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Why I gave my FlipCam to a couple high school baseball players

Throughout the past year or so, one of our big goals in the sports department has been to ramp up our video coverage of events. It makes too much sense, really. Sports lend themselves perfectly to video.

And let’s face it: While we as writers try as hard as possible to capture game action in our stories, nothing beats actually seeing a home run or touchdown happen.

But what about a parade, like the one held last week to honor the state-champion West York baseball team? I decided to bring along my FlipCam, even though I knew multimedia journalist Chris Dunn planned on shooting her own (far more polished) video.

Then, I had an idea.

Why not give my FlipCam to a couple players, and let them film an inside look at the celebration? A video diary, of sorts.

I ran the idea by West York coach Roger Czerwinski, who recruited one of the team’s seniors — catcher Jesse Bortner — to help me out. I told Jesse to have fun and shoot whatever he wanted. There was only one rule: Bring back the FlipCam in one piece.

Throughout the parade, I watched Bortner and his teammate and co-documentarian, Brandon Kinneman, takes turns pointing the camera in every which direction. At the crowd. At each other. Back to the crowd.

By the time I got my FlipCam back after the ceremony, the battery was almost dead. They had filmed 37 minutes of video.

It was a lot to sift through. Once I had filed my story from the parade, I disappeared into a back room and began whittling down the footage. I tried to pick out the best parts, then edited them and added the proper transitions. There was a ton of good video, much of which didn’t make the final cut.

After almost four hours of editing, I emerged with the finished product:


The result provided a fun, inside look at the event. Just as importantly, it gave us the opportunity the engage with the players — and, by extension, the West York community — in a unique manner.

I hope they had as much fun shooting the video as I did editing it.