Lesson Plans

Junior Lesson Plan #5 - Tips on using video

Note: We recommend that you print this article and distribute it to your students.

Tips on using video in your story

Once you start writing your story, think about the video-taped images and interviews you have recorded and consider how they could fit into your story. For example, a shot of an event might help you show the audience exactly what it was like to be in that particular place at that time. Or a person involved in the event might be able to explain something better than you could say it yourself!

When you're writing for an online publication like SNN, try to present your story so that everyone can read it -- whether they can play the video or audio elements or not. That means including the information that appears on video and audio in your written version of the story.

If you select a piece of video tape to include in your story, try to keep it short -- about 20-40 seconds in length. Perhaps you'd like to include a part of an interview with someone involved in the story. It's best to use a section that has clear recordings of both the questions and answers. If the questions can't be heard very well, it's better to just use video of the person's answers to expand on a point made in your story.

Tips on Recording video for your story

Before you set out with your video camera, think about the story you want to tell. What pictures and sounds do you need to help you? Do you need a shot of a specific location or building? Of one person or a group of people? Of specific things mentioned in your story? The more video you have, the more you will have to work with when you're writing and editing your stories.

If you're doing an interview with a person in a busy place, make sure the person's voice isn't drowned out by background noise. Sometimes it's best to take the person aside to a more quiet spot. The same is true for actions that are happening behind the person during the interview -- sometimes it can be distracting for the audience if there's too much going on around the person.

When you are doing an interview, try to frame the person's head and shoulders in your shot so you can see his or her face clearly. Don't stand back six feet and have her whole body in the shot if it means you can't see her face. This is also important if your microphone is in the camera (instead of a separate microphone attached with a cord) because you need to be close to the person in order to record his or her voice clearly.

When you record video of an event or place, be sure to shoot some pictures standing still, as well as some where the camera moves across the scene. You may need one or the other -- or both -- when you write your story. Plus, video recorded in one place can be used to make a photograph for the web. You can simply stop the video tape at the right spot, freeze the image and turn into a graphic file.

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