EPOTM: Next Steps for the Team

Okay, so we completed our pilot run.  I mentioned we had a few hiccups.

That was probably an understatement.

Going into a project as a novice, I knew there would be corrections.  In order to be completely open about our learning curve, here’s the list:

  1. Problem #1: I ordered an HD camera I thought was a good deal.  The camera was high quality, but didn’t have the capacity to record directly onto a SD card.  It used tapes, and had to be converted to digital files.  This would have cost us a huge amount of time in transferring files.  So, we sent it back.  That mistake cost the project $70 is shipping penalties.  OUCH.
  2. The fix for #1: The first video was shot completely using an iPhone and a condenser mic.  We were actually pretty pleased with the quality, but we may also order a GoPro Hero 4.  I’m not ordering it until I make sure we can get the sound we want, because evidently they don’t have a portal for lapel mics and we’ll need to make sure our condenser mic will work as well as it did on the iPhone.  If we rule that out, we’re back to the drawing board on a larger Sony HD camera again.  I just found that it’s laborious setting up so much equipment, and timing is a key issue.  However, with larger cameras, you can set them on your shoulder and take video while walking without bounces.  You might notice several bounces in our first piece.
  3. Problem #2: Rachel’s first try at the large format film may not have worked.  It’s been quite a while since she used that camera, and each frame of film is $3.00, so we tried twice.  We’re going to go ahead and develop what she did, but she needed to tweak her method in order to get back on the saddle on that particular type of shoot.
  4. The fix for #2:  It’s fixed.  She’s back in the groove now.  And, she sourced a developer in Dallas that was highly recommended.  So, we’ll just take the hit from our pilot run, and move on.  The other fix…she took a great many shots with her other camera and we have plenty for the official portrait of the Carney encounter. I actually love the main photo of Robbie and June Bug.
  5. Problem #3:  Unpacking, getting set up, and repacking equipment…was rough.  It took too much time.
  6. The fix for #3: Duh.  It will get faster and become second nature soon.
  7. Problem #4:  It took me about 8 hours to get through all our video footage and put together a 9:30 piece.  Our pieces need to be about 2.5-3.0 minutes long.  I’m too personally attached to some of the footage, I think.  On the one hand, it took me about 1.5 hours to put together that 2.5 minute fun piece about our trip.  It felt easy.  So, hopefully I’ll reach that level of detachment with our actual interviews too?
  8. The fix for #4: I think time will take care of this one.   But maybe not…

I realize this post may read like field notes.  That’s because it IS…field notes to inform our next move.  But, in case anyone is thinking about a similar project and has happened onto this one, then we hope these field notes will be useful for your own adventure.

Next stop?  We’re not sure but this time we’re going to go three locations in one day.  Our journey will be like “pilot run 2.0” and hopefully will prove slightly smoother than the first.  That run will only include the two of us.  But the next run?  On May 10th, we’re going to do our first ten-town trip, we’ll have our first $100 donor in the car with us, and it will probably be an overnight adventure.

592 to go…

Rachel J Apple & [kelly]