Crashed ice: A woman’s sport

February 11, 2009

At the beginning of January, staff at Reuters and I had a discussion about creating a multimedia piece on the Red Bull Crashed Ice race, an event where competitors have to skate down an urban ice course in the middle of Old Quebec. After some discussion, the idea of doing a multimedia piece on the introduction of the woman’s category at the event was suggested, which I thought was a great idea.

On race day, the temperature was slightly below -30 Celsius in Quebec City, which is not unusual for that time of the year. One of my colleagues had the grease in his lens’ zoom barrel freeze during the race, so I had to be careful and keep my cameras, voice recorder and video camera warm.

It was my first time shooting pictures, videos and collecting audio to do a multimedia piece. My plan of attack was to shoot my pictures first and then film the videos. It’s always a good thing to have a plan when you’re out of your comfort zone. When I felt confident I had good pictures for the wire, I decided to switch to my video camera to shoot short video clips. This event was well suited for pictures and videos since there was more than thirty heats of four competitors. As always, if you’re filming video and something important happens, you will not be able to get the still image that the other agencies might have. I think photographers have to be careful not to spend too much time shooting video and concentrate on their primary job — taking pictures. Fortunately for me, nothing happened while I was capturing my video clips.

Collecting the audio was probably the easiest part of my job. I managed to do my interviews the day before the race. I prepared my questions in advance and asked some friends and colleagues to have a look at them to be sure I was not off track. As for the ambient sound, that was even easier. The race was divided into heats and between them people were screaming. While I was waiting for the next one, I just had to push the record button to collect some sound.

Multimedia is the way of the future for our profession, so being versatile will give you an edge over the competition. But not every event allows you to do good multimedia. You have to think of your core clients first. Will be well served if you drop your camera for a couple of minutes to concentrate more on shooting video and audio? In the end, I like the result of the piece that our editors put together, but I think I still have a lot of room for improvement. Perhaps, the next time it will be easier. I’m sure I’ll find new techniques to do more than one thing at once.

One comment

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What a superb piece! I’m a journalism student getting my M.S. with a concentration in digital media and it’s wonderful to see the discipline being practiced at such a high level. Kudos for shooting stills, video and collecting audio on your own. I know how tough it can be from a technical standpoint, but you pulled it off.

Posted by Chikodi Chima | Report as abusive