As a side note, finally! I am back. As a video journalist, that is. It was a long journey to transition and upgrade all my gear. I’m happy to report that I have officially gone from a Panasonic Mini DV cam (MTV vids), to a Flip Cam (CNN iReport vids) to a Canon Vixia and a Kodak Zi8 Pocket, which are both HD quality. In this video, you’ll notice some imperfections, in part due to experimenting with different file formats. That’s OK though. No one is expecting technical perfection – I think we all get at this point, it’s all about creating content that is raw, unfiltered and authentic…and in some way makes you feel like by watching it you are closer to a truth you had not considered.
As for my editing gear, I also transitioned to a MacBook Pro and Final Cut Express. I won’t bore you with the details, but it was a dramatic, drawn out process getting the Canon Vixia HD filed (AVCHD .MTS) ready to go into Final Cut. In fact there’s no easy way, it requires tons of conversion and compression. That’s what video editing is all about. Tedious, challenging problems that require solutions. Over and over. Thanks to @AnthonyFears, who suggested I use HandBrake, an excellent converter that made my life so much easier and got these old clips ready to produce.
I was slightly stressed out last Monday. I didn’t have a story yet (for my weekly MTV submissions) and was under the methaphorical gun. Then I remembered the public housing two blocks down. I had always been curious, so I decided there was no time like the present. I watered down my outfit, threw an audio recorder and pen in my bag, and headed to the streets.
“We like to chill every day out here every day, you know what I’m saying, don’t bother nobody and don’t let nobody bother us.” I was glad I was not considered a bother.
It was Monday afternoon on a humid summer day. Two blocks from my apartment in Northwest D.C. was a string of public housing buildings. It was there I met Jamal, Harry and Stephan.
Check out my new iMovie video, which I just posted on You Tube.
In the first four days, it attracted more than 400 views.I used my Nikon CoolPix to shoot the photos on a trip to New Delhi, Varanasi, and Dharamsala, India this past March. Here is a little background.
Back to India
My first time to witness India was in 1996. I was twelve and had a mouth full of braces and blonde hair. From powdered milk to toilet paper, my cousin and I packed everything we could think of. “This was a third world country,” my Mom, would warn, packing me up so tight it hurt to let go.Yet the second I arrived and had my first dose of the chaos of India’s interstate, I would never feel homesick again. Instead, I would take two more trips, at ages 19 and 22. Each time I would learn prfound truths about the world, humanity and interdependence. It was remarkable.
This March, in a local market, I asked our driver, Rammi, if people minded me taking their picture. He smiled, nodded his head “no” and gave me the warmest reminder of why I love Indians so much. From that moment on, I shot everything I could, always trying to connect with my subjects if just for an instant.