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Old March 14th, 2003, 02:36 AM   #1
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The Rosenblum Experience

Hi all

I'm a broadcast journalist whose employer has hired Michael Rosenblum to teach some of us how to shoot and edit our own stories on DVCam. 25 of us have just returned from a three-week "boot camp," and I thought you might like to hear a bit about it, and the methods he employs.

First, let me say Rosenblum himself is one of those inspirational characters you encounter every now and again who you just can't stop listening to. His vision of what TV, and news in particular, should REALLY look like had us almost spellbound. I know he runs a DV school in New York, and if any of you get the opportunity to go and learn from him, I couldn't recommend it highly enough.

For someone like me whose photography experience began and ended with blurry snapshots at weddings and parties, it was a daunting prospect. But it was all broken down into (almost!) manageable chunks.

As far as the camerawork goes, his emphasis is on structure and discipline. He taught us to capture a series of static shots of our subjects - CU hands, CU face, over the shoulder, wide establishing shot, other. No zooms, no wobbly pans. Get seven sequences like this, of subjects which serve to illustrate your story. This system works, beautifully. I learned that if you go out and follow these guidelines, you'll always come back with enough material.

He also stressed the need for us to get CLOSE to our subjects. This can be tricky, especially if the person isn't entirely comfortable with having the camera stuck right in their face. But it's worth it.

If you're interested, we've been issued with PD150s with a wide-angle lens and a Sennheiser 416 shotgun mic. and a Sony radio mic. The receiver has been fitted onto a mount set onto the top carrying handle. The kit all seems to be excellent, although as a novice I'm not really in a position to compare it with other stuff.

For editing, we use Avid Xpress DV on laptops and workstations. Rosenblum says the art of film-making lies in the edit, and he teaches you to think about what you want your piece to look like before you go out, and then shoot for the timeline. This helps to prevent you from over-shooting, as we learned through bitter experience of coming back with three tapes for a two-minute piece. As he says, no-one knows or cares about what you didn't shoot.

We made four individual pieces and one multi-camera item during the three weeks. The learning curve was very steep, and most nights you went to bed with your head ringing. Sometimes you would just stare at the Avid until your forehead bled, with everything looking like it was written in Cyrillic. But most of what I learned seems to have stuck, and now I have to go out and earn my living using this new method of working. My first real-world piece will be hopefully shot and edited on Saturday - I'm following a peace-marcher - and broadcast this Sunday on the programme I work for. Wish me luck!

Obviously I've only just started to scratch the surface here, and I hope to develop my shooting and edit skills as I go along. I would appreciate any input from those experienced hands among you, and if anyone wants to know anything else about Rosenblum's approach, I'll be happy to try and answer your questions.


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Old March 14th, 2003, 04:32 AM   #2
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The New York school referred to in Damian's post is DV Dojo. The classes and workshops run year around and are always highly regarded by past participants.
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Old March 14th, 2003, 05:17 AM   #3
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Thanks for the report. Very informative. And all very good stuff. What struck me most, is how much the structure reminded me of OLD SCHOOL film journalism. Go out with you CP16 - Plan your shoot, shoot your plan, Cut-aways and Close-ups, come home, film at eleven. The ammount of film you carry limits your shooting ability and forces you to visualize the end product.

It's why I teach young kids to shoot Super 8 film first. The freedom of "limitless" tape is just too undisciplined.

"Everything old is new again."

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