Why The Video Looks Shaky (Don Ward)

By: Don Ward
By: Don Ward

We did a quick helicopter tour of the Black Forest burn area. Someone asked why the video looks shaky.


We took a helicopter flight over the burn area to get some video.  We then posted a few minutes of raw video at kktv.com.  It doesn't look perfect.  Here's why.

I went along as the reporter for a story we aired on 11 News at 10.  The camera man was Mike Petkash.  He has been in this business for nearly 25 years.  He is very good at what he does. He was operating the camera in a very confined space about 500 feet off the ground in a Robinson R-44 helicopter with the doors off for better visibility. 

The helicopter video we’re all used to seeing on TV these days comes from gyro mounted and stabilized cameras built into the aircraft…not from someone holding a large tv camera on their shoulder.

The Colorado Springs/Pueblo television market is right about number 89 in the nation. That means there are 88 TV markets that are in bigger areas by population, and have bigger budgets as a result.  Many stations in those large markets have helicopters.  Many others used to, and cut the expense when the economy got worse.  KKTV does not have a helicopter.  Some TV stations in Denver (market size 18) now even share a helicopter because it is so expensive to have one.  

KKTV decided to pay for a flight in a helicopter from Royal Gorge Helitours, to shoot some video the old fashioned, less stable way, to do the best we could to provide an overview of the burn area. 

The video posted is described as raw. That means it’s not a final, finished product.  When camera operators shoot video for any story they will typically shoot 5 to 10 times the amount of video that is actually needed for the report that airs.  The raw video includes those moments that aren’t on tv.  We included some raw to give web viewers an extended look at the video, beyond what aired on TV. Often when a camera operator is shooting video he will stop recording while he makes those focus and zoom adjustments.  In this case Mike was contorted into such awkward positions in the helicopter that he didn’t have the typical access to the two places on the camera where he can stop/start recording.  For that reason he just kept rolling as he made those adjustments.  Mike had no idea any of his between shot moments would be seen by anyone. 

That's why the video doesn't look perfect.

We'll talk again soon.

Don Ward

Read More Blogs

KKTV firmly believes in freedom of speech for all and we are happy to provide this forum for the community to share opinions and facts. We ask that commenters keep it clean, keep it truthful, stay on topic and be responsible. Comments left here do not necessarily represent the viewpoint of KKTV 11 News.

If you believe that any of the comments on our site are inappropriate or offensive, please tell us by clicking “Report Abuse” and answering the questions that follow. We will review any reported comments promptly.

powered by Disqus
KKTV 520 E. Colorado Colorado Springs, CO 80903 Office: (719) 634-2844 Fax: (719) 632-0808 News Fax: (719) 634-3741
Copyright © 2002-2015 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability
Gray Television, Inc.