Video For Printosaurs
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Video For Printosaurs

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Sometimes print journalism students are reluctant to explore the power of video in online storytelling. Here's a primer on the power and limits of video, and the basics of video storytelling.

Sometimes print journalism students are reluctant to explore the power of video in online storytelling. Here's a primer on the power and limits of video, and the basics of video storytelling.

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Video For Printosaurs Video For Printosaurs Presentation Transcript

  • When text just isn’t enough Enhancing Your Storytelling with Video
  • But I’m a print journalist! **
    • Why do I have to learn (eeiuw!) video?
      • Acquire another marketable skill
      • Communicate coherently when you’re working with a team of multimedia journalists
      • Enrich your story with power that words alone can’t convey
      • Think afresh about new ways to tell stories
      • ** “There are only two kinds of ‘print’ journalists:
      • Those who are unemployed and those who soon will be.”
      • – source unknown
  • What can video accomplish that my stellar writing can’t?
    • Immediacy
      • Viewer gets sense of “being there”
    • Strong visuals
      • Sometimes a picture IS worth a thousand words
    • Emotion
      • Facial, vocal and body expression
    • Action
  • What can video accomplish that my stellar writing can’t?
    • Example: NYT’s “Gazan Doctor Loses Family,” 1/17/2009
      • The print version
      • The video version
  • What can video accomplish that my stellar writing can’t?
    • Example: NYT’s “An Ambush and a Comrade Lost,” 4/19/2009
      • The print version
      • The audio slideshow version
  • The basics of video storytelling
    • Not every story is a good video story
      • If you have only information, no emotion or action, don’t waste video on it
    • Best video stories?
      • Information + emotional connection = understanding
      • Good characters
    • Distinguish between topic and story
      • Find the story !
      • Find the main theme
    • Much of video’s power comes from the audio
    • WashPost’s “ Crisis in Darfur Expands ”
    “ Basics of Video Storytelling” draws extensively from a June 2008 Society of News Design Video Storytelling quick course taught by Regina McCombs, now of the Poynter Institute.
  • The basics of video storytelling
    • The F-word: Focus
      • Keep it tight
      • Define it in 10 words or less
      • Focus on emotional aspect of story
      • Ask yourself:
        • What’s important about this story?
        • Why are we spending time, resources to do it?
        • Why should the reader/viewer care?
    “ Basics of Video Storytelling” draws extensively from a June 2008 Society of News Design Video Storytelling quick course taught by Regina McCombs, now of the Poynter Institute.
  • The basics of video storytelling
    • The inverted pyramid doesn’t work for video storytelling!
    • Employ literary techniques of a short-story writer
      • A complete story, with beginning, middle, end
      • An attention-grabbing opening
      • Fast-paced plot
      • Good characters
    “ Basics of Video Storytelling” draws extensively from a June 2008 Society of News Design Video Storytelling quick course taught by Regina McCombs, now of the Poynter Institute.
  • The basics of video storytelling
    • Structure, or story arc, is critical
      • Constant conversation in your head:
        • What’s the beginning?
        • What’s next?
        • How do I build the story sequentially?
        • How do I use transitions to move from one to the other?
        • What’s the ending?
        • How do I get there?
    “ Basics of Video Storytelling” draws extensively from a June 2008 Society of News Design Video Storytelling quick course taught by Regina McCombs, now of the Poynter Institute.
  • The basics of video storytelling
    • Key difference between print and video?
      • Video: think visually and plan ahead !
    • What compelling visuals will the story have?
      • If no visuals, it’s not a video story
    • Once again: Video storytelling is linear
      • Your story needs a beginning, middle, end
        • Think in acts (Act 1, Act 2, Act 3)
        • Sketch it out before you head out
        • Write up a list of shots you need
    • How will your shots come together sequentially?
      • Forces you to “pre-write” your story (counterintuitive to printosaurs!)
    “ Basics of Video Storytelling” draws extensively from a June 2008 Society of News Design Video Storytelling quick course taught by Regina McCombs, now of the Poynter Institute.
  • A word about audio
    • AUDIO is the most important thing in video
      • Bad sound = lost audience
      • In your quest for compelling visuals, pay attention to sound
  • Assembling the video story
    • A video story is not merely an assemblage of shots
      • Go beyond “shot-shot-shot-shot” to true storytelling
      • Sequencing: compressing time
    • Shoot wide, medium and close-up of every shot
      • Record at least 15 seconds of every shot
      • Break down action into multiple sequences
      • Shoot lots and lots of close-ups
        • Help you avoid jump cuts
        • Help you sequence
        • Especially important for Web viewing
  • Assembling the video story
    • Open your video with natural sound, wide shot
      • Establishes place/scene
      • Often close with a wide shot
    • Use many clips of 3-10 seconds in length
      • A 1:30 package can have 20-25 shots
      • NEVER run a single long clip of someone talking into the camera
      • Achieve appropriate story pacing through careful pacing of clips
  • Assembling the video story
    • A-roll and B-roll
      • A-roll: interview
      • B-roll: background video on which we often overlay the audio from the A-roll
        • Shoot lots and lots of B-roll
    • Plan ahead before you shoot to save time and headache when you edit.
      • Don’t shoot everything
      • Make a list of the shots you need, whom to interview
      • Have a plan, but be flexible and be prepared to follow a different angle if the story leads you there
  • Keep in mind…
    • Video moves your source to the forefront
      • The writer should be invisible
      • Video evokes feelings, emotions, opinions in the viewer, rather than the writer imposing them
      • Video lets other people tell their stories. Get out of the way and let them!
  • The basics of video storytelling: An example
    • “ Pushing the Limit: Being Aron Ralston ,” NYT, 3/31/2009
      • A good example of:
        • Narrative arc
        • Good pacing
        • Mix of A-roll and B-roll
        • Variety of shots
        • Good audio
        • Drama, suspense, resolution