While emotions certainly took a hold of me in a rather unexpected way, just about everyone seen in the Katrina disaster, including most of the officials in charge of recovery as well as the media freaked out pretty bad. There was an amazing, grounding sign of reason which came forth on Rocketboom, which not only brought me personally back down to calm, but also seemingly crossed an interesting boundary that I don't recall being very possible on TV:
It was the work of Tyson Root. Ty is a freelance photographer/videographer that works on stories for CBS, typically covering local news in Houston, Texas. Ty spends a great deal of time shooting from a helicopter where he mounts his betacams on the outside and controls them with a joystick from the inside. It seems to me as though he has a dream job because all of the footage that he shoots, including the footage he goes out to shoot for CBS stories, is owned by him personally.
So Ty, who comes off as a little bit cynical of the traditional broadcast medium, is also very enthusiastic about alternative forms of distribution. In what I see as a complete bridge, Ty sent Rocketboom the most amazing footage of the Katrina Disaster from his fly over New Orleans on August 30th, 2005.
Since the Rocketboom format is around 3-4 minutes long, the plan was for me to find 3 minutes to edit together out of the ten minutes that he picked out of his beta tapes. Once I downloaded the file and started watching it, I became captivated for the entire 10 minutes and wasn't really thinking about editing yet. Then I watched it again and again and again, never even getting as far as starting to think about the editing. I was simply just amazed by the entire combination of visual imagery and the audio communications between the crew members and the cost guard.
The first and last thought I had with regard to editing was to just play the whole ten minute piece, straight-up, unedited. I imagined some people would be unhappy about the large file size so I decided to make smaller file sizes available. And once I saw the regular 320x240, I thought, this sucks, this needs to be bigger. 640x480 was what I had so I put that up too.
I didn't realize it at the time, but a couple of days later it dawned on me that this priceless footage would not be able to exist like this on TV. Ten minutes, unedited footage with no cutaways and no commercial breaks? You just can't really afford to do that on the traditional broadcast medium. The only time I can remember maybe seeing something like a single open shutter for ten minutes long on TV was the outbreak of the U.S's first offensive attack on Iraq, Desert Storm. I clearly remember seeing very long shots from hotel rooms where journalists were stationed and prepared for the strikes. Other than that, Kenyatta pointed out that nobody cut away from O.J Simpson when he was in that White Bronco creeping up the 101.
Yet online, in what will become an everyday phenomenon, where there is no competition for time and little cost for availability, you not only had the 10 minute Katrina footage, for instance, you still do. Just click: Large 640x480 .mov | Med 320x240 .mov | Small 240x180 .wmv | Original Post. You may copy and redistribute this footage, even commercially, with attribution. See license here.
Thanks Andrew, but I can't take all the credit. I still need to find the Pilots name who let me record this footage from his helicopter. If it wasnt for this man and the military, I never could have gotten this out.