Category Archives: talca

Chile Earthquake, 3 – Day 2

We finished editing, as I noted in my previous post, at 7am. We returned to the wireless point Nacho had found at 3am. It no longer existed. We drove around a little looking for wireless, and, not finding any, we went to Radio Paloma – the only radio station in Talca. Radio Paloma was Talca’s sole communication point. People waited around its gates to pass messages to let their loved ones know that they were safe, or to ask their loved ones to try to contact them.

After this, we went to various places in Talca to try to understand what the residents were experiencing. We began at a large empty plot near central Talca where people afraid to return to their homes founded a campamento. We went to the center of the city, where the destruction was the worst. We found vast lines of people for every open service – gas, water, pharmacy. Piñera, then the president elect, passed by in his motorcade. For the residents of Talca, the hardest part may have been having no communication with the outside world. They knew they had survived, but had no knowledge of their relatives. Following this concern, there was a great neat for everything for which people formed lines – water, pharmacies, and gas.

Reporting in disaster zones – Part 2

When communications fail it’s really hard to deliver your material to your contractors. Yes, digital media helps in capturing and editing material far faster than traditional media, but also consumes an enormous amount of power (laptop and camera batteries) and requires a steady data connection in order to transmit, which was non-existent at the time.

Power, if you need it, beg for it.
There’s always someone who’s been cautious enough to have a generator.
Just look for the only light on in town, head that way and explain them. Here’s why they will let you, probably no one has been able to send info or material to their editors, because no one in the rest of the country knows how that area is doing, and so getting that info ASAP could mean faster help to that town.
Power, saving battery life while editing
I love my Macbook Pro. It’s not the latest model, but the battery is supposed to last for 3 hours.  You probably know that’s not true, especially when editing video.
So, a few tips:
- Turn off your Wi-fi (if on, it looks for connection, wasting a lot of battery), dim the screen light, remove any peripherals you don’t need, turn off keyboard lights and make your fans go off when your computer really needs them (using Fan Control)
- When editing your interviews, turn off the video layer, just listen to it, since your shot is on a tripod, you don’t need that. When editing B-roll, don’t play it, just scroll through your material or hit on different spots of the timeline, you’ll get enough info to do the cuts.
- Rendering. It’s a bitch. Avoid any effects or multilayering to avoid it. If you have to render, turn off your screen to save some juice, same as when exporting. Just listen to your computer, you’ll hear your fans slow down when done exporting or rendering.
Photos (I love my Iphone, Part 1)
As I said before, having no cellphone coverage sucks. But here’s the thing. When coverage fails, sometimes data still works. Don’t know the reason, but sometimes it does. Also, looking for high spots, might give you a bit of coverage, enough to do the following:
- Ingest your photos in your computer, process them and save them in your pictures folder. Plug in your Iphone, open Itunes and turn off all syncing options BUT the picture folder. Sync it and you’ll have the photos in your phone, Itunes optimizes them and makes them 640X480. I know, small, but you know what? Files are really small and your editors will have those photos before anyone else.
Once done, select them all and email them. The minute you get some sort of reception, your files will be sent.  I spent almost 3 hours in Talca and surroundings looking for coverage until I got EDGE network at around 4am.
Remember that cellphones use radio waves so, a clear night and no interference can help those waves get further. I went to the same spot later that day and got nothing.
Be sure to have your Iphone configured to send BCC to your email, that way you’ll know if it arrived to its destination
Audio (I love my Iphone, Part 2)
I’m fully surprised. The iphone mic rules. Quality is superb even for getting ambient audio. Conduct your interviews, spell the subject names and that’s it. Just be sure to look at the timer, because the phone has a 2 minutes maximum per clip to be sent over cellphone. When done, email it or ingest to your computer, edit the material and follow the instructions for the photos and voilá. The minute you get coverage, your email will go on its way.
NOTE: Be sure to keep your phone in airplane mode when doing this, just turn it on
when looking for coverage or in a point where you know there’s coverage.
Data
Graphics people need it. So gather as much as you can, streets, exact addresses, area affected, length of , for example, the earthquake, how far did the wave reached, how tall it was, etc. This would be enough for them in order to create a map. Google maps can be used to look for the addresses and find exact places.
Again, write an email with all of it, when you get coverage, it’ll be sent.
Free Wi-Fi
One night I was lucky enough someone had set up a free antenna. Ask the Police, Fire Station or Radios, even people in the street.
But remember, what once worked, doesn’t mean it will be there again.
Ethics
Please, please, please, follow the rules. Respect people above all. Believe me, they will cooperate, they want their story told. The faster and better it reaches the media, the more help they’ll receive because eyes will be on that community.
Toning Images: I got disgusted when coming back home and seeing over-toned photos, for example, bringing earth tones up and removing shadows and adding light. Really, your job is to report and submit ASAP in order to inform about the situation. Be fair with the people. It’s already dramatic to lose your belongings and sometimes lives of people you love, believe me, you don’t need to add “drama” to your photos.
Report accurately: You owe it to the people. Don’t over dramatize. Just heard in a video a reporter say that “the smell of death” was starting to be felt underneath the rubble in Talca downtown. I was there, in the exact same street where he did his report and no one died. In fact, no one died in several streets around. I’m not completely certain, but I’m almost sure no one did in Talca’s downtown.
So please, don’t exaggerate and report properly. Can you imagine having your family living in the area and watching a video that mentions that “you can smell decomposing flesh in the air”?

