Five-Shot Sequence

The following assignment is designed to help you to master your skills in shooting a video sequence, as well as:

    • Practice using camera angles that engage the viewer
    • Practice composing shots that are effective visuals..
    • How the single camera system works.
    • How to get, evaluate and organize ideas for productions.
    • Video and audio editing for single camera productions.
    • Lighting on location.
    • How to select locations.
    • What equipment is needed for field production.
    • Directing single camera productions.
    • Personnel needed for single-camera productions.\The operation of various audio and video support equipment.
    • Location set preparation.
    • Evoking viewer emotion through camera angle, location, and editing.

Good video stories need strong individual shots. Great video stories present those shots in a sequence that complements the parts and creates a much greater whole. Shooting and editing effective sequences are essential video storytelling skills. Shot sequences can enhance cohesion, help communicate more information in less time and create an overall sense of purpose.

In video storytelling, a sequence is simply a series of shots that works together to show an action unfolding. Shot sequences are ubiquitous — most shots in most stories are part of a larger sequence. That’s because they’re a foundational storytelling tool in a medium that’s not only visual but also depicts the passage of time.

Benefits of shot sequences

Shot sequences offer three main benefits:

Shot sequences promote continuity.  When audiences see a disparate collection of images that don’t seem to fit together, they often experience a sense of disorientation. They’re pushed away from, rather than pulled in to, the story. Sequences are the remedy. A good shot sequence creates a seamless progression. Everything seems to build as the sequence unfolds. When it ends, you’re ready for the next sequence to begin. This clarifies what you’re watching; it creates an impression that something continuous is unfolding before you.

Shot sequences compress time. A good shot sequence conveys the full meaning of an action or event without requiring real-time observation. That means you can express more ideas in less time, with fewer extraneous details.

Shot sequences add professional polish. A few simple steps can make amateur video footage a little more professional. You can take steadier shots (possibly by employing a tripod). You can minimize zooms, pans and other camera movements. And, perhaps most of all, you can shoot in sequences. A good shot sequence conveys purpose and direction. This sense of intention immediately bolsters the professionalism of a piece.

Key ingredients in sequences

Shooting sequences starts with identifying specific actions — discrete events that unfold visually and can be captured by a camera. The key to spotting actions is to get specific. Rather than “cooking dinner,” think “dicing a potato.” Rather than “delivering mail,” think “putting a particular letter in a particular mailbox.”

The most challenging part of identifying actions is figuring out what’s going to happen in advance so you’re ready to record when the moment comes. This is a skill that can seem intuitive, but it often emerges from thoughtful planning upfront.

Variety is another key consideration. Good sequences result from a diverse mix of angles, distances from the subject and compositions (how subjects are positioned in a shot). It’s especially important to use variety in back-to-back shots.

Together, specificity, anticipation and variety lead to strong sequences.

ASSIGNMENT: You will write, record and edit a scene, which will include one fire-shot sequence.  For example, if your scene is about lunch, you might have a five-shot sequence of your subject selecting and buying lunch.

  • Keep this assignment short and simple (one minute trt at the most).
  • Focus on the process or procedure for the event.
  • Use rule of thirds
  • Give headroom for subjects to look into.
  • Don’t chop off the neck.
  • Use a variety of camera angles (CU, EWS, POV, etc.).
  • Steady images
  • Effective lighting



Six Things You Should Know About Video Editing

1. If you’re just starting out, you will be overwhelmed.
And that’s completely natural! Instead of beating yourself up over how un-tech-savvy you seem to be, take a couple of deep breaths and pace yourself. Take it one step at a time. Just remember that it’s only overwhelming because it’s all new material that you’re encountering. Once you start learning more about what’s what, it will get easier. Trust me. And at some point, editing will become easy enough that it won’t take up as much of your time as when you first started. (Side note: patience is required)

2. It helps to have a plan.
When you’re in the editing stage, reviewing all the footage you have, you’ll start to find yourself making notes on what you wished you could’ve done – I shouldn’t have worn that sweater, I should’ve put the camera two steps closer, I think I repeated (insert word here) too often, The lighting is too crappy, You can barely hear me, etc.

