Diana's Video Lab
For the past ten plus years, I’ve burned a lot of midnight oil writing, rewriting, revising and editing every single one of the certified Final Cut Pro, Final Cut Express, and Final Cut Pro for Avid Editors books. That position afforded me the opportunity to get up to speed on the new software and then break it down into baby steps for the rest of the world to learn in the most efficient way possible. It’s been a wonderful opportunity to take the lead on this dynamic Apple software app.
There have been intense writing periods (each book would take approximately four months) where I was writing and revising books back to back to the exclusion of any other creative projects. But this year begins a new era for me. It marks the first time I will not author a certified Final Cut Pro book, and it also marks my freedom to participate in some new and exciting professional endeavors.
Last month I was invited to be part of a group of media experts to observe the operations aboard the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier. Although a short trip, we were all tasked to continue reporting on that experience from different perspectives (see my previous blogs).
And just last week I produced the inaugural concert of my new music series, “Turn the World Around,” honoring musical mentor, John Cartwright, who for 35 years played bass for Harry Belafonte. Now John plays bass for me as I dust off my own performing skills. I would never have been able to take advantage of these opportunities for professional growth while writing an FCP book.
To the distant observer, jumping from video editing into producing and making music may seem like a big leap. In fact, with both Bachelor and Masters degrees in Music Education, I had plans to become a choral conductor when I fell in love with songwriting. After taking a trip to Nashville with my songs in tow, I realized I was a little too green to make it on Music Row. (There’s a lyric in there somewhere!) A second masters, this one in Media Arts, gave me the foundation I needed to be off and running with a career in media.
Fast forward to today. Without having to take months off to write an FCP book, I can now focus my speaking engagements on the more creative aspects of using FCP as I’ve done in my “Storytelling with Final Cut Pro” and “Documentary Editing with Final Cut Pro” online lynda.com classes, and I can speak at other cutting edge technology seminars as well. Together with my company Rev Up Transmedia, we continue to offer Apple FCP and Adobe certified training courses onsite at our clients’ facilities, online or in classrooms in the Los Angeles area. Rev Up also develops other custom designed training programs as well as create online training solutions for companies such as DirecTV.
I believe our lives are one big mash-up of interests and passions. I started with music, segued to media, and am adding music back into my mix. I invite you all to join me in celebrating, honoring, and exercising all of your creative passions. They make us who we are and enrich our lives.
We see it all the time – men and women throughout America, just doing their jobs. Most of us are part of that cycle. We bustle to work, apply our skills, come home to family, and enjoy being part of a community.
Sailors in the hangar prepping planes for upcoming drills
The U.S. Navy has a unique community of its own, and it’s called a United States Ship, or USS. Standing 20 stories above water, and at about 333 meters in length, the USS Vinson is close to the height of the Chrysler building in New York, or the Eifel Tower in Paris. On my stay aboard the ship, I had the opportunity to watch the citizens, or sailors, of that community at work under the command of Captain Whalen, Captain (XO) Slaughter, and Commander Master Chief Pickering (left to right).
I use the word “community” because that’s what it felt like, a fully-integrated town, or possibly large corporation, complete with a library, store, a few gyms, chapel, restaurants, and its own post office.
Diana, with Lt. Commander Kyle Raines, donating her Final Cut Pro book to the library
The USS Carl Vinson on board library
The slight difference is that this community is 4.5 acres of floating U.S. sovereign territory weighing over 100,000 tons moving through the open sea at 30+ knots per hour (34.5 mph). It’s definitely not a typical day at the office.
Sailors checking email on the ship’s computer stations
There are 3,200 in the ship’s company, which includes all officers, non-commissioned officers, and enlisted personnel, but not civilians and guests. Like a parent company, the ship is also host to an air wing of an additional 2,480 personnel who make short-term visits to practice drills using up to 80+ combat aircraft. Think of this as corporate on-site training. With enough food and supplies to operate for 90 days, you might think of this as a corporate retreat!
One on board gym has an open wall that faces the ocean
But working on the USS Carl Vinson is far from a corporate retreat. Sailors work hard and long hours. It’s not unusual for sailors to work 12-14 hour shifts depending on what they do. And we’re not talking about a 9a-5p or even 7a-7p job. The sailors are on watch 24/7 operating the engine room, guiding the ship, and maintaining a watch for any threats.
Much of this work is labor intensive, and when planes are practicing their catapult takeoffs and arrested landings at 25-second intervals, the sailors are under a lot of pressure. Lives depend on them getting it right, and not just the sailors’ lives. The drills they rehearse on the ship are all about getting themselves ready to be on the front line to protect U.S. civilians.
According to Captain Kent Whalen, Commanding Officer of the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier, I, along with my 14 other mates, were in for a real treat. “99.9 percent of Americans,” said Capt. Whalen as he addressed our band of 15 Distinguished Visitors in his Captain’s quarters, “will never experience what you are going to experience on this excursion.” That puts our group squarely in the .1% Gang.
Captain Kent Whalen, Commanding Officer (CO) of the USS Carl Vinson and me in the ship’s bridge (command center)
While I appreciated the thought, I and my band of brothers and sisters were way ahead of the Captain in appreciating just how special it was to be a civilian allowed to spend a night aboard an operating Naval aircraft carrier at sea. Our journey began at the Pacific Fleet Readiness Center Southwest at the Naval Air Station North Island, “the birth place of naval aviation,” where the mission is to “make ready.” And that’s exactly what I saw throughout my entire trip – the U.S. Navy in action making itself operationally ready – for anything.
