


*. . .and testing the latest version of the Aurora editing software.  How's that going?  Just swell, thanks for asking.

Blogged with Flock

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Crazy Motherf***er at OJ Simpson Press Conference

Pardon the language, but that was the original title of the clip as posted on YouTube.


I'll be honest. I rarely post video, but the title caught me off guard. I saw this guy before OJ's court appearance and even snapped a couple of still shots of him.



He seemed pretty harmless at the time, but I was sitting in the satellite truck and watched him cut up through almost all of the presser.



Part of me would like to see him not be allowed to turn the situation into more of a circus. It's bad enough with all the media coverage.

Heck, but then part of me kind of wants to see what he's gonna do next time.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Slow Day Off.

It was 7:30pm when I realized last night Dellis and I wouldn't have a chance to see the "Slow Dancing" exhibit at the Music Center later in the week. I'm back to a normal (for me) work schedule and I'll be working nights until the weekend.



The David Michalek installation is only going to be on display until the 26th, so Dellis and I needed to catch it last night or call it a missed opportunity.

It runs until midnight each night. Plenty of time to get dressed. The season pass for "Heroes" was set (yay, Tivo!) and the kids were-- Oh, hey, all our kids are grown. Ha-hah, we can just get up and go any time we feel like it.

We left the house about 9:00pm. I stopped to snap a quick picture of the car burning around the corner from our house.



Gee, that's something you don't see every day. Well, most people don't. I've seen this a few times.

The question was obvious, stop and offer help or continue on our way? Hmm, nobody really looked frantic and front doors were open in the homes nearby. We were reasonably sure somebody would have called 911, but I offered Dellis my cell phone just to be on the safe side.

No problem, lights and sirens were already heading our way.

We continued on towards our destination.



"Slow Dancing" is a video exhibit of dance artists from around the world. Each portrait is only five seconds, but it was shot at 1000 frames per second. That stretched the movement into about 10 minutes of reeeeeeaaaaaaaally sloooooooooooowwwwww video.



It was cool. Dellis and I enjoyed it, but probably not a big surprise that Dellis has a lot more patience and a greater appreciation for this particular type of artistic expression.

I enjoyed it, but I couldn't help thinking how cool it would have been to have a burning car breaking up the shots of the dancers.

Maybe that's just me, but what can I say? I'm a news guy.

Blogged with Flock

Saturday, September 22, 2007

. . . and now the real work begins

Now that beFrank is home from his journey (which there have been very few of this year), we can begin the real work. We're going to reorganize my office.

I've already done the major work of sorting, discarding, clearing all the bookshelves, shampooing the carpet and dumping loads and loads of STUFF! I had to do something to keep my mind off of Action Man being gone for nearly a week.

Sweetheart, you've had your 11 hours sleep, let's go -- What do we do first? Mount the TV? Build the shelves? Hook up the electronics?

Well I'm sure you have it all planned out in your head.

Friday, September 21, 2007

To BE Continued. . .

My involvement in the OJ Trial of the Century version 3.0 is over for now. I left "VIVA" Las Vegas yesterday morning about 9:00am and rolled into bed at home about 6:00pm. Yeah, a few things happened in the hours between bed and VIVA Las Vegas, but nothing of any real consequence.



Dellis (my Lovely Wife), was happy to have me safely at home, but I slept for nearly 11 hours. Gee, I guess I was tired.



We managed to complete somewhere between 40 and 50 uplinks since Sunday. Most of those were liveshots (some where just tape feeds) and we made it on TV every time we intended to make it on TV. Never once were we "floated".

That's a pretty good run without any technical or human errors.



We (Reporter Lisa Sigell, Photographer Jacob Jenkins and myself) worked almost 60 hours since we first got the call to come in last Sunday (a big chunk of that in the last two days with a really long day on Wednesday). After a good nights sleep, I'm still feeling every one of them that was spent in the satellite truck. My back and knees ache. My wallet is fine. It's going to be doing a little happy dance when the overtime from this week shows up on my paycheck.

I don't mean to sound so trivial (or mercenary) when the story involves elements of a huge tragedy, but probably like a lot of people I tend to forget where this all started. For the record, yeah, I think he did it.

Feel free to express your opinion. I think there's more to BE said, but I have to get ready for work.

It's kind of odd, but it seems like I just left there.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The "VIVA" Las Vegas Show!

Good Morning. I hope you all slept well. I've been up since 5:00am. Couldn't sleep. My scheduled start time today was 7:30am, but I took the two block walk to my van around 6:00am. I had some cabling to work out so we could record the satellite feed from the pool cameras on the OJ arraignment.

