Oct 27, 2017

By John LaConte, Vail Daily Reporter

In 2016, I seized an opportunity to conduct a moving interview with the Governor as we hiked through a marsh near the Eagle River in Colorado.

I have to say it was pretty awesome, mainly because of how impressed he seemed with the whole situation.

But in looking back, it occurs to me that he did not seem nearly as impressed with my questions as he did with the quickness and professionalism of my camera setup.

This was the first time Governor John Hickenlooper had ever seen a GoPro attached to a gimbal. He was touring Eagle County and the Vail area, riding bikes and learning about the county's efforts to help connect the state's many hard-surface trails.

The quick possibility for media to sneak a few one-on-one questions with the Governor as we hiked away from our site visit was an unexpected twist that occurred later on in the day. Fortunately I had thrown together a haphazard sack of GoPro accessories before leaving the house, in case the opportunity had arisen.


As a general assignment reporter the bulk of my job had always been to write stories. But as an avid snowboarder and snow conditions reporter I was introduced to the GoPro, and suddenly the possibility of adding a new level of visual media to my written pieces became a real possibility. With a GoPro, you could easily attain the ultimate-goal of any on-the-move field reporter – something you might call "One Man Bandsmenship."

You don't need a cameraman, yet it will appear that you do indeed have a cameraman. Hold the stick properly, and the viewer is looking at what television types would call a classic "two shot," where two subjects are in the frame. The goal is to cut off the shot just above the waist to hide the fact that you're gripping a selfie stick. A quick crop can help if you didn't quite get it right.


I think I may have surprised the Governor by how fast I was able to get out the GoPro and have it ready to record, plus I doubt a bigger production interview setup would have even been possible in that situation. We only had a few minutes to talk as we walked back from a site where a proposed trail was being set up, the scenery was picturesque with mountains and trees in the background as we walked through tall grasses. It was the type of outdoor setting I knew the GoPro would capture well, so I was confident we were getting a good shot and didn't have to worry too much about checking the camera as we talked. This allowed me to focus on the conversation more which gave us a better on-camera rapport.

The final product was what I think most print reporters should strive for these days – a nice video compliment to add to the online component of a written news piece. The walking interview obviously moves a little more than the static interview, and doesn’t require as much b-roll and editing before uploading and embedding into the story. And when it came to writing the story, I simply referred to the video for the quotes. All in all it didn't take much more time than it would have taken to simply interview the governor the new old fashioned way – with a voice recorder.

Plus he was super impressed, which was awesome.