Articles 2018

We will post articles here that we believe are relevant to the positive life of Southeast Chicago Community. Contentiousness can be found on Facebook and most social media, as well as on metropolitan and national media.  We choose to limit our material to that which, in our opinion, does not erode the soul of the community.  However, we will also reserve the right to comment about community matters that concern us.  Our site, our choice. :-) -- k/j

April 18, 2018: The following article is one that I posted recently on my LinkedIn account.  Realizing that visitors to this site may not be connected to that LinkedIn account, I decided to share it here, because it may be of interest to colleagues in "The Region."

What we learned about collaborative video production from our first effort


Kevin P. Murphy

Last week (April 10, 2018) we recorded an event in which two other videographers also participated.  Subsequently, our colleagues shared their footage with us so that we could make a complete account of that event.  The resulting video came together in almost comic fashion, given the timing of the sharing, but we believe that it is certainly not comic in its solid account of the event.

For us, that collaboration was of historic significance in the life of our YouTube site  which, for 11 years, has been the product of our lone performance as documentarians on that site. While we have invited our regional colleagues to join us in such collaboration, circumstances were never favorable for such work -- until last week, and what a week that was! 

That first collaborative video, regarding the move of three large components of the regional steel manufacturing industry to Steelworkers Park, on the former United States Steel/USX South Works Plant, in Chicago, rewarded us, convinced us that collaboration is to be valued, and began to educate us on what is important in such collaborative efforts.        

Four of us embraced the opportunity to cover at least part of the transfer project.  Tom Shepherd, Board Member of the Calumet Heritage Partnership (CHP), was at the starting site in the Pullman Historic District, from which the three items were to be removed.  Sarah Coulter, Executive Director of the Calumet Collaborative, covered the Steelworkers Park arrival of the large bell from Pullman, while Joann and I covered the later part of the three item installations at Steelworkers Park.  

Here is what we have thus far learned from that experience:

Lesson Number One: Glitches can blind-side a project:

Initially, it appeared that both Tom and Sarah had been blocked from sharing their recorded files, due to a cluster of technical problems.  So, when we all became convinced that their footage was inaccessible, I edited our raw footage into the first YouTube posting of the event, Version 1.  

Lesson Number Two: inaccessible/impossible is a fluid concept.  

Shortly after the V1 YouTube posting, Tom found a way to successfully share his raw footage.  We now had a solid beginning!  I edited that into the original video, and reposted Version 2 on YouTube, while altering Version One to Unlisted status, so that those who were acting upon our original mailing would not be cut off from viewing it.

A day or two passed, and Sarah became able to access her computer after a service process was completed.  She sent us her footage.  It, too, was gold.  We then had her coverage of the middle portion of the event, the delivery of the first item, the large bell, to Steelworkers Park, which gave us the final piece to create a complete account of the event.   

That third, and final, video has now been posted as Version 3, at this link:

Like Version 1, Version 2 is now Unlisted.  At the end of April, I will delete those two versions from YouTube.

Lesson Number Three (really an amplification of Lesson Number Two): 

When we are working collaboratively with others in the region to produce a video, we must be ready to wait longer than has been our custom, in posting videos,.

Lesson Number Four: waiting for others' footage can be highly rewarding. 

Also, one can restrain impatience by using the time to learn new procedures required to incorporate others' material that may be in different formatting, 90 degrees out of orientation for publishing (as in, on its side), of different sound quality, coloration,  etc.   The good news is that there are solutions for correcting most of such variances.

Lesson Number Five: We need to work together to create a consistent end product.

Urge participants in our recording work to orient their phones and tablets to landscape mode when recording video.   It will make the finished product more consistent, because we record our videos in landscape mode.   

Suggest, also, that they limit commentary while recording their segment of the larger event.  Too frequently, especially in outdoor settings, narration is a difficult process.  There are too many challenges to the portable equipment that most of us use in a mobile situation.  However, face-to-face interviews can be very important to the story telling, provided that the camera operator/interviewer and the interviewee can work close enough together to overcome competing crowd, machinery, music, wind noises, etc.

Armed with these bits of knowledge, we hope to move forward with collaborative recording work, when it makes sense to do that.  We expect that the five lessons now on our list will almost certainly be joined by others as our experience increases.  That is an exciting prospect!


© Kevin Murphy 2016