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Week 14 Monday [Apr. 27 Self-Paced; No Zoom]


  1. Reminder: Please make sure you have required and acquired Adobe off-campus access and have installed Adobe Premiere on your personal computer.
    • We will practice video editing with Adobe Premiere but you are allowed to use any video editing software for the video assignment.
    • If you have trouble installing and using Adobe Premiere, please let me know ASAP or let me know what your alternative video editing option would be.
  2. Video Storytelling
  3. Pre-production
  4. Production: Video shooting on location
  5. Review Blog Post 9 Digital Video Story Assignment
  6. This Week:
    • Wednesday [ZOOM]: Guest Speaker Mary Jung, UW Video Producer/Director
    • Friday: Basic Editing with Adobe Premiere. Follow instructions and instruction videos WordPress course blog and practice basic video editing.

✨Welcome to the last module of our course — Video Storytelling!

While completing a video project in 2-3 weeks might sound daunting, we will break down the process and cover key information about pre-production, production, and post-production to make it easier for you, especially if this will be the first video project of yours.

At this point, you are encouraged to download the assignment document of Blog Post 9 – Video Storytelling.docx to get a rough idea about the expectations of this project.

Reminder: If you have decided to work in a team of two, you need to let me know who are working with ASAP.

Key Questions You Should Consider During Lectures and Reading

  1. How do you successfully PLAN a video story? 👉Pre-Production
  2. What should you remember to do DURING the video shooting when you’re on-location? 👉Production
  3. What should you do if you get stuck during editing? 👉Post-Production

❗️Today’s blog content, though theoretical, is very important for building a basic understanding about video shooting in general and our assignment in specific.

Please make sure you digest the content well and use more time on Friday to keep reading if that is needed. Doing a video assignment during quarantine time is undoubtedly challenging. Let’s try our best to make the best out of this experience!

🚩Section One: Pre-Production (Before You Shoot)

Choose a story (or event!) that is well suited for video and THAT HAS ONE MAIN IDEA. 

  • This includes stories that have strong visual components and that have any sort of action.
  • This means only focusing on one main idea that you identify within the first 20 seconds of video.

Identify your sources.

  • Seek out multiple and diverse perspectives for your story.

Write preliminary interview questions after researching the story.

  • Plan out your questions, story focus, and narrative (i.e., beginning, middle, and end) in advance, as much as you can. However, also remember to be adaptable during the interview and ask appropriate follow-up questions.
  • Please note that due to the limits of social distancing, having interviewees on camera for your video project is now optional. Instead, I encourage you to take better advantage of “reporter voice” to add interesting background information about your story.
    • For reporter voice, you can narrate the story as a reporter, or you can let the characters/interviewees tell the story. In fact, you can combine both your voice and your on-camera character’s voice.

“Show me, don’t tell me” is the mantra in video storytelling.

  • Find a way to show a story unfolding with video. Minimize the on-camera interviews with people (i.e., “talking head interviews”). It’s more interesting to watch an event occur rather than hear about it from an interviewee.
  • Additionally, consider converting the interview content to report voice or voice-over during editing.

Plan to shoot a variety of angles and types of shots.

  • For suggestions, see Production, below. But, the point here is that you are PLANNING and BRAINSTORMING and ANTICIPATING the types of shots BEFORE you’re on location.

Consider how you (the reporter) will fit into the story.

  • Will be the main character of the story you are planning, shooting, and directing? Will you appear on-camera to set the scene or conduct an interview? If you’d like to try that, go ahead! Or, will you be completely invisible to the audience, just like you were during the audio profile project? Or, will you narrate the story without appearing on-camera?

🚩Section Two: Production (When You’re On-Location)

You can use your smartphone, your tablet, your camera (if it has a video option), or a video camera. If you use a smartphone, please watch these videos to use your smartphone as a video camera:

Beginner video tips when shooting with a smartphone.

Basic video tips when shooting with an iPhone. Please watch both the video tips videos for iPhone and Android. Some tips apply for both types of phones.

Basic video tips when shooting with an Android. Please watch both the video tips videos for iPhone and Android. Some tips apply for both types of phones.

You may not have some of the equipment used in the videos, such as a phone tripod. You may certainly invest in one if it helps you in the long run, but you are not required to purchase anything for finishing our class assignments. In fact, you may already have what you need: you hands, a phone holder, maybe a few books or objects that can hold your phone while shooting, maybe a self-stick, etc. Also, check out this amazing video about how to use incredibly simple material to DIY a phone tripod: How To – 3 DIY phone tripods.

📹Production Tips…

Plan on shooting before and after the event (if shooting an event).

  • This ensures you have a variety of material to create your edited story from. Also, it helps develop a narrative of before, during, and after the event.

Shoot B-roll.

  • B-roll is supplemental footage that relates to your story. Be sure that the B-roll matches to what the speaker or the narrator or the storyline is talking about when you cut to B-roll!
  • For example, a video story about the the UW track team’s practice should include video of athletes warming up, tying their shoelaces, talking with coaches, etc. These are the shots that you can use to fill time while an interviewee/narrator is talking or while ambient noise (e.g., background noise from the event or music) is playing. For a 2-minute story, shoot at least 30 seconds of B-roll footage.

Let’s compare storyboard examples 1 & 2:

B-Roll Storyboards Examples
  • In the image below, here’s an example of a video without B-roll in example 1. The interviewee just keeps talking in every shot.
  • A better strategy is to integrate B-roll like example 2. Notice how there are 3 different B-roll shots between Shot 2 and Shot 6. This is an effective strategy and advocated by videographers.

Video can be used for a variety of different reasons including journalism, PR, and marketing, and the way that you edit and shoot a video is a little bit different for each one. In each case you want to be able to tell a complete story.

