The ASB Bus Tour is On!

Follow along with 15 broadcast teachers and the ASB staff on the blog. 

ASB Bus Tour: Indianapolis, IN

Featured Story: "Toy Story"

This toy shop has an extremely dedicated owner.

Reporter: Jon Reese Photographer: Pam Andrews

More stories from Indy:

Adam Klein and Alan Humbert


Ed McDonough and Brent Whelan

"The Film Festival"
Jana Bulloch and Sandy Beeson

"The Curator"
Kayla McGilvray and Matt Binder

"Follow Your Path"

Elisa White and Sharlo Rogers

"The Brew Master"
Dennis Kane and Jeb Brunt

Photos from the Road:


ASB Bus Tour: Louisville, KY

Featured Story: "Wiggin' Out"

Shop employee helps patrons change their look as often as they like.
Reporter: Matt Binder Photographer: Kayla McGilvray

More stories from Louisville:

"Loey, Looa, Louisville"
by Ed McDonough and Brent Whelan

"Glass, Works"
by Elisa White and Jana Bulloch

"One Head at a Time"
by Sandy Beeson and Sharlo Rogers

"Best Rider in the Park"
by Jeb Brunt and Dennis Kane

"Vintage Vinyl"
by Alan Humbert and Adam Klein

"The Culbertson Mansion" 
by Jon Reese and Pam Andrews


Photos from the road:

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ASB Bus Tour Countdown is ON

It all begins in less than a week, and we hope you are ready to watch.

The ASB Workshop for Returning Teachers is set for Sunday, July 20 through Friday, July 25, and we are hitting the road via motor coach.  Stories will be uploaded to this blog beginning July 22 through the end of the week.

Fifteen teachers from Colorado to New England will climb aboard with laptops, cameras and other field equipment, ready to get off the bus and find a story.  Our stops are Louisville, Indianapolis, and Chicago.  Our goal is to find stories specific to those great cities and share them here.

You can check this blog to view the finished segments, but you can also see updates with photos and short vids by following our Instagram feed, @asbworkshop.  Our hashtag on Twitter will be #asbbustour.  

We certainly hope you will check out our teachers' stories from the road, and see what they find along the way.  Just remember, this unique workshop experience is all about the journey.

ASB Workshop: Ready To Go!

We have 27 broadcast teachers heading to the 15th annual ASB Workshop in Springfield, MO the week of July 6-11.  It is hands-down my favorite week of the year.

The teachers come from New Jersey, California, Illinois, South Carolina, Texas, Colorado and Florida, as well as Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska.  We even have a teacher from a school in Dubai.

One has been a TV reporter and anchor, but not a teacher.  He needs some help.  Another has been teaching English for 20 years and now has to run a video production class.  She needs help.  We have a teacher who has tons of equipment and two control rooms.  Another says her school has “an iMac.”  They both need some help.

So we plan to do just that.  To help.  It means five long days, an information overload, and hands-on applications suitable for the middle school and high school classroom.  Even the fifth grade classroom--we have an elementary teacher joining us as well.

Our small staff is talented and dedicated.  They have their hearts in the right place--and they stand ready to do everything they can to make the 2014 ASB Workshop an amazing experience.  So let’s do this!

What is WALLDO?

The #1 question we get about our set of 6 Shooting Tip posters is, "What the heck is WALLDO?" Good question. It's a concept we teach at our summer workshop and I guess we forgot that it's not universally understood in the broadcast universe.

WALLDO stands for WIDE/ANGLED/LOW/LINKING/DEPTH/OPPOSITE.  It is a mental cheat-sheet for shooting video in the field.  The shots are creative but also have very practical purposes behind them. (Examples of each below)


WIDE:  Shooting from a distance provides context, and perspective.  It shows the viewer the big picture.  It establishes location.  

ANGLED:  When you shoot everything from directly in front, it takes away depth and also seems safe, and sometimes pretty bland. Shooting things like buildings, and especially signs from an angle makes for a more interesting visual.

LOW:  Shooting from ground level, or even knee-level, gives viewers a different perspective.  Put the camera on the ground to get the feet passing by during the parade.  The same approach in your school's hallways can make for an interesting shot as kids walk by on their way to class.

LINKING:  Maybe the most difficult of the WALLDO shots to do well, this requires movement of the camera.  It is a shot that links two related objects or subjects by panning from one to the other.  This shot is used when it is hard to get the two objects in the frame at the same time.  Maybe you follow a jogger running to your left, and as he passes by the "Relay for Life" sign, you stop on the sign.  You have now "linked" the participant with the cause he is running for.  Rack focuses can also "link" two objects in a creative way.

DEPTH:  One of the easiest, but most important WALLDO techniques.  Find foreground objects to put in your frame when you shoot.  They allow you to add depth to the visuals.  For example, a burning building is easy to shoot.  But think of the drama you add when you shoot that building with the owner in the foreground, watching his property burn.  On a less dramatic level, shooting the outside of your school with branches in the foreground adds depth and makes the shot more interesting.

