Posts Tagged ‘video’

Great video

July 9, 2008

Thanks to Artie Isaac for putting this one on his blog. Excellent concept and execution … and a worthy topic for a change.


College Humor spoofs College Videos

June 20, 2008

A well-placed set of barbs really raises the question: does any college really need a video? Certainly, not, if it ain’t authentic and substantive. Enjoy.

A concession to techno talk

February 2, 2008

So, yes, the thinking is what counts. But what about tools?

Well, I am a cameraman along with my other duties, and as a cameraman I like a camera that responds to my efforts and gives me a product that I can use. Lately, that has been the JVC HD-100 hi-def camera. It happens to be a very popular camera right now, for good reason. It’s got an amazing picture and it handles well, not like a lot of the other hi-def cameras that have crowded into the market.

And it happens that Davis Guggenheim, the director of An Inconvenient Truth, also happens to own and love this camera. You can see an interview of him talking about the convenience and utility of this camera as a documentary workhorse here.

Is it perfect? No. Is it the only camera I use? No way. But for a lot of what we do, it’s a very useful tool for the arsenal.

Vision of students – video reply

January 31, 2008

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that Michael Wesch’s video on the state of student learning in Web2.0 America has been augmented by a remix that adds the racial dimension. Michael responds that they considered including racial statistics to the original but felt it was too emotional of an issue and would “draw attention away from some of the other points we were trying to make” … such as technology, boredom, and learning in an environment where only 18% of the profs know your name and Facebook is more compelling than the instructor. I’ve included both videos for your enjoyment.

What I find most interesting is the way in which video is increasingly becoming the medium of communication. Yes, it does have the ability to transmit serious ideas, just as your car can be used to bring home the groceries…. at least once in a while. 🙂

The remix:

The original in case you haven’t seen it:

And here’s a link to a better version of the original in case you want to use it in class:

WMV   Quicktime

One idea that is intended to be prominent because of its placement at the beginning and the end, but is actually not well developed, is the idea that the chalk board was a major technological development in 1841 but is still in heavy use today. Hmmm…. not unlike cave walls, huh? Still relevant after all those years…. because it’s low-tech, convenient, and strips away everything but the presenter and his content.

So what is Wesch and his class saying? That classrooms need to use more video or web technology to better communicate with our rich, distracted students? Based on the MacLuhan quote at the beginning, it would seem that’s the point.

Having sat in an auditorium full of 3000 people who stop breathing in order to hang on every word and gesture of Hal Holbrook as Mark Twain Tonight, I would say the problem is not technology. It may be the quality of the instructor, and it may be the listening skills and inner motivation of the students.

First time Bill Gates made me laugh

January 7, 2008

And, probably, the last. 🙂

Here’s a wide screen version with big-audience laugh-track from the CES.

Couldn’t find it yet on YouTube, but as good as it is, it doesn’t match Letterman’s version:

A tribute to video guys…

November 17, 2007

On the other hand… 🙂

The skills of a disciplined, client-focused video guy are extremely valuable. Because while the director and producer (which is more my job description) are running around, thinking about angles and talent and time schedules and budgets, the video guys are watching the Ps and Qs.

It takes a good video guy on camera to get it level in one deft move, ready to shoot action shots with a level horizon.

It takes a good video guy to quickly snap in and get a crisp focus, and then hold that focus as the action moves.

It takes a good video guy to always have the right white balance, so that when you run outside to grab a shot you don’t forget to switch in the tungsten-to-daylight filter.

It takes a good video guy to get good clean audio, monitor it throughout the shoot, and make sure the right audio channels are going onto the tape or hard drive.

It takes a good video guy to keep the equipment working, to stay with an interviewee whose head is bobbing, to establish and hold a framing organically, esthetically, and technically, in one take… because most of the time video subject matter is unrehearsed. 80% of the time there will never be another chance to catch what just happened again.

And so I often depend on the skills of an excellent ENG or electronic news gathering crew — usually a cameraman and an audio technician. Without them, excellent, high-production-value footage would be unattainable.

Video guys (ugh)

November 16, 2007

I’ve never thought of myself as a video guy. And I don’t want to be thought of as one.

What is a video guy? To me, a video guy is someone who loves the medium of video, who wants to make videos, who likes technology, who enjoys operating cameras, who thinks its fun and glamorous to have a big camera and a big tripod and big lights and sort of be the center of attention at a scene.

Some video guys are “film guys”. They are identical to video guys except they look down their noses at the video medium and want to only shoot film or perhaps a high-def video camera that LOOKS like a film camera because of its lenses, follow-focus requirement, and matte box in front of the lens.

As I said, I am not a video guy. I don’t like to be obtrusive, though I’ve often said I’m not doing my job if I’m not obtrusive and intrusive. But I hate that about the medium. I hate to have to be so obviously part of a scene in order to capture what’s interesting and important about the activity.

I also hate the technology. The late Neil Postman, my favorite modern essayist who I would rank on a par with Francis Bacon, said that “the form excludes the content”. What he means is that TV/video are in a moving-picture form, which is great for observing action. However, the observable action form excludes, by its very nature, the unseen ideas that lie behind the action. The video medium thus focuses on the presenter rather than his or her words. It creates celebrities simply by putting faces on the screen, regardless of what they say or do or believe.

As a medium, video focuses on what the actor does rather than revealing why, the true motivation behind it. It is no accident that the ancient Greek word for “actor” is “hypocrites” — from which we get our word hypocrite — a person who thinks something different than he says or does.

ORK looking like a film guy So please do not think of me as a video guy (or a film guy). Professionally, my goal is to help colleges communicate the truth about themselves to the prospects who, realistically, would benefit from and enjoy the experience that institution has to offer. Period. If I could do this by a mind dump, or a post card, or a chalk board, I would do so. Instead, I have to use the medium, the cave wall, which has the most currency in our culture. And so I have to use video.

I greatly enjoy what I do, because what I am doing is capturing authentic people saying what they believe, and transmitting their facial expressions and actions and words and music to another audience in a way that is fun, inspiring, motivational, and serious all at the same time. To me that’s a useful thing to do, but it’s a lot harder than being a video guy.

Welcome. Let the Ztories begin!

October 27, 2007

Welcome to the new Ztories branding blog by Ork the Caveman on My goal is to spark creative thought on the best practices for college communication. And the communication challenges are daunting — distinct audiences who inhabit entirely different worlds: Millennials for admissions, alumni from Silent Generation to Gen X for advancement. In a time when the stakes have never been higher and for the first time in history, the supremacy of American higher education is being questioned. I welcome your comments and look forward to vigorous dialog, sharing of media, and lots of laughs.