survived Halstead's video boot camp. Thirty still photographers in one
room for two weeks. Sixteen hours a day of camera routines, script writing,
logging, editing, ethics, and "commitments" to bizarre assignments. There
were brutal critiques that flattened egos. Technical mistakes left tape
unusable and edits erased. New gear to master and new techniques to learn,
forget, and learn again.
A common thread held the workshop together. The dire need to add a new element to the field of photojournalism. All the photographers that made their way to Norman, OK were in search of a technique that would blend old photojournalism traditions with new video techniques.
Our instructors were totally committed to the "Platypus" concept. The "platypus" is Dirck Halstead's vision that a still photojournalist with a passion for a story could research, report, shoot stills and video then end up with both a still project for a magazine or newspaper and a good video story for TV. It's a concept that might keep photojournalism alive for years to come.
We are going to hit some walls in trying to get our new projects on the air. TV has it's own tradition. Freelance news features usually have a reporter, a producer, editors, and an expensive "camera package" that drive up the budget and make long term projects impossible under most TV budgets.
But there are "cracks" in the wall. There are producers in the networks that know and respect good journalism and are willing to break from tradition. Nightline is the prime example. CNN is opening up to outside sources. Some local TV stations are working with newspapers.
Our commitment to the old tradition of
photojournalism might be our strongest asset in working with video. With
TV news budgets stretched to the limit many stories that need weeks to
cover are shot in two or three days. TV documentaries for cable networks
are often recreated and staged.
Many thanks to Dirck, Rolf, Dick, David,
PF, and Amy for their time and extraordinary effort and patience in teaching
us the basics and giving us the tools to get started this new and exciting
William Campbell is a Time Magazine contributing photographer based in Livingston, Montana. He is starting to work on joint Time/CNN video projects on environmental issues in the west as well as a long term project on the realignment of man and animals in the northern Rockies.
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