Northwest Video WorkshopPosted: October 25, 2010
I attended the Northwest Video in Workshop in Seattle on Oct. 16. I made new friends, talked shop with other journalists and picked up some inspiration. A couple of (seriously overdue) notes and musings.
By design, the conference was high on inspiration and low on technical training. And that’s cool. The speakers shared more than a dozen great examples of video storytelling that reminded us of why good journalism matters.
Anne Herbst gave, for me, the most useful presentation on how to be a one-man band. Of course, it was geared toward TV news photographers, but I took away several useful tidbits:
- Warm up your subjects. A good time is while you’re setting up your gear or framing your shots. Break the ice, especially for features. For hard news interviews, try to find some common ground with officials or witnesses on how strange/terrible/impressive the event is, then start with a question to get the subject’s reaction.
- Try to get subjects to sit or lean against something to keep them from moving out of the frame.
- Try to sit on the viewfinder side of the camera so you can keep an eye on it during the interview.
- Shoot a variety of shots – wide, medium, tight – of the interview.
- At the end of the shoot, get 10 to 15 cover-your-ass shots: extremely tight shots that relate to the story that you can use in a pinch while editing.
As a video hack from a newspaper, the most valuable moment came at the after party when I snagged Danny Gawlowski, video editor at the Seattle Times. Danny tipped me off to Snapz Pro X, the advantages to Ustream for mobile video and the drawbacks of the camera I shoot with — he used the same model to help livestream the workshop.
In fact, I’ve already used Ustream in the field since returning from the workshop. Here’s a sneak peak. I’ll expand on that soon.