  • Journalism: Tell the whole story from all sides. Find opposing arguments for interviews so that viewers can get facts from both sides or multiple sources with different things to say. Add b-roll that is relevant to the story even if it is not the most artsy shot it might be the most informative.
  • Public Relations: In this case you will probably only be telling the story from one side, the side that the company, department, etc. is on, and you video will likely be positive, factual information about the company, etc. the b-roll shots in this type of video should highlight those positive things that the interviewee is talking about.

Check out this short video for more tips about filming b-roll footage:

Shoot on-camera interviews with your sources.

  • When shooting interviews, remember to look around at your surroundings. Is it relevant to the story? Can you move somewhere else to get the interview that is not as chaotic or loud?
  • Just as with the audio interviews, encourage your sources to relax, act natural, and provide context to the answer they are giving to your question. 
  • Don’t be afraid to re-shoot a question and ask a question again. Oftentimes, the source gives a better and more eloquent answer to your question the second time you ask it.

Optional: Shoot on-camera reporters.

  • If you’d like to appear on-camera as a broadcaster at some point, then this project is a good opportunity to practice. You can introduce the story and provide context to the significance of the story. You can transition with your voice and appearance between story segments. And you can conclude the story and provide a summary or “what happens next” statement.

Shoot a variety of camera shots.

Whether you plan to be a visual journalist or not, you need to understand and learn how to execute the types of shots. See this website for visual examples and descriptions as we go over the definitions below. Think about what video shots you plan on using for the digital video story project.

  • Extreme wide shots. Shows the whole entire scene of an event, location, or story. These shots give viewers information about where the story takes place. They set the scene and give context early on in a story.
  • Very wide shots. Shows less background and shows the subject in the large scene. The subject is barely visible.
  • Wide shots. Shows the whole subject so the visual emphasis is on the subject rather than the background.
  • Mid shots. Shows the subject even closer, but a bit of the scene is still visible in the frame.
  • Medium close-up shots. Shows the subject even closer and the subject’s features and expressions are more of the focus.
  • Close-up shots. Shows the subject’s head to shoulder area.
  • Extreme close-up shots. Shows only the subject in the frame, such as the subject’s eyes and nose.
  • Cut-in shots. Shows some other part of the main subject, not the face and shoulders.
  • Cutaway shots. B-roll that is used as transitions between shots or to add information not offered by shots of the main subject or scene.
  • Point-of-view shots. Shows a scene from the subject’s perspective such that you feel like you are in their shoes.

Production Tips for Advanced Video Producers: Camera movement techniques.

Camera movements are more advanced production techniques. They may not work out well if you do not have a high-quality video camera. Thus, I would avoid these techniques unless you have prior experience with video and you have a high-quality video camera. If you decide to use camera movements, see some most common techniques below:

  • Zooming: Going from wide-angle to close-up or vice versa. DO NOT ZOOM WITH SMARTPHONES. MOVE YOUR FEET TOWARD THE SUBJECT TO “ZOOM”.
  • Panning: Moving the camera horizontally.
  • Tilts: Moving the camera vertically.
  • Tracking: Moving the camera around accordingly to track the subject.

Check out this video for visual examples of camera movements along with explanations:

Also, check out this video for how to create 8 Cinematic Camera Moves For Video.

  • You may not have lots of the equipment used in the video. However, if you are interested in trying these techniques out, I encourage you to DIY tools to create similar camera moves. For example, check out this video to learn the trick to create a slider effect without a slider and more: 4 HACKS to get CINEMATIC Camera Movement

Composition concerns.

Give headroom so the interviewee has space above their head during the shot. Avoid distractions in the background of shots. Remember the rule of thirds still!

Be Flexible. 

No matter how much planning you do in pre-production, from deciding who you want to interview to what types of b-roll shots you want, something is bound to not go your way, or the event you’re at will be different than you envisioned. Be willing to change you plan during production based on what is happening at the event in real time.

Playback Your Video While On Location Still. 

Be sure to playback your video when you’re still on location. Did your phone capture audio and video in an adequate manner? Or, did you phone malfunction somehow? Do you need to take more variety of footage, now that you’ve seen what you captured? This is an important tip because you can’t go back in time and re-capture footage once you’re sitting down at the computer to edit. Remember to playback your video!

📹Back to the Video Storytelling Project…

Please download the assignment document of Blog Post 9 – Video Storytelling.docx and review page 2 and page 3 to understand the full requirements. A quick summary:

  • Optional: At least 2 on-camera interviews
  • At least 5 seconds of ambient noise, natural sound, or music
  • Video is between 2 and 4minutes
  • Video shots are diverse (see camera shots and camera movements above)
  • Characters/Speakers are introduced with titles and/or the they self-identify themselves and/or the reporter identifies the speaker.
    • Your video has to have human subject(s).
  • Story has a beginning, middle, and end (narrative arc)
  • Integrate B-roll into your video

When you plan out your project, you need to sketch out what your ideal video would look like. (This is something you need to do by yourself or with your partner. No need to submit a copy of your work plan.)

  • Sketch out the basic sequence of scenes (e.g., intro scene, B-roll, talking head interviews).
  • Write down how you plan to fulfill each of the above requirements.
  • Consider storyboarding your video project (see p. 151 in the textbook and this resource for more information). Think about how many shots/scenes you want to create. This is not a work of art. Use stick figures and simple drawings.
  • You can also include notes about any text and sound. If you’re working in groups, then you can complete this task together.

💡Story Ideas: You need to have a concrete and focused idea. Brainstorming a good story idea is indeed a challenge now due to social distancing. In the assignment document, you can find some project ideas that I thought of as suggestions on page 2. No matter what story idea you develop for you project, please prioritize your safety.

Feel free to email me your project idea for feedback.


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