After the break, we started off with the audio. On Monday we talked about the ‘tool of journalists’ – interviews (which are used for both audio and video). We use interviews to obtain new information, clarify facts, explore different perspectives, etc. They expand upon the basis ‘who, what, where, when, why, how’ of newsgathering. Therefore it’s important to know what it should look like.
We have to ask relevant questions (the questions that will bring us the answers we want to hear), do research and be clear about what we’re doing. be prepared what and WHO to ask (so do research about the interviewee), know the purpose of the interview. We also have to have clear expectations from the interviewee. Our interview should have a clear angle/focus and should develop logically. The audience is also essential – it should be involved in, too. As journalists, we have to be impartial, have to act sensitively and lead the interview the whole time – the interview is under our control.
We should write down our notes or at least memorise them. The last essential thing is to politely take control of the situation – we should avoid disturbing sounds, rearrange the furniture if needed, etc. When the interview starts, we should ask the interviewees to introduce themselves. We also have to get down the correct spelling of their name – I know that this is very very important because it’s really embarrassing and also unprofessional when you make a mistake. However, I still think that not being aware of doing that mistake is way much worse. From my personal experience, it’s sort of funny that people, who I’m surrounded by (now I mean especially other possible future journalists), should be aware of spelling my name but are not.
Anyway, back to the interviews. Always start with an important question – what if your camera dies right after the start of the interview, what if the interviewee has to leave earlier, whatever – rather be prepared for these kinds of situations. The questions should be opened (avoid the closed ones) because they take more time and the interviewee has a space to talk more.
And finally, last few notes – always refuse to provide questions in advance (what if you forget to mention something but later the interviewee refuses to answer your additional questions), avoid certain subjects, fix a precise duration and give the quest the right to withdraw or edit the interview.
During the day, I finally booked the camera via the LSBU websites. The pick-up date was on Wednesday, which was great because I was planning to go on-site for our afternoon workshop anyway. To be honest, I started a bit earlier than my other classmates because I was kind of stressed. That week, I booked a flight back home to the Czech Republic and I wanted to have both projects done before leaving, so I had 2 weeks to have it done. Quite challenging, but I like challenges haha.
On Tuesday, the main topic was music. How it can be used? We usually use it underneath the main audio clips and it may be stopped when the witnesses speak or we can use it as an introduction, too. It’s an important tool, which enhances the story a bit, but remembers – the music cannot save the story! If the topic isn’t engaging for the audience at all, then even the music won’t make it better. During that day, I also made a plan/structure of my video and audio project. I wrote down which shots I would like to record, where to record them (different environments), who would be my interviewees, etc.
Later, we worked on two tasks. The first one was to listen to some podcasts and describe what we heard – the expert voice, the eye witness, music used (how and where and for how long, any sound effects, how long do the different elements last), how long does the presenter talk for, how long do the interviews last for + write down the complete timings from start to finish for each package). The second one was to choose one of the podcasts and rewrite its script with the timing.
1. expert: politician Steve Barclays; eye witness: ppl who get involved in packing and providing free meals for (restaurants, cafes, etc.); music at the beginning and at the end (playing football, kitchen – natural sound)
2. expert: Gillian Keane minister for apprenticeships. music at the beginning,
3. expert voice: a virologist; eye witness: curious about the Christmas holidays; presence in the car (not in the studio) – happening in real-time, in the middle: Christmas music -> makes context to the scene and topic, sounds in the background (stereo, doors closing, sounds of the car);
4. expert: BBC health reporter Michelle Roberts; eye witness: BBC audience (normal ppl who are curious whether the vaccine is that successful, they are asking questions – Q&A)
5. intro music, experts: Amy Byrne labour, gives credibility to the story + description of bad working conditions in the factory; eye witness: 2 factory workers, ppl who go shopping (talking about various shops and retailers, smaller businesses)
TASK 2 (Rashford’s story):
Intro: (00:00 – 00:21)
Rashford turning on the edge of…. Brilliant finish from Rashford! (brief commendatory of Rashford scoring a goal)
Narrator: Marcus Rashford’s focus isn’t just on scoring goals anymore, his plan for free meals for the poorest children in England during the half-term might have been rejected by the government, but he’s not giving up.
Marcus Rashford: “They have definitely not been through it themselves, for me it’s, you know, I’ll take that all day long as long as we start seeing improvements going forward.”
Local supporters: (00:21 – 01:34)
Narrator: And judging by the number of restaurants and cafes he has been retweeting all day, others feel the same.
Allison, Salford: “A healthy sandwich, a healthy fruit, a yoghurt and some crisps and a treat as well.”
Narrator: Allison runs a brewery in Salford, Monday to Friday next week she’ll be picking up free lunches. She is from a big family, seven brothers and four sisters – so this is personal.
Allison, Salford: “Being on free school meals as a young child, I guess you don’t really appreciate. I understand that your parents are not able to provide those three meals a day for you.”
Narrator: Loads of places are inspired by the striker’s campaign like Mark in Newcastle, who’s opening up their local football club next week. Their ad says no child should go hungry, no judgement, no questions, just get in touch.
Mark, Newcastle: “Sandwiches, crisps, a *** fruit and yoghurt and a drink. ***.”
