Last week, out of necessity, with deadline crashing down on us, and some illness on our staff, I took it upon myself to grab one of our shiny, fairly-new DSLR cameras to shoot a couple of sound bites in the hall outside my classroom.
I'm not asking for a medal, but I was thinking it was mighty nice of me to pitch in. Our show is student-produced, after all, so it is not my job to shoot anything. There I was, getting the framing right, watching the light, making sure the audio meter was bouncing. Boy, I just KILLED it. Except I didn't.
When I popped in the SD card and imported my work, I went from elated to deflated in about 15 seconds. My shots were slightly out of focus, the audio was not good, and the color was off. It looked like first quarter, Broadcast I footage.
So I checked my ego at the iMac and re-shot both bites. Guess what? I forgot to hit "record" on the second interview. I had actually forgotten to stop recording after re-shooting Bite #1, so you know how this goes. I got great footage of the hallway and my feet as we set up for the re-do of Bite #2. Then when I hit the "record" button, it was already on, so I actually was stopping it.
I ended up just getting a student to do it all over. They ended up using one of the bites she re-shot. And I got a lesson in humility, and a reminder of this: Teachers, from time to time, we have to shoot, edit, deal with audio recording, and lighting, and just GET OUR HANDS DIRTY with the process. You can not just stand back and point. You will become more empathetic with students, and more aware of your equipment's quirks and limitations, by actually USING the equipment now and then. So shoot your family during holidays. Or take a camera along on your next get-away. Just use the gear once in a while. It will make you a better teacher.
Considering I run the ASB Workshop, and have for 20 years pushed teachers who attend to shoot and edit, just botching those two sound bites about 10 feet outside my classroom door was a moment I needed to experience. It actually reminded me of our workshop theme: "Teacher as Student." And when it comes to the new cameras and accessories, this teacher has a lot to learn.