Every day the crowd has grown and now the costumed folks have shown up.



It was only a matter of time, but I didn't expect them this early.

The lawyers are holding their press conference on the courthouse steps. I'm rolling tape on it and we have a camera out there.

We're keeping a close eye out this morning. You never know, something could happen.

I don't like the looks of that chicken.

Blogged with Flock

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

No Clone Do

I just got a call from the Iron Chief. Seems like he really could use me back in Los Angeles for the Spector verdict.

If I could be in two places at once I would (but that's just my lame excuse).

Since I can't, he's going to have to cover my spot on the crew.

That's like pulling the brain surgeon to pass out aspirin at the free clinic. Sure, he can do it, but maybe we got something he could do that's better suited for his skills.
--
Sent from my BlackBerry

The Circus is in Town

Why am I here? It's not as simple as I tell people who stop me in the street.

OJ?

People ask pretty often why we put so much importance on a person who has so little real impact on our lives.



The easy answer is that I like putting food on my table and they pay me to be here. you know, I find that to be a very reasonable arrangement.

That's not really what people want to know.



What makes OJ so important that we'd travel so far to cover the story of his arrest in another state?

I could speculate, but really the people who make that call about our coverage aren't the people like me taking up space on the sidewalks outside of the courthouse.

We all just work for a living and go where the assignment takes us. Right now, that happens to be (VIVA) Las Vegas.



Just another day at the office?

Well, it's a cool assignment and for sure better than a lot of places I've been (but this stuff is never nearly as cool as you might think).

It's all a matter of relativity. Indoor plumbing, the availability of food and internet access go a long way towards helping me deal with not going home at the end of the day.



Why am I here?

Travel assignments for the station isn't a mandatory thing. I believe most of us chose the path we're on.

Me? I volunteer or (eagerly) accept when offered the opportunity. I guess it really comes down to wanting to see things happen for myself. This is history unfolding and people will remember this story for a long time.

I like being able to say, I was there for part of it.



This has the potential for being a huge news story. Even if it only affects us on an intangible level. People, for whatever reason, are interested in watching this case. I wish the same interest was shown towards other areas of our lives.

There's a lot I'd wish for, if wishes could change the world. Sorry, but it just doesn't work that way.



For now, we'll be here until after OJ's court appearance on Wednesday. I'll probably work until after the 11:00pm newscast and might grab a bite to eat in the hotel's 24 hour cafe.

I won't be seeing a show. I won't be hitting the casino. If I'm lucky, I'll have a few minutes to shoot some still shots, but it's not a vacation.

It's just what I do for a living.

Blogged with Flock

Monday, September 17, 2007

BE What?

It's not really about me, but I am so digging the name of Broadcast Engineering's Industry Blog Aggregator


http://broadcastengineering.com/be-roll/

Are you feeling it?

I was contacted a few days ago and asked if I'd be willing to allow them a link to my blog. After some soul searching and careful consideration of the issues, I emailed my answer.



"Sure."

If it adds anything of value to the world of broadcasting (sometimes on a good day, I think it does), by all means link it up and let's see if what I write can reach a few more people.

Hello, to everyone reading from Broadcast Engineering. Let me just say right now, I sincerely apologize if it was me who broke it, but I'm pretty sure it was like that when I left the shop.

CAMP OJ '07 UPDATE

He's still here in "VIVA" Las Vegas and so am I. It's not a challenge, but the way things are looking, I'll leave when he does.

Blogged with Flock

It's 1:00am. . .

. . .do you know where beFrank is?



If you guessed he was at home in bed, then you'd be wrong.

Sure, I'd rather be in bed at home (shuh, who wouldn't?), but as long as I have to work for a living, then an unexpected trip to "VIVA" Las Vegas isn't the worst alternative.



I think Las Vegas should totally change the name so that it's officially "VIVA" Las Vegas.  I'm going to set aside 5% of my gam-- uh, make that 3% of my gambling winnings to fund a grassroots campaign to make the name change official.

Until I really get the ball rolling, you all can do your part by just dropping the "VIVA" into your daily conversation.



If you're talking about Las Vegas.  Don't say "VIVA" randomly for anything else, cause then you'd just be dilluting the impact of the word.



By the way, I'm here because OJ got himself arrested.  That's the detention facility in the background.  This should be interesting.  Not to me, but I hear a lot of people follow this kind of thing.

I'll keep you posted.



"VIVA" Las Vegas, Baby!

