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Old 09-05-2013, 10:38 AM
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Curious what has changed and what hasn't... I shot spot news in Phoenix many years ago and finally have decided it's time to jump back in. I'm going to be going "new school" this time with a high end DSLR and a nice long lens since Phoenix PD likes to set up 1/4 mile wide "crime scenes" (or at least they did back when I was out there last).

Question for anyone at the local Phoenix stations - are you guys still buying stringer video? Suppose I show up with an SDHC card with 1080p HD video on it, do you guys have the necessary equipment to pull the video down and ingest it into your NLE? Or would it be better to burn the footage to DVD first? I can do either one. Also what's the going rate these days? It was anywhere from $50 to $75 per slug back in the day. These days with the price of gas, I'd expect to see at least $100 but with station budgets being what they are I doubt that'll fly. It's going to be a weekends thing for me anyway so I'm not looking to break any records for sales or anything. Just curious if Phoenix stations still buy and if so then what's a fair asking price for good, usable video.

Thanks!
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Old 09-09-2013, 02:06 AM
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Not in the Phoenix market, or a stringer, but not much has changed. In my area, it's $85 bucks a story. I think most station can handle media cards and most can handle DSLR footage, but they may have to change the format before editing.

But I think a DSLR is all wrong for news gathering. The sound on DSLR's is crapy. I guess you are using an external audio recorder? Form factor is all wrong. I guess you have a cage for your camera.

There should be a few thread about stringers. If I remember correctly, SVP has some good suggestions.
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Old 09-09-2013, 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Necktie Boy View Post
Not in the Phoenix market, or a stringer, but not much has changed. In my area, it's $85 bucks a story. I think most station can handle media cards and most can handle DSLR footage, but they may have to change the format before editing.
Thanks for your response! I had my concerns there as well. The camera I'm getting shoots MOV format, which I'm assuming I will need to convert to Mpeg-2. That's why I was thinking maybe it would be easiest for all involved if I just take a few minutes to burn the footage to video DVD. DVD's are cheap (I think $10-15 for a spindle of 100) and should be universally usable by pretty much anyone who is buying footage whether they are a TV station, newspaper or reality show. Plus, they mail for the same price as a standard letter. I can just walk in, deliver a DVD, the desk verifies that the footage looks good and then they sign my invoice. Done and gone to the next one instead of standing around waiting for someone to dub my original tape, which was a huge time suck last time and cost me some stories. I just want to make this as painless as possible for the stations and myself. So I'm thinking either burn a video DVD or a data DVD with each clip converted to mpeg-2. Which one do you think would work best? It's been well over 10 years since I last set foot in a newsroom so I have no idea what y'all are using these days or what the typical editor's workflow looks like other than what I've read on forums like this one.

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But I think a DSLR is all wrong for news gathering. The sound on DSLR's is crapy. I guess you are using an external audio recorder? Form factor is all wrong. I guess you have a cage for your camera.
Well, no... no cage. But it will be on a tripod whenever possible. I drink way too much caffeine to hold a camera steady enough. As for the audio, yeah I heard about that so I'm going to be getting a good external mic to compensate for the audio issues. I settled on DSLR because I can use that for far more than just news and for the money, you can't beat DSLR for quality to price. I could also go with used prosumer or (ugh) consumer grade video gear but I'd still be wanting a DSLR for all the other things I want to do anyway, so I figured it's easier and cheaper just to use the same camera for news as well. I'm also limited by a strict $1000 budget and for a grand, DSLR is far superior to the other possible choices I have. I can't even touch a decent miniDV prosumer rig for less than double that.

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There should be a few thread about stringers. If I remember correctly, SVP has some good suggestions.
Cool, I'll check that out. Thanks again for your response!
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Old 09-10-2013, 12:16 PM
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So I got the new camera last night and played around a bit with it. Wow, I'm very impressed with the video quality this thing can shoot. It works really well in low light as well as other conditions I'm likely to face and the lens I got for it will really work well for those scenes where the PD wants to keep the media back a long way from the scene. It even has a built in 5x digital zoom that will work for the occasional shot when the lens just isn't long enough (although this comes at a cost of quality, so I will be using that feature sparingly) The form factor will work fine for everything except sound bites. I think I will need to get (or build) some sort of handle I can attach the rig to so I can hold it comfortably in one hand while holding the mic in the other. Other than that, it's going to work beautifully. Where was this thing 15 years ago? I could have saved myself about 6 grand on gear.