(Photos at the end of the post)

When communications fail it’s really hard to deliver your material to your contractors. Yes, digital media helps in capturing and editing material far faster than traditional media, but also consumes an enormous amount of power (laptop and camera batteries) and requires a steady data connection in order to transmit, which was non-existent at the time.

Power, if you need it, beg for it.
There’s always someone who’s been cautious enough to have a generator.

Just look for the only light on in town, head that way and explain them. Here’s why they will let you, probably no one has been able to send info or material to their editors, because no one in the rest of the country knows how that area is doing, and so getting that info ASAP could mean faster help to that town.

Power, saving battery life while editing
I love my Macbook Pro. It’s not the latest model, but the battery is supposed to last for 3 hours.  You probably know that’s not true, especially when editing video.

So, a few tips:
- Turn off your Wi-fi (if on, it looks for connection, wasting a lot of battery), dim the screen light, remove any peripherals you don’t need, turn off keyboard lights and make your fans go off when your computer really needs them (using Fan Control)

- When editing your interviews, turn off the video layer, just listen to it, since your shot is on a tripod, you don’t need that. When editing B-roll, don’t play it, just scroll through your material or hit on different spots of the timeline, you’ll get enough info to do the cuts.

- Rendering. It’s a bitch. Avoid any effects or multilayering to avoid it. If you have to render, turn off your screen to save some juice, same as when exporting. Just listen to your computer, you’ll hear your fans slow down when done exporting or rendering.

Photos (I love my Iphone, Part 1)
As I said before, having no cellphone coverage sucks. But here’s the thing. When coverage fails, sometimes data still works. Don’t know the reason, but sometimes it does. Also, looking for high spots, might give you a bit of coverage, enough to do the following:

- Ingest your photos in your computer, process them and save them in your pictures folder. Plug in your Iphone, open Itunes and turn off all syncing options BUT the picture folder. Sync it and you’ll have the photos in your phone, Itunes optimizes them and makes them 640X480. I know, small, but you know what? Files are really small and your editors will have those photos before anyone else.

Once done, select them all and email them. The minute you get some sort of reception, your files will be sent.  I spent almost 3 hours in Talca and surroundings looking for coverage until I got EDGE network at around 4am.

Remember that cellphones use radio waves so, a clear night and no interference can help those waves get further. I went to the same spot later that day and got nothing.

Be sure to have your Iphone configured to send BCC to your email, that way you’ll know if it arrived to its destination

Audio (I love my Iphone, Part 2)

I’m fully surprised. The iphone mic rules. Quality is superb even for getting ambient audio. Conduct your interviews, spell the subject names and that’s it. Just be sure to look at the timer, because the phone has a 2 minutes maximum per clip to be sent over cellphone. When done, email it or ingest to your computer, edit the material and follow the instructions for the photos and voilá. The minute you get coverage, your email will go on its way.

NOTE: Be sure to keep your phone in airplane mode when doing this, just turn it on when looking for coverage or in a point where you know there’s coverage.

Data

Graphics people need it. So gather as much as you can, streets, exact addresses, area affected, length of , for example, the earthquake, how far did the wave reached, how tall it was, etc. This would be enough for them in order to create a map. Google maps can be used to look for the addresses and find exact places.

Again, write an email with all of it, when you get coverage, it’ll be sent.

Free Wi-Fi

One night I was lucky enough someone had set up a free antenna. Ask the Police, Fire Station or Radios, even people in the street.

But remember, what once worked, doesn’t mean it will be there again.

Ethics

Please, please, please, follow the rules. Respect people above all. Believe me, they will cooperate, they want their story told. The faster and better it reaches the media, the more help they’ll receive because eyes will be on that community.

Toning Images: I got disgusted when coming back home and seeing over-toned photos, for example, bringing earth tones up and removing shadows and adding light. Really, your job is to report and submit ASAP in order to inform about the situation. Be fair with the people. It’s already dramatic to lose your belongings and sometimes lives of people you love, believe me, you don’t need to add “drama” to your photos.

Report accurately: You owe it to the people. Don’t over dramatize. Just heard in a video a reporter say that “the smell of death” was starting to be felt underneath the rubble in Talca downtown. I was there, in the exact same street where he did his report and no one died. In fact, no one died in several streets around. I’m not completely certain, but I’m almost sure no one did in Talca’s downtown.

So please, don’t exaggerate and report properly. Can you imagine having your family living in the area and watching a video that mentions that “you can smell decomposing flesh in the air”?