Friday, November 06, 2009

The Water Tower Bounce

There's not a TV Photographer out there who hasn't positioned a Live truck knowing it's only going to tune in to a certain recieve site....and then with a deadline approaching, the engineer back at the shop says those 5 dreaded words..."Another truck is on that site", followed by, "Let's try the other sites"

Water Tower Bounce

Yeah...that happened to me today. I needed a certain neighborhood for my Live shot and I found the look, parked the truck and knew I could only hit our transmitter tower site....only to be told to tune in to the station short stick site. Ugh!

Water Tower Bounce

After a few minutes of pan, pan, pan, pan, pan, pan, pan, pan with no signal seen on the other end it struck me that I was right next to this water tower...and it's height and large surface may just bounce the signal right into our reciever's dish.

Water Tower Bounce

I panned and tilted up to the water tower and bingo...they had a signal. A little bit of fine tuning and we were good to go for a 5 o'clock shot.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

When News Breaks
Winston-Salem Cops Shot

When news broke Wednesday morning that 2 Winston-Salem Police Officers had been shot news crews from around the Triad Converged on the scene at Peter's Creek Parkway and at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, where the injured officers were taken.

That's where I first landed, with Shannon Smith taking the helm in front of the camera, delivering details, freshly gathered, trickling in.


After the noon I headed over to the Police Department for the 2:30 press conference where some of the details of what happened were going to be released.


Our Ops Manager Timmy Hawks and I carried, dragged and hauled 3 cases, 1 cable reel, a tripod and extension cords up to the third floor fo the PD so that we could use our portable digital transmitter to send a live signal back to the station to carry the press conference LIVE. Photojournalist Kenny Cravens manned the camera at the other end of a short cable run.


With that accomplished it was time to look ahead to the 5 and 6 o'clock newscasts.


Main Anchor Neill McNeill joined us across the street from the scene. The "us" was our Winston-Salem Crew, reporter Brent Campbell and photojournalist Kenny Cravens who were on scene from the get go....producing several stories through 5 and 6 o'clock.


Photojournalist Joe McCloskey (took a lot of these pix for me)and reporter Shelby Baker brought the second Live Truck and worked out of it to produce a few stories in short order.

Another Crew was still back at the Hospital keeping up with any updates at that location.


With 3 crews, 3 Live Trucks, Neil anchoring from the field and 1 recieve site in range we parked two of the trucks side by side and Brent went Live along side Neill on top of one truck as I shot from the other.


The view from on top of the truck was perfect to get a look down into the parking lot of the scene across the street....and other than the case with the LCD monitor taking a tumble all the way to the ground....everything went smoothly. (TV Still works if you can believe that!)


Live at 5, 5:30, and 6 with several teases in between and we were done....though I think this story will last for several News Cycles.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Anchor's Away
Cindy Flies Loops

I accompanied our morning anchor Cindy Farmer to Winston-Salem on Wednesday to story that only comes along every so often.

ANG Cindy Flies 005

Well really, everytime an airshow comes along the PR machine spins up to give journalists a little airtime in exchange for a little, well, airtime.

ANG Cindy Flies 007

But as a photojournalist it's the luck of the draw to be chosen for the assignment.

ANG Cindy Flies 009

The assignment was to hop in a plane with no door and videotape Cindy in the Aerobatic Extra S300 as she and Major John Klatt did looptie-loops, barrell rolls and hammerheads. No Problem...just strap me in.

ANG Cindy Flies 001

They did. I was attached via a full body harness and a tether to the plane's frame.

ANG Cindy Flies 016

My only intructions from the airshow staff...don't cross through the threshold of the could pull you out of the plane...and we don't know if we could get you back in. They laughed.

ANG Cindy Flies 025

Anyway...Cindy pulled her G's and I rack focused and snapped zoomed to a tee. And to make it even better they provided us with a tape from the in-cockpit video camera and it came complete with audio. SCORE!

ANG Cindy Flies 017

So with all that footage and audio in hand, I spent today locked away in an edit bay and this is what it became....

And then of course there are what we call Web-Extras....the extended versions of our day...

