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An analysis of federal health data by NBC 4 New York’s I-Team and ProPublica found patients at some dialysis centers are less likely to get organ donations than those at others.

There are many things I really like about this piece, but the work we did with the standup really does stand out. Many of my clips use graphics extensively to help drive home the point of the story. With this package, I felt it was really important to use the actual locations as our easel to visualize the numbers uncovered in our research.

A good effect can help push along the story and explain a point, a bad one will just distract the viewer. I used a couple of techniques here to help sell the effect on this standup.

For one, the standup is chopped into three segments. This keeps the pace consistent with the rest of the piece. It would have been a lot easier to have Chris standing still in front of a blank wall, but that would slam the brakes on the entire package. While building the graphic, I felt the whole bit dragged a little at the end, so I created a camera move (quick push) to emphasize the third statistic and keep up the pacing.

Paying attention detail is the other part of selling this kind of effect. The viewer knows that we’re not actually writing numbers on the building. They get that this is computer generated, but I like to do whatever I can to let the viewer put that idea in the back of their mind. We need them to pay attention to story, anything distraction could destroy that.

You can see an example here at 1:27. While addressing the camera, Chris bobs to his right, blocking our “easel” and doing so, blocking the graphic behind it.

To help sell this effect, I tracked and matted out the points where Chris’ head and shoulder would block the graphic. It is such a minute detail, but I feel this really helps the audience suspend their disbelief, and focus on the reporter and the data.

When discussing this story the idea came up to open the piece with the effect of the vanishing newspaper.

It would have been pretty simple to just do static shots of the stoop, but really, where’s the challenge in that?

So I decided to make the shots a little more dynamic. The clips where there’s a natural wipe were pretty easy to accomplish. Just shoot the same frame and the same action. The moving shots were a different story.

I’m not a robot.

As closely matched as the different shots may be, there’s no way I can, by hand, mimic the exact speed between camera moves so as to seriously sell the effect. Even a pan a few frames slower would destroy the illusion.

A motion controlled computerized tripod head could accomplish this.

I do not have a motion controlled computerized tripod head.

And, I’m not a robot.

Enter Final Cut Pro.

• I laid down the bottom layer shot with the newspaper in frame.

• Set an in point on the timeline at a significant spot in the move, say, when the last iron bar hist the left side title safe mark.

• Next, scrub forward to find a significant out point. I chose the point where the last iron bar just leaves the frame. Set an out point on the timeline.

• Now in my shot sans newspaper, in the viewer I set the in and out to match the points on the timeline.

• Target a higher layer track (V2?), and do a fit to fill edit. That will adjust the speed of the clip to match the duration of the in/out segment on he timeline.

At this point I dragged down the opacity of the top clip to check the timing. Once that got to a happy place it was just a matter of place the dissolve.

A Night to Remember

20120412-002315On Sunday, April 1st, the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences held the 55th Annual NY Emmy awards.

It was an incredibly successful night for myself and WNBC.

The station won a total of 11 awards, including an Emmy for “breaking news” coverage of Hurricane Irene.

I came home with three statues. Two, for pieces with investigative reporter Chris Glorioso, and one for excellence in camerawork on a story about ice boating.

Here’s the breakdown (with links to the stories):

Ghost Locksmiths. February 10, 2011. (WNBC-TV). Chris Glorioso, Reporter; Evan Stulberger, Producer.

Disappearmarks and “Matching Funds Wasted” February 20, 2011. (WNBC-TV). Chris Glorioso, Reporter; Evan Stulberger, Photographer.

Evan Stulberger. March 5, 2011. (WNBC-TV). “Hot Passion, Cold Ice


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