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Posts Tagged ‘TV’

Short film: what do you hate the most

January 22, 2010 1 comment

I started making a short film today.

I copied the idea from “50 people, one question”. Basically, you ask one question, like “what do you hate the most” I asked today, then you edit all the answers together.

I’m planning to ask “what do you love the most” as well.

The interesting part is that people will smile happily in front of the camera when waiting for the question. Few people really appear angry when talking about what they hate the most.

Well, maybe because most of them are my classmates.

I’ll try some other people tomorrow.

What I’m concerned is that the sound quality might not be good because I’m using the on-camera microphone. This is what I got from university for my TV course. Using connected microphone will be too complicated because I’m working alone. I don’t want to set the camera on a tripod.

One good thing I found today is that I’m having a steady hand now. I tried last semester, but it didn’t work out well.

Last week David was filming in class when some guest speakers gave us lectures. I looked at how he was holding his small camera, and I learned his way.

Observe, and learn quickly.

My short film might not be so good as expected, but anyway, I’ll finish it.

Interview: ‘yes’ or ‘no’

December 23, 2009 2 comments

A friend called me to speak on BBC Radio. The thought of giving an interview, especially one that would be broadcast live to thousands or even millions of listeners scared the shit out of me. Shall I say ‘yes’ or ‘no’?

Source: Jason Ralston

I was dreaming something when the call woke me up.

“Yong, what do you think of the Copenhagen Accord? Want to join our live talking tonight at 18:00 to 19:00?”

It was Jessica. She is doing one-week internship in BBC World Service, Chinese Service. She was trying to secure some interviewees for a BBC programme.

We discussed about the topic and I figured out what they wanted:

  • opinions on the climate summit from a Chinese;
  • how the summit was reported in the Chinese media; and
  • what did the general Chinese people say about the outcome.

“Do I have that much information they need?”
“Is my English good enough to go live on BBC radio?”
“What kind of image shall I present about the Chinese media?”
And, “what if I said something wrong?”

Many questions flashed in my mind. I even thought of those people whom I contacted asking for interviews for my TV and radio assignments.

“Did they think about the same things as I had?” I wondered.

“Yes” or “no”

Jessica was waiting for my confirmation on the other side of the phone. There wasn’t much time for me to hesitate.

“Okay, as long as they don’t mind that I am a Chinese journalist.” I told her.

I said ”yes”, for the sake of myself and Jessica.

This would be my first live interview. No matter how scared I might feel, my consciousness told me that I had to do this. If I don’t take the first time, there will never be a second time.

I also thought about Jessica. I could even imagine how much she needed a “yes” answer after making so many calls to secure someone for the interview. Her editor might be whipping her to get things done. (I made myself seem noble, eh?)

How did the interview go?

Well, I couldn’t tell you how the interview was.

It never happened.

From 17:30 until 19:00, I checked my mobile phone 4 or 5 times to make sure it has signal. I thought about the interview and couldn’t focus on anything else.

I looked into the mirror and tried to speak as I was being interviewed. Then I wrote down some key points. And then, I just sat and waited.

After 19:00, my phone haven’t rung at all. At last, I was sure they wouldn’t call.

Why? Possible reasons included:

  • mobile phone is never good for live interview
  • other interviews went too long and squeezed out my time slot
  • my identity as a Chinese journalist might be a concern
  • they found someone else who went into their studio (as I was not physically available)

I’m proud of myself

I felt relieved and happy. You might understand why I felt relieved, but why happy?

Well, I was happy because I said “yes” in the first place. I felt proud of myself. I didn’t have to regret that I didn’t have the guts to go live on a BBC English programme.

True, this could be a small piece of cake for you, and some of you might even dream of having such an opportunity.

But for me, it was not. I dared myself, and the go-for-challenges me knocked over the shy me. It was a glorious battle I won.

I might despise myself if I said “no” in the first place, no matter whether the interview went as scheduled or not.

Something I neglected before

In fact, the aborted interview made me think about interview again.

When we approach people asking them to give an interview, do we ever think about their worries or concerns? Have we ever put ourselves in their shoes?

When I did my TV interviews, I contacted people from Harrow council, the NHS primary care trust, a hospital, and many other institutions. Why was it so difficult to get their “yes”? Some even looked frightened when they saw my video camera and tripod. Did I ever think of it, that people might be scared of speaking on TV?

After all, it’s not about what we need, but what they can or are willing to give.

Internet changed, is changing, and will continue to change our life

November 13, 2009 Leave a comment

The Online Journalism classes will begin next week.

Needless to say, Internet has changed our life. In fact, its daily use is so essential that it now becomes almost impossible for a journalist to work without access to Internet. Even old people are trying to learn to use Internet.

To an extreme, some people become so addicted to Internet that they have to go to a doctor or a psychiatrist for consultation. To find out if you are one of them, you can take this Internet Addiction Test.

What concerns me is that Internet has fundamentally changed the way we study.

We treat information as knowledge, consider bookmarking as studying, mistake reading as thinking, and take it for granted that archiving means having mastered the knowledge.

I have been always amazed by some old people that they remember so many things. They have the habit of learning stuff by heart. Little by little, they form their own knowledge schematism. This is the traditional way of learning.

What happens with the wide application of computers and Internet is that we seldom try to memorise most of the things. We no longer turn to great minds; instead, we just “google” it, and in most cases, we are not disappointed.

I remember someone said this when TV became prevalent:

Whenever someone turns on the TV, I go back to my room and read.

Is there any chance he can still do so whenever someone turns on a computer?

By the way, this is one of the very few quotations I remembered without having to google it.

Swine flu vaccine

November 12, 2009 2 comments

This is the first news clip I produced all by myself, from story selection to shooting (with the help of Jomanah, my teammate), from script writing to editing, and from voiceover to piece-to-camera.

The defects are obvious in the clip, but I still like it very much.

The most difficult part is to get interviews. I have never imagined that bringing people to talk in front of the camera could so hard, especially when you are just a student and asking for their time just to help you finish your TV assignment.  But after so much efforts, I really felt that this was also a fun part.

I used to edit a lot of news, like three to four pieces almost on a daily basis, but all the pictures were from finished products provided by AP or Reuters. Going out and filming helped me think about pictures from a totally different perspective, because this time, I was creating something instead of processing.

Here’s the script. Any comments are welcome.

Cue:

The first batch of swine flu vaccines will be delivered today. The NHS in Harrow will distribute them amid prediction that cases of the virus will soar next month.

Script:
Read more…

What are you afraid of?

November 5, 2009 Leave a comment

The biggest problem of working on my TV assignments was to get people agree to be interviewed, and on TV.

A councillor from HarrowCivic Center agreed to give me 15 minutes for an interview. When I arrived there, he saw the camera and said: “are you going to film this interview?”

I said “yes”. Then he became hesitated. He thought for a few seconds and said: “sorry, I can’t take video interview. You didn’t say it’s gonna be recorded.”

“It’s absolute my fault. I should have told you this.” I was stupid, and I admitted that.

No matter how I explained and requested, he just didn’t agree.

“If you just write down what I tell you, I can take the interview, but I really can’t do TV interviews,” he repeated.

If he was worried about not presenting himself well before the camera, i.e. not wearing suits, stuttering talking to camera, etc., I would be able to understand. But this man gave the impression that he was afraid of being recorded for what he was going to say. Maybe he though if anything happened, he could deny he had said anything, but if it was on TV, he would have to admit it.

He was indeed afraid of taking responsibilities. Interesting people.