Here's more of the footage I took from the Chase Plane....

Here's more of the footage from the in-cockpit camera...

Here's Cindy's attempt to take the controls...

And what did Cindy think of the flight? What do you think since she can't wipe that grin off her face?

See more of the picture we took HERE

Friday, August 28, 2009

Camera Guys are Hot
So Says Sandra Bullock

So the new Sandra Bullock Movie, "All About Steve", opens next week where she plays a woman obsessed over a network news cameraman.

CNN did a story recently at the movie's red carpet premier and she says all TV Camer Guys are HOT!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Stories that Touch the Heart

Some Stories that we do are just special. Not because I shot good video. Not because I gathered great audio. Not because I wrote and edited the video and audio into a nice little package.

No. Some stories just touch the heart in a special place. It's when you make that connection with the subject of the story.

Today was the third time I've interviewed Evelyn Harris. Her son Josh was a Navy Seal and he died in Afghanistan in August 2008....last year this week.

His death was just 3 months after the death of my cousin Davy who's convoy ran over an IED in Afghanistan in May, 2008.

I first interviewed Josh's Mom and Dad at a Friday Night Football Game at Lexington High School where he played football in the late 80s.

I saw his parents again at the Memorial Day festivities in Thomasville where they were guests of honor and were presented a special plaque.

Josh was an artist. He went to Davidson College (the 4 year college near Charlotte) and majored in Art. He then went to UNC Charlotte to get his Masters in Architecture but decided in his last semester to join the NAVY and he set his sight on becoming as SEAL.

After his death his family was looking through his art and found a lot of art that they'd never seen that Josh has just stored away.

Today I met up with Josh's Mom and his twin sister Kiki. They were at Davidson County Community College bringing Josh's newly framed artwork to put out for everyone to see how talented Josh was.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Murder in Greensboro

Although I spent my Tuesday afternoon at the Hickory Trails neighborhood murder I had other assignments the rest of the week and never had to go back for a follow up.


This is the same neighborhood where a bullet came through a wall and hit a little girl just 5 days earlier....and the murder was just a short walk behind that apartment.


This morning I saw an email with a link to a video. A city council candidate went over to the neighborhood to see what was going on after the city mangager squashed an official city gathering in the neighborhood as "too dangerous".


"Balderdash", I can imagine this particular city council candidate saying. Upon arriving in the neighborhood he found himself face to face with neighborhood teens who were more than happy to lead him to the grieving mother and then took him to the scene of the crime.

(disclaimer - As a working journalist - I'm not, don't and can't endorse a candidates running for office....even if I don't live in his don't take this post as any kind of endorsment.)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Leaving Las Vegas
Maximum Altitude

On the Flight Home from Vegas this week the Pilot warned of some storms we'd have to avoid.

Vegas Day 7 Flight Home (22)

With my trusty GPS attached to the window I was following our flight across the country. When we got to about St. Louis the pilot throttled up and began to climb from our 36,000 feet cruising altitude.

Vegas Day 7 Flight Home (28)

As I watched the numbers rise I wondered what it would be when we leveled out. It was what you see in the following picture. Almost 41,000 feet....the max crusing altitude of the newest 737s.

Vegas Day 7 Flight Home (30)

Not too much later we passed over some kick-ass thunder boomers....I've got a video clip I'll add later.

Monday, June 01, 2009

13 Perfect Years

I have to tell you about the attendence record set at Southern Alamance High School this year.

It's hard enough for any given student to put together a perfect year, attending school every day. Certainly more difficult to do it for more than one year.

But imagine this. 13 straight years of perfect attendance from Kindergarten through 12th Grade.

When Jeremy Vaughn finished 8th Grade at Southern Alamance Middle School 4 years ago he got up on awards day to get his 9th straight perfect attendance certificate, with his mind already set on what he accomplished this year.

What he learned that day in 2005 was there was another young man at the school doing the same thing. During that 8th Grade awards ceremony 2 names were called for perfect attendence. When Zack Pickard took that stage with Jeremy Vaughn they learned that each had accomplished the same thing....9 straight years of perfect attendance.

