After a short but successful stint on CKND-TV's The Great Spelling Bee in 1993, Tyler Walsh knew the bright lights of television were in his future. That was before the World Wide Web came along. He lived the dream for five years, working as a news producer at Global Television in Winnipeg. Never one to back away from a challenge, Tyler left the TV business behind and joined the Winnipeg Free Press in 2008 as the company's first Multimedia Editor. He's worked with the online team and photo department to shape and grow the video product at winnipegfreepress.com, which now includes live streaming video, documentary features and live and interactive events from Canada's first News Café, which is where you'll find Tyler and other members of the online team. Feel free to drop by 237 McDermot Avenue and engage Tyler in conversation about one of three topics: Video editing, curling or Star Trek.
Winnipeg lawyer-turned-wannabe-politician Brian Bowman jumped out of the gate Friday with a slick looking campaign video promoting his vision for Winnipeg and his campaign kickoff May 14.
The video, produced with the help of Winnipeg's Coelement, features Bowman standing in what appears to be the top of the parkade at The Forks with the city's skyline in the background (TV news reporters have long used that spot for their on-screen standups, it's very pretty). The Canadian Museum for Human Rights is featured prominently behind Bowman. The video also makes use of a professional video producer's go-to (and some would say overused these days) trick -- the time-lapse.
Bowman is one of five candidates to register a bid for the mayor's chair so far, but the first to launch a campaign related video. Former councillor Gord Steeves registered last week. He's got a website set up, along with Facebook and Twitter pages, but so far no video elements that I could find.
Three other candidates are also registered, Michel Fillion, Mike Vogiatzakis and Gordon Warren. I haven't found any video from their campaigns.
Over the coming weeks and months I'll be tracking how Winnipeg's mayoral candidates are using video to help promote their campaigns. We can argue how much the use of video can actually contribute to the success of a campaign (comment on that topic below if you desire), but you can't argue with the fact that using video to get your message out at least shows you're engaged with the demographics that watch online video. According to YouTube, we watch over 6 billion hours of video every month. Albeit most of them are cat videos.
I've contacted the campaign teams for Brian Bowman and Gord Steeves about the use of video in their campaigns and will update this post when I hear back.
Update: I spoke with Brian Bowman who says he thinks it's important that his campaign uses every communication outlet possible to get its message to the public and that includes video. Bowman tells me he plans to have lots of video in his campaign, but not at the same production value as this kick-off video, which his campaign paid Coelement to produce. He also says his team will be using infographics to further his message which is something he says has never been done before in a Winnipeg mayoral campaign. I'm a big fan of infographics.
Update 2: Bowman's campaign sent me his first infographic. It's a how-to on donating to the campaign - simple but effective. I'll be more interested to see some cool stuff around his platform when it's released, dollars and cents type stuff.
Since the deep freeze hit in December, North Americans from coast to coast to coast to coast are heading outdoors in the name of science.
Well, it's more than that - the cool factor of the hot water vs. cold air experiment is really high.
If you're unfamiliar with this concept, it's really simple. When the temperature drops to below 30 degrees Celsius (the colder the better) boil some water, put it in a cup, go outside, and toss the water out of the cup and into the air as vigorously as possible.
The result will look like a plume of smoke as most of the water instantly turns into ice crystals. The science part is pretty simple, but experiment can be enjoyed over and over and over again using different methods.
After watching a video on YouTube in 2011, Free Press intern Kristel Mason and I tried this experiment with University of Manitoba physics professor Kumar Sharma with pretty solid results.
And since the "Polar Vortex" struck North America this winter, the experiment has taken on a life of its own.
A video posted last Thursday by YouTube user chrisgsauce in South Porcupine, Ontario, in which he shoots boiling water from a water pistol has garnered a staggering 3,469,247 views and counting.
A quick search on YouTube reveals many more great examples.
And of course, I wouldn't be a video producer and lover of amateur science if I didn't get in on the action. So click on the video at the top to see our Winnipeg winter watergun fight video.
I bet there's 100 other unique ways to do this experiment, so here's your call to action. Upload your cool video to YouTube and send me the link. I'll feature all the submissions in a future blog post.
Of course, please be very careful and wear protective gear. You are dealing with hot water after all.
In my neverending quest to make the iPhone a legitimate tool in our newsgathering arsenal, I may have found a device that finally resolves all audio concerns.
For anyone wh uses the iPhone for video, you'll know that the audio quality leaves something to be desired. For professional video newsgathering, you've got nothing without good audi
Enter the Fostex AR-4i, a lightweight battery powered device with all the bells and whistles to take audio to the next level.
After picking up the unit several months ago, I finally got an opportunity to test it out...and WOW.
It's got three input options with volume controller and a headphone jack with volume control.
I took it into the Jets dressing room recently and got in on some player scrums.
Using my wireless handheld microphone for the Andrew Ladd scrum, I was able to capture broadcast quality sound through the third input and secondary (backup) audio off one of the top mics.
On the Blake Wheeler scrum, I used both of the top mics (which came with the unit) and ditched the wireless. I had to boost the levels a bit which led to more background noise, but it was still more than usable.
The grand finale was the Claude Noel interview. He stands behind a podium and all broadcast media plug into a sound board which, up until now, was impossible with an iPhone. Not today.
The Fostex comes with a separate app which allows you to set inputs to mono or stereo and a few other options. Good times.
We all know sports stars are famous for their game rituals and the Winnipeg Jets are no different. We got a peek at the not-so-secret secret handshake some of the players participate in before every game.
But if you thought some of the players' handshakes were interesting, check out the ridiculously elaborate moves of the Jets' training staff as captured by photographer Mike Deal.
Oh, and it's a chin bump, not a kiss. I watched it in slow motion.