Video, week 1

In our video sessions this week, we have been going over the “language” of filmmaking. By using correct use of video, we can create far more professional and visually-appealing work. This includes techniques such as shot sizes and camera angles.

Image sourced from studiobinder.com

The image above captures both quite neatly. I think for the use of journalism, usually a few angles or shot levels will be used in one piece because it would be very distracting from the narrative otherwise. However, using more creative shots could be useful when people want their identity concealed, or perhaps when filming a longer, investigative piece

We also went over the rule of thirds (and various other composition guides.) It made me realise how creative even factual shows can be.

After this, we went over cutaway GVs (general views.) These are videos that are relevant to the topic, and are generally used on top of someone speaking. There are a few different reasons you would use them:

  • Time control
  • Reveal info
  • Increase tension
  • Cover jumpcuts
  • Cover errors

Watching the news I was struck by how many of these there actually are, and how important they were to the programme. They help keep focus, and demonstrate what the story is actually about. Even with the volume muted, with relevant cutaways you would be able to know at least the basics of what the news story is.

I filmed and edited a short video to practise my own camera skills, and experiment with shot types.

I had quite a few major issues making this. Firstly, I only have my iPhone that I can use as a camera. It had very strong video quality, which was good, but it was really hard to control shots properly, or with any degree of skill. Ultimately I had to move my own body to fit within the shot, rather than move the camera, which was really difficult.

The second major issue I had was filming it alone. I think realistically the subject that I chose was not one that was appropriate for the task at hand, because it meant I had to film myself a lot. If I had someone else, this would not have been such an issue. I think realistically I should have done a PTC about nature or something like that, and taken some nice cutaways of local parks or forests.

In a more positive respect, I am quite happy with the way I both planned and edited it. Beforehand I listed every shot I wanted at each moment of speaking, and this meant filming went rather quickly and concisely. I will do this for every similar project from now.

There were a lot of different audio and video clips, which gave me a really good opportunity to practice my editing skills on Adobe Premiere. I am very happy with the way it turned out in terms of editing, and I learnt a few new things as well. The most invaluable of these was the keyboard shortcut for the razor tool, which saved me a lot of time.

The next thing we went on to was sequences. These are sort of tiny stories, were you use a few videos to convey a simple action. For example, if someone were brushing their teeth, you might have:

  • A shot of them putting on the toothpaste
  • Actually brushing their teeth
  • Spitting out toothpaste

These are usually done with a variety of angles and shots, and could be used to establish a location or a particular point.

We had to do our own small sequences relating to “my local Covid” and I decided to film the local shopping centre. The idea was that it would be clear the effect the virus has had on retail, especially during the current lockdown.

However the main issue with this is that the shopping centre was actually empty. This was the point I wanted to make, but it meant I couldn’t have any shots of people at all, and just ended up taking videos of empty shops and paths.