Sunday, November 07, 2004

A Week in the Life

Never Try to Hide from a Cameraman...

Today I began work shooting a "Cardio Zuma" class, described to me by the instructor as 'Aerobics with an Attitude'. Come to find out it was a Latin attitude - Ricky Martin filled the air as I walked my tripod around the room and tried not to get caught checking out the hotter Soccer Moms. My EP wanted me to fill two and a half minutes of his upcoming health special, so I stuck around and shot the whole hour-long class. Just when I was getting bored, I spotted a two rather awkward looking gentlemen laboring to keep up in the back of the pack.

Zooming in, I had to laugh as they applied their utter lack of rhythm to the hot Salsa beat. The fat one had one or two moves, but his tall bald buddy was all ass and elbows. Together they looked like two accountants auditioning to be extras in Lambada: The Forbidden Dance 2. As I pushed in with all my glass, it occurred to me the duo was hanging back in an effort to hide from me. Never try to hide from a Cameraman. It's annoying and compels us to capture your image on tape. All I can say is those two cats better not have teenage daughters. I'm about to spread footage of their Dads gettin' their retarded Latin groove on far and wide. Hey, it's what I do.

A week ago today, I wasn't exactly terrorizing middle aged men in spandex. Instead, I donned blue scrubs, hat, mask and booties for an up-close look at Robotic Prostate Surgery. You heard me - Robotic Prostate Surgery. It's the latest craze in removing cancerous prostates! Instead of slicing you from belly button to hooha so they can reach in deep to get past your plumbing, technology has afforded us a new way of extracting the prostate. Now, they can shoot four pencil-thin robotic arms into your torso, and using a 3-D viewing console, manipulate the tiny surgical tools inside the body. Think of it as remote-control surgery, one with lots of plasma-monitors blaring color images of the quivering interior of the patient's rectum. Katie Couric eat you heart out.

I amused myself with the normal cutaways and chatted with the masked nurses and surgical assistants. They were very accomodating and offered me every vantage point available. I walked around the operating room, making sure not to accidentally unplug the many extension cords covering the floor. I didn't want to be responsibel for any sudden flatlines. As far as surgeries go, I've shot gnarlier, but I did enjoy freaking out co-workers with close-up shots of the robot arm slicing through fatty tissue with its mini-blowtorch. Is that so wrong?

Two weeks ago, my producers dispatched me to the nearest Subway Shop for a local version of 'When Animals Attack!' The night before, innocent citizens were chowing down on their favorite subs when a doe - a deer - a female deer crashed through the front door at breakneck speed. It shot like a bullet down the aisle before crashing into a back wall. Diners gasped and one rather effeminate sandwich-maker did a quick Little Richard impression, but the young deer paid them no mind. Dazed from smacking the back wall, it braced itself on its thin wobbly legs before bolting for the door, disappearing into the night. I know all this because the entire 45-second episode was caught on surveillance tape. Hi-speed, quad-box black-and-white, but video nonetheless.

The door had been repaired by the time I arrived, but the owner gladly talked on-camera and then handed over the surveillance tape. Better yet, he coughed up four large samples of Subway's new salads. Might I recommend the Chicken Ceaser? I plowed through mine back at the shop as a buddy and I imported the surveillance footage to the NLE server. Once it was we in , we sliced and diced, blowing the four quadrants of the screen full and slowing it down by sixty percent.

What had started as grainy high speed four cams on one screen was now four full-screen real-time angles of the deer's breaking and entering. We even managed to slow the sound and enjoy the muffled shrieks of the flailing sandwich-maker. In the end, tehy merager footage made for a nice minute-thirty piece, something for our anchors to bellow about in the b-block.

LOOK WHO'S COMING TO DINNER? IT ISN'T JARED!
A PIEDMONT CASE OF WHEN ANIMALS ATTACK!!!
But first, your Five Day Dopplerific Forecast!"

That same night we led with a breaking story on a raging school board debate, but I know what viewers will remember are the multiple slow-mo takes of Bambi freaking out the dinner crowd at Subway.

At least I'm doing meaningful work.

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