Citizen Journalism Class -- Video Production
by William Huston 607-321-7846
Aug 10 2010
by William Huston 607-321-7846
Aug 10 2010
- Plan your shoot
- Check out the room ahead of time if you can.
- Prepare an equipment checklist.
- Carry water with you, flashlight, tools, extra batteries, notepad, pens/pencils, power and extension cords, etc.
- Prepare release forms, if you choose to go this route
- Keep your batteries charged!
- Use fresh tapes, have spares
- Use redundant recorders in case of problems
- Use a tripod
- Perform good PMs on your camera, including cleaning the head, and cleaning the lens.
- Only clean the lens with a specialized lint-free cloth, or a dust-blower.
- Audio is everything!!
- A production with bad audio is worthless.
- Avoid camera mic unless you are very close to your subject.
- Once you have lots of "room", your audio is ruined. It is nearly impossible to fix.
- Get the mike as close to the subject as possible. Inches 4-8 inches if you can!
- Point the mic towards the person's mouth, not towards the back of their head
- Use condenser mics (battery powered) if you can.
- Use a wireless mic for a subject who likes to move.
- If you can't get near the subject, and there is house sound, consider moving your mic near a loudspeaker.
- In post, use an audio program to a) normalize each section, then b) compress everything.
- Record levels should be as hot as possible, without over-driving. Clipping in the digital domain is a killer!!!
- POST can be done with programs like Audacity (free) or Adobe Audition, Pro Tools, Goldwave, Sound Forge, Wavelab, etc.
- Permission to shoot / clearances
- Print an indymedia press pass. The REALLY WORK in helping gain access to places. BE BOLD! http://binghamtonpmc.org/bhuston/presspass/
- Do not use copyrighted music unless you know what you are doing. With this caveat: I often use copyrighted music, and claim that it is Fair Use. SEE: 17 U.S.C. § 107. If you plan on selling your work, copyrighted music is a no-no.
- Always get prior permission to shoot. Approach organizers before you set up. Be nice! Get release forms from everyone on tape.
- Never get prior permission (especially if it is a public event). Get people you interview to spell their names. This implies consent.
- "It's easier to get forgiveness than permission!"
- Shoot with the sun behind you, illuminating the subject.
- Don't shoot into the sun with your subject back lit. If you have a back light, iris up (make brighter) so you can see details on your subject.
- Avoid "busy" backgrounds. Avoid boring backgrounds (blank wall).
- Indoors, use lots of light, especially with dark-skinned people. Iris up if you have to.
- When using multiple cameras, make sure to white balance, with all cameras shooting the same card, using whatever lighting conditions will be present during the shoot.
- When shooting a light-skinned person indoors against a dark background on a long shot, iris down, or you will get a "bright headlight" with no face details.
- General Hints
- Keep a shoot log, including tape times and details of what is there.
- Use slow zooms and pans to make it easy on your audience and reduce editing time.
- Use fast zooms and pans which you will remove during editing.
- Follow the action.
- Stay alert!
- A camera operator should have LOW, CALM, RELAXED energy. If you tend to be spastic (like me) this requires practice.
- You should be invisible to the audience, and the speakers.
- Turn on image stabilization
- Practice keeping a steady shot -- most important!
- Brace your elbows on your body, or against a wall.
- Use viewfinder as opposed to flip screen to conserve batteries.
- Use a steady cam if you can. Many do-it-yourself plans are on the internet.
- I find Asana Yoga, Tai Chi, or dance to be immensely helpful in acquiring required calm, grace, endurance
- Shooting an interview
- With camera rolling, just warm them up before asking questions.
- Ask open-ended questions. "Tell me about....." or "Can you talk about...."
- Avoid yes/no questions.
- Frame the shot leaving enough space at the bottom to allow adding "lower-thirds" graphics.
- Edit yourself out of it
- Shoot on a tripod
- Shoot your subject with your camera at eye-level. Don't shoot above or below your subject.
- Stand or sit next to your camera, so your subject's face is a portrait shot. Avoid profile shots.
- Illuminate and shoot your subject from the front.
- Think about your questions ahead of time.
- Don't be intimidating.
- Shooting a stage presentation w/audience Q+A
- Set up in the rear to shoot the stage.
- Set up in the front to shoot questions from the audience.
- Shoot people's faces, not the backs of their heads!
- Edit out camera swings, or do slow pans & zooms
- Shooting a press conference
- Wear your press pass for special access!
- Set up next to the corporate media like you know what you are doing.
- Be bold... ask your question!
- Video editing
- Use free tools like iMovie (free with Macs), Windows Movie Maker (free with Windows), Avid FreeDV, Wax, or Zwei-Stein
- List of free and open-source video editing software is here:
- Expensive software, but with professional features: Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere, Avid, Sony Vegas
- Video editing is complex, and specific to particular tools, and is beyond the scope of this class.
- Making a news package
- Keep it short 2-10 min.
- Shoot lots of B-roll (shots of people, buildings, signs, etc. near your event or related to your event)
- Shoot an establishing shot (people filling an auditorium, showing up, Front of building, etc)
- Shoot a "stand-up" where you record voice narration informing the viewer about what is happening. Narrate over B-roll and establishing shot.
- Cut to interviews. Use lower thirds-graphics to tell people who is speaking. Edit the interview tight, including the best stuff
- Zoom-- IN/OUT change the camera focal length
- Tilt -- UP/DOWN Using tripod handles to move camera lens up or down
- Pan -- LEFT/RIGHT Using tripod handles to move cameras lens left or right
- Dolly -- IN/OUT moving the entire tripod (usually on wheels) towards or away from the subject
- Truck -- LEFT/RIGHT moving the entire tripod (usually on wheels) left or right
- Pedestal -- UP/DOWN moving the tripod head up or down, often with a crank lever.
William Huston WilliamAHuston@gmail.com
Binghamton NY Phone: 607-321-7846
Videos: http://youtube.com/billhuston http://vimeo.com/billhuston
Bio/blog: http://binghamtonpmc.org/bio.html http://WilliamAHuston.blogspot.com
Binghamton-area discussion; spirituality topics: http://tinyurl.com/STNYlightworkers
Binghamton Public Access TV is Open-To-Everyone! http://www.O2ETV.org