November 26, 2007

Editing Video

For a group project in a class, Documentary Production, we are working on a short film about a local gentleman named Beut. The three of us spent a lot of time getting to know Beut, learning his story, understanding him... This week is editing week (we are using Avid... a learning process unto itself is all I'll say there). I've learned a few things in this process (mostly through mistakes, others from other people, and all random for now):

- Start off with a vision of the story you want to tell.

- Getting to know the subjects and getting the footage is not all that different from still photography, just different content is gathered (more interviews, etc.).

- Set up your shots thinking about framing and composition and let the action move through the frame.

- Always check the batteries on your external mic and your audio levels.

- Use headphones.

- When shooting with two cameras, having the same type of two cameras is helpful. One with HD and one that is not looks different when editing.

- Stick to the three second rule when interviewing: wait for three seconds of silence before you ask your next question. People may say the best stuff in those seconds, or, if nothing else, you get a clean break for editing.

- Know the story you want to tell, change the way you want to tell it, be willing to continue changing it.

- Let things in that story be discovered by the audience... not everything has to be stated, or stated upfront for that matter.

- Again for emphasis... always check your audio levels.
- And we shot too much.

November 20, 2007


November 8, 2007

New Media and Newspapers

It has been an interesting semester being a photojournalist and learning "New Media". I've been gathering the skills of web development and design, audio, video, etc., and also looking at where it is all going in the growing web content environment.

There as so many ways to present news... photo, video, slideshows, audio pieces, combination of still, video and audio, interactive informational graphics, informational graphics, text, etc. etc. etc. Then you have links, comments, rankings, blogs, etc. etc. etc. But what to use, how to get the manpower to create them, and how to use them well/when to use them is the tricky part.

Larry Kramer, President of CBS Digital Media, came to one of our classes. In discussing new media, the conversation led to what this new environment poses for newspapers and news organizations. One of the key points that struck me was that news organizations have a brand, and with the online world need to work to preserve that brand. People get their news in more than one way and the news organization needs respect that. Some are layering local news online with immediacy. In 10 years, newsrooms will be built around News Gathering: there will still be a commitment to coverage, but there will also be work done in all the possible ways to get that news out there. This does not mean that a story needs to be held for the video, but that there is a recognition that the video enhances the story. Someone in that news gathering workplace will be good at each of the forms, and editors will be there to know how to disseminate the news out. Even though news is everywhere online... blogs, newspaper sites, television sites, etc... it is not a commodity. You can do it, and you can do it better. To pay for it, advertisers will go where the people go.

This to me does not seem far different from the way newsrooms currently operate. It's just changing the system, some of the skill-sets, and the ways of presentation. In the end, I still feel that the quality of work produced will win out. Right now, "everyone" can do it... but it is the ones that do it well that will thrive and set the standard in the online news world.