Blogged with Flock

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Lock and Load

Hitting the road to Vegas for SNG. My window opens at 7:30pm and it's 3:00pm as I hit the 134 freeway from the 5.

Wish me luck.
--
Sent from my BlackBerry

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Thermal Grease

If you don't know what it is, don't worry about it. You can live a full happy life without it ever having an impact on anything you do.

I never thought I'd need it again. Now I do and forgot to buy some.

I'm going back to the store.

I know it's my fault, but that doesn't mean I can't grumple about it.

It's a
--
Sent from my BlackBerry

Progress

I'm on my fourth trip to Fry's and I've been to Cicuit City, Best Buy, Staples and I've scoured the internet for the componets to rebuild my toasted desktop system.

Oh, yes, I've also made a latenight run to Wallmart in the hopes of finding a compatible graphics card.

I built my last computer about two years ago and I intended for it to be the last system I built from scratch.

That hasn't worked out exactly as I planned.

If I'm lucky, this will be my last trip to the store for this unexpected project.

Hate Fry's. I really hate Fry's.
--
Sent from my BlackBerry

Thursday, September 13, 2007

(sniff) Is Something Burning?

I've been into computers since I found out how easy it is to build systems in the mid 1980's.  I use to make extra money as a shade tree mechanic on computer systems.  I'm the "go to" guy for all my family and friends when they have a computer problem.

I say all this to give you some idea that I actually know what I'm doing when it comes to computers.

It seemed like an easy thing (sounds ominous) and I'd done this a million times.  I was replacing a hard drive on my desktop computer on Tuesday, had just back up all my data and  had pulled the old drive.  Dropped one of the drive screws on the motherboard and promptly shorted out the system.  The power was off, but I'd forgot to pull the AC power cord.

That sucker lit up, made a crackly circuit frying sound, and sent out a small wisp of smoke.

Oops.

Desktop system, I'm going to miss you.  We go back a long ways.  I ordered your components in a motel room during the return trip from Hurricane Rita.  Your twin still sits on my wife Dellis' desk.

I'm going to Fry's this morning because I couldn't bring myself to buying a cheapo replacement system from one of the office stores.  I hate/love Fry's, but I don't have the patience to order another system online.

(sigh)



By the way, yesterday at work, I was the news photographer who is going to be in the next set of on-air promo spots.



It was a pretty fun day for me and I appreciate having the opportunity (but you know, I kind of really would just rather be out covering the news).



You will probably not actually see me in the finished spot.  If you do, it'll just be a quick glimpse of my hand or the back of my head and the camera.



The high point of the day yesterday?  My fellow photogs cheering me up by reminding me that it's been so long since I was in the field on a regular basis that now I can tell people, I'm not a News Photographer, but I play one on TV.

(sigh)

Maybe I'll throw a big star tantrum today and walk off the set.

Naw, just kidding.  I'll behave, but I'm just going to be bummed for a few days about my computer.

There goes the overtime from last weekend.

Blogged with Flock

Monday, September 10, 2007

A Phil Moment.

The "decisive moment" is a philosophy about photography popularized by Henri Cartier-Bresson and I might have mentioned him before as someone I admire. His work influences my own. By that I mean, he didn't suck and I try very hard not to suck.

I'm not inclined towards a lot of introspection. Sometimes the mood hits me, you know?

I believe a photograph can capture a decisive moment, but in my own thoughts about what I'm looking for when I snap a picture, I keep in mind what a photograph might represent at some point in the future as well as what it says right now.



I keep a lot of pictures that are just marginal (technically speaking). Sometimes I see the potential in a photograph even if I don't capture that decisive moment.

The thrill of capturing a moment (any moment) and giving it life beyond its' existence is something that drives me as a photographer.



We live through countless moments in the course of our lives. Most of them are lost to us as anything more than memories and recollections.

Photography changes that.

I've seen how a photograph changes over time. A picture, even a marginal one, gains importance as it becomes the only physical record of a specific moment in time.



When memories fade and no other records exist of a given moment, then I believe (and I've seen this) that any photograph becomes the "decisive moment".

So, yeah, I missed the shot on Thursday when Phil Spector walked past me. I was at the top of the walkway where the media lines up and he was walking towards the court building with his entourage. As he came up the ramp, I was snapping a few shots and I'd lowered the camera to keep an eye on my surroundings. I looked back towards Spector.



He was looking up at me.

We made eye contact for a moment. It was an unnaturally long moment and I swung my camera up, but it was too late. He lowered his head and walked past.

Crap.

