Tag Archives: Electronic News Gathering

Language Matters: “Filming”

Language matters. I am working on my first Master lesson on the modern history of capturing and editing. For most younger millennials who have grown up on YouTube (of said platform once owned the tagline: Broadcast Yourself, with a logo more resemblance of a TV screen; many of the “influencers” are doing things without the traditional camcorders, but digital cameras, with 24 frames per second, and slow shutter like film.

I DO NOT like the word “filming” and I also I advocate for “taping” and “shooting”. Why?

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The Importance of ENG in Storytelling in 2022

Just a disclosure, I am technically a guy that collects airchecks and have more of a mind of a creative services guy and some journalistic instincts. I am also an amateur photog. I presently do not work in the industry nor am I affiliated with any union.

Electronic News Gathering is a process that was developed nearly 40 plus years ago. ENG was basically the concept away from film and to videotape entirely. The editing process moved away from splicing and cutting film negatives, to playing a raw tape on a “source” tape deck, and record the cuts by timecode onto another deck called “record”. For more advanced productions, raw tapes were dubbed into more crappier qualities to use to make notes for cuts, known as offline editing. Online editing was the mastering of the quality using various scopes and meters before the final product was finished.

ENG actually goes as far back as the early 1970s for liveshots. But that’s all it could do until Sony made smaller portable tape decks and the advent of the Betacam in 1982.

This very simplified definition as changed a lot as digital replaced the analog format, the tapeless mediums, such as the first generation Blu-Ray like XDCAM, the PCMCIA disk storage for Panasonic’s P2 DVCPRO camcorders, the move to “file based workflows” away from the traditional tape editing booths, and a focus on using standard Windows or Mac workstations to edit on either EDIUS or Premiere Pro.

My opinions on “filming” is very clear. I do not really care for cinema. There is a time and place for film, but not in non fiction environments. There are some really pressing issues. I rarely talk about my autistic condition here, but in the state I live in, the issues are very pervasive. In New Hampshire it seems like “filmmakers” outpace any ENG or the sister workflow for live events, Electronic Field Production videographers. For any message to get out, takes time. Filmmaking is an art to them. Sure, but if there is a story to tell that is time sensitive, like the end of the world for some groups of people, there has this hustle of energy.

When I carry my Vixia I do not film, I take offense when I hear that phrase. You can’t film to live. You can’t “edit” film the way you can do with video. Jump-cuts used to be a no-no but again thanks to the damned filmmakers, they legitimized hobbled works.

To not single out radio, but radio is also an immediate medium. If there is a very pressing narrative, someone can do a phoner, and even if POTS telephony is scrappy as heck with the move to more IP based technologies, that scrappy quality will grab you in (at least in my own theory.)

For me, I am not a friend of slow deadlines, no urgency to important issues, the bloated headcounts in film, where in ENG you can do things with less people and produce in par with the film world. I long for the days for having a shot for every time I saw some name in a “ENG” unit in long closing credits.

Can we make ENG Great Again?

Next year I’ll show my collection of ENG replicas in the minifig world on my site and my social platforms.

Pet Peeves: “Filming”…

I don’t want to make “Pet Peeves” a regular feature. But one of the most annoying things to anyone whose a millenial age or younger the phrase “film”. It’s used very liberally. I haven’t gone through a radical acceptance phase, because I cannot accept weirdos or non media literate people use such shallow verbiage.

Filming, is based on what I assume is snapshots taken at least 24 times per second, creating a “frame” for each “shot” taken from the very first recordable mediums to exist.

“Filming” cannot be transmitted in a live format, so it wasn’t until the advent of ENG or Electronic News Gathering, was it possible to connect a video camera to a microwave radio link.

Filming also requires each camera to capture the scenes. For instance, almost every sitcom produced between the mid 1970s to the mid 1990s was shot on video tape, and was allowed multiple cameras due to the TV/broadcast styled control room workflow. “Filming” requires almost everything to be done in post production, i.e. editing.  The last U.S. sitcom that was done on videotape was Home Improvement that ended it’s series in 1998, Full House came in second (dropped 3 years before.) at this time, shows like Everybody Loves Raymond started to incorporate film, and shows like E.R. also broke traditional TV rules, as the Steadicam rig would be the default camera mount for most of the episodes.

I recommend people to be technically correct, and if a video clip you see or you produce is: greater than 24 frames per second OR being streamed live, or fed live; THEREFORE it cannot be “filmed” your either “taping” or “shooting live”

These kids these days like ol stuff that cost so much money and resources and don’t appreciate the modern technology that was tried and true for a just a couple decades. Long live ENG FFS!