Reflection on Videography [Blog] – Generation Justice

By Jason Fuller

When I applied for the Generation Justice Fellowship, I did so to further enhance my skills within video recording, editing, and other skills. Little did I know I would gain such experience within 3 weeks of starting. My first interaction with recording occurred as I helped capture footage from the Dance-Walk for Mental Health. I felt confident recording this as I recorded for approximately 10-12 minutes. However, Saturday would serve as a completely different expectation of recording as we would record throughout the day: first at the Youth Alliance Legislation workshop, then the capturing of young people’s experience living with mental disease.

At the Youth Alliance event, we had to capture the workshop and the dialogue that occurred within small breakout groups. Additionally, we conducted several interviews, which allowed young people to describe everything they learned, and the importance of legislation.  While recording the facilitator Adrian Carver, I had difficulty maintaining a consistent shot, for he was constantly in motion. On a positive note, I learned to always be ready to change my location in order to get higher quality angles. Also, I made sure that whenever Mr. Carver moved, I would capture the facial expression of those in the midst of pondering and absorbing information. The interviews conducted would prove to be a learning experience as I learned how to connect mics to subjects/interviewees so that speaking volume would be at a maximum. Furthermore, I learned how to angle the camera in order to get a “documentary like” view point. I had a lot of fun.

Saturday afternoons’ event would prove to be a hefty task, for we would record young people for over 5 hrs. Before filming, working with Alden allowed me to gain a greater appreciation for staging and positioning of the room. This was critical in order to have high quality lighting, sound and footage.  I had a lot of on the job training as Roberta gave tips so I would capture the emotional expressions of young people during heavy dialogue. By the halfway mark, I found myself strategizing with Generation Justice staff to the point where I would record from a certain angle in order to hone in on 3 young people, and they would capture the others. Having multiple cameras on hand allowed for me to maneuver about the room, and see improvement in my video recording skills in the midst of filming. Although long, I gained a lot of experience and look forward to future filming opportunities.

From this experience I gained a greater sense of confidence working with cameras, positioning and capturing overall higher quality footage. I now understand the significance of having tripods and their benefits. In comparison to simply holding a camera, having a tripod allows for a consistent visual. Aside from capturing footage, I assisted in the recording of audio via boom mics; I quickly learned from Melissa to avoid certain practices in order to ascertain the highest sound quality. I also learned of the appropriate volume range to aim for and I positioned myself in between our attendees and either increased or reduced distance from individuals in order to meet the suggested volume interval.

An over arching theme throughout the day was the value of teamwork. Being a novice behind the camera, my Generation Justice companions gave me a great deal of advice. This was invaluable because they were more cognizant of the camera’s battery life, a perk to those further acclimated with Generation Justice technology.