When the camera is rolling, shut up!

Joey Ketcham

When the camera is rolling, SHUT UP!

The topic is pretty self explanatory, and I’m not saying this in a hateful way so please do not take offense to it. And this is not directed at any one specific person. I’m just saying this in general.

I was watching the video on cnn.com of the storm chaser who got caught in the tornado in Nebraska and I was very annoyed at how loud this guy was. He was constantly talking and even worse how he was basically celebrating it.

I have just as much love and respect for tornadoes just like any other storm chaser, but I also avoid talking and celebrating it when I have my camera rolling. I do this for a couple reasons.

I’m sure that John Diel and anyone else who has or does work in the media field will know where I’m coming from when I say this.

When I worked as a news videographer for several years, one of the things I learned pretty quickly is that audio is just as important as the video is. Seriously, audio can make or break your shot. When you have a combination of both great video and great audio, it’s like it comes to life... it becomes a 3D experience. If that makes sense.

Take away the audio or add in constant talking and, to me, it just ruins the surreal experience. Seriously, when I watch video I want to hear the nat sound. I want to hear the wind, the sound of the tornado… not someone in the background screaming “YEAHHHHHHH… WOOO HOOOOOO… LOOK AT THAT.. YEAH YEAH.. WOOOOâ€.

Secondly if my video is shown on TV, I certainly don’t want my voice heard in the background yelling with excitement and cheering on the tornado as if I was at a football game.

I’m not saying that we should stop enjoying the beauty of tornadoes and that we shouldn’t be filled with adrenaline during the moment, I’m just saying to keep in mind that the victims of that tornado who lost everything might see that video and may not like the fact that a storm chaser is openly celebrating something that destroyed everything they had.

And lastly it’s about having a certain level of professionalism. I know, professionalism in storm chasing? What I mean is this. Listen to the guy in that video, every other word out of his mouth was cussing. I’m not offended by cussing at all, but there are people who do take offense to cussing. And it certainly does take away the full experience of the video when you nothing but beeps in the audio because the guy can’t contain himself.


So when I say professionalism, I’m not talking about going out chasing dressed in full suit and tie. What I do mean is when the camera is rolling, pipe down and watch what you’re saying, especially if you plan on selling your video to a news organization.
 
While I agree...

Counter point: It's their video/life, they can do whatever they like. If the media still will buy it, why should they care?

Aaron
 
One thing to remember too, it's not always the chaser doing that. Last year there were some locals around me that had stopped. The tornado came down and I was live on the air reporting it. Everyone out there started hooping and cheering and it came out loud and clear on live TV. It's all over the video as well.

If you chasing and licensing your video though, do yourself a favor and do some creative editing if necessary on your video's audio track. It's not that hard to get rid of a cuss word or some hooping and hollering and dub in some wind or traffic noise.
 
jketcham, I agree with your post for the most part. Good sound can add so much to tornado or hurricane footage-- and, like you, I think excessive "woo hoos!", etc., can really detract from the experience. I once watched a chaser video from the eyewall of a Cat 3 hurricane that was completely ruined-- rendered almost unwatchable-- by the incessant cheering of the cameraman. A good storm is like good theatre-- and during good theatre, you want others to hush up and let the dramatic events speak for themselves. That is my feeling, although I'm sure others feel differently.

This having been said, I think sometimes some cool, calm, sparing on-camera narration can add a lot-- for example, "We're in the eye and the barometer reads 950 mb" or "The tornado is crossing Highway X and seems to be heading toward Town Y."
 
What is a chase video without the chasers? The people who shoot the video are as much a part of the clip as what they're shooting. I can't stand uptight, silent, same pan, same zoom, tripoded video like you see on TWC everyday...it's boring. When I see a chaser video clip and there's no sound or talking, I always ask myself "is this person even alive?"

