Chapter 8: Telling stories with video

Summary: Video provides a compelling medium for telling a story. Quality can range from the highly produced to a grainy web cam, depending on whether it appears on broadcast television or on the Web. The quality versus quantity debate is irrelevant in online journalism, a compelling video does not have to be aesthetic perfection.

Photo provided by Cal State L.A.

Everyone has access to a video capturing device, whether it is a professional camera, or the camera on a cellphone. A shaky, grainy video clip has the same impact as a professionally edited piece if the content is compelling. Learning some basic techniques in planning your video will help in making your video content all the more engaging.

Plan your video

  • Different projects warrant different approaches: Breaking news will consist of a series of short clips, while an investigative piece will be more of a documentary style.
    • If you are recording breaking news, you may not not be able to catch the event as it happens, but you will be able to gather witness reactions and environmental footage.
    • Investigative pieces or documentaries allow you to have more control. You need to decide who to interview and where you want to shoot. Because of this, storyboarding will be an important tool in organizing your piece.
  • Storyboarding: Storyboards are rough sketches that help organize a multimedia piece. Storyboards consists of boxes moving from left to right with visual representations of the end product. A detailed explanation can be found here.
  • Mix up your shots: A common mistake that beginning videographers make is moving around and zooming in and out excessively. Avoid giving your viewers motion sickness by recording a sequence of clips at different, yet fixed angles.
    • Wide-shot: Good for giving the viewer the full scene.
    • Medium shot: Gives the viewer a normal view, good for filming two-people or a person doing something.
    • Close-up: Good for focusing on one subject.

Voice in video

Learning to be an effective interviewer is important. One should be able to build a rapport with a subject by showing knowledge about the subject or event in question. Building a rapport before you start recording is optimum. While interviewing, use visual cues such as nodding your head to convey interest. Above all, keep your voice to a minimum in the footage, the point is to hear what the interviewee has to say.

  • Using voice overs: You can control your story using a voice-over, and it is an effective tool in providing background content to an image efficiently.

Practice visual storytelling

Some tips in telling a visual story effectively.

  • Define your story in 20 seconds.
  • Have a beginning, middle and end.
  • Use short clips, don’t bore the viewer.
  • Stick to one central idea.
  • Characters make the story. Better characters equal better stories.

Publishing video online

The proliferation of Web sites such as YouTube, Metacafe and Vimeo allows anyone to publish a video online. Uploading is easy, and many of them can handle HD quality video. Create an account and using your email and start uploading.

The AP finally drops the hyphen in e-mail

Summary: Beginning Saturday at 2:00 A.M., the Associated Press will drop the hyphen in its spelling of e-mail as it recognizes it as a proper noun. It also will recognize cell phone and smart phone as singular, self-contained nouns.

Read the TechCrunch article here.

Story board using Mindmeister

Storyboard for NAMI NoVA history project

Our project’s goal is to recover NAMI Northern Virginia history and present it interactively. We will conduct interviews with past board members, do research about the institution, and gather information about its history. We will be using different online platforms to organize and present the information.

Our project will be constructed around an interactive timeline. We’ll be using dipity to create it. We’re planning to use YouTube to post our videos, but they’re also will be linked to the timeline.  We will use batchgeo to create a Google map, and point the locations and programs offered by NAMI Northern Va. The map will be linked to the timeline. Slideshows, scanned documents, and other images will be also linked. We will use social media to disseminate the information we produced, and to reach out to NAMI NOVA established audience.

I will responsible for recording interviews, editing (with the help of Fernanda) and uploads. I am also researching NAMI NoVa’s history through its tax-statements as a non-profit.

Google’s instant search

Summary: In September of 2010, Google added a new instant search feature that shows results as soon as you type. Google declared that it will change the face of searching on the internet.

If search results were not quick enough, Google’s new instant search results software displays links the second you type something in the search bar. This is anticipated to save users on average of two and a half seconds on each search, as this infographic from Nine by Blue shows.

Image provided by Nine By Blue

Not only does the software display results quicker, but it also predicts your search. Much like your soul-mate, Google will be finishing your search phrases for you.

No suprise, 25 percent of audited companies have illegitimate backlinks

Summary: The San Mateo-based SEO firm BrightEdge released an audit of 1,000 companies and found that 25 percent of them back-link to sites that put them at risk of corrective actions by search engine companies.

Image provided by

In a TechCrunch article released today, results of a two-week audit by SEO firm BrightEdge show that approximately 25 percent of companies have backlinks to link-farming sites, Web sites who offer little content and serve to sell link space to companies seeking to raise their search results rank.

The results gives credence to JC Penny’s story that it and many other firms who contract SEO  companies to designed their online marketing strategy were unaware of the practice. Read the JC Penny story here.