It was pretty odd how long he stared up at me. I expected him to turn away as soon as we made eye contact.



The next day, I positioned myself at the same spot with the hope that he might do a repeat. Sometimes it happens.

Not this time.

It's okay. I got a few shots and I'm thankful for that. Just remember, it's always better to capture the best image possible. I may have missed a "decisive moment" (for me) in the coverage of the Phil Spector trial, but I can be patient. If I wait long enough, then one of these will become the "money" shot.

In the meantime, I'll just keep trying not to suck.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

It's Pizza Time

I never saw Oprah or Obama or heck, anybody famous really, but I hit the bird (satellite) six for six and that's what I call a job well done.

I love shooting and editing news, but there's a certain satisfaction that's different in running a satellite shot from the pursuit of the story.

My job is to put people on TV and I'm happy to be pretty good at getting that job done.

Yay, me.

I have to spend the night in Santa Barbara, so I'm having a pyramid hefewizen (sp?) While I wait for my meat lover's pizza that I'm picking up on State Street around the corner from my hotel.

Earlier I gave a panhandling older guy five dollars because, well for no good reason other than I made a lot of overtime today.

Life is good.

I wish Dellis were here. Then it would be almost unbearably perfect and that would be so cooool.

--
Sent from my BlackBerry

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Security Gates of the Rich and Famous

I'M BEFRANK AND I'M STANDING IN THE ROAD ABOUT ONE BLOCK FROM THE ENTRANCE TO OPRAH WINFREY'S MONTECITO HOME TRYING MY BEST TO SOUND LIKE ROBIN LEECH.



I don't have a lot of time, let's get right to the facts. I'm running SNG outside of the big fundraiser Oprah Winfrey is throwing for Obama.



It's Saturday and I was looking forward to getting some things done around the house, but the lure of a little overtime, well, let's just say no more.

It sounds cool to say I'm covering the fundraiser, but I'm about as far from it as you can get. We're lined up on a side street and I can't even see the house from here.



Reminds me of the days I spent on the road outside of Michael jackson's Neverland Ranch, but his neighbors never brough water out for the media.

That was pretty cool and you never hear much about folks being that nice to us.

(You know who you are. You ROCK! Thanks again.)



During a break between liveshots, I hiked up the hill to see if there was anything I could photograph for the blog. i don't know, maybe I was naive in hoping for a big neon sign that said, "Oprahville" or "Winfreyland".

Heh-heh, "Talk Show Bazillionaire Estates".



The streets are blocked off and I'm locked in here for the next ten hours.

After all the months I've been working inside, I'll say it again, it's nice to be back to putting people on TV.

Gotta go, it's show time.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Spector and it's really just my Thursday

If you saw it earlier, I was trying to post a slideshow with captions about my day covering the Phil Spector murder trial.



I spent all my down time on the 12th floor editing the captions. After I posted it from Photobucket, I found out the speed couldn't be changed.

Yeah, that sucked.

Then, when I edited it in trying to change the speed (and fix a couple of typos) all the captions vanished into the blackhole of computer glitches. I'll leave the pictures up, but I am demoralized and will need to console myself in the arms of a beautiful woman. Dellis and I are going to go see a movie. There may be a couple of glasses of wine involved.

It's the weekend, but I have to work. I'm doing something cool, so don't forget to check in tomorrow.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Closing Phil

I'm still not caught up for the week. I've had a couple of interesting days, but I'm sort of a "here and now" kind of dude.

Plus, I like the still shot I got of Phil Spector as he walked into the court house.



This all came about because I'm done with training for the week and I know the 12th floor media room pretty well. I'm upstairs on the 12th floor handling tape feeds and liveshots. Somehow we got tagged to be the pool camera for the walk in shot.

We've been avoiding pool camera duties because we shoot 16x9 wide Hi-Def. That makes a compatibility issue for other stations and kind of makes it tough to "pool" our footage.

I was helping our roving photog and just happened to have a still camera with me. Pretty big coincidence, that I'd have a still camera.



I like seeing another aspect of the trial that I rarely get to see for myself. It's a kick to see small details which you'd never get from just seeing the story as part of the news.

Maybe you've watched and seen this (it's a small detail), but I like having seen the personal plates on Phil's car.

Let me add that it's just my personal tastes, but I'm strongly opposed to the notion of vanity plates with goofy shorthand messages on vehicles driven by adults.

High School, first car, go nuts, but once you're rich and famous and on trial for murder, ease up on it. Even if it's your young wife's car.



