From ONA13: 7 tips to improve your video technique

"Great crowd for #fasttrackvideo #ONA13 see http://bit.ly/onavideonotes  for more info." (Credit: Andrew Lih via Twitter - @fuzheado)
"Great crowd for #fasttrackvideo #ONA13 see http://bit.ly/onavideonotes for more info." (Credit: Andrew Lih via Twitter - @fuzheado)

Editor’s note: This is the fourth in a series of reports from five Digital First Media journalists who attended ONA13 through the Digital First Represents program. 

Salt-N-Pepa. Cat gifs. Cronuts. Ryan Gosling. PB&J.

Looking for a common theme? Each of these items made an appearance in some form or another at ONA13′s Fast Track Video Workshop, which I attended.

With a focus on long-form video, the techniques I learned about in this session can help improve the Touts and other video projects we produce from our newsrooms across Digital First Media. I’m no pro when it comes to video, but I am excited to begin applying what I learned from this workshop. Here are the 7 tips that can take our video game to the next level (pun intended):

1. Remember the ‘Rule of Thirds’
Just like when taking a good photo, the focal point of each video shot should be on a grid based on thirds.

2. Do not cross the line of action
The line of action is the line of action — do not cross it. Keep the camera on one side of the subject.

3. Capture 5 key shots for every video

  1. Closeup of the hands — What is the subject doing?
  2. Closeup of the face — Be in their face
  3. Wide shot — Set the scene with the environment shot
  4. Over the shoulder — Get the subject’s point-of-view
  5. Unusual or alternative angle — What else should the audience know?

4. Hold for 10 seconds
Ten seconds is just that — 10 seconds. Hold each shot for 10 seconds, which allows footage that can be edited out. But remember to keep the camera steady.

Need help keeping your camera steady? Buy a tripod. Even a cheap one will help with stability. Being equipped correctly is important.

5. Audio is extremely important
Audio is key. Be aware of background noise. What good is an interview if you can’t hear what someone is saying?

Invest in earphones or earbuds and use them.

And if possible, a separate mic is always better. If you have one that you can use, it’s important that you remain in control of it. Do not let the subject hold it.

Here are some extra tips straight from the source.

6. Interviewing
Many of us think we’ve got this, and many of us do. But remember that interviews take a very different dynamic on camera than they do with a notebook. Here are some pointers for recording video interviews.

  • Stay away from yes/no questions. Ask open-ended questions. Long questions are good. Description is good.
  • Smile and nod to engage with the subject while they are talking. But avoid any oohs and aaahs, as those are difficult to edit out.

7. And this is the most important part
Ultimately, have fun while doing it.

Kimberly Guimarin

By Kimberly Guimarin

Kim Guimarin is senior editor for the Los Angeles News Group. She works most closely with the inland cluster of newspapers -- Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, The Sun, Redlands Daily Facts -- and also oversees the photography needs of LANG.

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