A little ol’ VJ camera took those Saddam pictures

A little ol’ VJ camera took those Saddam pictures
I have to chuckle. Those wonderful pictures of the spider hole and medical exam that defined Sunday’s coverage of Saddam’s capture were made by a combat camera crew using a Sony PD150, the little camera that’s at the heart of the Video Journalist (VJ) movement. Michael Rosenblum and Dirck Halstead should be proud. Here’s a bit from the New York Times story:

So how did the United States military pull it off? That is, not how did they make that we-got-him video ricochet around the world, but how did they get the shot? Who invaded, with camera, not only Mr. Hussein’s spider-hole existence, but also his private lice check?

The answer: a combat camera crew that, though trained for battle, wield Sony PD 150’s along with its rifles, documenting military operations in high-resolution digital video. The cameras weigh four pounds and cost about $4,000 each.

“It’s not Betacam of course,” Staff Sgt. Wesley Wooten, a combat cameraman, explained in a telephone interview from Baghdad. “But it’s the next best thing in my opinion.”

Sony PD 150’s are the same cameras many photojournalists use, but some combat camera operators, like the one who shot Mr. Hussein’s medical exam, still manage to give their video a raw, low-fi look. Perhaps that’s because they are often in the dark about what to shoot until the last minute.

I’ve written many times about Rosenblum’s transforming BBC local news operations using this gear, and it’s nice to see it used in documenting history. Sooner or later, the VJ concept will arrive in the US.

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