OPPOSITE:  This is the reverse angle in video, or the "reaction" shot.  The opposite of the running back scoring a touchdown is the shot you get when you turn around and show the cheering crowd.  Shooting a guest speaker from in front is the standard shot, but you add a great and unique perspective by shooting from behind her as she speaks, providing her point of view as she looks at her audience.

TIP:  After students master these shots, the next step is to COMBINE them now and then.  Think about how you can shoot both angled and depth shots at the same time, or low and opposite.  

WALLDO is something you always have in your tool belt once you learn the techniques, and the best way to learn is by practicing them.

A Story in 15 Seconds

I was in LA in late March with my HTV kids.  We hit Hollywood Boulevard one afternoon, and I was growing impatient with three stragglers who had not made their way back to our vans.  That's when I saw Cheyanne, Katelynn and Zayne preparing to cross the street to make their way to where I was waiting, and for some reason I shot video with my iPhone of them approaching me.

Later, when I watched the footage, a light went on.  In those 15 seconds, I had a story, complete with a beginning, middle and end, the very things we preach and teach at the ASB workshops all the time.

Watch the clip once, then read on.


As the threesome walks toward the camera, we have a foreground object (guy in brown shirt) adding depth to the shot.  Both girls are carrying packages, but Zayne has what appears to be a large trash bag wrapped around something flat.

There is natural sound of music playing from one of the nearby shops, adding atmosphere.  The girls are smiling broadly, leading you to believe they are amused by something, but we don't know what.  But their faces add to the tone of the piece.

As the middle part of the story begins, you see a tighter shot of the girls, and you hear me saying, "Last again!"  This adds tension.  Are they in trouble?  (I say it again in the background as the girls speak)

Katelyn then says, "Ask Zayne what he bought."  Now we have a plot-twist.  It's not about them being late--it's about something Zayne purchased.  Cheyanne also directs me to "ask Zayne what he bought" as the camera finds her.  She also points her finger toward Zayne, building viewer expectations that something interesting or surprising is about to be revealed.

The suspense builds as we hear Zayne rustling the plastic bag (more nat. sound) as he takes out his purchase.  With about four seconds to go, Katelyn tells us it's a "life-size figure of Emma Watson," and then we have the pay-off at the end, as we actually get to see Emma as she emerges from the bag.

In 15 seconds a story was told.  There was a set-up, added tension, and a final visual that brought it all home.  In other words, a beginning, middle and end.

Use It or Lose It?

The Incident

We had an assistant principal cornered in an interview a few years ago.  

A couple of freshmen chose not to stand during a performance of the National Anthem at an outdoor, all-school assembly at the football stadium.  This same AP was in the Army Reserve, and he was a proud military man.  As the song ended, and he saw the students still sitting, he pulled them aside, just a few feet away from the bleachers where about 1,300 students were sitting.  Then he really let them have it.  He chewed them out big-time. 

All of this took place in front of maybe 75 or 80 teachers and students  who were within ear shot.  Lots of other people saw it, even if they were too far away to hear the tirade.  One of the people who heard it suggested it would be a great story.  That person was me.

The Interview

Our HTV team (reporter/photog) asked for an interview about patriotism, and the AP consented.  At a point fairly late in the interview, our reporter, after hearing how important patriotism was, asked about those who do not always show it, like the kids at the stadium.  The administrator looked at our her, and then, as he explained he was not going to discuss the incident, he put his hand over the lens of the camera and said, "Let's shut that off, please."  

After explaining he would not talk about the incident, he agreed to continue the interview.  Two questions later, my reporter asked him again about the students he blasted in front of the student body.  Again, the hand went over the lens, and we got sound of him saying, "Turn the camera off. I told you I'm not going to talk about that."

Our story was about showing patriotism, and how much you should show, when you should show it, and if you had a right not to show it.  When our team brought the footage into the studio there was a huge buzz.  The staff was gathering around and almost every kid was in favor of using the audio and video of the AP's refusal to discuss the incident.  But we didn't.

The Decision

Just because you know it, doesn't mean you show it.  That may be a somewhat inelegant phrase, but it works.  While the footage of the administrator putting his hand over the lens--the ultimate, almost iconic visual of "censorship" in any setting--we decided after much discussion that it would totally cost the story its focus.  Patriotism was the topic, and an assistant principal refusing to discuss school discipline, even if he handled it in an all-too-public way--was his right.  In fact, discussing student discipline on camera would have been a violation of district policy that could have gotten the administrator into trouble.  Of course, our point initially was there was nothing private about the discipline.  A lot of people saw it as it took place near the bleachers full of kids.

The story finally ran without using the dramatic footage of the hand over the lens.  In fact, we erased it from the tape, and it was never seen by anyone except the HTV staff.  Oh, and the story came out just fine.