Not everyone who shoots video does so to make money. Some of us do it to document the event itself. And just because a video isn't shot on some $10,000 media format camera and on a tripod doesn't mean it sucks. People need to worry less about what sells and more about what's entertaining, if they're going to publicly proclaim video "good" or "bad." Otherwise, it's simply "sellable" or "unsellable", which has nothing to do with "good" or bad", because the whim of the month in the producer world seldom parallels the realities of good storm chaser video.
 
What is a chase video without the chasers? The people who shoot the video are as much a part of the clip as what they're shooting. I can't stand uptight, silent, same pan, same zoom, tripoded video like you see on TWC everyday...it's boring. When I see a chaser video clip and there's no sound or talking, I always ask myself "is this person even alive?"

Not everyone who shoots video does so to make money. Some of us do it to document the event itself. And just because a video isn't shot on some $10,000 media format camera and on a tripod doesn't mean it sucks. People need to worry less about what sells and more about what's entertaining, if they're going to publicly proclaim video "good" or "bad." Otherwise, it's simply "sellable" or "unsellable", which has nothing to do with "good" or bad", because the whim of the month in the producer world seldom parallels the realities of good storm chaser video.
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Well the tripoded video with that pan and zoom and so on sell in stock video and might make you some money to pay for that $120 worth of gas that got you there. And as well might make you some more money later on stock video. And your right not everyone is out there to make a buck but with everything so dam exspensive and gas sure to hit $3.00 a gallong soon I think I could shut up get the shot and yell my ass off later.....
 
I think it depends on the 'genuineness' of the speech rather than its presence or abscense. What I mean is that there is some instances of 'reality'-type talking that makes the video more dramatic - like a chaser radioing in the report to the NWS, talking to his chase partners about future road options, safety issues he/she is watching out for, radio chatter, etc. It's the gratuitous hooping and hollering that IMO does not do much for the video.

Either way, I will say this about cursing. I don't bring this up that often because I don't want to seem judgemental, but there are still a lot of people in this country that do not appreciate nor like to hear cursing, whether it be on a chase video or in person. Curse words hit me like arrows and make me want to turn a video off no matter how good it is. I realize not everyone feels like this, but I'm here to say a lot more of us don't appreciate cursing than people might think. We tend to be a silent majority because we don't want to come across as critical or judgemental, but we *are* here. I personally have great appreciation for chase videos that have clean language.
 
I totally agree with Aaron. I've met Randy, and he's one crazy guy. But that's who he is, neither you or I could do anything to change that.

The only negative thing I'll say about it, is that I hope the chaser community doesn't get the stigma from the public that we're all like that.
 
I totally agree with Aaron. I've met Randy, and he's one crazy guy. But that's who he is, neither you or I could do anything to change that.

The only negative thing I'll say about it, is that I hope the chaser community doesn't get the stigma from the public that we're all like that.
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Not to worry....99% of the public thinks we are all like Bill and Jo and that is how storm chasing really is. All the screwing up any one or two self proclaimed storm chasers can do will never overcome the hype of a blockbuster movie. :blink:
 
I can certainly understand where you are coming from, Joey, because there is a piece of my own video that I feel would have been better served without my attempt at quote-unquote narration. On August 18, 2005, it became clear from radar that a tornadic supercell would be passing close to my house, so I went outside to see what I could see. I was astounded to find myself looking straight up into a furiously rotating cloud with pieces of debris sailing through the air beneath and falling to the ground nearby, as the F3 Stoughton tornado passed about a block and a half away.

I shouted at the top of my lungs, “WHOA! WHOA! TORNADO! DEBRIS! DEBRIS IN THE SKY! WOWWWW!!!! (Pause) UH, DEBRIS IS LANDING ON ME, I'M GETTING OUT OF HERE! â€￾

I am not particularily proud of this outburst; which is why I uploaded that particular video clip to my website without the soundtrack, although I suppose it was “genuineâ€￾ in that it was a spontaneous exclamation of astonishment and awe. It definitely distracts from the sound of the nearby tornado, which can best be described as the “waterfallâ€￾ sound building in a steady crescendo as the wind starts to whip at the trees. Overall I think it does detract from the video but there is not much I can do about it except keep that in mind next time I have tornadic rotation in my viewfinder and keep more levelheaded, or at least close the filter from my un-level head to my mouth (if there is a next time, which I hope there is but not while destroying a neighborhood, particularily my own neighborhood).
 
