Mostly it was a successful project and it put me on the cutting edge of the operation of our next generation of news gathering.
Now, that being said, debugging and teaching myself the software we're using for editing (Hellooo, FCP!) wasn't always particularly interesting and sometimes it was a headache inducing puzzle that made me long for the simplicity of just going out and covering the news.
The project is pretty well completed. The new truck is just waiting for a brave soul to take it out and put it to work. That'll probably be me, but for now I'm just back on my old shift and avaialble for general assignment ENG (electronic news gathering) duties.
Yesterday was my first day back out in the field. Yes, I got a pretty awesome bit of breking news to cover. Seren Branson was my reporter.
I'm not sure how she managed to pull the short straw of having to work with me on my first day back in the field, but I hope she gets a comp day or something for that.
Just off the 101 Freeway near Thousand Oaks, a brush fire started about 2:00pm. My shift started at 2:30pm and I was somewhat expecting it to be a slow first day back in the field.
Oh, boy. No, it was not a slow day.
Temperature was around (and over) 100 degrees in most areas of Los Angeles County. It's hot. I'm maybe fifty yards from the flames and dressed in my fire gear. The fire fighters set a back fire and the wind helped push this section of inferno into a huge blaze.
The wave of heat pushed me back and I hovered between the fire engine you see in the shot and my news van which was parked behind me. My van was pointed away from the flame, just in case I needed to make a quick exit from the area. The trees next to the building on the right could have easily caught fire. If they had, we would have had flaming leaves and branches right above us.
I'd like to tell you that I was hitting home runs and making magic. (sigh) I did well for not having done much of anything under pressure for the last couple of months, but the reality was that I couldn't make things happen that simply weren't going to happen.
That particular area is notorious for being a dead zone for our microwave signal. I tried to get a live shot out, but couldn't. That was a bit disappointing to me. I'm used to sometimes doing the (seemingly) impossible.
We were finally able to get a signal out from an area nearby, but by the time the sun went down there were no active flames, no embers, not even a plume of smoke visible for our live shot.
Added to that, we did a succesful 5pm and 6pm hit, but lost our HD signal at the start of our 8pm show. We finished off the night with a 10pm live shot.
Still, I feel like I did a good job and had a nice honest day at work. The real beauty of it all for me?
I get to go back today and maybe do it again.