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Video. (Remember our record interview tips). Getting the pictures.

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(Remember our record interview tips)

getting the pictures
Getting the pictures
  • BE FOCUSED: Web videos need to be short -- one or two minutes. Pick one aspect of your story -- something with emotion -- and make the video about that. Keep it short. (About 2 minutes, says Project Excellence in Journalism study of YoutTube news videos)
  • Your images are the meat of the video. Good pictures compel viewers’ attention and are the proof of your story.
  • Get peak action. And reaction.
  • Good video is a lot of mental work. Try not to rush. Don’t be afraid to stop an interview or move to a new position to get a better picture. Since this is for the Web, remember your image will be quite small. This means you need to fill up your frame. Don’t have the subject off in the distance. Keep your composition simple and uncluttered. Get your camera in close to the subject -- don’t shoot from across the room.
  • Be aware of the direction of your light. Position subjects with the light on their faces. Shoot with windows behind or beside you, not in front of you. Try not to shot in bright sun.
  • Shoot sequences of video. That means getting a wide shot, then a medium shot and then a close up (wide-medium-tight, in TV slang), and cutaway shots from multiple spots. Cutaways are essentially reaction shots, so shoot the action, then the reaction. Get video of the protest, then people watching the protest. Change your location. Repeat.

Move the camera to follow action or reveal elements. Otherwise, keep your shot steady. Let the action leave the video frame to give you transition points – let subject get up out of the chair or dance out of the picture.

  • Hold each shot for a minimum of 10 seconds. This seems easy, but it’s very, very hard, especially at first. Count it off in your head. You’ll be glad you did when you start editing.
  • Avoid pans and zooms. If you must use them, use them sparingly. They look awful on the Web. As you edit, be aware that pans or zooms should always finish before you cut to a new shot.
  • Shoot more than you think you’ll need. You’ll be amazed at how much you use. A typical ratio is 20:1 – twenty minutes of raw video for each finished minute of your story.

Leave a little headroom at the top of the frame. Position your subject a little to the left or right of center and leave nose room to the opposite side.

  • Use the LCD monitor on the camera to watch the interview at the same time that you look over the camera and make eye contact with the subject. This puts the subject at ease, gives her someone to look at and makes the interview more natural-sounding.
  • But don’t, for any reason, make any sound at all when your subject is talking. Even the littlest laugh or “Ummm” from the camera person sounds awful.
  • Get as close as you can to your subjects and shoot close-ups whenever possible. A big face is good in an online video.
  • Be aware of distracting background noise. This can ruin a shot. There is a difference between trying to “set a stage” and distraction. And distracting backgrounds.
raw videos
Raw videos

Can work on the Web. User-submitted, really short clips. Don’t discount cause not professional.

Here’s some great recent examples of raw:

SUV in ocean

Wrong way driver