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Introduction to Character Portrait Exercise

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The “Character Portrait” production exercise is a great way for participants to work through the entire video production process. To begin, the facilitator shows sample character portraits and ask …

The “Character Portrait” production exercise is a great way for participants to work through the entire video production process. To begin, the facilitator shows sample character portraits and ask participants to compare them with shot list examples. Participants will work in teams of three, and be assigned to interview an individual. Each time is provided with a short bio to prepare questions and develop a shot list. Ultimately, participants will edit their footage to create a final video.

WITNESS Training Curriculum - Part of module 3

Published in: Education, Business, Technology

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  • The Character Portrait Exercise brings participants into the field to gain hands-on experience in making a short character driven video. Production teams of three will be given a short interviewee bio (secured in advance of the training). Based on this information participants will fill out a shot list template to serve as a guide while filming.
  • Introduce the ‘Character Portrait’ exercise and review Worksheet 3.5 with participants. This form will be filled out by participants and used during the ‘Character Portrait (Production)’ session.
  • The Character Portrait Exercise will be conducted in production teams of 3. Allow each group to choose their roles amongst themselves.
  • If necessary to review consent and room tone reference: 3.07b-interview_exercise_handout If necessary to review B-roll: broll_reference_sheet
  • Break down each element of the character portrait shot list using the following slides: THE INTERVIEW CUTAWAYS B-ROLL ***Note: The following pictures and video examples represent what was filmed from the shot list in Reference 3.05b-Handout. Explain to participants that the interview should last about thirty minutes. Participants will prepare no more than 10 questions in their shot list. Questions will be split up into MCU and CU shots. General questions should be recorded in a MCU shot and more personal questions will be in a CU shot. Reference the above shot examples as properly framed MCU and CU shots Reference 3.05-Handout to provide a list of sample interview questions
  • Reference 3.05b-Handout to provide a list of sample planned cutaway shots Hyperlink Backup: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VA2GS_l5_AA
  • Play the above video representing B-roll examples B-ROLL: These shots should be observational footage of the interviewee and their community. Participants will plan shots that will show what everyday life is like for their interviewee. Encourage participants to film action shots of their interviewee as well as exterior shots of their environment (including establishing shots). Using their shot list, participants will be asked to write down 5 possible B-roll shots based on their character portrait bio. Reference 3.05b-Handout to provide a list of sample planned B-roll shots Hyperlink Backup: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3QGGXKRefk
  • Screen the above video as an example of an edited character portrait. Discuss with participants how the interview, cutaways and B-roll were used to make a complete video. . Hyperlink Backup: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jInQpe1hDIQ Participants will break into their production groups with facilitators working closely with each group in developing their shot list ( Worksheet 3.5) .
  • Transcript

    • 1. Introduction to Character Portrait Exercise WITNESS invites you to use, remix and share this curriculum.  All materials are under Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial ShareAlike 3.0 License.  You can also find more video advocacy training materials at www.witness.org. 
    • 2. Objective
      • To introduce the Character Portrait Exercise. With this exercise you will pull together what you have learned so far about filming interviews, as well as shooting cutaways and B-roll.
      12/13/11 WITNESS.org
    • 3. In This Session
        • The Character Portrait Exercise will be explained
        • A Character portrait from a previous training will be screened and discussed with the group.
        • Production teams will be assigned their interviewee
      12/13/11 WITNESS.org
    • 4. Character Portrait Exercise Pre-Production
      • Each production team will:
      • Assign roles that each member will perform during filming.
      • Develop a list of questions based on their interviewees short biography.
      • Develop a shot list of cutaways and B-roll
      • Prepare camera equipment
      12/13/11 WITNESS.org
    • 5. Production Teams
      • Producer/ Sound Operator:
      • Oversees the project and makes sure the group follows the shot list, assists camera person in setting up and monitors sound.
      • Interviewer:
      • Interacts with the interviewee, obtains consent and conducts the interview.
      • Camera Person:
      • Decides the location for filming and shoots the interview and B-roll.
      12/13/11 WITNESS.org
    • 6. Character Portrait Exercise Production
      • Each production team will:
      • Record consent
      • Conduct an interview
      • Record room tone
      • Film B-roll and cutaways
      12/13/11 WITNESS.org
    • 7. The Interview
      • General Questions (Medium Close Up Shots):
      • More Personal Questions (Close Up Shots)
      12/13/11 WITNESS.org
    • 8. Cutaways are shots that will provide telling details about your interviewee and their life 12/13/11 WITNESS.org Follow this link to watch a video example of a cutaway: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VA2GS_l5_AA What are “Cutaways”?
    • 9. What is “B-Roll”? 12/13/11 WITNESS.org B-Roll is observational footage of the interviewee and their community. Follow this link to watch a video example of B-Roll: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3QGGXKRefk
    • 10. Character Portrait Example 12/13/11 WITNESS.org Follow this link to watch video of a Character Portrait Example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jInQpe1hDIQ
    • 11. Shot List Exercise 40 minutes
      • 1. Assign roles that each member will perform during filming:
      • Producer/ Sound Operator:
      • Oversees the project and makes sure the group follows the shot list, assists camera person in setting up and monitors sound.
      • Interviewer:
      • Interacts with the interviewee, obtains consent and conducts the interview.
      • Camera Person:
      • Decides the location for filming and shoots the interview and B-roll.
      • 2. Each production team will complete Worksheet: Character Portrait Shot List based on their character portrait bio.
      12/13/11 WITNESS.org
    • 12. Introduction to Character Portrait Exercise WITNESS invites you to use, remix and share this curriculum.  All materials are under Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial ShareAlike 3.0 License.  You can also find more video advocacy training materials at www.witness.org.