Over the next 4 years the boys wouldn't hang out much more than their Athletic Schedules would allow. Jeremy playing football and baseball, Zack playing football and soccer, they kept track of each other's progress through each successful perfect year of high school.

Each of them managed to avoid major sickness or catch illnesses during holiday breaks or long weekends. Jeremy even attended at week of 6th grade with laryngitis, unable to speak.

The boys are stellar athletes and it's probably no coincidence the dedication of a grade school athlete that carries over to the classroom. And that drive to succeed also reflects in their grades. Both of them will graduate near the top of the 2009 class and they're both headed to good colleges in the fall.

Probably the only regret each of them have is Jeremy's 2 weeks off the football field for a knee injury and Zack, well he didn't mention any missed games, but instead says he played 2 soccer games and a football game with a sprained ankle.

Now the young men have their next challenge clearly in sight. College. And they both plan to continue their perfect attendance tradition.

Jeremy is headed to Averett Unitversity where he will play baseball and study Criminal Justice.

Zack is going to Virginia Tech to play Football and study business.

Watch the story HERE -

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Chris Daughtry
Premature Examination

When I arrived at work this morning I was ready to pick up Melissa Painter and head out on a trio of consumer stories scheduled across our day but when I saw our operations manager scurrying around the parking lot rumaging through newscars looking for spare equipment I knew something was up.

He asked me if I could get my gear together because Chris Daughtry was on his way and I was the first shooter to hit the parking lot. And honestly, I was one of only a handful of shooters even at work today.

Chris Daughtry 040

I was already scheduled to help Stewart "Lenslinger" Pittman with this very shoot...on Wednesday...but for whatever reason...Chris Daughtry thought the interview was Tuesday...and you just don't tell a rock star to go away and come back tommorrow.

As I rushed to the Production studio and the production and creative services crews had lights up and chairs out. Melissa pushed our first shoot back an hour or so and I grabbed the three cameras and locked their timecodes.

Chris Daughtry 003

Chris Daughtry was right on time...just 24 hours pre-mature. That's OK. We had our best guys on it...except for Lenslinger. He was one of those guys enjoying an extra day of a holiday weekend.

But never fear....Weaver's here. (oooh. that's way to cheesy and maybe a bit narcisistic.)

Chris Daughtry 008

We had it covered though. I had primary camera and Carter took the reverse angle. Our Operation's Manager Timmy Hawks even grabbed a camera and was our roaming handheld. We even had a web guy taking stills, a creatives services dude shooting for an instant promo, and Chris Morton from production taking the photos you see here with my little Canon.

Chris Daughtry 007

As always when the fodder is American Idol, Shannon Smith was the glue in this operation. She held it all together with her extensive knowledge of all things idol and the close relationship she's maintained with Chris since interviewing him when he was in line for the auditions almost 4 years ago.

Chris Daughtry 005

The topics of the hour long interview covered areas like the new album coming out in July, his adament declaration that he'll always live in North Carolina, how he keeps his private life private and his new found love of Twitter. (He declares MySpace and Facebook too time consuming.)

Chris Daughtry 035

After the interview was complete Chris didn't rush off, he stuck around for a bit, shooting the breeze with his Fox 8 fans from around the building.

Even Stewart "Lenslinger" Pittman made an appearance at El Ocho on his day off.

Chris Daughtry 038

We couldn't keep him away but we didn't let him work...but he wouldn't miss a chance to stop by to say hey....Hell Stewart was right there with Shannon when Chris was just a guy in line to try out.

And this time Stewart even brought his wife for the perfect photo op.

Chris Daughtry 037

The interview will air Thursday on the morning show. It'll be on the web. And it'll probably be in some of our other newscasts too.

Now that we've shot it...Lenslinger needs to get to work...editing.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Travel Channel Academy
Segment from WUSA

Here's a short web-segment from WUSA-9 and USA today about the Travel Channel Academy in DC. Interesting the numbers that are thrown out...that only a small percentage of graduates produce video that the Travel Channel deem air worthy.

