WBEZ Video: Best of 2010

December 29, 2010

This year, WBEZ/Vocalo invested in some new cameras. For the first part of the year, we were working off our old trusted Flip video camera, which gave us the ability to capture video, but not really edit. With our new cameras, we were able to take this radio station and its web site in a new direction. Here's a list of 10 of the better videos we produced in 2010. I put them all in one post for your viewing enjoyment on this boring work day.

Wikipedia Files

With our new cameras, we were able to take our Wikipedia Files video podcast to a whole new level. We started the year off fact-checking the Wikipedia page of embattled and controversial politician Scott Lee Cohen. But our big "get" for the year was Big Boi. Big Boi is half of the hip-hop duo Outkast. We were given a few minutes of his time before his big show at Pitchfork. He didn't disappoint. This is how Wikipedia Files should go every time:


ATM = Always Trust Magic

We don't do the video production on Amy Krouse Rosenthal's videos, but we wish we did. Just because I would love to have this stellar footage on my desktop at all times. Amy has used video to invite and encapsulate her Mission Amy KR missions. If she asked for cartwheels, you send them in and she would edit a video. How bout a money tree? Or even better, a video on a train. But it was her first video, an invitation, that I picked to embed. It was the first mission and the beginning of this movement. It's ATM = Always Trust Magic



Steve Dolinsky risks life and limb for blog

Steve Dolinsky does video every week for his dayjob as the Hungry Hound at ABC 7. But he has used his trusted Flip camera to bring his blog readers into his world. He did video updates from the James Beards and took his camera with him for all his travels. He also does a regular weekly video series called "Something You Should Eat," where he brings us a new out-of-the-way dish in Chicago, in one take. But it's this video where he was ziplining in Vancouver that I chose for today. Why? Because the whole time he is ziplining, he is holding his Flip and relating his experience to us here at the Vocalo Blogs. You gotta love that:



WBEZ Music Performances

We stepped up our game on recording live music recordings. It started with Andrew Gill's trip to SXSW last year, where he and Althea Legaspi booked bands to come by the La Quinta Inn and perform live. We called it "The Pool Sessions." All summer long, Andrew and his team of music producers at WBEZ/Vocalo have challenged artists to perform live in unusual settings. St. Vincent obliged and played under the L tracks by Pitchfork. And we brought Sad Brad Smith to the Navy Pier Crystal Gardens for an impromptu concert. But it was the sessions in the studio that gets top honors this year. The performance from hip-hop artists Psalm One was great, but the video work was better. Take a look:



The Illinois State Fair

Steve Edwards and I went down to Springfield for the Illinois State Fair this year. We wanted to be down in Springfield for the traditional kick-off of the election season. Governor's Day and Republican's Day act as a pep rally for the respective parties. We went down and taped material for our podcast "Best Game in Town." While we were there, we used the ole' Flip camera to document our surroundings. Including me, throwing heat. Behind the scenes trivia? I think I pulled a muscle in my leg:



The City Room


We started a new reality series this year called "The City Room." The goal is to document the inner-workings of a unit covering news in a major market. We were able to showcase the team's work during breaking news and to give a backstage look at media coverage in general. The Blagojevich verdict and Daley's decision not to run for re-election come to mind. But my favorite was a piece that Andrew Gill did with Criminal Justice Reporter Rob Wildeboer. Rob was covering a police protest in front of the Chicago Police headquarters. We documented the process of covering news from beginning to end:



Rob Wildeboer & Mavis Staples

Soul legend Mavis Staples was in our performance studio for a taping, and she needed a piano player. I think. WBEZ's Rob Wildeboer happens to play piano. So while they were setting up the studio for her performance, Mavis and Rob put together an improvised, impromptu tune. It was amazing to watch this video:



Jonathan Miller/Toni Preckwinkle


Jonathan Miller has been reviewing independent and foreign film for years at WBEZ. He specializes on the pretentious film. So who better to "review" some of the political ads from the 2010 primary season? He wrote up some hilarious reviews and we shot the reviews on our trusted Flip. What a great concept and I put this project at the top of our list from 2010. This one features the infamous "Ben Franklin" ad from Toni Preckwinkle:

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Blackhawks Statue


At the end of the day, we love to joke around. it's in our blood. So when the Blackhawks were making their run at the Stanley Cup last year, we couldn't help but get in the spirit. We followed the cue of the Art Institute and Field Museum and Art Institute:



Edit Booth/Ken Nordine

WBEZ's Steve Edwards became our guinea pig with our new cameras, and he didn't disappoint. Steve's ability to craft great interviews gave our production unit a leg-up. We brought prominent interview subjects in-studio for substantive conversations and even went out in the field to get them in their element. The latter is on display in this great behind-the-scenes look at performance artist and radio legend Ken Nordine's house.