Broadcast Journalism, Week 5

We finished the last week of Broadcast Journalism with a video lecture. On Monday, we talked about Vox-pops. These are short clips, usually including different people’s opinions. For these clips, different backgrounds are used and there is also a big variety of different people. And what’s the thing that these people have in common? Mainly the question they have to answer! Of course, in some cases, there can be more similarities – the same location, same gender, etc. It depends on the topic.

As interviewers, we should prepare some punchy short questions to get punchy short answers. Most of our witnesses are usually in a hurry, so there’s no time for complicated questions.

Then we talked about voiceover. We’ve already been through this in the previous module, so I just quickly revised my notes – it is important to make sure that the voiceover suits the video. According to this lecture and later to the voice exercise on Thursday, I had to remake some of my voiceovers, because they didn’t suit the story. Also, we should use voiceovers for telling the facts and leave the emotional parts for vox-pops, witnesses’ interviews, etc.

Later, we moved to scriptwriting. It was fine to get through this because I’ve already had a script at that time, so I could revise it and just make sure everything was okay. It’s important to decide how long the script should be. According to the length of our projects, I knew I had to remove some clips or leave some parts out because they wouldn’t fit the 3-min package. Then we have to make sure that our piece makes sense, so it’s helpful if we show it to someone (just to know their opinion).

Later we moved to edit. The way we edit can change the meaning of our story and how the story approaches the audience. At first, we should organise our project (even having different folds for our shots on the PC is very useful, so you won’t lose anything). During the editing, we can use many effects to enhance our story. There are different video/audio transitions. I would like to mention these:

  • jumpcuts
  • sequence (different shots, can increase the tension)
  • dissolve (fade-ins, fade-outs)
  • crossfade (one image changes to another )

I’ve already used all of them – jumpcuts and sequences for the interviews, dissolve and crossfade at the beginning and the end. I will probably make some changes later or will add some more.

For our stories, pacing and rhythm are also very important. We have to think about the flow of our projects as the right pace can approach the audience more and that’s what we want the most!

On Monday afternoon, I had a scheduled Zoom call with another eye witness – Linda. She comes from the Czech Republic and we met here in London. Unfortunately, she had to move back home after two months. I decided to interview with her as it seemed quite interesting to have an opinion of someone, who had to leave the country because of the second lockdown. The call took us about half an hour and I made shots similar to the ones with Hanka.

During Tuesday and Wednesday, we talked about our projects, discussed different angles of our stories, tutors answered our inquiries just to make sure we understand everything.

Before going on-site on Wednesday, I had an interview with Mr Alexander Huda, who is a manager of a local Halls of residence. The interview itself was okay, but I struggled again because of the tripod (which I didn’t have). Well, in my opinion, everything’s possible as long as we push ourselves and keep on trying. Therefore I talked to a receptionist at the accommodation reception and she agreed on borrowing a ladder for the interview. Still, I had to use one of my shoe boxes as the ladder was too small, but I made it! Later I went on-site to go through all the basics in Adobe Audition and Premiere Pro.

That week, we had an additional lecture on Thursday to practise our voices. I didn’t realise how important breathing is when I am about to make a speech! Thanks to deep breaths, you can reach different highs and lows of your voice and it also makes your voice sound more exciting and energetic. That lecture made me record some voiceovers again as they didn’t sound so engaging.

Here you can listen to the same voiceovers – the first one was recorded in the night when I was already lying in the bed (tired as hell), and the second one, which was recorded the next day while I was sitting at the desk (in the straight position), after taking a deep breath and also after some quality sleep.

On Thursday, I had an interview with Francesca. This time, it was successful. Because of the rainy weather, we had to stay indoors, so I decided to record the interview in her room. It took us about half an hour because I had prepared only two questions for her (at that time, I already had almost everything recorded, so I knew there was no other space for long interviews). I planned to make a 3-shot sequence but during the filming I decided to do the 5-shot one instead (it seems more engaging and I like it more, don’t know why).

On Friday and during the weekend, I barely left my room. I was editing the whole time. I have to admit that the structure and plan of the project are very essential as you can decide which shots to use and which not. However, I still struggled with some of them, because I wanted to use them but there was no space for it (a 3-min package is a short package). To be honest, I think one of the hardest things about this project is that you have to make it short at all costs. Sometimes, you have to leave some shots out even though they are great.

Thanks to the last afternoon’s workshop on Wednesday, I knew where to find different effects and I was more confident about the whole Adobe overall.

On Saturday, I recorded for the last time – the last scene with Francesca and her friends in the kitchen and also the intro. I started with the intro in the early morning. I wanted to keep the same spot as in my first unsuccessful intro because of the great view of the London Eye. Thanks to this view, the audience can be more involved in the story as it is set in London.

I had to move somewhere further from the busy road, so I decided to film it in the street next to our accommodation. In the end, there was no disturbing sound and the view was still magnificent. However, I think I have woken up some students as I was filming it right next to the accommodation building in the early morning. Then I moved to Westminster Bridge and made some shots there, too.

Later that day, I had almost everything done, but I was still missing the background ‘Bensound’. I looked out for some on the Internet, but I didn’t like any of these sounds there. All of them were dull. Then I came up with a great idea. One of my ex-classmates is a musician – he plays the guitar, the piano and he makes his music. He is very talented (and because I know how much he is), I told him about the project and asked him if I could use some of his music. He later replied and agreed on it. I think it was a good idea because I love his music, but mainly because his music is powerful enough to complete the whole piece. I also think I may help him to get promoted a bit when I post this project on my website later.

Here you can listen to some of his music (I strongly recommend it!):

Speaking of posting the project, I asked everyone to decide whether they want to be involved and everyone gave me their permission. I even prepared special permission for Mr Alexander Huda, in case he would change his mind.

While working on the final touches, I decided to enhance the audio story more. It’s important to think about the little things because there are no visuals, so the sound has to be clear. That’s why I deleted a part where Francesca spoke about her current situation in London because there was a disturbing sound in the background (an aircraft sound). I tried to edit it in Adobe Audition but it was too loud. Here you can listen to it.

Besides the natural sounds in the background (which you can only find in two of my interviews, I guess), I hadn’t a chance to record other ‘background’ sounds. In my opinion, it was quite hard to record it, especially for my project, because the filming/recording was located mainly indoors and also because my eyewitnesses spoke about their current stay in the accommodation. However, I wanted to enhance the story with something, so I decided to record the sounds of Francesca and her flatmates while they were cooking on Saturday. You can hear them talking and laughing, then someone using the cutlery, etc.

To sum it up, I think I did pretty well with the project. I enjoyed it a lot even though it was sometimes quite challenging. Because of the scheduled flight, I had to make it in 10 days, so I was under big pressure, but hopefully, the tutors will appreciate it.

I gained so many new skills which are important for my future studies (and future life at all) and I’m glad for that.

While writing this on Monday 07th December, I might check the project later, but I think we’re done, there.