They also talk about using your furlough time to go take the Academy. lol.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Live at 39,000 feet

Internet on an airplane at 39,000 is cool enough but The Today Show did a live shot through the internet connection...and it looks good. I've gotta figure out what equipment get's the camera's video/audio so cleanly into the laptop to send out over the net.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

All in a Day's Drive
Darn School Bus

On the way back from gathering the newest video and information about Sunday's Carthage Shootings, Nicole Ferguson and I were face with a challenge that many people face if they're anywhere on the road in the early afternoon....a school bus...and this school bus stopped 4 a quarter mile.

I was beginning to worry that we might not make it back to the station in time for our six o'clock story slot. But the bus took the next left and we were good to go.

It's a good thing. We didn't leave Carthage until after 3 o'clock because of all the hustling we had to do just to flesh out a story in the first place. Being day 3 after the fact, most of the nuts and bolts information has been said. The key players who can or will talk have been talked to and the rest of the people who may have something to do with the case won't or can't talk.

Take the 911 operator who took the calls from the nursing home. She handled herself so camly that we wanted to give her 15 seconds of fame. Her bosses said no.

And the ex-wife of the the gunman, she had given interviews in previous days, but she said one of the other news crew had ambushed her for that interview and as nice as she was and as nice as Nicole could be, the former Mrs. Stewart declined our request for 2 minutes of face time.

A neighbor who knew Robert Stewart 10 years ago reluctantly went on the record for us and that gave us a basis for a story but we thought we could do a little better.

When we got back to town from Stewart's old neighborhood we noticed white ribbons popping up all over the place. A quick step into one of the businesses and we soon discovered that the local florist was making ribbons and giving them out all over town.

A quick glance across the street and, believe it or not, there she was. We followed her around for about 20 minutes as she popped in on businesses and hung more ribbons. Now we had a story. Something a little different and a nice way to wrap up this 3rd day of coverage.

Deal or Dud - Strap Perfect

You know, some stories are just plain fun to shoot. Take our consumer franchise 'Deal or Dud' for instance.

Deal or Dud - Strap Perfect

This week's Deal or Dud - Strap Perfect was one of the more interesting...ahem...visually appealing.....and fun to shoot segments.

Deal or Dud - Strap Perfect

Deal or Dud Lady, Melissa Painter and I started our shoot in our studio with Creative Services Producer Jeff Fabrizio as our "still photographer" so we could shoot our model Wendy in her natural enviroment.

Deal or Dud - Strap Perfect

From the studio we went to a clothing store where a stylist met us to try out the Strap Perfect under several different outfits. Of course...I didn't get pictures in the other'll have to watch the video for that.

Deal or Dud - Strap Perfect

After the clothing store we headed off to see how comfy the Strap Perfect would be over time...during a workout. We went to Planet Fitness and let Wendy jog on a treadmill for 15 minutes to see of the piece would aggravate her.

Deal or Dud - Strap Perfect

Today I spent 9 hours going through video, making edits, finding music and re-adjusting scripts. All so you, the viewer, can enjoy, just as much as I did, our Emmy Nominated Deal or Dud segments...especially this one.

Watch the Story Here

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Sat Truck Crash on Black Ice

A Salt Lake City TV Station's satellite truck went for a wild ride when the driver hit a patch of black ice...

Video Courtesy of

Friday, March 20, 2009


Remember Frankensticks?


It's moved on to a new home.


I now have Miller. Solo, that is.

Miller Tripod

I carbon fiber beauty and I don't think it weighs but about 8 pounds.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Martinsville Ride Along

I had to go up to Martinsville Speedway on Tuesday for a Raybestos Brakes press conference about new brake parts the NASCAR guys will be using for the first time at Martinsville.

As I arrived at the track I took my news truck around the track to get into the pits.

But the best part was the ride along with NASCAR Rookie of the Year for 2008, Regan Smith. Smith took me out in the Toyota Camry pace car for some hot laps - as hot as a street car can take you anyway - and I captured it all on video...

That makes my video of leaving the track in my news truck look tame...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Real Thing
NCAA Cover Up

Remember in the 80s when New Coke came out and people boycotted and clamored for 'The Real Thing'.

