Saturday, May 24, 2008

Wireless Live Shot
The Technology Has Arrived

Finally the long promised Spint/Nextel Digital conversion has brought us a new toy. The long sought after digital microwave COFDM transmitter is on the air. Ever since our test of a loaner a couple of years back I've been itching for this thing.

So of course I had to test it. The event that we packaged was far over by 10 but the element of the police getting more patrols on the streets gave me a reason (a stretch I know) to use the new TX for a driving live shot.

The technology worked flawlessly. Now, I'll try to not overuse it or use it in ways that are farfetched or a stetch.

But hey, anything's better than a black hole liveshot, right?

Watch the shot HERE

(Oh Yeah, I know it's a bit on the unsafe side to have a distracted driver, but trust me we had safeguards in place and I was fully watching the road too ready to shout instructions regardless of a live shot.)

Monday, May 19, 2008

War Hits Home
My Cousin Killed in Afghanistan

My Mom called yesterday with the bad news. My cousin Davy Weaver was killed in Afghanistan . He was my Dad's Brother's Son.

According to a newspaper account his Humvee was hit by an improvised explosive device.

I don't think I'd seen Davy since our Papa's funeral several years ago but I always think back of some of the time, although limited, we spent together growing up. One of my fondest memories was being in his (first) wedding in 1992 (or 93?).

And even though my oldest son wasn't named after my cousin they shared the same name(different spelling) and that has always been cool to me. (Of course, I named my son 'Davey Alan' after 2 dead race car drivers)

In my job as a Television Photojournalist I've spent some time with families headed to war and I've sat with families that have received this same tragic news. I've even had to endure the 3 + cumulative years that my wife's sister's husband spent in Afghanistan and Iraq.

But in those situations you kind of feel immune to it all. It's too bad we're not.

Patsy Rabuck (left) displays the Boonie hat and unit flag of her son, Sgt. Davy Weaver, who was killed Sunday in Afghanistan. She is joined by Weaver’s sister, Cynthia Pierce.

I know this is a tough time for Davy's mom, my Aunt Patsy, his sister Cynthia and his dad Teddy. Please know my thoughts are with you!

God Bless you Davy!

I'll miss you bud!


Sgt. Davy Nathaniel Weaver

Soldier pays ultimate price

By Walter Geiger

A Lamar County soldier was killed Sunday in Afghanistan when his Humvee was hit by an improvised explosive device.

Sgt. Davy Nathaniel Weaver, 39, was a 21-year veteran of the U.S. Army on his third mideast tour. He was a 1987 graduate of Lamar County High School.

An Army notification team arrived at the home of Weaver’s mother, Patsy Rabuck, on Highway 36 East, with the bad news Sunday. “His Humvee was hit about three weeks ago and he got bumps and bruises. I thought they were coming to tell me about that,” Rabuck said.

Instead, she got the news she dreaded most.

Weaver had done tours in Bosnia and Iraq before being deployed to Afghanistan. “You never hear about Afghanistan. It is all Iraq, Iraq, Iraq. Davy told me Afghanistan was the worst place to be sent. It is all sand and there is no place to hide. He said his tour in Iraq was nothing compared to Afghanistan,” Rabuck said.

Funeral services are pending. “They were holding ceremonies over there. We should know some more today (Monday),” Rabuck said.

In addition to his mother, Weaver is survived by his wife, Susan, and a two-year-old daughter, Ella, who live near Fort Stewart in Hinesville. Two sons from a previous marriage, Bradley Ashton Weaver, 10, and Malachi Jon Weaver, 7, live in Auburn, Alabama.

Local VFW post commander Junior Hamrick said Weaver was the first Lamar soldier killed in the line of duty in the current Gulf war. “We will be taking care of his family,” Hamrick said.

A chickenque has already been scheduled for Memorial Day, May 26, at the post home at noon. Proceeds go to help military families. VFW ladies auxiliary members will also be selling Buddy poppies this weekend to raise funds.

For more information, contact Hamrick at 358-0311.

Rabuck said her son died doing what he loved.

“He signed up in the 11th grade and had been in the military ever since. He could have gotten out last year but he reenlisted. He said he wanted to serve his country. When he left last time he told me, ‘Mama, if I don’t make it back, I love you.” I told him to not even talk like that,” Rabuck said.

Now she is concerned about funeral expenses and the health of Weaver’s grandmother who collapsed when told of her grandson’s death and had to be hospitalized.

“It will be a financial hardship on us, that’s for sure,” the grieving mom concluded.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

TV Lights and Fire Alarms

In one of those you should have been there moments...Melissa Painter and I were in the middle of shooting a well lit interview with 3 college girls in their dorm room of the sorority building at a prominent local university when this happened....(watch and then read the rest)

If you didn't figure that was the fire alarm. Did I mention I had a hot, 650 Watt TV light set up in the room...and it was right next to the sprinkler head. What? That was the best place for it!

Anyway, we left our TV equipment in the room (turned the light off) and stood in the parking lot with the rest of the sisters, some freshly woken from an afternoon nap, others straight out of the shower.

We were pretty sure the hot halogen had set off the fire alarm, although I was skeptical because I figured the sprinkler would have popped if it was us. The girls reassured us this happens all the time in this building.

All we could do was wait for the fire department to give the all clear and when they did we headed back up to the room...where 3 firefighters and 1 campus cop were waiting in the hall.