PAO Steve Fiebing explaining how a “tailhook” landing works
The Navy did a great job getting us ready, too! Before we departed, we were briefed by the man who coordinated our visit – Steve Fiebing, Deputy Public Affairs Officer for the Commander, Naval Air Forces – Pacific, US Pacific Fleet, on the C-2 Greyhound COD (Carrier Onboard Delivery) that would fly our group out to the carrier. And ex-fighter pilot, Fitzhugh Lee (call sign “Dud”), Commander, Naval Air Forces Future Manpower/Readiness Officer, briefed us on the F/A-18 Hornets and Super Hornets, the striker fighter jets we would see land and take off from the carrier.
Commander Fitz Lee explaining how it will feel to land and take off in a C-2 Greyhound aircraft.
After suiting up in life vests and “cranials,” our group was ready to board the C-2 that would take us out to the USS Carl Vinson (#vinsonembark). And just where were we heading? About 65 miles south of the Naval base off the coast of Mexico is an area called “Whiskey 291.” This is where Naval aircraft carriers go when pilots and crew need to run through drills to ready themselves for a long deployment.
Distinguished Visitors group ready to board the C-2 in the background. Yours truly 5th from right.
We weren’t allowed to photograph inside the C-2 during takeoff or landing because the G-force would be so strong we wouldn’t be able to hold on to the camera. But I was able to grab a quick selfie-shot just before takeoff.
Me in my cranial on board and ready for take off!
There were no windows aboard and all the seats face to the rear of the plane to help brace us for the landing, which would throw us from 150 mph to 0 mph in about 3 seconds!
Looking out the back of a C-2 ready for takeoff.
After a 45-minute flight, we were given a hand signal to warn us we were 10-15 seconds away from our “tailhook” landing on board the carrier. A tailhook landing, or trap landing, is one of the most difficult landings a pilot can make. With only about 500 feet of landing space, the pilot has to approach the deck so the tailhook on the plane grabs one of the four wires.
One of four wires the plane’s tailhook needs to grab for a successful landing
From a pilot’s point of view, he or she looks for a set of lights on the ship’s deck that indicate the plane’s angle of approach. If an amber light, called the “meatball,” is in line with a row of green lights, the plane is right on target. If the amber light appears above the green lights, the plane is coming in too high. If the amber light is below the green lights, the plane is coming in too low. If the plane is coming in way too low, the pilot will see red lights.
Landing light indicators
Once the C-2 lands, it can’t just hang around. The ship’s deck is in constant motion with F-18 Hornets and Super Hornets practicing their take offs and landings. That’s why the wings of the C-2 are designed to fold up so the plane takes up less deck space. This movie shows a C-2 landing on deck the USS Carl Vinson and the wings folding back as it parks.
After we made our arrested landing on deck, we were taken to the Captain quarters, which is where Captain Whalen told us we were part of the .1% of Americans who get to have this incredible experience. The Captain was right. It was a unique experience and I will share more about the activities of our .1% Gang in my coming blogs. Gracious thanks to Steve Fiebing, Deputy Public Affairs Officer for the Commander, Naval Air Forces, Pacific, U.S. Pacific Fleet and his staff for his invitation and coordination of the trip, to Dennis Hall of Avere Group, LLC for my nomination to the Navy for this embark, and to Guy Kawasaki who was instrumental in suggesting the bloggers’ embark concept as part of the Distinguished Visitors program.
Tuesday, January 21st. Follow my embark adventures on Twitter @weynandtraining.
Today I take a step closer to my destination – the USS Vinson aircraft carrier, 'America's Favorite Carrier.' I drive to Coronado Island, CA, where I will meet 15 other media experts that are part of a Distinguished Visitors Embark program the U.S. Navy has organized to give guests a taste of life and work at sea with our military men and women.
On Wednesday, my media mates and I will be flown from the Naval Air Station North Island (NASNI) on a C-2 Greyhound transport plane from Coronado Island to the USS Vinson, one of four West Coast aircraft carriers. We will make an arrested landing on the ship's flight deck.
Here's a clip of a C-2 landing on the USS Theodore Roosevelt.
In a few days, I'll be posting a clip of an arrested landing that I shot aboard the USS Vinson.
Thanks again to Dennis Hall, founder of Avere Group, LLC, and Guy Kawasaki, one of the original founders of the embark program, for this amazing opportunity. And to Steve Fiebing, Deputy Public Affairs Officer for the Commander, Naval Air Forces – Pacific, US Pacific Fleet and his staff for his invitation and their coordination of this embark.
Follow me on Twitter @weynandtraining as I tweet about my experience aboard the USS Vinson.
Here are some Twitter handles of embark support organizations:
And who are the media mates I will be sharing this experience with?
In the entertainment industry, I get to go behind the scenes quite often, whether I'm editing in an edit bay or consulting on set during the shoot. Going behind the scenes and being part of the process of putting a show together is as entertaining to me as watching the finished show on air.
Next week, I will have the pleasure and honor to go behind the scenes of an entirely different operation… the U.S. Navy! I've been invited to come aboard the USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) aircraft carrier to observe and report. And I get to take you with me! Well, virtually at least. I will be tweeting, blogging and posting images over the next few weeks to highlight my experience.
Before I get started, I would like to acknowledge Steve Fiebing, Deputy Public Affairs Officer for the Commander, Naval Air Forces – Pacific, US Pacific Fleet, and his staff for his invitation and their coordination of my embark. I would also like to acknowledge Guy Kawasaki who helped start the embark program, Captain Chuck Henry, USN (Retired), and Dennis Hall, founder of Avere Group LLC, who made my embark possible via his nomination of me. And finally, my friend and colleague, Steve Hendricks, who recommended I look into this project.
So, all you shooters out there, help me out! Tell me what camera you think I should take and why.
Don't forget – my Twitter hashtag is #revuptransmedia. Until next time…Ahoy, Mate! Well, I'll let you know what they really say on the ship!