Friday, June 15, 2012

ReporterTube: The ups and downs of story-telling with video

I imagine the features journalist of the future to have three qualities:

1. She will do everything. There will be no print-TV-web-radio-photography division. Everything will be online. In order to make it, you need to be a one-woman newsroom, and be able to tell the story alone, with no supervision or team or office.

2. She will dress like this: 


3. And she will have her own unique voice to distinguish her reports from all of the other zillions of other options out there.

In an attempt to harvest these qualities, I focused my efforts intensely today on one story, instead of spreading myself out over four or five. I interviewed one of the country's few female paparazzi about her wild job and tried to push my (extremely primitive) iMovie "skills" (yes, in quotes) to make a video more interesting than one person talking uncomfortably, which describes 90 percent of the videos on newspaper websites.

The learning curve was steep and I fell off many times. Most notably when I filmed the whole gosh darn thing vertically. Whatever, dude. I added sound effects, so give me that.

My top 10 lessons (other than flip the camera horizontally):
1. Video editing is super annoying, time-consuming and demands more patience and ruthless dedication than trying to put pantyhose on a cat.
2. You can find anything you need to know about iMovie by Googling it.
3. You need a mic if you are filming with your iPhone outside. Sound is too unpredictable.
4. You need to comb your hair before you go on video. This is something print journalists may be unfamiliar with.
5. I am generally annoying, especially when I talk or do anything.
6. Video editing is also super fun and adds a ton to your story.
7. Go on an adventure or excursion with your subject whenever possible. Bring the viewers somewhere.
8. Have a plan and don't film extra clips, to streamline the editing process.
9. iMovie on a laptop is significantly better than the iMovie app for the iPad, which cannot do the advanced options, as far as I can tell (which are also not very advanced, like laying photos over video).
10. If only I were wearing a silver jumpsuit and a mustache.

Here is the final result, filmed vertically just to keep you on your toes:

Other adventures in video reporting:
1. I discovered an interesting free app called Videofyme that allows you to make videos with filters, similar to Instagram. I cannot think of any instance when this would be useful, but it exists and it's fun.

2. We have acquired a new gadget. I like gadgets. It's the Swivl mechanism that is like a robotic cameraman for your iPhone. You put this nifty little sensor/mic around your neck and it follows you wherever you go. Even far away into the grass while you swing your 2-year-old daughter around, as this video below shows. We were trying to figure out how to work it, and I will try it on an interview next week, and I will also wear not-sweatpants.

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