A video tutorial: "Capturing quality video"
Film all the action and nothing else than the action. Avoid sequences that are too long where
nothing happens. Also avoid filming in little clips of two seconds, you will have
a hard time editing your images, the shooting risks being too jerky. If the action
is happening in front of you, keep filming without stopping the recording.
Professional reporters shoot a minimal time of 7-10 seconds to make sure they’ll
be able to get 3,4 seconds of interesting images (those who move the least, where
something interesting happens).
Do not hesitate to cut scenes when you edit. Instead of sending six minutes, send
three films of two minutes, if each sequence is coherent. That way, the community
can directly access the part they are most interested in.
It's essential! You must anticipate the action, place yourself in front
of it. Always try to be the closest possible, it will avoid zooming (avoid doing
so when filming, unless necessary). Ideally, you find the right spot where you won’t
have to move too much. From a good spot, you must be able to film two or three different
things. Avoid moving while filming, unless necessary, because it is hard to remain
Attention : DO NOT TAKE ANY RISKS! In the rush, think of your safety first.
If you witness an accident, call the emergency number and help the people injured.
To move or not to move?
There are two possible options when you witness an event. A fixed frame: you don’t move,
the action happens inside the frame (you are in front of a march, a protest, we
see the banner and the people behind). Or you move with the action (you walk backwards,
and film the face of a protester walking and screaming a motto)
Don’t forget to film a wide shot where you see the whole scene. Above all, avoid
zooming and un-zooming all the time. Take a wide angle, stop the recording, zoom
on the action or a face, then record again. Make many different shots: a wide shot,
a shot at the waist, a close-up.
Example of a protest : First, the march from far away, in an establishing shot (go
up on a bench, at the third floor of a building) to give an idea of the size
of the march (first information). Then, you can film the beginning of the march,
the first banner with a shot wide enough so we can read the claim (second info).
Then a closer shot where, for example, one can see two protesters, framed above
the waist, singing a text written for the march (third info).
End with a close-up, a protester that has stickers on his face, painted it or wrote
a motto on his cheek (fourth info).
If the action happens far away, try to settle on a tree, a post, put your camcorder
on the ground, on a bench etc. Always hold your camcorder with two hands and look
at your viewfinder or LCD screen to know what you are filming. It is always more
difficult to remain stable when zooming.
Avoid filming someone placed in front of a window or who has sun in their back.
Ideally, the light must come from behind you and floodlight the situation, the interviewee.
How to compose a good interview
Choice of the person
You must always ask yourself “What is interesting about the interviewee?” Always
ask questions related to the function of the person chosen.
If it is a witness of a fire, ask him what he saw. Then ask the chief firefighter
how many men were mobilized. Then ask the prefect questions on security legal norms
and measures to avoid another incident.
If there is a debate or a controversy, always ask both sides of the story. The lawyer
of the attacked person, the lawyer of the attackers, the displeased (or not) actors
in a strike, but also the representatives of the strikers, both versions of neighbors
accusing each other etc. Getting equally both sides of a story is one of the basic
principles of journalism.
Choice of the shooting scene
Ideally, the interview must take place in the environment of the interviewee. If
it is a garage mechanic, in a garage, if it is a firefighter, in front of a fire,
etc. Avoid making an interview in front of a wall (no perspective, no possibility
of locating the place.) If we see in which context the interview takes place, it
is more informative, more interesting.
Identity of the interviewee
Ask the first name, last name and the person’s function
at the beginning of the interview. If their name is complicated, ask them to spell
it. You can also film their business card where all the information is visible.
Rule n°1: No closed questions!! You don’t want « yes » or « no » answers. Example.
An athlete comes back from time off: « Are you feeling better?- Yes”… not
very informative! It would be better to ask “Why are you feeling better?”- The doctors
helped me heal my ankle injury, it was a sprain, I took some time to rest in the countryside
for three weeks…”
Think well about the context of the event: "When or where did it happen? Why did it happen? How did it happen?"
It is best that the person looks at you in the eyes and not at the camera (it would
give the impression that she is speaking live, as a newscaster!) Ideally, the person
must be slightly off-center and framed either on the left or on the right. In a
picture or in a video, we never center, we privilege the 1/3, 2/3 rule. The strength
lines of the image are on the horizontal and vertical third.
If you have an additional light on your camera, do not hesitate to use it, especially
when shooting inside. Often faces seem too dark.
Avoid starting an interview if a lamp is behind your interlocutor. Chances are
your camera will get the wrong settings and the person’s face will be dark. On the
contrary, put the lamp in front of your interlocutor to give their face some light.
Also, if you are outside in a situation with slight backlighting, use your small additional
Hearing the person you are interviewing well is essential. Avoid places that are
too noisy. Choose places as calm as possible. During a protest, for example, ask
your interlocutor to isolate yourselves from the march so as to hear them better.
If you have a microphone: minimum of 30 centimeter from the mouth. Move it closer
if an unexpected noise comes disturb the interview.
The different values of a shoot
Very close up
A detail, a face with the chin. The forehead can be cut. For a very close-up to
be usable, you must be especially still (probably using a tripod).
An entire face for example.
On a character, it is a shot with the chest and face. It gives a good presence to
It is a larger shot that inserts the belt and the guns.
The character is completely in the frame. It’s a presentation shot.
It is an establishing shot, a landscape, a show scene, a street.
Panoramic shot: Left right or down up
It is a narrative and informative shot. It wants to show something to the viewers
(the size of a basketball player, the length of a car…). It must be as stable as
possible. It must not be too long (10s). It must start and end with a fixed shoot.
It is useful to double it both ways. If it is not a success, do it again.
Tracking and sequence shot
This is also a narrative shot. It must be as stable as possible. It must have a
beginning and an end. It must not be too long (between 10 and 20 s).