Tips for better web videos

Well done to all first year multimedia news students who managed to shoot, edit, upload and embed a video on to the web during the Introduction to Web Video sessions. It was actually a tough assignment to achieve in the time – I’m pleased that it worked so well.

Some didn’t manage all this of course, but that was mainly thanks to problems with YouTube and the course scheduling on Friday afternoon – and also my unfamiliarity with the new(ish) iMovie. It certainly wasn’t your fault – oh no.

However – looking at what you all did, here are a few notes about making the video process smoother and easier.

  • Plan your video. If you have a bit more time to make a video (even if it’s only half an hour extra) try to work out what you’re doing beforehand. Draw up a rough storyboard: that’s just a quick plan of the different shots and what order they go in. A simple storyboard might look like this (I was going to rough one out myself, but, hey, it’s been a busy month):exampleBThere’s also a good guide to storyboarding by Brad Bird (Simpsons, Iron Giant) here.
  • Script your questions. One group did this and it was a big help – it means you can repeat the questions exactly when you do the cutaway shots to the interviewer. It also helps you seem more confident and polished.
  • Think about editing while you shoot. Several of you worked the camera in a Cinema Verité style – shaky cam, zooming in and out as the subject was speaking, and moving around in a kind of tracking shot. Now – that’s fine in itself, but it can make it tricky to edit different takes together and make them match – particularly as it means changing sound levels.
  • Don’t talk over each other. One big problem with editing video quickly is the audio. If you talk over each other during the shoot, you’ll get a messy, choppy sound. That can be fixed in FinalCut – and even in iMovie – but it all takes time and effort. If you make sure you have clear, distinct questions and clear, distinct answers, you’ll have a much easier editing job and better results.

Again, any questions or comments, feel free to contact me.

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