Mud Day, a cool time in a hot Detroit (view this story)

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Rep: 50
Michael Lloyd Oct. 11, 2011, 2:53 p.m. permalink

As usual, Eric's work is great. This highlight's the possibilities of the GoPro, the little camera that comes very close to turning your eyeballs into a camera. It also provides a couple of key lessons to those less experienced than Eric. DON'T FOLLOW THE FORMULA: Not all journalism has to have an interview. The sights say it all here, the natural sound and music enriched an almost solely visual story, text over the intro sets it up--enough said. BE A PART OF THE SCENE: photojournalism lets you go somewhere you couldn't otherwise go. Like into the middle of a pond of mud. Standing on the sidelines might have been OK, this was great.

A note about the stills and video assignments: You usually feel like you are short-changing both. Eric got around that by using GoPro "robots" for video. Don't forget that HDSLR's are still cameras that make video. My 5D makes 2MP stills for every frame of 1080p video. The first pro digital SLR I used shot 2MP stills! So 30fps HD video is like having a 30 frame a second motor drive that makes no noise. Choose faster shutter speeds than standard for video. No, this isn't cheating. You are still choosing the shot--does it REALLY matter which button you push to capture the moment? Of course, I wouldn't take my 5D into a mud pond without a lot of protection.

Rep: 444
Eric Seals Oct. 11, 2011, 8:49 p.m. permalink

Hey Michael, thanks for checking it out.  You're right on about don't follow the formula and be a part of the scene.

The light was so nice this day and with the GoPro shooting 1080p video I was able pull some nice frame grabs off the video for publication and you really could not tell the difference. Some times when I was covered in mud with the GoPro's I went to shower off and used my clean time to step back and shoot some stills with the 5D then back into the pit with the GoPro's.

I'm going next year but not shooting for the paper, taking my kids and watch them have all the fun :-)


Rep: 4
Tucker Walsh Nov. 6, 2011, 5:16 a.m. permalink

I agree with what's been said. I'm so happy Eric let the viewers "experience" the event rather just "watch" the event. And I love the ending :) 

My one critique is that audio (presumably from the GoPro) sounded really high pitched and distant. Not sure, logistically, what you could have done, but if there was a second source of cleaner audio synced with the GoPro and maybe the music level turned down a touch, the ambient would have really come through. It was fine the way it is, just a thought for a perfect world.

Great work!


Rep: 444
Eric Seals Nov. 6, 2011, 8:55 a.m. permalink

Yeah Tucker, all audio is through the GoPro.  

It's all encased in plastic for water/mud proofing which gives off that high pitched and distant sound you're talking about.

With the GoPro if you use it with the backing that has vents and holes for sound it is really good but obviously I couldn't do that will all the mud around.

Really didn't want a second source for cleaner audio as 1) I knew the music was what was going to drive the audio in this piece and 2) With two GoPro's, dealing with running around and falling down into the mud often that would have been a nightmare with a Zoom H4N.

I think sometimes it is what it is and you just go for it with what you have.

Enjoy MediaStorm and hope you'll post another video on here soon.


Rep: 48
Pat Shannahan Nov. 6, 2011, 1:44 p.m. permalink

Tucker, I'd like to hear about your internship at MediaStorm. What were the biggest lessons you can pass on to the rest of us? What a great opportunity.

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