It's pretty far outside of my realm of experience. I've never been rich, married to a younger woman who might actually be young enough to qualify for vanity plates under my age restriction.



It's just pretty cool to be back on the front line seeing this stuff for myself. The defense is making their closing statement today and I saw the prosecution's entire closing yesterday. It's all pretty dramatic, but sort of an all day long marathon event.

The closing arguments are a whole lot longer than anything I've watched on "Law & Order".

Somebody needs to hit the button that makes the "L&O" stinger sound.

"DUN dun"

That makes everything go faster. They don't hit that enough.

Also (because I'm old enough to remember), when does Paul Drake make his appearance?

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The Better Life

It's already Tuesday and I'm still trying to catch up on the bits and pieces of life that I've been savoring (or chewing on) for the past few days. I don't need to go into every little detail, just the cool stuff that I'd maybe like to write about.

Yay, for the good fun stuff.



Saturday was awesome.

It might seem odd that I've been to the Hollywood Bowl maybe a dozen times, but I've never attended any events there. I've been backstage and inside the dressing rooms and I've sat in the good box seats up front near the edge of the orchestra pit.

That all sounds pretty good, but I never got to stay for a full performance. Before last Saturday, I'd only been to the bowl to cover events for the news.



Yeah, I know how you're supposed to go out and smell the roses and appreciate the things available to you. The kids are grown and it's time to live the lives we always wanted to live.

We try. (sigh) We really do try.

Even without the childcare concerns, we still have to work for a living. We still have to maintain the life we have. We have to take care of our "stuff".

That keeps us busy. Even if in the long run it works in our favor, it does lead us into patterns. Slowly over time even the interesting and different can become typical and kind of run of the mill.



KA-BOOM!

Scott and Kimberly Mackie were nice enough to invite Dellis and myself out to the Hollywood Bowl for an LA Philharmonic performance.

The performance featured music by Tchaikovsky conducted by Thomas Wilkins. Yup, that didn't mean much to me before the performance either, but I have a decent appreciation for classical music and I know 1812 Overture equals cannons.



Add the prospect of a nice picnic dinner and an opportunity to share a bottle of wine under the stars on a warm summer night and you've pretty much got my definition of the better life.

We had all that and some nice impressive fireworks for the finale.

Sure, I could be a little biased, but I admire the way Scott and Kimberly live. They travel to exotic places and seem to approach life in a way that shows an appreciation for art, music and friendship.

It's really cool that they're brave enough to bring us along for part of the ride.

I look forward to having the opportunity to return the favor.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

How HOT Was It?

Man, this is starting to bug me. I don't like to suck, but even I'm disturbed by my unexplained lack of posts. It's not even like I don't have stuff to write about. It's been a pretty eventful few days.

Okay, I promise to do better. Let's get on with it.

. . .too hot to make any kind of a joke about it.

I'm not asking for sympathy, I'm just saying. It wasn't the place anyone would choose on a day like last Thursday, but we didn't have a choice at all.

Yup, it was hot in Lancaster.



That's where Carl Stein and I wound up taking the Aurora training. We were going to be covering the hot weather-- and let me make a quick comment on that. We train in the news van in the underground garage of the new station. The air isn't always the freshest, but sometimes we don't come out all day.

Honestly, I've missed the bulk of the heat wave. I know it's been hot. I've seen the buzzards circle over the employee parking structure. It just hasn't affected me on a personal level.

Then the Lancaster Sheriffs went and caught this loser.



Maybe I should say, alleged loser.

Nah, he is a loser. He might be an alleged child molester, but the authorities seem pretty confident they caught the right guy.



That's good enough for me today.

I hate seeing children hurt, so I'm not in my regular mellow state of mind about this story. It doesn't happen often, but I'm siding more with the torch and pitchfork mob on this one.

Nothing really for me to do (but I can still be mad about it). I'll leave it up to the courts to decide his fate and make your own peace when it comes to the whole innocent until proven guilty notion-- uh, wait, that not just a notion, that's one of his rights.

I'm writing that down, so I don't forget it.



Yeah, but I'm still happy that he was caught. It did make for a difficult day out in the heat of the desert, but we got a big-Big-BIG adrenaline rush out of getting out there and putting it on TV.

I'm going to leak the memo that sent got sent out about the job Carl and I did. It'll make for some riveting blog posting. Plus, I need to man up and write more/complain less about the way things should be.

I'm writing that down too.

Happy, late Monday night slash Tuesday morning.

I'll be back. T2 style, yo.

Sorry. I wrote that and started cracking up laughing out loud. It made my day.

Crap, now I can't stop.