Well the NCAA Tournament is coming to town again and they're bringing the 'Cover Up' with them. You know...they have to cover up any advertising in the arena, including all those Pepsi ads on the cupholders on all 10,000 some odd seats.

Both my station and our CBS competitor brought the "New Cover Up" to area viewers tonight at 10 and 11 but I'm here to tell you...nothing's better than 'The Original'...'The Real Thing'...the Emmy Award winning - "NCAA Cover Up"

But you decide if you wish...When the 2 new versions from WGHP and WFMY are online I'll post 'em here...


WFMYs version...I took away the EMBED because there was no way to keep it from rolling...STUPID -

And Now...enjoy 'The Real Thing' - ;-0

Monday, March 16, 2009

"Picking Cotton"

In the part of the state where I grew up that's something that happens every summer on the sun baked fields of Eastern North Carolina.

But now it's the title of a book and the subject of a 2 part series that I finished editing today and aired on our 10 o'clock news.

Jennifer Thompson was brutally raped in her Burlington, NC home in July 1984. Through her recolection, a composite sketch and a couple of police lineups she picked Ronald Cotton as her assailant. She was wrong.


Ronald spent 11 years in prison before DNA evidence and a chance prison yard encounter with the real rapist set him free.

Jennifer and Ron met each other some time after he was released...and now they are great friends...and they both take up the cause of helping those who are falsely accused.

Here is the 2 part Buckley Report - Picking Cotton...

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Social Networking for Employment
Twittering Your Way to a Job

Sometimes the backstory on a story is better than the story itself. The story I produced today is in the embed below. I think it's pretty good but how it came to be is pretty entertaining too.

Friday our Web Producer Jason (@jerseyfreeze on Twitter) pitched a story about how people are using Social Networking to help find jobs for themselves. I was given the task of making this idea a TV story so I immediately turned to my Twitter and Facebook accounts looking for ideas.

At about the same time Greensboro Realtor Casey Durango (@CaseyDurango on Twitter) Retweeted (reposted) a Tweet (<140 character message on Twitter) from Jennifer Ruggiero (@jruggiero on Twitter) that she was looking for a new job.

Then, as happens in the news business, my story changed.

The bosses directed me to try to get into a naturalization ceremony at the Federal Courthouse. Well they don't let cameras in the Federal Courthouse so as I waited for them to call me back I added Jennifer to my Twitter Friends and tentatively set up a shoot with her at a time to be determined.

The Feds decided to let me into the courthouse for the ceremony so I planned with Jennifer to meet on Monday.

Then more news altered my plans. A winter weather system dumped 4-6 inches of snow on North Carolina paralyzing putting us into weather coverage mode.

I rescheduled with Jennifer and finally arrived at her place at 1030 Tuesday morning. I had also put in calls with the local Universities to find a business expert to speak about using the internet to network for jobs.

Without a call back by the time I was interviewing Jennifer I was pleased when she announce mid-interview that she knew someone who had successfully hired people based on Twitter networking. And that person...was one of the newer followers on my Twitter List. (WOW)

So she called Scott Brewster (@jrmozart on Twitter) and we set up an interview for just after lunch.

After I finished up shooting the interviews and corresponding cover video I made my way back to the station to transcribe the video, write the story, and borrow the voice of our nightside reporter Angela Rodriguez.

Of course the edit process was less than fun when the PC decided to burp, chuckle and freeze. I had no sooner pushed the send button to transfer my finished edit to the playback server when Neill and Julie were introducing a story they didn't even think was done.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Snow Day 2009 - Pictures

I never take as many pictures as I should, usually because I'm focused on shooting video of whatever it is that I should also take pictures of.

My Backyard

Anyway, this was the backyard. My wife measured 5.5 inches of snow.

Fox 8

After grabbing just enough video for the noon show I drove to the station.

Fox 8

Fox 8

Santa Maria

Satelite Farm

After a day of driving around, shooting video, writing and editing my story (see previous entry) I jumped back in the truck for one more shoot for sports. Is it just me or does my truck seem to have grown teeth-sicles.

My Truck

By the time I got home the evidence of the wife and kids' hard day at home was plain to see.

Snow Girl