Robb’s Life Chapter 9 – Helping HIV/AIDS Patients in Need

Robb Dussliere - win this boatIn 1995, Robb Dussliere was volunteering for the AIDS Project Quad Cities, now known as The Project of the Quad Cities. In late May of that year, a boat was being raffled in a fund-raiser to support the AIDS Project and the HIV/AIDS patients who were coming for help in larger numbers than ever.

This episode of Robb’s Life shows Robb driving the boat to a display site in Bettendorf, Iowa. He talks about the growing need for services.

Even today, The Project of the Quad Cities has 250 to 300 client families at any given time of the year. These are clients that are living 200% or more below poverty level. They range in age from 14 to 70 years old.

The Project also offers prevention services including counseling, testing, public speaking, and more.

When we began shooting this series, a month before this episode, we wondered if there would be something interesting to do every week for a year. There was not a lot going on this particular week, but the importance of raising funds was on Robb’s mind, and he had volunteered to take the boat to its display site, so we decided to combine the two.

As the videographer and reporter, it is a very simple shoot but a challenge to get enough video to cover the story. As you can see, I got Robb coming out of his house, walking to the car and the boat, checking that it was secure and then driving away as he spoke over the video. Next, I got to the location before he did and shot him as he drove up.

There is a shot that we call a “cutaway.” It is used in editing to avoid a jarring jump from one piece of video to another. For example, you shouldn’t show someone walking and then cut to a shot of him doing something different. So as Robb was working, since I like to record things in real time as they happen, I frantically was getting close-up shots of his face, different shots of the boat, so that I could edit those in to smooth out transitions between video shots.

Robb Dussliere - Raising Funds 1Is this too much inside baseball talk? It might be fun for readers to know before watching the video. On some stories, such as the last couple when we went to the doctor, there are plenty of shots to choose from in editing. On a simple story like this one, it is actually more of a challenge to tell a cohesive story with the video.

In the editing of the stories, I always liked to weave in bursts of natural sound. In this case there was not a lot of opportunity for that, but you will notice a burst when he is working with the chain on the trailer hitch. In most stories, I look at the natural sound as a way to move the story forward between sound bites and music, and it also makes for a more interesting feature. There is nothing more boring than just a voice over silent video.

Finally, before Robb drove away, leaving the boat on display near 18th Street and Spruce Hills Drive, he sat in the sun and I asked questions about what he was doing with the boat, the situation with the AIDS Project, and the rising number of patients they were seeing. This was not the most memorable of the year’s features, but it is nice to see Robb still relatively healthy and volunteering at a busy pace even though he  has virtually no immune system left.

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