My intrepid, ivestigative - Slash - consumer reporter spilled like a kids cup of coke at dinner. Every detail about how we had been shooting an interview and maybe the light was too near the sprinkler. The fire captain let her talk as she motioned toward the room we were in and when she stopped talking he said, and I quote, "That's funny because the alarm came from the room across the hall."

He was quite amused at the situation, I learned not to make her my accomplice the day I decide to join Clooney in Vegas.

Here's the Story that goes with that video.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Greensboro Tornado
By the Numbers

14 hours, 13 live shots, 3 packages, 4 looklives, 2 phoners, 40 oz of Vault(drinks like a soda...) and one small pack of donuts later I'm back at home running on empty after being up 33 hours with no sleep.

And it's all just part of the job.

Tornado Damage Greensboro (7)

As the storms built around the Piedmont last night all I could do is sit at home and watch along with everyone else in TV Land as my station spent prime time in uninterupted, commercial free weather(gasm).(for 8 hours)

The thought going through my head....would this be the night I would get a late call to hit the road.

This thought happens often(OK Every storm:)).

In the winter it's Snow and Ice. In the Summer it's hurricanes. But in the Spring it's severe Thunderstorms and the possibility of Tornadoes.

I watched the radar and listened, almost ready to hit the sack when a tornado hit the town of Advance and Clemmons and damage reports started to trickle in.

I didn't have to go there as my co-worker, Photojournalist Kenny "Bluedog" Cravens, lives in that area and I knew he had it covered.

But when I saw a radar image near Kernersville around 11:30 I got the gut feeling that I sometimes get. I said outloud to my wife, 'That's going to be bad".

5 minutes later the station called sending me to I-40 for two tractor trailers overturned.

What I heard on my scanner told me this was a big deal. Multiple reports of cars overturned. Buildings with walls collapsed. Airplanes pushed around the PTIA tarmac. A truck overturned with an entrapment...that turned out to be deadly.

I drove around West Greensboro all night getting as much video as I could and I even did a live report at 1AM with all the video I could squeeze on the air in 3 minutes.

Tornado Damage Greensboro (8)

But it wasn't until daybreak that the reality of what happened set in.

Tornado Damage Greensboro (6)

Large trees toppled like bowing pins.

Tornado Damage Greensboro (14)

Tall Pines snapped like toothpicks.

Tornado Damage Greensboro (4)

A 200 yard wide swath of woods mowed over like a patch of briers.

Tornado Damage Greensboro (9)

The pictures don't do it's impossible to show everything.

Tornado Damage Greensboro (1)

It's just a miracle that this is where the funnel cloud chose to touchdown. A few miles in any other direction would have been disaster for this area.

Here's my Liveshot...

(Our Coverage)

Monday, May 05, 2008

Bill Clinton meets Reidsville

I got the call early Sunday Morning that set in motion a one stop shoot that would last into very early Monday Morning.

Bill Clinton Reidsville

By the time Sunday evening rolled around and I arrived at Reidsville High School for Bill Clinton's 8th or 9th stop on the middle North Carolina Campaign trail for Hillary, several hundred of the fine citizens of Reidsville had spent the better part of their day in line to squeeze into the small gym to see the 42nd president give his pitch to be first man.

Bill Clinton Reidsville (20)

Being the last stop of the day I didn't expect it to start on time. The schedule said 9-15PM...he didn't leave the previous stop until after hour drive for most...he arrived at 10-45PM.

Bill Clinton Reidsville (19)

For roughly 45 minutes with several pre-announcments of summary, Billary outlined Gas Tax, Hybrids on Steroids and Green Initiatives that could possibly create millions of non-outsourcable jobs.

He hyped Reidsville up on money savings efforts in the name of hiring Green-Consultants to retrofit the school with Green...Green...Green.

He talked to the gearheads in the crowd about 100 mile per gallon hybrids "On Steroids" that Hillary will give a $10,000 tax credit for if elected.

He talked about sticking it to the oil companies by launching an investigation into possible corruption causing the spike in gas prices.

Bill Clinton Reidsville (16)

Enough about that though. This is a TV Photog Blog by George. Check out the press row. No site of any competition. You know what I mean....mine is the only man camera. (not that I haven't used a baby cam in a pinch or a squeeze.)

The women running the two near small cameras were BackPack Journos from ABC and NBC. They travel with this part of Hillary's campaign... to every stop...and do a running web play by play for their respective employers website. When something interesting happens they get to escape the portals of the World Wide Web for a little time on broadcast TV.

Bill Clinton Reidsville (12)

I'm all for new media...and I have lots of ideas for the future of TV, News and the Internet, but while I was working (too hard probably) at getting good video of a former president, the B-J duo locked down their handycams on one medium-wide shot and buried their heads in their broadband equipped laptops and let their fingers to the talking. Of course it could have just been that it was the LAST STOP OF THE DAY, and they'd been to all of them.

Bill Clinton Reidsville (7)

That's said they're probably better than this old-school home-video enthusiast, or something. I think he's seen 'Up Close and Personal', 'The Chase' and 'Groundhog Day' one too many times.

Bill Clinton...Stop 8
Reidsville High School

Just got home from covering the last Bill Clinton speech of the day in Reidsville (that's an hour drive for me, one way).

He arrived an hour (or so) late and spoke for another hour (or so).

I took pictures...but that'll have to wait....It's 1AM.

Here's a pic from the last Bill Visit...

Bill Clinton in Greensboro, NC