Shooting tips for VJs

Can you really do it all? Mark Carlson, a videojournalist for the Associated Press, has no doubt the answer is yes. “I can do anything,” Carlson says. “Tell me I can’t do something and I’ll do it for you.”

Carlson got his first job 10 years ago as a one-man-band at a local television station. Now, he travels the country and the world reporting on everything from the Olympics to hurricanes.  “I’m allowed to be creative,” he told a broadcast journalism seminar at Syracuse University.It’s not easy. It’s a lot of fun for me, but it’s not for a lot of people.

Usually working alone, Carlson shoots with a Sony HD video camera, the Z1U, and a Sennheiser ME66 shotgun microphone that “works like a rifle.” Throw in the tripod and the whole rig weighs less than 10 pounds, he says. “You can’t pay me to work with a big camera again.”

The stories Carlson showed at the conference [like this one on the Michigan economy] had rock-steady video and lots of natural sound.  How does he do that? “You learn to use the tools you have and make the most of them. You have to always be thinking.”

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