I joked about buying Shiva Media. I thought a multi-armed kit wielding blogger would make a great logo. Apart from the fact this may be insulting the top Hindu God of Gods.. the name has already been taken anyway.
Then I saw @ilicco link to a blog post from Adam Westbrook
Here’s a guy who looks like he has found a happy medium. Adam is a radio journalist dabbling in video. Using a compact camera, a HD video camera and an audio recorder he may have to juggle a little but by not choosing to live update through twitter, ping gps, and live stream he still has time to script his interviews and get the job done.
Maybe Multi Media does not have to be Multi-multi-media..
In an ideal world, if I were going back into a warzone, or tackling something I only had one shot at, I’d want to work in a team. Much as I prefer traveling alone, I do find a more superior batch of content comes from using a team, who like super heroes, all have their own individual strengths.
Along with Stills, HD video and audio, I also like to (where possible) live stream, micro blog (Twitter, Audioboo) and gps tag as i go. I find so much more value in logging the live progress as ‘news’ which preempts the final edit. This not only raises awareness of the project as it is happening but opens up all sorts of real time resources & conversations, as connections are made as you document.
At the moment to do a multimedia job well you’d need a snapper and a videographer, perhaps an audio guy too but you may be able to manage this between two at a stretch. Both people must also be able to live blog, capture, edit, archive and back up their own content and on top of this, write and do stuff to camera.
When I mean ‘do it well’, I mean suck up and absorb as much of the surrounding content/story/information in high quality for the later edit and lo-fi for live blogging.
As I have never been embedded, a team also offers a certain amount of safety and security. Depending on where you are, sometimes it can just draw attention. Although mainly traveling alone for ease, I’ve often worked with a friend. Someone I would trust with my life.
In Iraq I didn’t really know what I was going to do. There was little planning. I just went to see for myself and apart from moving fast and laying low, I was just taking photos and logging my GPS position, either pinging it back via sat phone or texting when there was GSM. The photos I took went to accompany a couple of news stories my friend was writing and finally to make my first real video podcast.
Not long after my good friend was kidnapped and later released.
On assignment in Jordan for the UNHCR I had more experience but limited time. I decided against video and just worked with stills and audio. Much of what I was going to do was arranged in advance by a friend who knew the area well and acted as a fixer. With a simple hand held Zoom H2 on the floor i could record the stories of the refugees and use my Nikon D300 to take pictures in the pauses, editing out the shutter sound later. During the live video blogging of the project I was contacted by Bill Cammack who ended up editing the final stills and interviews into a film.
I guess when there is less at stake.. Back in the UK, either covering a geek conference or on a job for a corporate client, you can experiment and test new methods of data capture and transmission. This is when we can get silly with our tech. Finding out what works and what is a waste of time and resources. What medium has the greatest reach for the least amount of effort.
If I had a tech lab at my disposal, something similar to what Ironman or Batman had in their gargantuan basements.. I would not hesitate to create the ultimate journalists tool. Some single device that once and for all did everything a blogger/journalist needed.
It only exists in my head right now but would have the video capture qualities of RED.. A 15-200mm f1.4 lens with an integral Binaural auto zooming microphone. High definition stills could be extracted from the film and edited in camera. All the GPS and audio to text tagged footage could be separated into audio, video and stills onto solid state cards or streamed via wifi, wimax, or compressed for GSM, or satellite enabling it to be sent all over the world but also to a sister pod situated within the same city retrieving the footage and archiving live.
Oh.. and it tweets.
Failing that.. I’d be happy for the iPhone to have a decent battery, shoot 5 mega pixel photos even in low light and shoot reasonable video from two decent front and back cameras.
This I feel would be far easier to achieve and may even be with us next year. In the meantime I, along with many bloggers and tech lovers will be carting around small to medium backpacks clanking with lensed gadgets. Always on the look out for an unused plug socket so we can recharge and ultimately.. reconnect.
You can add me as a friend on twitter here.. Twitter.com/Documentally