The Avid Queen in the old BAVC, circa 1996

This morning I realized that my company Shirley Thompson Editorial is 21 years old…a reason to celebrate, if not pause and reflect.  I consider my anniversary to be Labor Day, a good day to celebrate working for oneself and to celebrate being a successful independent contractor for all these years.  August 31, 1989 was the last day that I worked in a full-time job, at WWL-TV in New Orleans.  Immediately after, I packed my stuff into my Honda Civic Hatchback, drove west to San Francisco and began looking for work.  I was an accidental freelancer.  At age 26, I was looking for full-time work.  But employers kept offering me freelance work, something that I had never really heard of or considered before.  By the time these same employers knew me well enough to offer me staff jobs, I had fallen in love with the freelance life.  In 21 years, I’ve never looked back.  I am ever so grateful for all the work that has come my way over the years and for all the clients with whom I’ve spent thousands, if not millions of hours in the edit room.  Many, many thanks to everyone: the mentors, clients, assistants, friends and filmmakers, who have helped make 21 years of Shirley Thompson Editorial possible.

Shiny new Mino HD Flip Camera

I was visiting friends in Paso Robles, California on Labor Day, and on my way, I succumbed to the urge to have a tiny HD camera in my pocket at all times.  I am now the proud owner of a Flip Camera, specifically the minoHD Flip Camera, which is smaller than its cousin, the Flip UltraHD, but which still shoots 720p HD video on 8GBs of Flash Memory.  So far, I LOVE it.  The video isn’t cinema quality, but for video for the web, it’s more than adequate, and the sound and picture are remarkably good, considering what it is: a cheap, under $200 camcorder.  I see a million uses for it, and I am happy to add it to my arsenal of small, portable filmmaking devices.


In my past life as a cameraperson, shooting with the Ikegami 730A, circa 1988

I can’t help but also be reminded of how I began my career as a production assistant, schlepping a 3/4″ U-matic portable deck (it had to have weighed 25 pounds!), tethered to a cameraman who schlepped an Ikegami 730A camera (at least 15 pounds?).  Cameras and decks were beastly heavy back in those days, and I seriously used to go to the gym and lift weights 4 days a week in order to build the strength needed to carry the equipment all day everyday and not get injured.

Now THAT’s a camcorder! WWL, 1989

Fast-forward 28 years (yes, it’s been that long since I was a production assistant), and now I have an HD camera that fits in my palm and can be carried in my pocket.  My main problem with all these little cameras is that they aren’t heavy enough to hold steady…my breathing, even my pulse, registers as shakiness, unless I use a tripod or prop it against something sturdy.

I just transcoded all the video to Apple ProRes and brought it into Final Cut Pro and I plan to edit it this afternoon.  So look for a post on my YouTube channel in the next day or two.  Off to play with my new toy now!