Last week we talked about the nifty invention that is large file transfer and FTP and what it used to be like in the days of booking windows and taking in feeds.
Today I would like to address my second favorite TV news invention in the last 10 years: the flippable monitor on the camera.
You see, when I first started in this business, cameras didn’t have this. Like many people I know, I used to carry around an old light stand, adjust it to my height and put that light stand in front of the camera. Then I would frame my shot, move the light stand and shoot my standup from that exact spot hoping it was framed up well. The best part was when I got a really good take and went back to look at it and my head was cut off. Awesome!
Shooting your own standup used to take a great deal more work. Now you can just flip that screen around and even fix your hair while you check how the shot looks. It’s also much easier to see when a cloud comes in and ruins your iris setting.
The negatives? It takes away yet another way to interact with others in the business. I met a lot of people at different stations in other markets by asking for help shooting a standup or offering to help shoot a standup. I offered help to a young reporter last month and she kind of looked at me weird, flipped the monitor and said “I can do it myself.” Well ok then!
I think it also causes a bit of laziness. You are less likely to ask for help, so you are less likely to get creative and add some movement.
This is an excellent way to knock out a quick standup under deadline, but don’t hesitate to ask someone from another station to help you shoot a standup when you have a bit of time.
Also, if someone offers to assist, take that person up on it every now and then. Folks like me, who have been one-man-banding for a decade, once considered it standard practice to lend a hand. It’s an excellent way to get to know your colleagues.
Overall, I would like to say “hooray!” to the individual who first decided to make those things flippable. I was glad to retire that light stand!