Video shooting and editing tips


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This handout is from the Texas Center for Community Journalism's Video on the Go workshop led by faculty member Aaron Chimbel.

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Video shooting and editing tips

  1. 1. Aaron’s video tips • Know your story before you start shooting (breaking news is different). • Be familiar with the camera, focus, iris, white balance, shutter, etc. Don’t rely on autos. • Get a variety of shots, from a variety of angles (super wide, wide, medium, tight, super tight, reverse/cutaways), high, low, side. • Shoot and edit in sequences and shoot to edit. • Use the fundamentals of still photography (rule of thirds, give action room, head room, lighting – this one is huge in video). • Avoid movement (no pans, tilts, zooms, etc.) (Don’t edit until movement stops). • Steady shots. Use a tripod or the ground or a table, etc. • Hold your shots for at least 10 seconds (count in your head). • Get close! • Have an ear for nats and get close to them and use them to edit. • Wear headphones to monitor sound and avoid interviewing in noisy places. • Use lav (clip-on) mic or get close with hand-held mic to your subjects and leave wireless mic on subject if you can. • Use depth, especially with interviews. • When editing avoid jump cuts, harsh edits and flash frames. • Have fun, be creative. • And always get at least one more shot than you think you need.
  2. 2. • Don’t forget your camera, tape (or disc or memory card) and battery (plus all the other important equipment (tripod, mic, etc.). Aaron’s video editing tips • Your video will record three things: Video – the moving images Audio channel 1 – the audio from a mic (interviews, reporter narration) Audio channel 2 – the natural sound from the camera microphone When you edit you will also have three parts Video – the images Audio 1 – the narration and interview subjects talking Audio 2 – the natural sound • The channels are important to have good editing audio quality. For example, when you’re watching an interview you do want not all the background noise, so you’d use only audio 1. • But when showing a bulldozer demolishing a house you want to hear the sounds of that, so you use audio 2. • Most editors edit their A-roll first. That is they lay down all of the interviews and reporter narration, the go back and overlay the video of the action or B-roll. Essentially they create an outline and the fill it in with the video later. • Whenever you lay the video over make sure you have selected the right audio channels. You want audio 1 to only be interviews and narration and audio 2 to only be natural sounds. • You want your overlay video or B-roll to match what the reporter or interviewee is saying. So if the reporter is talking about the house being bulldozed, you want to see that. • You also need to edit in cutaway shots to give variety and avoid jump cuts, or seemingly the same shot repeated over. That is why when shooting it’s important to get the shots of neighbors watching the house being bulldozed so you can edit that shot in and then go to another shot of the debris, etc. • Do not edit on movement. So if the video has a pan or zoom wait for it to end before going to the next shot and never put movement back-to-back.
  3. 3. • Let subjects walk fully out of frame and let action end for smoother edits. Avoid dissolves. Use a variety of short shots, but make sure the subject is clear.