Video production guides, requirements and tips

MMC 4936 - Fall 2016SFNS

There are three main requirements for video stories for the South Florida News Service and this class.

The first is a storyboard template. You want to plan out completely how the shoot will go voiceovers and the whole setup of the piece. Fill this out [PDF]. 

Second, create a detailed outline, including drafts of voiceovers, the sources you intend to interview, how b-roll will be used, and the pacing of the piece itself. How does it start, what happens in the middle and how does it end? Fill this out as well [PDF]. 

Some general tips: 

• Remember that video work is done in PRESENT tense. This is different than text. 

Video pieces are done linearly. That means that your first words are not the lede in the same manner of a text piece. You introduce the story, have some b-roll that leads us in, having your interviews, perhaps more b-roll, additional sources and conclude the piece with an outro that ends with “Reporting for SFNS, Brandon Gonzalez with Cassandra Cabral.” Only one voice for the outro please. 

Edit your pieces in Premiere and give yourselves enough time to do the editing to make your deadline. Pieces need to be less than five minutes, so keep that in mind. 

• Plan to record a WIDE, MEDIUM, & TIGHT of every shot. Shoot to edit in mind every time, and the variety of shots will make the editing process much, much smoother. 

Make sure to account for audio; ambient sounds, natural sounds, echo, by writing these notes down on your storyboard.  Audio is just as important as video, if not more.

Utilize the “circle spectrum.” Imagine an invisible circle around the action or event taking place. Now go INSIDE the circle to capture your shots to find creative and unique angles and distances viewers will find interesting. Give your viewers unique access to your subject. Don’t be on the outside looking in. Be in the action.

• When planning for ACTION shots, make sure to record at least one REACTION shot for each action shot. The emotion is in the reaction on the audience’s face, the crowd going wild, the tears of joy… not necessarily on the action. Get to the emotion and plan for it on the storyboard!

Never have two of the same shots in a row, such as wide-wide, medium-medium, close-close. Therefore, every edit should be from a different camera distance and angle. 

• Finally, if interviewing multiple people alternate the Rule of Thirds for the interviewees – left third/right third, especially if videotaping the interviews in the same location. Offering a variety of locations and backgrounds for those people being interviewed is visually interesting and won’t confuse the viewer.

Another method is to do the famed BBC five-shot technique, which needs to be in order. See a few examples of this below:

More useful links:

Story One Updates, Notes and Debate Reminder
Courthouse field trip – Weds, Oct. 19

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