The advent of cheap digital video cameras and free video-editing software has ushered in the digital video revolution. Instead of a $35,000 camera, an even more expensive editing station, a two- or three-person crew and years of training, one college student can produce high quality Web video with a $175 camera and a computer.
Now that video is easier for everyone to produce and to view online, any kind of journalist can participate. As a result, some TV news stations have broken up traditional news teams to create video journalists or VJs. Also known as backpack journalists, they work solo and serve as both videographer and reporter on assignment. Non-broadcast news organizations have also jumped in, publishing documentary video stories, breaking news, in-studio stand-ups and all manner of other features in video.
Must be able to tell story within a few minutes or less – not 10 minutes or more
Prof. Grabowski must approve your topic
Broadcast news judgment Broadcast journalists view news a bit differently – they need pictures and sound. One of the big differences between print and broadcast is how those mediums define “what is news.” The broadcast mediums have a narrower scope. There are four major criteria for shaping news judgment for broadcast mediums…
1. Timeliness : TV news magazines may have proliferated, but “the breaking story” still rules the day. However, in our class, your video will take a few weeks to produce from the time of topic conception to the finished video. Choose a topic that will still be “news” in a month (“evergreen”); not something that has a short shelf life (like a particular event occurring this week).
2. Information or content : Broadcast stories have to answer the “what” question quickly because of the time factor; there is not much emphasis on the “why” and “how”
-- Use transitive verbs. Transitive verbs do things to things; they demand a direct object.
We would like to stay longer, but we must leave. In this example, the verb "leave" does not take a direct object
The audience attentively watched the latest production of Little Women. In this example, the verb "watch" is used transitively and takes the noun phrase "the latest production of Little Women" as a direct object.
-- Don ’t use slang, colloquialisms or incorrect grammar
4. Clarity : Unlike print and the Web, broadcast audiences can ’t go back over the copy (unless it’s in the crawler!). The audience only sees it or hears it once -- or until the next news break.
-- In addition to short sentences, use nickel-and-dime words.
-- Avoid too many numbers
-- ** Don ’t be afraid to repeat words or phrases. Repeat proper names rather than use pronouns. Be sure to “ tee up ” (use identifiers) for unfamiliar names. Longtime Houston businessman John Smith died Wednesday……
-- Avoid foreign words and phrases
-- ** Keep the subject close to the verb. ( NO : “ Rodriguez, who has been struggling at the plate recently, smacked a three-run homer in the ninth inning.” YES : “Rodriguez smacked a three-run homer in the ninth inning. He’s struggled at the plate lately.” )
Here ’s a surprise: Broadcast leads, just like their print cousins, strive to capture the attention of their audience.
It has to have enough substance or style to draw attention but not so much information that it hinders comprehension.
Unlike the print lead of 35-45 words, broadcast leads should probably be fewer than 15 words -- 20 max. So, don ’t crowd the lead with too much information. Waiting for certain questions to be answered will also keep the audience listening or watching.
Also, just like the print lead, the broadcast lead must set the proper tone and mood for the story. Don ’t mislead!
Use a Flip HD video camcorder. This is a digital camcorder with a built-in hard drive. This will make it easier to upload your video footage to the computer and edit it. Do not use a camcorder that requires a tape.
Make sure the camcorder has a charged battery. Keep in mind that the battery only lasts so long. Bring backup batteries.
This is what the Flip Video camcorder looks like. Each camera comes with a flip-out USB port, hence its name.
There ’s no need to use a microphone. That’s because the Flip has its own built in microphone. Unfortunately, this is one of its weak spots – the audio isn’t very good. But it’s adequate. And because the Flip does not have an external jack or plug for a microphone, it’s really your only option. Be sure to use the Flip to record everything, including voiceovers, otherwise your audio will sound inconsistent (and the disparity will be obvious).
You will also want a tripod . Tripods designed specifically for the Flip are available to borrow through the Media Center. But availability is limited, so be sure to reserve early. Video doesn ’t look good if the image is shaky like you shot it during an earthquake. If you find yourself without a tripod, avoid using the zoom. As you zoom in, it gets easier and easier to see even the most subtle camera movement.
Don ’t dress like a slob. You don’t have to wear a tie or dress, but … Comb your hair, wear clean, conservative clothes, avoid colors that bleed or stick out and shirts with offensive slogans. (Also: wear same outfit if you shoot on multiple days.)
