Industry tips #6 – Freelance video journalist Democratic Republic of Congo

1 04 2011

By Dale Sean McEwan

Video about Claudel’s background.

Video about Claudel’s arrival in London.

Claudel filming interviews of rape victims for Human Rights Watch.

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John Moratiel on Interviewing

28 03 2011

“You really should have all your bases covered at the end of an interview which is why preparation is vital.

It looks unprofessional and can throw up all kinds of continuity issues. It is unlikely that you would have the luxury of time to go back for more interview footage. Your interviewee would have to wear the same things, have the same hair cut, and be interviewed in the same physical surroundings.

One trick of the trade, should this happen, which it really shouldn’t come to, is to gain the audio required from the interview, and cut away to a different shot which either illustrates what your interviewee is saying (for example, if you’re talking to a head teacher about health and safety regulations, you might cut to a shot of children in a playground- bit of a cliché example but you get the idea) and lay it over the top.”

Sarah Stewart





Editor, John Moratiel on refining undercover videos for documentaries

28 03 2011

I was lucky enough to spend some time at Fitzrovia post and spoke to online editor John Moratiel.

Undercover video journalism is a hard form of journalism to edit. During the research and gathering evidence stage for a documentary, two types of camera can be used. One can be worn on the body and the other can be concealed within a static object. Whilst this makes for exciting viewing when eventually transmitted, getting to that stage takes a great deal of time and effort and can be problematic. It is often the case that when an object is used to conceal a camera, the object can be moved unwittingly. It can be turned to face a wall, using footage where there are no figures on screen does not make for good viewing. When all the video material is gathered, it is logged by researchers who watch the videos, describing briefly in a Word document what happens in each clip and then typing up the dialogue in detail.  In an ideal world, it would be preferable to watch the videos in real time, but it is sometimes necessary to speed the viewing up. Often it is the case that when important dialogue is located in the video, a clip might have to be viewed several times. When all of the videos are logged, producers will review the highlighted footage, and should then judge what should be included, both to captivate and interest the audience and also to remain balanced. (Editing badly can end in court battles)

Interviews are undertaken on cameras either with tape or tapeless. If video footage is recorded on tape, the footage is then digitised during post production. Or if you are assembling footage for personal use and not on a large scale, it is possible to do this without too much technical expertise

For secret videos, files are saved much like an MP3 file, which are then downloaded. Editors job to put them together in the same format. The industry standard is AVID or Final Cut Pro.

Sarah Stewart





A little help from friends…

28 03 2011

I spoke to two friends who started out as online video journalists about their top advice for producing video journalism of a high quality. They both work for CNN now, and pointed out that Jon Roberts, a news anchor at the channel whose experience is often cited during training of new journalists gets to the heart of what it means to be a video journalist: capturing the moment.

Sarah Stewart





You’re on your own!

28 03 2011

Citizen video journalism is all about going it alone without the security of a big media organisation behind you. It’s all about being organised, being accountable to yourself and the project and trusting your instinct. In this video, Mark Egan takes the fear out of being a solo operator.

Sarah Stewart





Help from the professionals…

28 03 2011

The great thing about video journalism is that you don’t need to be especially technically minded to get started. Here’s a really great link to a page put together by Sally Webb, a producer, director and tutor at both The National Film and Television School and City University. This page takes the basic ideas a novice video journalist has and refines them. One of the most difficult things to tackle when producing a piece of video journalism is organisation. You might have a billion bright ideas for what you want to say to your audience in sound and images, but unless you are clear, ordered and timely with your delivery, your viewer might get confused and the message you’re trying to convey might get lost.

Sarah Stewart