Video: Reporting on Mill City Grows

Two weekends ago, howling winds on an unseasonably brisk Sunday morning torpedoed by planned video project on the Mill City Marathon and Half-Marathon in Lowell, Massachusetts. Thankfully, a better and more original storytelling opportunity arose with a video about about the Mill City Grows organization, also in Lowell.

Mill City Grows has enjoyed tremendous success in its three years of existence. Hundreds of gardeners tend to their own four-foot by 10-foot plots while donating their time for general upkeep, help at mobile markets and other events throughout the year.

Co-founder Francey Slater eloquently described the organization, its mission and its goals during a nearly 20-minute interview. She also directed me toward two colleagues – volunteer Kathy Frechette and intern Alexander Desrosiers – who were equally thoughtful and enthusiastic about the cause.

The interviews were conducted with my Nikon Coolpix P510 camera. I’ve been impressed with the video quality of the camera and it’s been a recent discovery – I’ve had the camera for about three years and never used the video feature before embarking on this project for my Fundamentals of Digital Journalism class.

During the interviews I stabilized the camera with a standard tripod, which worked out well. Unfortunately, the wind kicked up a few times during shooting and you can hear gusts in the audio. However, it wasn’t nearly as bad as the audio I collected at the marathon event which, at times, was completely cut out by the wind. Though I was very happy with the mix of video I got at the race, the audio rendered the project unusable, even after trying to run it through correction software.

In the final video, I think some of the transitions could be smoother. I also noticed at least three “uh-uhs” and “hmms” when editing – it’s a faux pas that an old newspaper reporter never had to worry about. But it’s a new world.

I did enjoy the project and received a lot of valuable experience. I will certainly utilize video more frequently now that I feel comfortable producing it.

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