Audio & Visual Workbook Week 2

In week two of the introduction to broadcast module we focussed on the visual side of things. Firstly on Monday with Michael we talked through our ideas for the ‘My Local COVID’ project we have been set. Some examples of angles that were discussed were:

  • Differences between lockdown 1 and 2
  • Mental health in lockdown
  • Economy
  • Education
  • People disobeying second lockdown
  • Some business booming
  • Our own / peoples own experiences
  • University 1st year so different to normal

After this we were introduced to sequences, which are a collection of shots that tell a story. The point of a sequence is to help you focus on a story from different angles. As well as this, we also understood how shot types connote certain things, and what shot type you choose depends on what feelings you want to evoke from your audience. Finally on Monday Michael asked us to record a package speaking about our personal experience during the first wave of COVID and lockdown one.We needed to speak to the camera and get shots to help tell our story through lockdown.

After Michael’s session on Monday I also had a session with Matt learning Premiere Pro. I feel very confident on Premiere Pro as I have used it before but Matt taught me some basic tips such as where to save and also, when there is a green or yellow line above your video you can export as it has rendered but if the line is red, you shouldn’t export as the project has not rendered. When I imported all of the clips that I had recorded I firstly separated all of the audio and video so that I could practically have a voiceover the whole way through with shots changing on screen. To do this, you simply right click and press unlink.

This means that you can move unneeded audio and clear your timeline, it also allows one audio clip to play whilst lots of clips are shown. As well as this, if you need to cut any clips you imported, you can click cut (top of the menu shown in the screenshot) and this will remove it.

Matt also taught me a skill that is very useful in news editing, which is blurring a face. The reason this is useful in news is because you will often interview people who don’t want to have their face shown on the news. This is a simple way to grant people their wish. Audio distortion is also an option, although I haven’t learned how to do this yet.

Firstly to blur a face you need to go to ‘effects’ in the bottom left and from there to ‘video effects’. After that you need to select ‘gaussian blur’ and drag it onto the clip you wish to apply it to on your timeline. After that you draw a ‘mask’ around the face or object you want to blur.
From there you adjust the mask around the object and also change the opacity and blurriness in the ‘effect controls’ area.
I changed my blurriness and opacity to 100 on both, so that my face was properly blurred. Since my face was still in the video I did not need to track my face. This screenshot is when I was playing the video, showing that the mask around my face disappears once I play the clip.

On Tuesday Michael taught us some cinematography techniques, and I was familiar with quite a lot of them due to work I had done previously. Firstly was the rule of thirds which gives you the most aesthetically pleasing shots. This is a good way to balance your shots too. Michael also introduced us to the Composition Cam app which provides a grid when you use the camera on your phone. A good way of showing opposing views when interviewing people is to make them face opposite ways in their interview, even if they were never together. The last technique Michael showed us on Tuesday was a piece to camera. The key conventions are below:

Reporter speaking directly to camera – they look directly at camera and are making a statement – often live.

Choose place (location very important, you have to be on the ground) and props carefully.

Keep it simple short and avoid writing and memorising.

Give a feel for the situation – read stats / notes if you need.

On Wednesday, Michael taught us about the line of action (180 degree rule). Reverse angle crosses the line but in general you should never. That way the people are always on the same side and the different angles make sense as they are all on the same side. Carrying on from Monday we also continued work on sequences, learning about the 5 shot sequence. This consists of Closeup detail on what is happening, Person who is doing it, Where they are doing it, Over the shoulder shot, Unusual / Alternative shot and an Interview. Lastly on Wednesday we spoke through our “My Local Covid” plans. Everyone banded around ideas and I decided I wanted to portray people and their hardship through this time. Michael said it may be easier and more convenient to interview people around us due to the fact that lockdown prevents how much we can go out and speak to people. My two ideas currently are the impact of COVID on people’s mental health and also the impact of COVID on the education system due to knowing a few people involved in education. The key now is to do research on my project, practice editing, practice shooting sequences and also make sure I have a person involved who is a witness of the situation and an expert as well as writing a voiceover. Finally Michael also just told us to be time conscious with our project and make sure we use our time wisely and don’t rush.