Remember, you are reporting news on camera, so be professional. Emulate TV reporters.
Determine what visuals will complement your script.
Create a sheet with two columns: on the left (or top) will be very short paragraphs that tell your story. On the right (or bottom) will be the video footage you need to get to illustrate your words. This is known as a “storyboard.”
Match the content of your video to the content of your audio.
It ’s a simple process. No artistic talent necessary. On a whiteboard or sheet of paper, start by writing the main idea on top. Then draw boxes in a row from left to right (or top to bottom), with labels that represent each piece of the story (e.g. lead, interview w/ source, etc.). Imagine the boxes are the video viewer or screen and sketch a quick representation of what the viewer would see. (Stick figures work.) Adapt and change as you gather info and footage.
It ’s also important to establish context. For example, if you’re shooting a story about a beloved local grocery store that is about to close down, you want to show viewers the outside of the store within its natural setting. Is the grocery store one among many in a strip mall along a busy thoroughfare? Or is it a stand-alone store at the crossroads of a tiny no-stoplight village in the foothills? You’ll need to anticipate the kinds of questions your viewers will have and answer them visually and through the narration.
Set up interviews as soon as possible. School officials, for example, are busy people and may require a couple weeks notice.
Be sure sources know you ’re interviewing them on camera for a news video. Since you’re a student, they’ll probably expect you’re writing a newspaper article and just bringing a notepad or tape recorder. They may also want time to primp themselves.
People don ’t really understand how to hold and use microphones, so you should always be the one to hold the stick mic (if you use one). This puts you in control so you can get the best audio possible.
Leave a little headroom at the top of the frame.
Position your subject a little to the left or right of center and leave nose room to the opposite side.
And position yourself at same level as subject so viewers won ’t feel like they are looking up or down.
If both you and your partner attend an interview, make sure the source looks at the person with the camera, not the other student sitting across the room. Otherwise, the source will look awkward on camera.
Use the LCD monitor on the camera to watch the interview at the same time that you look over the camera and make eye contact with the subject. This puts the subject at ease, gives her someone to look at and makes the interview more natural-sounding.
Don ’t, for any reason, make any sound at all when your subject is talking. The camera will pick up every sound you make – a sigh, a cough, a chuckle or anything you say. Even the littlest laugh or “Ummm” from the camera person sounds awful. So keep your lips zipped when recording because you won’t be able to edit out the unwanted audio later. Use body language, such as nodding, to indicate to the speaker that you understand him.
For online video, avoid pans (horizontal movement of the camera) and zooms (focusing in or out using the zoom feature on the camera) because not only does it look bad on the Internet, but unnecessary movement also slows down the video stream.
Lighting is important. Don ’t shoot outside at night.
Reporter should identify himself/herself at end of video (e.g. “Reporting from Adelphi University, I’m John Smith”), so be sure to get a shot of this – and make sure this is shot on location. So, if you’re covering baseball team, shoot this scene in front of the baseball field. Also, don’t say you’re “reporting live” -- you’re not. That’s only appropriate when the video is airing live.
Very important: You will need to return your camcorder soon after using it, so you need to make sure you copy the footage to a flash drive or DVD. If you return your camcorder without saving your work, it will be erased. When you edit footage, be sure to keep original unedited footage in case you make a mistake or find use for it later.
Sit down and create a log of everything you ’ve shot. Even the briefest list of the video, audio and time code will help you create your script and will provide a time-saving tool during the editing process.
Select the SOTs (interview sound bites) that help move the story forward. Design visual sequences to flesh out the narration and be sure to include shots that help establish location and context. Remember that, except for SOTs, each snippet of b-roll coverage will usually run about five or six seconds at the most.
After you ’ve finished writing, you will need to record the chunks of narration between the SOTs. You can do this using your Flip camera. iMovie allows you to delete the video, just keep the audio and combine it with other video and audio.
For audio consistency purposes, it ’s important to do voiceovers and narration with the same device you use to record your on-camera reporting scenes and interviews.
You need to start work on this immediately. No extensions will be given. Equipment likely won ’t be available on short notice. Interviewing people on camera won’t be as simple as interviewing them with a notepad. You may also struggle with some of the technology and computer programs. So, expect to learn through trial and error. As such, you can’t do this at the last minute.