March, the Month of...Food Stories?

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March was apparently the month stories for myself and Iowa City Reporter Mark Carlson. Sure there were trips to cover Iowa in the Big 10 Tournament and Iowa State in the NCAA Tournament, as well as a Vice Presidential visit, but I had a lot of fun working on these two stories. "The Oreo Turns 100," and "Potato for President."

"The Oreo Turns 100" actually started when a co-worker sent out an e-mail noting that she was bringing in Oreos to mark the 100th birthday of the snack. We decided it was time to find a fun way to tell that story. So, we got a daycare on board, the Johnson County Senior Center, a marketing expert from the University of Iowa and then we bought a bunch of Oreos and had some fun in a conference room with them (yes, we put a glass on our cameral lens and poured milk into it, and yes, we took a GoPro camera and submerged it in milk).

The lighting for the conference room was done with 3 lights. One light was pointed towards the product and the interview subject, the other was facing the wall and in front of it I placed a piece of foamboard in which I have cut circles. It's basically a $5 way to make shadows in a background. Put a blue gel on it and suddenly your brown wall is a blue one. The brown wall can actually be seen in the interviews for "Potato for President." In an effort to make the blue color really "pop," I also tweaked some settings on our Panasonic HPX370 cameras so that the colors and contrast are adjusted for a little different look.

"Potato for President" started with a press release, and from there, Mark Carlson and I were brought back to our own good ol' days of college radio wackiness. I never did anything quite like running a potato for student body president though.

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