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Video Storytelling. Shooting terminology. A-roll = story narrative (what sources or narrator are saying.) B-roll = video transitions added to avoid having talking heads.

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shooting terminology
Shooting terminology
  • A-roll = story narrative (what sources or narrator are saying.)
  • B-roll = video transitions added to avoid having talking heads.
  • Remember 80:20 ratio (80 percent should be B-roll and 20 percent should be A-roll interviews – you will always need more B-roll than you think you will.)
getting good a roll
Getting good A-roll
  • Good audio is critical.
  • Wear headphones and monitor the levels to be sure.
  • Avoid “stepping on” interviews – be quiet.
  • Get the mic close to the subject.
a roll
  • Use rule of thirds to frame the interviewee.
a roll1
  • Pay attention to background
    • Watch for poles or other objects coming out of their heads
    • Avoid lining up people against walls
getting good b roll
Getting good B-roll
  • Shoot lots of it – and get a variety of shots
    • wide (helps establish)
    • medium
    • close up
  • For a 1:30 minute video, you will need 35 to 60 shots to keep your viewers interested.
  • When shooting B-roll, try shooting wide, medium and tight shots of each scene or image.
  • Some examples
shoot in sequences
Shoot in sequences
  • A sequence is a series of images that flow from one to the next -- not just wide/medium/tight.
  • A sequence sets the scene, shows details, has motion and completes an action.  
  • BBC’s Five-Shot Method
  • A good rule of thumb:
    • 50 percent of shots will be close ups
    • 25 percent medium
    • 25 percent wide

More examples

And more here

critical shots
Critical shots
  • Be sure to get an establishing shot – something that sets the scene in one image
critical shots1
Critical shots
  • Your opening shot should grab the viewer’s attention and help set up your story.
critical shots2
Critical shots
  • Get a closing shot (someone closing a door, capping a pen, petting a dog, turning out the lights, releasing a butterfly)
be thinking about shots
Be thinking about shots
  • Always think about how to get from one shot to the next.
  • Try to get some kind of transition shot with either an entry or exit.
  • Close-ups are especially helpful in editing to get from point A to point B.
shoot lots of cutaways
Shoot lots of cutaways
  • To avoid jump cuts – some examples
the 180 degree rule
The 180-degree rule
  • Shoot within 180 degrees around a subject. In other words, don’t walk around your subject when interviewing them.
  • Some examples
additional tips
Additional tips
  • Always pre-roll and post-roll your tape. Record 20 to 60 seconds of black at the beginning and end of your tape. Why?
  • Hold every shot for at least 10 seconds
  • Stop recording before you move to the next shot
  • Don’t move the camera -- avoid zooming and panning
  • Use a tripod
good planning good story
Good planning = good story
  • Brainstorm the idea
  • Make sure the story is worth video.
    • Action
    • Emotion
    • Something people want to see
  • Visualize the story
    • Think about which shots you’ll need – make a list
    • Think about what will be visual
  • Keep focused on the story – keep it simple
good planning
Good planning
  • Consider creating a storyboard before you shoot.
  • After shooting you can revise the storyboard to help you focus in the editing process.
  • Or you can write a script, based on transcription of your interviews.
good planning1
Good planning
  • Script example – video tab on class blog
writing tips
Writing tips
  • Write to your video. Don’t include information in your story unless you have the visuals to back it up.
  • When you’re done editing, turn off your speakers and watch your video. Does it still make sense? If so, you’ve done a good job at telling a visual story.
  • Now turn on your speakers. What you hear should add an entire new layer of information: You don’t need to include information that is already conveyed in the visuals.
writing tips1
Writing Tips
  • From NBC’s Bob Dotson:
  • Make sure you know what you want the audience to take away from the story. Formulate this theme to yourself to help guide the story creation.
  • Then use your images to prove that theme visually. Very seldom will you state the theme verbally in any story.
  • Write to your pictures first. Write a strong lead that instantly telegraphs the story to come.
writing tips2
Writing Tips
  • Allow for moments of silence. Stop writing occasionally and let two or three seconds or more of compelling action occur without a voiceover.
  • For a writer, nothing is more difficult to write than silence. For viewers, sometimes nothing is more eloquent.
  • Build in surprises to sustain viewer involvement. Surprises help viewers feel something about the story; they lure uninterested viewers to the screen.
  • Surprises can be visuals, wild sounds, short bites, or poetic script. Always, surprises are little moments of drama.
some examples broadcast
Some examples (broadcast)
  • Everybody Has a Story
  • Art of Compassion
  • Daddy dentistry
examples no narration
Examples (no narration)
  • Baseball player
  • Chicago snow
  • Neighbor in snow
  • Roping the Wind
  • “I want Luis back”
plenty more examples
Plenty more examples
  • Michelle’s Delicious
newsnet examples
NewsNet examples
  • Rubric
  • Gowns
  • Haymarket Park
bottom line
Bottom line
  • Before you start writing text or editing video, you need to have a very clear idea of the focus of your story.
  • Your story should be so focused that you can describe it in one sentence.
  • Once it’s complete, you need to be able to sit back and look at your project as a reader/viewer would. Is your story coherent?
more resources
More resources
  • Knight Digital Media Center
  • Video Journalists Toolkit
  • Shooting tips