7 tips for video journalism success

30 03 2011

By Richard Dodwell

In a world of mass media, it is often difficult to grasp the basics. Outtake TV is a prime example of video journalism gone wrong. Here we help you to better prepare yourself before, during and after shooting your video to avoid any accidents.

  1. Master the art of the interview. – Tricky, we know. But sometimes just listening to everything your interviewee says is the key to producing a fantastic piece of video journalism. Look out for key points, topical pegs and anything else that may drive your story through the narrative.
  2. Learn your narrative. And keep it. – Editing a piece of footage for publication, or to share on the internet, can be a time-consuming business if you lose your narrative. That is, the story or thread to your piece of journalism. By knowing which direction you want your story to go – you are more likely to pick up on the best points and visuals that will highlight the point, or world view, you are trying to share with the world.
  3. Ask but don’t tell. – Asking questions of interviewees or in a rhetorical fashion to accompany a GV (general view or shot) is fine. But don’t feel the need to tell your viewer what they are seeing. Unless they are blind, they are most likely to be able to get what they should from the visuals themselves. This is a much more powerful way of telling the same story.
  4. Learn from the experts. – Pick your favourite video journalist and try to gauge exactly how they make their films so engaging. What angles do they chose? How many sequences are there? What colours do you see? What is this person in the shot telling me? Burma VJ‘s Anders Østergaard is a very good example to learn from.
  5. Perspectives are the key. – The most powerful video journalism often involves a wide variety of perspectives. Whether the majority of voices in your video are on one side or the other, the variety of tone, sound and language can really diversify your piece – not only validating your story but showing your passion for human interest.
  6. Learn to communicate on group projects. – Often when out on a shoot with more than one person, it can be difficult for a video journalist to exercise their true creativity when they feel pressured by a weary accomplice or scrutinising teammate. Communication is one good way to resolve this and ensure greater efficiency and general wellbeing.
  7. Have fun. – Video journalism should involve a good amount of enthusiasm and passion. Even in the most dire consequences your reasoning for being present and filming should remain genuine and compassionate. You must also learn to have fun, as this can come across well in video journalism – causing your creative flair to further release itself and ensure audiences are gripped by your craftily sought-out footage.

We appreciate feedback on any of our practical tips. Or if you just want to communicate with us then you can contact us on Twitter at World_VJ.

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