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Me, Mark Clegg, and Alex Schwindt. Photo courtesy of Mark Clegg.

I’m in charge of the video end of things for our upcoming capital campaign at our church. Our local NBC News anchor, Mark Clegg, has been a member of our church for years, and I decided to take him up on his gracious offer to help us out any time we needed it. So last Friday morning, before he had to head in to work at NBC, Mark stopped by the church and did some reading for us and our camera. And I must say, he was humble, gracious, and a breeze to work with. I got the sense that he was honored to be a part of this, just as we were honored to have his involvement.

When he first showed up, I took a minute to explain to him our camera rig. I was a little embarrassed by how it appeared. Here’s a guy who is used to looking into $40,000 TV studio cameras every night , and we had this tiny little rig. You can see my friend and co-worker Alex holding it on the right. Our beastly rig consisted of the Canon T2i (better known as the Rebel – this is the latest iteration of it), and a tiny hand-held camera stabilizer. The day before, we had tested out some other cameras. I really wanted some movement in the shot, and wanted something smoother than hand-held shooting could provide. An HD camera on a dolly proved too wobbly; our Glidecam was too heavy and unwieldy for the amount of time we’d be shooting. And besides, the Canon has a far superior image to our HD cameras that cost 5 times as much. So the T2i with the little hand-held stabilizer won the day. Fortunately, Mark does some still photography himself, and when he saw the footage we were getting, he was delighted, and so were we.

The T2i does not do a very good job of audio capture, so we had Mark on a wireless lapel mic, with the receiver going into a Tascam DR-100 that Alex owns. The Tascam has a USB port and recorded high quality audio files that I simply dumped to the computer when we were done. Actually, we dumped everything to 2 computers so we’d have a backup, one of the lessons you learn when you quit shooting on tape.

The problem, of course, was that Alex and I were far from hitting record at the same time. Even though it’s possible to sync up audio and video by hand, I downloaded the 30 day trial of a program called Pluraleyes. It’s magical. I put all my out-of-sync video (which did have some audio from the camera’s built-in mic) and good clean audio into a Final Cut sequence, ran the Pluraleyes software, baked at 350 for about 8 minutes, and presto! Perfectly synced video and audio. Color me impressed.

I was also impressed by Mark. This 26 year veteran kept asking for feedback, and received it humbly when we gave it. I was afraid he would be way outside of his comfort zone; he’s used to having a teleprompter, sitting still, and not thinking about what to do with his hands. For all I knew, I might as well have been asking him to try his hand at making artisan cheeses! But he’s a pro, and did a fabulous job for us, as the short clip below can attest. Mark, thanks so much! Kudos to Alex, too, for supplying the gear and manning the camera.

This clip is the last clip that will play in the video. It has no color correction or music bed added yet, just the raw footage. And it’s very short. But I’ll post more once the full video comes together.

Capital Campaign Wrap-Up from Rob Webster on Vimeo.