Obviously, this has always been a subject of some debate. I myself, generally try to keep quiet when I'm filming. That's not to say I have been heard on tape muttering a four lettered explicative on occasion (August 2004 comes to mind).

Generally, the large media outlets (Big Stations, CNN, ABC News, etc.) are going to look for the footage that gets the most impact from the viewer. That means the more excitement in the background, the better. Just straight up plain jane video of a tornado in a field, isn't going to get as near the impact of the same video with someone in the background whooping and hollering. A few bleeps for good measure and you just made the News Directors day!

Is it distasteful? IMHO, yes. Does my video get aired? Occasionally it does, but probably not near as much as it would if I were getting hammered by debris and shouting. Sensationalism is the key for ratings. The more exciting, the better.

Here's another example of how sensationalism can get out of hand quickly. The Weather Wars in OKC are hot and heavy this year. Gazzilion watt radars, more spectacular video, more media chasers and someone back at the News Desk looking at it saying, "How can I make this exciting?" How far does it go before it becomes entertainment over news? One station goes with wall to wall coverage of a marginally severe t-storm and the other looses ratings because of it. You may "respect" the other station for NOT covering the storm that dropped a couple of chunks of hail then dropped out of sight, but respect won't pay the bills either.

Aaron is very right. We each make our own choices and what we say in the heat of the moment could come back to haunt us. But, it's your video, Freelance media or simple weather enthusiast, we all have our choices to make. I personally choose to stay reasonably quiet when filming. When I'm reporting on the radio, I try to keep as calm as possible and report what I see as opposed to what I think it might be.

Last week was a case in point. Outside Shidler, OK there was a Severe Warned cell moving rapidly NE. I was on this storm and had actually called the station three times to go on air with a Wall Cloud report. I cancelled each time, because the "Wall Cloud" wasn't rotating at all. It was a lowering in the cloud base that certainly resembled a wall cloud, but I was never quite sure. I know there were several listeners in the Shidler area that were listening to this on our station. The last thing I want to do, is incite panic in a small town. Yes, it was a scary looking feature. I reported it as such and emphasized to keep tuned to NOAA radio as well as our station. This storm moved on to Kansas and was later TOR Warned in a rural area.

Was I correct in doing what I did? What were the other radio stations in the area reporting, or were they even reporting? I don't really know. I know there was another Media Chaser in the area, but I don't know what he was reporting. We even ran the video I did have back and FF it to see if there was any rotation on the feature. I was hard pressed to tell. The feature was also skirting to the north of town into a very sparsely populated section of Osage county.

The other side of the coin, it's very hard to contain oneself when you've been out all day and you've just landed the Big Trunk and all that hard work and driving just paid off in this beautiful work of nature. It's your video, play it like you see it. Be careful in offering it to News Agencies. It could come back to bite you.
 
I should have been more specific.

There are exceptions to the rule and there are times it's fine. Things like noting the location, the time, and even what you're looking at. Even the voice of you making a report on the ham radio or phone is ok.

What I'm talking about is the people who are practically yelling "YEAH.. WOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO YEAH" and just never shuts up and the ones that makes every other word out of their mouth a cuss word. Like I said, I cuss too but I like to keep it off my video because it's something I like to show to people and there are people who are offended by cussing.. The best example is the CNN video of the chaser who got caught in the tornado.
 
