Creating Journalists at Emmanuel College

A guide for ENGL 2501 and ENGL 3801

Video editing: Making sense of all those words, pictures and sounds

portia1For the record: I apologize for how disjointed classes have been this semester. We are now in February and between holidays and snowstorms, we have yet to have a full week of class — which can be highly distracting with a skills class like journalism (I can’t imagine learning calculus under these conditions, either).

My commute to campus can take more than two hours (it’s optimally 45 minutes) and, with the T experiencing unprecedented shutdowns, my commuting students are finding it difficult to get in for 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. classes.

In any case, Writing for Electronic Media today went through some video basics which, for the benefit of the commuting students who couldn’t get to campus, I’m going through here.

Student in class will be using Videolicious, an app for iPhone and iPad. Surprisingly, all but one student had Apple devices, which makes life a bit easier. Videolicious allows you to create a video of up to one minute, using multiple clips. You can edit the clips to the correct length, add voiceover or use sound from another clip and upload to YouTube, all from your phone, in minutes. Many news organizations are now using this app and it’s fairly intuitive to use.

How to use Videolicious:

The Videolicious website has multiple tutorials, including this one.

How to create a newsmaker-style video:

What are the basics of a video? It’s pretty easy to break down.

  • Have an opening shot to set the scene
  • Interview someone
  • Have B-roll footage — multiple clips at the scene that can possibly be used with a voiceover
  • A closing shot

This is one of the videos I showed in class, a 2013 fire in Grafton during a time when we had an arsonist roaming the town. It’s full of faults, since I was in a rush to just get something online (and was not made with Videolicious):

When do you shoot video rather than photo or in addition to photo? One of the rules for reporters was simple: If it’s on fire, shoot video. There are other times:

  • If you’re covering a speaker, shoot video — and edit it down to the interesting parts
  • Shoot video when there’s movement. A series of shots without action is pretty tepid.
  • Think about sound. If it’s a windy day, all your going to hear is wind noise, not your interview.
  • Is it a concert? Shoot video — but think about if you want to make one video with several music clips or several small videos featuring one song each.
  • Look at your footage with a critical eye. Do you need a solid minute of seeing the firefighters at work — or would 10 seconds suffice?
  • Remember, people have short attention spans. Keep videos short.

Finally, the video that I did NOT show in class today. Meet Portia, the cow with a port in her side.

That odd little video, which I shot at the Tufts University Cummings School for Veterinary Medicine open house, has been linked all over the world, including on Business Insider. It has more than 300,000 hits as of this writing and about 300 comments, some in Russian, from people who are alternately grossed out and decrying the “port” or arguing that the surgery was beneficial to both Portia and other cows.




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This entry was posted on February 11, 2015 by in Video and tagged , , .

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