Friday, October 24, 2008

"Biden" My Time
Joe Biden at Wake Forest University

When a VP Candidate comes to town, prepare to hurry up and wait.

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Not just us media either. Everyone involved tries to get in place as early as possible, deal with mandatory security sweeps and then sit around until the guest of honor is escorted in with the upmost in executive security.

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For those of us there covering the event for televised, web or even print (I guess)coverage there's really lot to do before Biden takes stage, depending on the demands of our respective outlets.

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Print journalists run around interviewing spectators, sometimes even using mini-cams to gather video for the web. Radio journalists find sweet spots to gather actualities of the day. And the laptops, they do fire up, generating ones and ohs to send out over the pipes of the internet in conjunction with impending event.

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We in TV, with all our equipment having been set up and declared off limits for the next two hours meet up with other crews and help out with other live shots and maybe grab a bite to eat if there's time.

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At go time, when the national press comes casually strolling in, that's when the Sh!t hits the fan and there's real work to do.

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The cameras are hot, the live truck is, well, LIVE, and the candidate is just about to make his grand entrance. About that time a Biden staffer tells everyone on the cut riser (that would be me and a few other TV and still photogs) to come with him for the grand entrance shot along the collumns and row of neatly draped American Flags.

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I had to unplug from my camera from feeding a live picture and go, with little warning to our truck-op who was switching the event.

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It was worth it though, a great shot that the two other local stations begged us to give them as pool footage....NOT. They simply didn't have a Photog on the cut riser.

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The speech was about 40 minutes of the usual political retoric and the crowd at the private university was generous with fervor for candidate Biden.

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After the speech was over and the live feed was through I went with Brent to get the obligitory react sound from the attendees and then he took the disc to write the 5PM (LINK TO 5) and 6PM stories.

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I grabbed Kenny's camera and took a bunch more pictures while Biden gripped and grinned every last person left crammed up against the steel barrier fence.

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It was kind of amusing to me because with a still camera in hand I had different access than my TV brothers looking for a closeup.

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TV was shooed back to the cut riser while still photogs were politely escorted to the catwalk to get the over the shoulder point of view of Biden and the crowd.

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Of course then I was stuck there until he was finished and all I could do was keep snapping photos - a hundred or so - while Kenny rolled up cable and gave me the stink eye for not helping. (Sorry Kenny - but thanks for use of the camera)

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Finally freed, I helped gather the rest of the cables and I even jumped in to edit since my cut riser shots and Biden walk in were the b-roll to which the story was weaved.

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Just another day. Imagine doing all that as a one-man-band, or VJ or whatever you want to call it. Even the local cable news outlet had 3 or 4 people out there and they're all about a VJ.

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I bet there's no one man band security details.

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