Eva’s Post: Welcome All and Welcome to Your Media Kits! Let’s get going…

Hi all! My name is Eva and I will be working with you all remotely from Hampshire College this academic year. I will be reading your blogs this year, posting content myself, and joining you at your retreats when I can. I will be here for support, both technical and otherwise.

I’m starting my second semester at Hampshire this fall, largely due to the work I did with What’s the Story and the guidance of Bill and Tim. I started with What’s the Story (WTS)when I was a junior at CVU, in 2015. During my first year with WTS I created a project called Breaking Binary. The project was centered around helping our community members understand the idea of a gender spectrum, and the array of gender identities one might identify as. We worked with local LGBTQ+ organization, Outright Vermont along with teachers, students and community members to create the documentary and website.  The documentary we created went on to win the Vermont Folklife Center Ethnographic Film award in the Vermont Freedom and Unity TV Film Contest and has since been used across the country as a tool to help both students and educators understand gender diversity.

In my second year with WTS, I created a film called ‘Trans-What?’. The focus of the project was a natural next step from Breaking Binary, based on what we heard from the community around us and the feedback we received. We had a lot of concerns from our community about exposing young children to the idea of gender identity so naturally, we created a film about young people and gender identity. We gathered local stories and presented an array of identities within our own community to help those with concerns understand the issue in a local context. During the ‘Trans-What?’ project, my team and I collected stories and information to create a film, an educational micro-web-series, and build on our website from the previous year. All of our work culminated in an a film-premiere event I organized to benefit Outright Vermont. We had about 75 people come out to support the film, ask questions to our panel and donate money to Outright Vermont!

My time spent in WTS is the hardest I’ve worked, and the most fun I’ve had working hard. The frustrations that arose over the course of my work often seemed insurmountable, and the projects often seemed like they would never ever end. Yet, here I am! The connections I made through WTS are some of the strongest connections I have made yet. The people I’ve met have guided me immensely and absolutely changed my life for the better. There is no program like WTS, and I can’t wait for you to dive in!


Welcome to the Media Kits:

This year, we have updated media kits! SO, even those of you who used the media kits last year should give this a read to make sure you’ve got everything down. Additionally, it is important to know how all of the parts of the media kit work – that is to say, don’t skip over some parts because the equipment isn’t as cool as the rest, or you don’t think you’ll need it! All of the elements of media kits work together synchronously to create the most comprehensive video experience so it is essential that you know how each component works! That being said, let’s dive in!

  1. Components of the media kit
    1. *labeled top down image of the components of the media kit
  2. Attaching the camera to the U-shaped camera grip “screw the shoe not the screw”
  3. Attaching rode mic to the U-shaped camera grip
    1. How to use the rode mic
      1. What db means
        1. When to use each setting etc.
  4. Attaching lav mic to camera
    1. How to insert battery
    2. How to put on buffer thingy
    3. Lavalier mic do’s and don’ts
  5. When to use Rode mic vs lavalier mic
  6. Headphones – Why they’re there.
  7. Tripod
    1. General tripod tips (since tripods may vary!)
      1. How to attach the camera to the tripod
      2. How to get the maximum/minimum

 

The media kit contains one camera, one camera charger, one RODE shotgun mic, one lavalier mic, one U-shaped camera grip, and one pair of headphones. Some of you may not know what all these words mean, and some of you might be very familiar. I am going to explain the functionality of each piece in the media kit, so keep on reading!

The very first thing to do with your media kit is to get your camera secured to the tripod. Each tripod may vary within your kits, so if these instructions don’t make perfect sense, use your intuition, be gentle with the equipment and ask for help!

  1. Take your tripod out of the bag.
  2. Extend the tripod legs by unlocking the tabs on the legs and pulling down. Be sure to lock them again when you’ve extended the legs to your liking.
  3. Pop out the plate on the top of the tripod where there are a few little screws poking out. You should be able to do this by moving a small handle or tab on the side of other plate. This may vary between your tripods, so if you can’t seem to find how to do it ask for help.
  4. Secure your camera to the plate by lining up the screw on the top of the plate with the hole in the bottom of the camera. Use the metal tab that flicks out on the bottom of the plate to twist the screw into place, instead of twisting the camera. This will ensure that your camera doesn’t end up angled on the tripod.
  5. Snap the plate (now with camera attached) back into place on the full tripod body. You should be able to just snap it back in, but if there are issues try moving the handle you used to help snap it out and try again.

