I'm not saying that I own a two-legged tripod, and I'm not saying it's bad if you do own a two-legged tripod; this blog's title - lame as it is - is simply my way of expressing that I have some bad luck with my tripod at times - only I get the two-legged tripod.
Just this week, I considered breaking my tripod's legs when I got to my interview and found that I brought with me a broken tripod. The tripod had three legs this time, but the security latch on the tripod - the only clip that holds the camera in a rock steady position - was broken! Little glitches are huge problems in this biz.
This is a worse-case scenario when it comes to interviews. Especially because I was interviewing the Chief Fire Battalion for Columbia, and he told me as soon as I walked in the door and shook his hand that he was busy and might have to stop the interview if he gets a phone call.
The Chief stepped away when I was setting up the tripod and realized it was broken. I was so embarrassed to find I couldn't hook the camera to the tripod. I told the Chief my tripod predicament, and immediately reassured him it would take me five minutes to drive back to the news station and get a functioning tripod.
I was sure he'd just call off the interview and my entire story would collapse because of one faulty tripod - not at all; he forcefully grabbed the tripod from me, told me to hold down one of the buttons and then slide/lock the camera into position. It worked!
It turns out my story was on the Mid-Missouri Bomb Squad and my interviewee was one of the squad's three members, so it's not surprising he could de-arm my tripod like he de-arms a bomb. But, I'm not taking his help for granted. I thanked the Chief and made some quip - "well, sir, that's why you're on the bomb squad and I'm just a reporter - you can fix stuff" - to joke off an embarrassing moment for me.
Maybe embarrassed is the wrong word; I was humbled by the whole situation. I learned not to act like a "know-it-all," because even us - I take that back - especially us, the media, have something to learn from the people we interview. Even if it's how to fix a tripod. Without that quick fix, I wouldn't have had a story that day.
The rest of my reporting shift went very well: I added another voice in the story I didn't think would speak with me, I returned to the station with plenty of time to write the three VO-SOTS, package and web story the producers wanted, and I turned over a cute story about the Bomb Squad's high-tech, remote-controlled robot.
Now, if only my tripod was as high-tech as that bomb squad's robot. Ah, who would want that - then my reporting shift wouldn't have been nearly as exciting.