Monday, December 27, 2004

Let it Snow

Odin pointed out that my pictures of Downtown Salt Lake just before Christmas don't have any snow in them. Wow! He's right. I don't know why that didn't cross my mind, except that maybe I'm getting used to the drought here. When we first came to live here ten years ago, the winters were more like they were where I grew up: Snow that buried our car completely and took hours to dig out. I don't miss it. I like not having to shovel the driveway. When it does snow, I just have to wait a couple of days for it to melt. But, like I said, it wasn't always that way here. When we managed apartments, I broke my back shoveling the yards and yards of sidewalk. On the freeway, watching everyone else drive at insane speeds, it was I, the safe driver, who spun out, ending up facing the wrong way in oncoming traffic. Of course, I've never ended up at the side of the four-lane road, my car stuck in the white stuff, waiting for a tow truck.

Snow has always been a part of my life. I grew up on skis, though I don't do it anymore. I've never had to pay as my dad has always been on the ski patrol. Now that I do have to fork over the cash, it doesn't seem worth it.
Our yard was always piled high with snow in the winter. My friends and I would jump off the roof of our two-story house into the drifts and I would dig deep tunnels down in the trampoline hole and make forts. One year the tunnel collapsed on me and I spent nearly an hour digging myself out. Scary.

Now...I could do without it. I know I shouldn't say that, what with the drought and all. But there it is.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Merry Christmas!

Downtown Salt Lake City is pretty this time of year. The family and I went to Temple Square (where the Salt Lake Mormon Temple is) on Monday night and I took a few photos. Dinky Jr. got his mug in one.

Monday, December 20, 2004

The Humor of Sarcasm

Sarcasm as humor only goes so far. It's the staple of most of the relationships I have outside of my family, though. It doesn't carry much weight at home, but at work, an outsider could have no clue that my buddies and I love each other. We're constantly giving each other the bird and calling attention to each others' faults. It's all in fun. We know that. Until, that is, you add a few pressures to the mix. My last appointment of a long, migraine-inducing schedule today was a three-minute interview show--commercial, really--geared toward seniors. It's a simple three-camera live-to-tape shoot that I direct. Actually, I do a lot more than direct. Most shows have a director, technical director, cg operator, and tape operator. I do it all for this thing. It's nothing that will ever go on my resume but it makes money for the station so we keep doing it. It's one of the reason's I am known as the resident "Turd Polisher." We'll frequently have many starts and stops because the client being interviewed is so scared, or looks like a chipmunk. And today was no exception. The problem, though, was that I wasn't my usual professional self. I forgot to "black" the record tape all the way and when we finally finished the first good take, there was nothing to watch on the playback. So I blacked the tape. For your information, it takes more than three minutes to black three minutes' worth of tape. First of all you have to walk over to the tape machine and rewind it to the point at which you want to start recording. Then the machine starts a five-second preroll which takes a few seconds to set up and five seconds to roll. Then you have your three minutes. But you can't stop there. You need to lay some pad. Liking to be safe rather than sorry, as the adage goes, I like to give it a good chunk of pad. All told, it took about six minutes to get the job done. When I got back on the headset, and gave the standby, at least two members of the crew let fly with absurdities like, "how long does it take to black three minutes of tape?" and, "Don't you know how to do an assemble edit?" (I won't go into the the terminology here.) They were so persistent and insistent that my sense of humor vanished. Rather than letting go with expletives (I knew there were clients within earshot) I immediately shut down my emotions and issued commands in curt, daggerlike thrusts: "Standby. Ready camera one. One's up. Cue him. Two minutes." When it became apparent to the others how pissed I was, no one else ventured to say anything except twice, when I heard, in very hushed tones, "I love you . . . ." I didn't respond.
We finished the second take. I started playing it back. The video was great. The talent was talking. There was no sound. I had forgotten to route the audio back into the machine after blacking the tape. This time the cussing escaped before I could stop it, albiet it was whispered. After that there were other screw ups by the talent and the client, but they were all my fault, because if I hadn't screwed up before, they would have had the chance to now.
Finally, I was able to play back a whole take, audio and everything. I almost started bawling.
As for the crew. . . we're still friends.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Wedding Bells

I'm officially a wedding videographer. This is the first one I've done and I couldn't have asked for a better couple to practice on. They're both very laid back and accomodating. Whatever I choose to do is ok with them--so far, at least. The trick now is to find time to edit it.

There were a couple of funny moments. It was very cold--20 degrees, I think--when the bride appeared outside for her pictures just after the wedding, and someone noticed that her shoes weren't traditional. She hiked up her wedding dress to reveal a pair of pink sneakers and long underwear. Later, when she threw the bouquet, she put a little too much oomph into it and launched it into the light fixture about 15 feet above our heads. If it turns out, it might show up on America's Funniest Home Videos. She got a new bouquet and threw it.