The Lavaliere Microphone:

The next thing I am going to go over is how to attach your lavaliere mic to the camera and how to use the lavaliere mic.

  

  1. Make sure you have all the components of the Lavalier mic.
  2. Snap microphone (end of wire) into the round part on the clip.
  3. Pop out the small plate on the back of the lavalier mic body by pushing the small tab.
  4. Insert the battery (small silver disc).
  5. Snap cover back into place.
  6. Slip black cover over mic.
  7. Plug aux cable into port labeled ‘mic’ on the side of the camera.

Turn on the mic when you are ready to use it and turn it off when you’re done! Otherwise, your mic will die and you could be left in a sticky situation.

Next, we will talk about placing the lavaliere on your subject’s body. A lot of people have instinct to place their lavaliere mics on one side of their chest or the other. Another impulse is to attach the mic to your collar. Neither of these will yield the best results! The way to get the best result is to place the mic about midway down your chest, right in the center of your chest. This will hopefully prevent too much sound level variation during your shoot! Try to notice if the mic ends up hitting the subject’s body or clothes and adjust (if possible) so that this doesn’t happen! When the mic hits clothing it makes sounds that distract from the audio you are trying to capture.


Using the Shotgun Microphone and the U-Shaped Camera Grip:

The next two components of the media kit will require you to detach the lavaliere mic from the camera, and take the camera off of the tripod.  These next two components that we are going to talk about are the U-shaped camera grip and the RODE shotgun mic.

 

First: securing the camera to the U-shaped camera grip.

Similar to the tripod, the U-shaped camera grip has a plate with a screw that fits into the bottom of the camera, and should function the same. Remember, screw the screw, not the camera!

The U-shaped camera grip is great to use for moving shots and b-roll. I don’t suggest that you use this method while carrying out your interviews, unless the interview is in motion (ie. walking while interviewing).

If you need to capture sound as well as have the mobility of the U-shaped camera grip, you will need to attach the RODE shotgun mic to the rig. Doing this is very simple. Simply slide the bottom of the shotgun mic into the black square piece on the top handle of the U-shaped camera grip, above the camera. Once you’ve done this, plug the cord into the ‘mic’ port, just like before!

The RODE shotgun mic is a bit more complicated than the lavaliere mics because it has settings based on just how much noise you will be recording. The higher the number on the setting, the louder the noise it will be able to process. Here’s a 4 minute video tutorial that explains the different settings pretty well on this microphone:

 

Try testing out different noise levels on different settings and listen to your recordings to see how each setting affects your sound recording.

That brings us to the last component of the media kits: the headphones! You can not listen to footage on your camera with earbuds. You MUST use headphones (like the ones provided) in order to hear your input on the camera. I suggest that you take a listen to the way the microphone is intaking the sound before you record anything. It’s no fun to finish an amazing interview and find that the sound quality is not usable or that you never turned your lavaliere mic off and it died halfway through your interview!

That’s all I have for you all right now. Ask your mentors and peers for technical help if you need it, and feel free to reach out if you need support of any kind. I’m happy to answer any questions or talk about anything I can help with!

Best of luck and HAVE FUN!

Eva

Eva Rocheleau

One Response to “Eva’s Post: Welcome All and Welcome to Your Media Kits! Let’s get going…

  • Dixie Goswami
    2 years ago

    My time spent in WTS is the hardest I’ve worked, and the most fun I’ve had working hard. The frustrations that arose over the course of my work often seemed insurmountable, and the projects often seemed like they would never ever end. Yet, here I am! The connections I made through WTS are some of the strongest connections I have made yet. The people I’ve met have guided me immensely and absolutely changed my life for the better. There is no program like WTS, and I can’t wait for you to dive in!

    Dear Eva,
    It was exciting to read your post about your continuing participation in WTS. There is NO program like WTS…one reason is that WTS participants like you
    are in it for the long haul. BLTN NextGen is beginning Year Two of the Ford Youth Opportunity and Learning grant. Inclusion around issues of identity and access for all are at the top of the networked priorities, which means that your work and experience are powerful resources. Please figure out ways to connect. Love and thanks, Dixie

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