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Several inches of unpredicted and surprise snow fell in Southwestern Virginia Thursday, catching many of us by surprise and adding another day of weather-induced insult to a winter of discontent.
The catchall phrase used by the talking heads on TV calls such storms “winter events” and they often include snow, freezing rain and sleet. Thursday’s snow offered all three and frustrated residents of the Southeastern United States who have endured far too many of these so-called “events” not only through winter but also now weeks into what is supposed to be Spring.
I slogged home on what is normally a 45 minute drive from physical therapy to home in a snow-filled trip that took more than two hours in what the tea party types ignorantly call a “non-existent” climate change.
The slow but steady drive home did give me chance to have a little fun: Creating a video shot not with the video equipment that I often use for shoots but with my iPhone 4s propped on the top of the dashboard of my Jeep Wrangler. Where I live in the Blue Ridge Mountains, a Wrangler is a sports car.
After the long drive home, I uploaded the video from the iPhone to my Mac and used Final Cut Pro X to edit a short film about the surprise storm. Just for fun, I added a “Star Wars” style title effect and some special effects in the closing credits.
The exercise spotlights how easy it is nowadays to create such visuals. I can shoot and cover an event nowadays with a small video camera, edit the video on a laptop and send the footage to a TV station over a Wi-Fi connection at a nearby coffee shop.
Complicated video shoots now involve not a big camera rig that costs tens of thousands of dollars but a two camera setup using a Canon 5D MKIII and MKII and the same lenses I use for still shooting.
Filmmakers are using the same equipment to create feature length product for movie theaters. The film, Act of Valor, and others productions were shot with Canon 5D Mark IIs and another Canon, the 7D, was used to shoot a film that won at Sundance last year.
A different world? Yes. Damon Winter, a New York Times photographer, last year won a national news photo award for an essay on soldiers in Afghanistan. He used an iPhone 4s to shoot the photos.
As journalist who covers local news for media here in Southwestern Virginia, I often use a digital single lens reflex camera to shoot both stills and video for use by newspapers and TV stations. Sometimes, I mix photographs — both old and new and old 16mm film footage to create a film like the one below to focus on racism.
New technology can allow even old farts like me to perform more effectively in the profession that I love. It is probably only a matter of time before a cell phone camera captures a photo that wins a Pulitzer Prize for news.
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