Videographer. Photographer. Photojournalist. "Hey, Camera Guy!"
I've answered to all of these. According to my current employer, my job title is Cameraperson. I work at a television station, and I go out to where the news is happening and get the video of that news which runs on your local newscast. You name it, I've probably covered it once, except the Final Four. But then again, the NCAA wouldn't let me (or anyone else not working for CBS) shoot it.
Sports is a part of news, especially in St. Louis. After getting video of a Christmas pageant featuring a choir riser shaped as a 30-foot tall Christmas tree (no, really) and shots of traffic pouring into one of our malls, my next assignment took me to the shining "Jewel of Midtown," Chaifetz Arena, to get highlights of the Billikens' game against Alabama State.
(All photos are still frame grabs from my video camera. It's not a perfect process, so forgive the blurriness.)
With a credential around my neck, I made my way to the court, placing myself near the Alabama State bench. The Billikens would be shooting toward my spot in the first half.
When I get to a game, the first thing I look for is an opening shot, which is the first thing people will see when the highlights play on the news later that evening. Usually the starting line-up introductions make for a great shot, and Saint Louis never disappoints.
After the line-ups were announced, I walked across the court and sat down on the court along the baseline. I raised my camera to my shoulder as the tip flew into the air.
While I'm concentrating on following the game action, I often lose track of the score as it climbs during the game. But, I can easily tell when someone is not scoring. Alabama State was not scoring. In fact, they missed their first seven shots. Saint Louis ran out to a 17-0 lead in the first seven minutes of the game, with five points each coming by the Southern Hemisphere tag team of Australian Cody Ellis and Kiwi Rob Loe. At the 11:54 mark, Luther Page finally broke the Hornet scoring drought with a layup, but the rout was already in full effect.
Shooting a basketball game involves more than just following the ball around the court. I also need cutaways, shots of anything except the game, to put in between plays so the edited highlights aren't as visually jarring to the viewer. Cheerleaders, coaches, crowd, band -- I like to get all of these, whether I think I'll use it later or not. Once again, Billikens games never disappoint. Even with the holidays close, the SLU student section stood full, and the "World's Greatest Pep Band" featured a full complement playing at their best.
The first half continued with SLU controlling on both ends of the court. The Bills defense held Alabama State to an dreadful 4-of-24 (16.7%) shooting for the half, while Loe and Ellis continued to fill the net. Kwamain Mitchell joined along with the Down Under Duo by finishing the first half with a long-driving layup. It sent SLU into the locker room with a 33-11 lead.
As much as halftime brings a rest for the players, it brings an almost-equally welcome rest for photographers on the baseline, too. Sitting cross-legged, on a hardwood floor, with a 15-pound camera on the right shoulder, brings a litany of aches throughout the body. Elbow, shoulder, and lower back all tighten up. Halftime provides a much needed stretch. Also, sitting cross-legged for 50 minutes always means my feet fall asleep, and I spend the better part of those 15 minutes shaking out the pins and needles just in time to sit back down for the start of the second half.
I also used that time, and every other timeout, to check the phone the station uses to get in touch with me should the need arise. With only two camera-people working on this Saturday night, any other news -- a house catching ablaze, a bad car accident on the interstate, someone deciding to settle a beef with a rival with gunfire -- could instantly pull me from the warm confines inside the gym and slap me with the cold reality of the real world outside. Luckily, no such things happened, and I was free to enjoy the start of the second half.
It went much like the first half did, with Saint Louis holding hard on defense and working the ball around the perimeter with ease to find the open man, usually in the corner, to nail the three-pointer. Loe added two superhoops on his way to 15 points on the night. The Eugene Enforcer Brian Conklin got into the act, and into my highlights as well, with an two-handed #STUF off a perfect no-look pass from Mitchell. The Billikens lead was now 31.
Under normal circumstances, I never, EVER, leave a game early. But the deadline waits for no man or circumstance. In order to make the 20-minute drive back to my station, load the video into our edit computers and put the highlight reel together in time, I had to leave at the under-16 timeout. The game wasn't offically over, but the outcome was certainly in hand.
While listening to the game on the radio on my drive into the St. Louis suburbs, I thought about the opportunity to be able to combine my job with my passion. It doesn't happen all that often, and I relish it each time it does.
at SAINT LOUIS 65, ALABAMA STATE 35 12/17/2011
ALABAMA STATE 1-7 (0-0) -- K. Washington 6-15 0-1 12; T. Butler 0-4 0-0 0; I. White 0-3 0-0 0; J. Middlebrooks 0-3 2-2 2; L. Page 1-6 0-0 2; S. Brown 2-2 0-0 5; P. Crawford 3-10 0-0 6; J. Mason 2-4 4-5 8; R. Watts 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 14-48 6-8 35. SAINT LOUIS 10-1 (0-0) -- D. Evans 1-7 1-2 3; K. Cassity 0-2 0-0 0; K. Mitchell 3-5 1-2 9; J. Barnett 1-7 4-4 7; C. Remekun 2-3 0-1 4; C. Ellis 5-8 2-2 15; B. Conklin 3-3 2-2 8; R. Loe 5-8 2-2 15; J. Manning 1-1 0-0 2; G. Glaze 1-2 0-2 2; B. Daly 0-0 0-0 0; J. Jett 0-1 0-2 0; G. Gehlen 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-47 12-19 65.
Three-point goals: ALST 1-12 (T. Butler 0-3; J. Middlebrooks 0-1; R. Watts 0-1; s. brown 1-1; K. Washington 0-6), SLU 9-19 (K. Mitchell 2-4; K. Cassity 0-1; C. Ellis 3-5; J. Barnett 1-3; R. Loe 3-6); Rebounds: ALST 24 (P. Crawford 7), SLU 37 (D. Evans 9); Assists: ALST 6 (J. Middlebrooks 2), SLU 17 (K. Mitchell 7); Total Fouls -- ALST 17, SLU 12; Fouled Out: ALST-None; SLU-None.