Class Notes: Telling Stories with Video

Benefits of Audio Reporting

  • Presence: A reporter can bring readers to the scene. Being there boosts credibility.
  • Emotions: Tone of voice, expressions, pauses… all help to enhance a message.
  • Atmosphere: Natural sound – almost aways necessary if it applies. Just words and voice don’t cut it all the time. Bringing in that natural element is key.

How Digital News Organizations Use Audio

  • Reporter Overview: Newspapers offer simple audio overviews to accompany a story or gallery
  • Podcasts: Regular and consistent episodes on a topic of subject area. More later on this.
  • Audio Slideshows: Self explanatory, but always helps to add a voice to photos and spice things up a bit.
  • Breaking News: Depending on your content system and site set up, you can add a quote voice over to report on news… with a mobile device, or just a regular computer mic (external or internal).
  • Voice Over: Adding your voice to any video is audio journalism.

Audio Reporting Tips

  1. Make your script clear. What is the story? Tell it as clearly as you can.
  2. Be yourself, use your own words and your own language.
  3. Record your items in interesting places – you will be amazd what a difference background noise (or atmosphere) can make.
  4. Keep the clips you are using short.
  5. Try to get lots of different voices in your piece. You don’t just want one person with a boring voice droning on and on.
  6. Use man on the street – this means asking people in the street for their quick opinion on an issue.
  7. Once you’ve mastered the basics, think about how you can experiment,
  8. Use music.
  9. Use sound effects.
  10. Finally, think carefully about how you are going to end your piece.

Tips for Recording Voice

  • Slow down. Your natural speaking speed will be too fast for a listener to take in everything you are saying. Make every word matter.
  • Read a script with confidence and say every word evenly. Don’t trail off at the en of a sentence or swallow the end of words.
  • Pretend you are talking to one specific person. Avoid nervous giggling. It sounds really odd. Smile. This may sound odd, as no-one can see you, but it makes you sound more friendly.
  • Re-record your opening line once you get to the end. By this time you should have relaxed and it may sound better the second time round.
  • Remember that your voice is as good as anyone else’s. Anyone who can speak slowly and clearly can present, no matter what your accent or pitch (high or low).

Recording Audio Interviews

  • Choose Location
  • Gather Natural Sound
  • Prepare interview subject
  • Watch what you say
  • Mark the best spots

Podcast Basics

  • In essence, a podcast is a radio show on the web. It does not have the restrictions of standard terrestrial radio.
  • Tips for producing a good podcast: Get a real microphone. Get close, but not too close (sound is key!). Prepare, but don’t script. Reduce background noise. Come up with a format, be organized. Stay consistent and find your audience.

How to End a Story?

  • Significance: Write a line that says why this story matter. Put the story in context.
  • Circular: Write a line that refers back to the lead. It is often effective to use some of the same words.
  • Future: Write a line that says what happens or may happen next.
  • Inverted Pyramid: Remember to never end with the most important info. Start with that!

Things to Keep in Mind

  • News videos must tell a story
  • A news update or news desk broadcast is different  from a news story/video
  • In a couple of minutes your audience must learn the basics of your story and feel satisfied.
  • The opening and closing of a video is important, just like with writing.

Advantages of Using Video

  • Keeps it fresh, clean and adds depth
  • Compliments text and photos
  • Can tell the story by itself
  • Adds multimedia element
  • Can use content for future stories

Building a Five Shot Sequence

  • Close up on the hands
  • Close up on the face
  • Wide Shot
  • Over the Shoulder Shot
  • Creative Shot
  • Mix these up and you have a varied, constructive news piece

Get Creative with Video

  • Some of the same principles apply as with photos like we’ve discussed in the past.
  • Climb up on something: a chair, the hood of a car or the bleachers at a stadium.
  • Get down of your knees or even flat on your belly to give us another perspective.
  • Think about using the foreground as a frame for the action.

Shooting good video

  • Focus, Zoom, Exposure
  • Be selective in shooting, but get many clips
  • Avoid panning and zooming
  • Be silent when you shoot
  • Framing/Composing: Follow rule of thirds
  • Get good audio – use external mic if possible!

Lessons in Digital Story Training

  • Define the story in the first 20 seconds – hook em!
  • Make sure you have intro/middle/close
  • Don’t let viewer have chance to be bored
  • Focus on one central idea and stick to it
  • Remember, characters make stories – the better they are, the better the story

Producing Video for Web

  • Start Small, aim high
  • Remember the storage capacity for your sites CMS
  • Don’t be afraid to shoot enough footage for multiple files
  • Understand your platform and requirements for your editors … i.e. Patch intro/close/lower thirds, 200mb etc.
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