Must be Video Week here at the Safe & Sound blog — Monday’s post featured a YouTube of me jamming on the piano with our talented friend Keith Pickerel, and now here’s a guest post about a short video a graduate student at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism filmed a few weeks ago.
by Eliza Larson
I’m pursuing a career in broadcast journalism, but I’m the first to admit: I am quite the novice in the world of video techniques.
My professors are helping me learn more about putting together videos, but believe me when I say there is plenty of room for improvement. We were given an assignment to do a minute and a half long profile piece on an individual in the Chicago area. There are a lot of interesting people in Chicago, but getting someone to sit down and talk with you on camera is a real challenge.
I was taking the L home after a day of classes about a week and a half ago. Usually I doze off and listen to music or read a book, but this day I decided to tune into the world around me. I know, crazy, right? Sure glad I did, because I spotted a man on the opposite track standing with a dog. I wouldn’t think twice about this, but this guy was different. His dog was a Seeing Eye dog. The man was blind.
I thought to myself, how cool is that? Even though the man had a disability, he still was able to use public transportation just like everybody else. So I got to thinking, why not profile someone who is blind and lives in the city? Not to focus on the disability, but to highlight how a person doesn’t have to let a disability define them.
I did a little research and stumbled across this blog. I was inspired. I decided to try to reach out to Beth, and to my great surprise, she got back to me and agreed to an interview! The class assignment came with instructions to get three different shots in the video:
- the interview subject in the main frame (the video had to start with this shot)
- a two-shot (where you and the interview subject are in the same frame)
- a reverse shot (where you are in the frame but the subject’s head is just barely in the shot)
When I sat down with Beth and her very friendly dog, Whitney, I almost forgot about my assignment. Beth and I had a great conversation about living in the city without sight and what it was like emotionally to lose your sight. We spent almost 45 minutes on the interview itself. I wish I could have shown the whole interview in my video piece, but, alas, I only had a minute and a half. I had a lot of logging to do later on with the many great sound bites I gathered. Totally worth it.
Another part of the assignment was to get an interview with a secondary source, someone who could attest to the impact this person has made on his or her community. I read through some recent posts on Beth’s blog and thought I would try to reach out to one of the teachers of a school Beth and Whitney visited this month. A teacher at the Joseph Sears Elementary School in Winnetka agreed to be interviewed on camera, and what that teacher said really hit the nail on the head. “Her big message was just because you have a disability or some type of impairment, it doesn’t have to stop you from doing the fun things, it doesn’t have to stop you from doing routine type things,” she said. “Like she’s still able to get dressed in the morning, they were curious about how she gets dressed.”
Crushed it! My professor seemed to like it, and now you can look and listen to the video here and judge for yourself. I did my best, and I’m hoping I’ll be able to revisit this subject later on and really flesh out the piece.