It can be very hard to refrain from yelling, cursing etc but try as such video does make chasers look bad. Also, editing cursing is a real pain in the you know what. Unless one does very careful and time consuming copying of nearby background noises, it is still obvous that the videographer is cursing with assorted bleeps or drop outs. I try to keep my videos "family friendly"

For those who don't sell video or release highlights, keep in mind that some day, your children may be looking through your videos. Or your relatives after you are deceased in the future. Therefore, it is best not to record anything that would be embarassing.


Also think before doing interviews or while chasing with media. Speak in "soundbites." I have talked continuously for 15 minutes and the only stupid thing that I say is used on the program.

Bill Hark
 
Also think before doing interviews or while chasing with media. Speak in "soundbites." I have talked continuously for 15 minutes and the only stupid thing that I say is used on the program.

Bill Hark
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That's a great point. I've had that happen to me twice-- the "stupid thing" made it to print/radio, while what I believed :)P) to be insightful commentary got left out. Funny how that happens. :)
 
That's a great point. I have had that happen to me twice-- the "stupid thing" made it to print/radio, while what I believed :)P) to be insightful commentary got left out. Funny how that happens. :)
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That's why I don't give interviews :D

Actually I did do an interview once. It was back on April 20th of 2000, the day next morning after Parsons KS and surrounding areas was hit by tornadoes. KDFI out of Wichita came to the area and did an interview with them about the tornadoes and the tornado we taped and saw near Erie KS.
 
My personal opinion as a person that loves to watch chaser videos: I prefer to hear the sound of the storm, but I don't mind a little chatter; good commentary can add a lot to a video. Sometimes I do wish people near the camera wouldn't yell, but that's what the mute is for. I also know that people tend to act like idiots when they see a video camera nearby (not the chasers, but bystanders). You all have seen this on the news, I'm sure. The reporter is doing a live bit and there's people in the background dancing around and acting stupid. You all make good points, but what it really boils down to is the videographer can do whatever s/he wants to with their own, personal video. If they are planning on shooting specifically for news footage or for other people (maybe a friend is paying them for a good chase video), maybe they should take that into consideration before opening their mouths. Either way, I just enjoy seeing the storm and at least hearing some of the storm's fury.
 
not ok to submit to media: people dancing around and yelling enthusiasticly yahoooooo

please a lil respect for someone down stream like:
"oh my God I hope the get warned" "I hope everyone gets out ok" "I hope this disapates b4 it gets into a populated area"

or

"wow this is amazing" "incredible structure" "its crossing I30"

(if its for your own use who cares if you run out naked? and who cares what you say?) ;)
 
not ok to submit to media: people dancing around and yelling enthusiasticly yahoooooo

please a lil respect for someone down stream like:
"oh my God I hope the get warned" "I hope everyone gets out ok" "I hope this disapates b4 it gets into a populated area"

or

"wow this is amazing" "incredible structure" "its crossing I30"

(if its for your own use who cares if you run out naked? and who cares what you say?) ;)
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What just burns me up is the

BAD ACTING

Great, you see a weak tornado, now stop trying to act like it is the end of the world. I don't know how many F ZERO events I have seen on video where people act like it is a 2 mile wide wedge.

You sound like an idiot and when my non chasing friends see the video on CNN, TWC, or other networks, I get to hear, did you see that video with that idiot talking...

Ok, if you have audio of you calling in the torndao, cool, there is nothing wrong with that and it will help to time code where you are and what your seeing to the viewers as well as EMS or NOAA.

But please stop sounding like idiots on video people, it makes us all look like were trying out for "Jackass The Movie 2", which comes out this fall/winter.

On a side note for the Jackass and Wildboyz fans, I talked to my buddy Mark who is a cameraman for that movie and TV Show. He said that the stuff that crew and Johnny Knoxville are doing in this movie is going to blow people away. He could not tell me details exept but just said wait until you see this Shizzel. Knoxville is like Jackie Chan...
 