Narrator: Same story over in Manchester, where sandwiches, crisps and fresh fruits are on offer.
Chloe: “Hi, we are from Turn up food co.”
Narrator: Chloe and her team wanted to get involved.
Chloe: “Because *** over the past couple of days, I think it’s really wrong that children should go without meals during the holidays, it’s such a hard time.”
Government opinion and respond: (01:34 – 02:00)
Narrator: The campaign did force the government u-turn to offer free meals during the summer in England, you got the supermarket voucher or headed to a holiday club, but this time the politicians aren’t persuaded. They say they’re already looking for those in need.
Steve Barclays: “The issue is what is the best way of headed support to families.”
Narrator: Steve Barclays from the treasury.
Steve Barclays: “We hooked on through ***health system, through the sport and local authorities, targeted measures in schools and above all trying to help as many people keep their jobs.”
Outro: (02:00 – 02:22)
Narrator: In Wales and Scotland there will be free meals until next Easter. Northern Ireland over this half term, so there’s pressure on England. Birmingham, *** and Kensington and Chelsea local authorities have promised to provide vouchers, for some, it’s the only way.
Unknown interviewee: “Just wanted to come together as the family to do this so this is just a gift from our family, so everybody else is a family out there.”
On Wednesday, we were talking more about our pieces (more like about our ideas, because there were just a few of us who have already started doing something). It was a quite helpful day because thanks to my tutors, I found out who to use as an expert. Well, I’ve already known what to do with my project, so it’s was a calm day. Later, I went on-site and borrowed the camera. I got very excited about it because guys from KitRoom lent me a Canon EOS 70D. I used to work with a similar one back in the Czech Republic, so it was a piece of cake for me to use it.
That afternoon, I was the only one in the class on campus, so I had more space to talk with Matt about my project (I had some additional questions about the effects because I was struggling a lot with finding them in the Adobe) and I also showed him my plan and structure of the project.
After the workshop, I went to explore the campus and take my first shots there (which I later didn’t include in my story, but never mind). During the way back to the halls, I recorded the area of the Halls and also did some other shots like traffic, Elephant&Castle roundabout, etc. Honestly, I didn’t want to use common ‘not telling the story’ shots, so I looked out for signs/posters about the coronavirus or shots of students that would be more interesting and appropriate for my story.
When I got home, I just switched the battery in the camera and went out again – my first interview was happening in half an hour. I decided to pick students, who are international, so I started with Jose.
Jose comes from Spain and he’s a first-year student at LSBU. He eats healthy, exercises and cooks his own meals, so I decided to show how he keeps his healthy lifestyle. We went to the shop and I made some shots (I was trying to make a 5-shot sequence) of him doing the grocery shopping. In the shop, I had to ask for permission to record there. Luckily, the staff were really helpful and they didn’t mind. Unfortunately, later I found out that it wouldn’t fit my story that much, so I didn’t use it. However, there are some of them.
After we got back from the store, Jose started to cook his dinner. While he was cooking, I prepared my camera, mic and made some changes in his kitchen (rearranged the table and other furniture, closed the window because of disturbing traffic sounds, asked his friend to turn down the music on his phone, etc.). I recorded him while he was cooking and did another 5-shot sequence.
After dinner, we recorded the interview. The whole ‘Jose part’ took me around 2 hours (including grocery shopping). Overall, the interview went well, there were no interruptions or problems at all. Despite the fact that the whole day was really busy (morning online lectures, lunch, going to the KitRoom, afternoon session on-site, the interview right after), I enjoyed it a lot!
On Thursday, I had another 2 interviews planned, this time with Hana from UniLink organisation (as my expert) and another witness Francesca.
I scheduled a Zoom call with Hana at 9 AM and it took approx. half an hour. The interview went without complications. Hana answered all my questions and I made different shots during the interview (Screen recording of the Zoom call and wide-full shot of me using my PC).
Later I met Francesca at 11 AM and we went to the local Kennington park., because I wanted to record the interview in a different environment than Jose’s.
Francesca comes from Italy and is also a first-year student at LSBU, so she is a great example of my ‘international’ witnesses. That day, the weather was nice, it wasn’t rainy at all. Everything seemed perfect, however, there were some troubles later. When we got there, I found out how hard it can be when you don’t have a tripod. Honestly, I was struggling mostly because of that, so I had to improvise and find something that would hold my camera steady. I could handle it somehow in all situations but not in the park. I made some shots and could have used them, but they weren’t good enough for my story (there you can see how punctual I am). However, they weren’t good for my video project, but at least I used them for my audio later because of the natural sound (you can hear Pidgeon in the background while Francesca speaks).
During the weekend, I was reviewing the material that I’ve already made. Because of Francesca’s unsuccessful interview, we decided to postpone the date and record it later. However, I had to return the camera, so I decided to borrow it for the Christmas break. That was a great idea because I was filming A LOT later, though.
I recorded other shots of our accommodation (from the outside, inside, a view from a window in my room, etc.). I also recorded the intro outside our accommodation but again I had to delete it later because the quality of sound was terrible (the accommodation is next to a busy road). The funny thing is that I realised how short the project really had to be. 3 minutes for one video is nothing… I had to make some changes in my plan and in the structure of the project – for example, I left some shots out because it wouldn’t fit the 3-minute package.