Salvaging a video

Going to shoot video in your news organization? You better be flexible and be able to think your way out of problems.

It’s safe to say that things, usually, will not go as planned. The dream background will not work. Shadows are going to jack with your universe. Microphones will not perform to the best of their abilities.

That’s when you’re going to get well-acquainted with your video editing software.

We do a lot here with the Marysville Gold Sox, a summer college baseball team. For those of you not familiar with college baseball, during summer when school is out players will play on teams outside of school, often in towns that treat it similar to minor league baseball, but more affordable. Think of the movie “Summer Catch.” In that film, Freddie Prinze Jr. is playing in the Cape Cod League, the premier summer college league in the country.

One regular feature we do is “Meet the Gold Sox,” where a sports reporter interviews one of the players on the team using a two-camera shoot, then in post-production we overlay the videos with b-roll featuring game highlights of the player in action.

For a recent interview with a middle infielder from Northern Colorado University, the post-filming check revealed a number of problems. The first was one dealt with regularly in that players ballcaps create shadows across their faces. That can be dealt with easily by bringing up midtones, and I’d rather have baseball players wearing baseball caps.

A couple of other problems were going to be tougher to deal with. First, the mic was being held too far away from the player when he was talking compared to when the reporter was talking in it, which created a big difference in the sound level. Second, somehow the reporter wound up looking at the wrong camera for the wide shot, rendering a lot of the pre- and post-interview segments unusable. (Actually, I bet he looked at the wrong camera because the guy running both cameras — guilty — didn’t make sure to tell him which camera to look at first.)

This required a lot of work in the soundtrack with FinalCut Express to fix, along with strategically placing highlights, and cutting to our ending graphic sooner than we usually do.

For comparison’s sake, here’s a clip of raw video:

And here’s what the finished product looked like:

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