If this happens, make sure to take these notes down and consider them lessons learned. You now know what to do in the future when you’re filming and your videos will improve each time, bit by bit. Progress.

This will also get you in the habit of planning out your videos. You may not need to write a script, but it’s helpful to at least have a plan on most of the following:

  • Are you recording indoors or outdoors? What possible noise/distractions do you see happening? How can we workaround that?
  • How will you light your video? If by natural light, make sure you find a room with a big window or two. If it’s artificial, did you do a test shot of your lighting kit?
  • Are you using a mic? Whether you do or not, did you test out the sound to make sure you’ll be heard clearly?
  • Do you know what specific topic(s) you’ll be talking about? Notice that I used “topics” and not “words”. You want to try to communicate your message in the most direct way possible to avoid run-on sentences and going off tangent because if you do, you may have lost your audience’s attention.
  • What shots will you plan on using? Close-up? Wide-angle?
  • What do you need to show? What needs to be seen by your audience?

3. If you plan to have videos on a regular basis (daily/weekly/monthly) on your blog/website, it might be best to have someone else do the editing.
As a business owner, you should be focusing all of your time and energy on clients – attracting them and working with them. Having videos on your website is part of attracting clients (video marketing), but the actual process of post-production can be done by someone else. Why spend most of your day editing when you can be networking, writing guest blog posts, running a group coaching call, etc. However, if you happen to enjoy editing videos and you’ve found a way to create them in a time-efficient system/manner, then you may find yourself not needing a video editor after all.

4. Be ruthless.
When you’re deciding which clips to use for video, keep the best takes, discard the rest. Every second counts with online video – you’re working with people’s attention spans, here. While the rule of thumb is to keep videos under 2 or 3 minutes, an more important rule in my books is to deliver amazing content from start to finish. I’ve encountered short videos that couldn’t keep my attention and 15-minute videos that had me watch it until the very end. Why? Great stuff was happening in those 15 minutes that kept me engaged (and even entertained).

If your footage has something important or compelling that needs to be seen/heard by your target audience, keep it, show it, spread the word – if it’s anything less than that, that’s a cut.

Note: sometimes you’ll be tempted to keep footage that looks great visually (you look great, the lighting looks great) but I urge you to look past this. You can have eye-catching visuals but if there’s nothing else behind that, your video can become just another average video that “looks good”. You want something better than that. You want your audience to LOVE your video, so share your video with their friends and colleagues, and you want people to react to your video besides sayings “That was alright.”

5. Simplicity always wins.
You don’t need to use every single fancy effect or transition in your video editor. In fact, if you use too many different effects, they become distractions. You can play around with the different effects to find the right look/feel/style you’d like to use for your videos but ideally, you’d want to stick to 1-3 effects per category (fonts, colors, transitions, etc.) and keep using those consistently as it helps unify your videos with your brand.

6. You will always be learning. Enjoy the ride.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with your videos. I encourage you to play and have fun with video editing – this is how you’ll make discoveries on what works and what doesn’t. Once you get the basics down, there will be other features and settings waiting for you and many different looks and styles to experiment with.

Out In The Field Taking Photos

Everyone is a Photographer

Please find below the PowerPoint presentation from this week:

Shot Composition

For our next class:

  1. Brief quiz
  2. Bring your still camera
  3. Bring your external drive

You will go out “in the field” and take still photos around campus, based on the shot selection list I will provide to you. This should take no more than one hour.

You will then come back to the classroom and upload these photos to your Google Drive, and rename each photo to reflect a description of each shot (CU, ECU, MS, etc.).

Create a folder inside your folder and name it “Photos.”

This assignment is due by Sunday, June 24th.