Phelps and Flips

The summer’s been good, thanks for askin’. Stayin’ busy. Doin’ projects and stuff. Nothin’ too crazy.

Have to share, though, a continued, personal concern on technology: that it’s passed me by. No matter how often I attempt to buy a new, little item that’ll make working life simpler, the issues just keep cropping up in new, unexpected ways. And video hiccups have more become the rule than the exception of late.

With the Half Order Fried Rice project, a series of short videos were planned and some have been executed. I could talk about how it’s tough to pull non-professional actors into a non-paying project and how there’s a good chance that someone/anyone might not show up on a given day. And that’d be true. It’s also a near-given that I’ll foul up the situation once everyone’s on-site. To wit: two, recent shoots with the microphone turned off. Classic. This is a microphone, incidentally, that cost $100, or the exact trade-in value of a camera once bought at a big box’s going-out-of-business sale, before going essentially unused. (It, too, was supposed to be an answer.) The mic, when turned on, sounds like a $100 mic. Which is to say, kinda crappy.

So there’re poor-sounding videos upcoming. Now you know.

But the Flip! This product’s the one worth scorn. At PrideFest a week back, I met with Ben Phelps, a member of the Westboro Baptist Church. We spoke for four-minutes, with my rolling a borrowed Flip cam, as mine had developed a major battery leak of some sort in the week prior. Getting home, I spot-checked the video, which was there and possessing both video and audio. Progress! But the Flipshare software suggested an upgrade, which began to run… and which then deleted everything on the camera, including the Phelps video and my borrowee’s recent footage from Haiti. Ouch!

A consistent theme in my collegiate classes is that students need to become familiar with (if not completely competent in) all forms of media that might tie-into their primary skill. And journalism these days is apparently incomplete without “a full complement of robust visual information,” or some such BS, ala photos, videos, podcasts the now-passe slide-show, etc. All of them, of course, easily integrated into all formats and platforms of social media.

Recreation of self is painful and awkward enough, even without the machines turning against you. When they do, what’s left to do, but… take to the machines and complain?