Professional television camera people are inherently creative souls, but they must utilize every drop of their creative juices in times of a near hurricane. I am watching all the local TV stations as they do their best to report on Hurricane Isaac, even though Isaac is not a hurricane nor is Broward county currently facing hurricane force winds and rains. There are several filming techniques that Pro cameramen and women can utilize to better “report” on the weather.
1. Coconut palm trees are your friend! A close up shot of the palm fronds will always project the image of extreme wind, even if the tree is plastic and indoors at one of the local shopping malls. Coconut trees always look as if they are in a Monsoon or category 5 hurricane.
2. Waves next to a boat. A close up of a small boat next to a dock, rising up and down in the water, banging against the dock, truly shows the ferocity of the storm. Especially if you step on the boat with one foot and kick it about in the water.
3. Rain. While South Floridians see gale force rain nearly every afternoon in summer, again, shoot a close up of a small puddle of water in the road with the raindrops smashing into the puddle. It also helps if you have your field reporter making blowing wind noises.
4. Field reporters can be cranky, but they play a huge part in displaying the dangers of a category 5 storm. This requires a list of its own.
a. Make sure they are fully zipped up in Alaskan Whaling Storm Gear. The bright yellow or orange rain coats should be at least as thick as your arm,.
b. Make sure only a small portion of their face is able to be seen. They may have difficulty with the heat inside this gear and may not be able to breath, but do not worry, field reporters are a dime a dozen and great cameramen are so very rare!
c. Adjust the microphone so that they have to scream at the top of their lungs to be heard. (Or find a sports reporter,that’s the way they always talk.)
d. Jiggle the camera so it creates the perception of strong wind blowing you about.
e. Make the field reporter take off their shoes and stand on two softballs. The rocking and rolling and falling about will enhance the storm experience.
f. Remind the field reporter to pull long batches of her hair out from under her helmet and rain gear so it can flap across her face.
g. Your Field Reporter has to be out of breath. You may have to chase them around the scene with a two by four, or have them hold their breath between live shots.
h. They should always have one hand on their hat pretending that the “high” wind could blow it off.
g. OK, you are now ready to leave the TV truck and go out into the weather.
5. Avoid pedestrians! When you have your fully rain geared up field reporter screaming into the microphone as you make wild wind noises while jiggling your camera about creating the effect of gale force winds, the last thing you want is some native casually walking into the scene drinking steaming hot tea and reading the sports pages. It will ruin the effect.
6. Carry bottled water and on occasion splash it onto your camera lens. There should always be a dozen huge drops of water that you are shooting through.
Remember, the camera operator is key to the story. If you film the storm properly you’ll have home viewers hiding under their couches trembling in fear. If not, it just looks like a dorky reporter standing on a calm street in Alaskan Whaling gear.
Some Blogging Guy