What is a chase video without the chasers? The people who shoot the video are as much a part of the clip as what they're shooting. I can't stand uptight, silent, same pan, same zoom, tripoded video like you see on TWC everyday...it's boring. When I see a chaser video clip and there's no sound or talking, I always ask myself "is this person even alive?"
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Shane, I absolutely agree with you! This discussion brings to mind the video clip of you and Mickey in the South Plains/Plainview area tornadoes of 5/12/05! The exclamations during the hail scene made me laugh over and over again and I've found myself saying some of the same types of things while on chases. Sometimes it gets really intense and you just say things without even realizing what you are saying! I think that dynamic between chasers is a very important aspect of storm chasing. In our chase videos we try to emphasize some of the interactions between me, my brother, my sister, and my girlfriend during a tornado event or a severe thunderstorm event. We know that we aren't professionals, we're just having a great time doing what we love and our interactions with each other are often very humorous and provide comic relief. In our case, we're showing our video to friends and family who hardly have a clue what it's like to witness a tornado so it's important that it isn't totally quiet the whole time. They need to see how we are reacting to the tornado/hail/wind damage in order to gain a better idea of how it feels to be there with us. Now that's not to say that quiet moments don't have their place in a storm chasing video. It's just that in our situation, it's better to maintain a level of noise in the background to let people know we are alive, we are here right now, and we are experiencing this! Honestly, a video full of no speaking or exclamations bores me to tears! I like to see what people are talking about when they chase. It makes them seem more human. Not all of us want to have the appearance of an anal perfectionist when we chase. Sometimes it's just nice to relax and have a good time. After all, we did drive hundreds and sometimes thousands of miles to capture what we are witnessing... who's to say we can't enjoy the fruits of our labor?!
 
Shane, I absolutely agree with you! This discussion brings to mind the video clip of you and Mickey in the South Plains/Plainview area tornadoes of 5/12/05!
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I love that clip too, but it was Chad Lawson with Mick that day, not me. I was about a quarter mile west of them getting my own windows blasted out :lol:
 
I think it should be up to the individual storm chasers as to how they want to act on they're video. Personally I think a little exciting background noise adds to the footage, when showing family members video of storms yeah they like to uh and aww at the storm but they love it when there is someone in the background yelling or getting excited thats what they enjoy I like how Dan put it talking to your chase partner about road options or calling in reports are great clean options to spice up the video. I'm sure that video on CNN was seen by alot more people being titled "Were in a bleep Tornado" then if it had said "chasers see tornado" People such as ourselves who love weather can appreciate just watching a beatiful storm with great structure but for the general public the video has to have exciting dialouge or it has to show something getting destroyed thats why CNN showed their exciting video it is rare to see a major network air a peaceful calm tripod shot of a storm.
 
I love that clip too, but it was Chad Lawson with Mick that day, not me. I was about a quarter mile west of them getting my own windows blasted out :lol:
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Sorry.. I always seem to put you in places that you weren't! I'll have to pay closer attention to that next time! I wish I had been there getting my windshield busted out! We missed that one by a long shot. Too bad... :(
 
well im not going to say much, because my opinion usually gets me a few PMs about how not to act on this board. maybe i will start a thread on a different board, but back to the subject. randy is a pretty good friend of mine. he gets really close to the tornadoes. if you dont respect that for some reason, ok. but dont call him stupid. while it may be too rich for your blood, thats what he wants to do. as for the audio, i think its fine. how many of you have been caught in a tornado? maybe 1 or 2 of you. and im pretty sure you werent saying "oh shoot" or "well golly darn" its an intense moment that few live to speak about. when the tornado hit, CNN was far from his mind. and he usually doesnt sell his videos, or pictures. i have seen quite a few of his pictures and they are amazing. hes a passionate guy, and if he wants to curse while being hit by a tornado, im pretty sure thats not unreasonable. while i respect your opinion, i disagree. i guess thats enough rambling for now.
 
Just remember your name is on the credit. Are you a wacko or someone who know what you are doing.

People looking in from the outside will believe and say that you are a fruit and while you might say you don't care others do.
 
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