Haunted WNY Four Stories from Beyond

Spooks. Specters. Things that go bump in the night. Western New York is full of buildings and landmarks that feature a rich history. Sometimes that history has a paranormal element to it, one that might not be apparent to the common passerby. In the week leading up to Halloween Colin Bishop, Dave McKinley and I worked on a series of four stories that featured a distinct array of locations in Western New York that laden with paranormal activity. A movie house. A winery. A poorhouse. A mansion. I approached the Haunted WNY series similar to the Buffalo Revealed series I frequently do for WGRZ. Shooting these two series with a DSLR makes the segment feel more like a featured story rather than a news story. The viewer is more apt to stop and watch if they see video that has a unique look to it; that's not to say news footage isn't unique but always has that distinct video look. Shooting Buffalo Revealed, and Haunted WNY for that matter, is a pretty straight forward process. I'm one man banding it for the most part; I act as my own shooter and reporter. This can be a cumbersome, especially when setting up for an interview, because you have to work as fast as possible to properly set up all the while entertain the person you're interviewing with small talk. I'm a fan of small talk but setting up the perfect shot all the while you're talking about your kids or dog can slow the whole process down. In a normal news interview situation the reporter generally talks with the interviewee while the photographer and crew are setting up the interview. In a perfect situation, I'm allowed to a location well in advance and left alone to set up before the guest arrives; but the world isn't perfect, otherwise I'd be two hundred pounds. I approach each of these stories with a very similar workflow; shoot the interview first, make mental notes during the interview, shoot the appropriate b-roll and then shoot a series of special shots - time lapses generally. I try to incorporate my pocket slider and pocket jib when appropriate; I find these are useful tools to further distance these stories from general news stories. Like any feature story though, I try not to over use these tools because theres nothing worse than every shot in a story sliding left or right. At the end of the day these stories are a lot more work than a typical news package but I'm fortunate that I work in a news department that not only embraces long form content but also encourages it. I'll share more about the Buffalo Revealed features and other long form content in the future.

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