This leads me back to the question of workflow at the station's end. The camera itself shoots each clip as a separate MOV file. I'm thinking for delivery to the stations I will burn them a data DVD that contains a folder for each story I've shot that night, with the individual clips inside. My thinking is that the editor will insert the disc into their NLE computer, access the folder for the story they want to edit together and import the all the clips. From there, it's a simple matter of removing the shots they don't want, resequencing them if needed and then render out to a final MPEG-2 file for broadcast. Am I oversimplifying this or would that work?

Thanks for all the info so far, everyone.
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Old 09-10-2013, 02:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CSpotNews View Post

This leads me back to the question of workflow at the station's end. The camera itself shoots each clip as a separate MOV file. I'm thinking for delivery to the stations I will burn them a data DVD that contains a folder for each story I've shot that night, with the individual clips inside. My thinking is that the editor will insert the disc into their NLE computer, access the folder for the story they want to edit together and import the all the clips. From there, it's a simple matter of removing the shots they don't want, resequencing them if needed and then render out to a final MPEG-2 file for broadcast. Am I oversimplifying this or would that work?

Thanks for all the info so far, everyone.
It entirely depends on what NLE they're using, what plug-ins/drivers they have, and what codec they like.
You're oversimplifying by guessing. Call each station you may work with, and ask them exactly how they'd like the files delivered.
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Old 09-10-2013, 11:12 PM
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It entirely depends on what NLE they're using, what plug-ins/drivers they have, and what codec they like.
You're oversimplifying by guessing. Call each station you may work with, and ask them exactly how they'd like the files delivered.
Yeah, you're right of course, I didn't think it could possibly be that simple. My fear is that station # 1 will want it one way, station #2 will want it another way, and so on. Oh well. The customer is always right, right? I'll just have to wait until I get a story they want and then call 'em up and wing it from there. If push comes to shove, I can just plug the camera into a dub deck and dump it to tape there at the station. It'd be no different than last time I did this where I had to stand around at each one while they dubbed the footage down. It'd just be nice to be able to avoid all that and move into the 21st century a little bit.
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Old 09-10-2013, 11:26 PM
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I would recommend calling them in advance before the big story breaks, that way you know what to expect and can set up your workflow instead of having to "adapt" at the last minute. Every station has a chief engineer/photographer that can quickly fill you in on what works best for their station.
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Old 09-11-2013, 11:46 PM
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Burning the files to data DVD defeats the purpose of using cards...and speed.

I believe that not all zooms lens are parafocus(I think that is the correct term). Some will not hold focus through the zoom. Someone with more DSLR experience can jump in.
How are you going to handle audio?
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Old 09-12-2013, 01:41 AM
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Burning the files to data DVD defeats the purpose of using cards...and speed.
That's very true. I'll have to see what the stations want and go from there. If they want to just dump the files directly off my card, that's cool too. I'll try to email some chiefs tomorrow during the day and ask 'em what would work best.

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I believe that not all zooms lens are parafocus(I think that is the correct term). Some will not hold focus through the zoom. Someone with more DSLR experience can jump in.
Yeah this one seems to have that problem but I use manual focus anyway, so it's just a quick turn of the lens to get it back into focus. I don't zoom while shooting unless I need to get something up close now. My usual method is to frame the shot, focus it, then roll on it for 8-10 seconds and then move on to the next one. Much of what I'll be shooting will be short, still clips - about the only time the camera will be rolling for more than 10 seconds at a time will be when I need to shoot some action happening or during the sound bite. Again, zooming while rolling will be avoided unless I really need to do it.

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How are you going to handle audio?
This afternoon after work I got a Rode shotgun video mic specifically designed for use with DSLR's. The very helpful folks at FotoForum here in Phoenix hooked me up with it after asking me what I was trying to record. I can keep it mounted on the camera for nat sounds on scene and then when getting a soundbite I can take it off the camera and hold it like a normal shotgun mic. It also has a low pass filter built in to cut out rumbling noises which will really help on noisy scenes. I think it's going to work beautifully. I'll need to switch from the zoom lens to the wide angle I have when getting sound though, so that'll be a bit of a nuisance. But sound usually happens at the end after all the scene footage is shot, so it won't be too bad. It'll just take me an extra few seconds to switch out lenses while I wait for sound - not a show stopper by any means.

Went out for a couple hours tonight hoping to get lucky, but as luck would have it, the city was pretty quiet and I came home empty handed. I'll be glad to post a link to what I get with it when I finally get to put this thing to work for real. I'll spare you guys the test video of my cats I shot the night I got the camera
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