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FILM THE FIELD

A quick introduction into video making


This is a printed supplement to the course provided on:
The Swiss Red Cross SRC has created this web site for its employees and
partners wishing to communicate through video. The skills provided here will
give you basic knowledge on how to use your smart phone or pocket camera for
video making. The page is divided into the typical video production steps:
planning flming editing sharing
your video.
This printed version does not replace the online content but summarises it for
practical use. It provides you with the main information and with working tools
that help you during the flm process.
P.s. If you have suggestions how this tool could be improved write an email to
hb@dubbedperceptions.com
http://flmthefeld.wordpress.com
Contents page
PLAN 1
FILM 4
EDIT 6
SHARE 7
1
PLAN
Before you go out and push the record button you should spend some time
thinking about and planning your video. The following 3 planning steps will help
you to fesh out what you want to say and how you want to say it:
1. The 5 Ws
What and how to say your message depends on the circumstances. The 5 Ws
method comes handy. Ask yourself the following questions:
WHO is my audience?
Be as specifc as possible. The more homogenous the audience is the better
you can seduce them with a specifc message.
WHAT do I want to tell them?
What is the key message and what are its main points? Keep it short. You can
always post additional information below the video on the internet.
WHY is this information important to them?
If you know why this information is important to your target audience, you are
holding the key to keep them watching your video.
WHERE and WHEN will the video be screened?
Watching videos on the internet or during a flm festival is not the same. On the
internet your video competes with a lot of other content your audience would
like to watch as well!
A good message is not only about the audience but also about the subject.
Therefore ask the same questions the other way:
WHO is it about?
WHAT happened?
Why did it happen?
WHERE and WHEN did it take place?
2. Story structure
There are many ways to structure a story. Here are two simple structures to
communicate knowledge:
1. What is my message?
2. How will I say it?
3. What images I need for my story?
News report Story telling
2
News report
The most common BBC news report structure goes like this:
Introduction
You introduce your topic giving the audience the key messages and what the
video is about.
1st comment
You interview a person that supports your argument.
2nd comment
A second person provides his/her insights. This comment could also form the
counter argument to comment 1.
3rd, 4th, etc. comments
Shots illustrating your point
It is time for some illustrations, graphics, statistics!
Conclusion
You reiterate your message with a fnal conclusion or even recommendation.
Story telling
In contrast to the news report that looks at a situation from an outside
perspective, story telling is very much about a protagonist. Every story has its
hero. This can be the people you are trying to help, your partners in the feld, the
project you are working on, or you trying to overcome challenges in your daily
work.
A simple story structure goes like this:
Introduction
Every story starts with the introduction of its main character: Our hero the
audience follows through his or her adventures. In order to identify with the hero,
the audience needs to know more about him/her:
Starting position
What is the heros starting position? Where is he/she (physically, emotionally,
professionally, etc.) at the beginning of the story?
Motivation
What are the heros motivation? What makes him/her go on despite
difculties on the road? What drives him/her?
Goal
What does our hero want to achieve? What are his/her objectives?
Obstacles / villains
What are the obstacles our hero will face on his/her journey to reach the
goal? You can also introduce a villain, as is the case in every good story.
To be politically more correct it might be easier to talk about obstacles and
challenges rather than villains.
3
Supporting material
Action
Now we know who our hero is and what kind of obstacles he/she has to
overcome. Its time to tell the audience how the hero has succeeded (or not) in
solving the problem.
Resolution / the end
After the audience has learned how our hero reached his/her goal, tell the
audience a little bit how our hero will live/work in the future. What has changed
for the hero? What has made him/her a diferent person? In professional story
telling this aspect is called the story arch. Ideally you make it clear throughout
the story how the action on his/her journey changed our hero forever.
3. Story boarding
Once you know your story and how you want to tell it, spend some time to think
about the images that you need to capture in order to tell your story.
Some flm makers make detailed story boards about each shot they want to
take. You dont have to go into such detail. But it helps to write down what
action you need to capture and what interview you need to conduct so that
when you are back from the feld you have all the material to tell a compelling
story.
Story telling structure & story board: page 12
The 5 Ws fll out form: page 9
News report structure & story board: page 10
4
FILM
In order to flm great footage you need to:
1. Prepare yourself
It is absolutely fne to take snap shots. Snap shots are great to capture great
footage that you didnt expect to come across.
Nevertheless if you have a clear idea what you want to say in your video you
better prepare yourself well. Dont worry, there is always space for improvisation.
But in order to improvise you need to feel sure of what you are doing.
Use this check list so that you are ready on the day of your shoot:
1 day before shooting
I know how to handle my camera.
The batteries are fully charged and I have enough replacement batteries
for what I want to shoot.
There is enough free memory space / tape on my camera.
1 hour before the shooting
I know what I want to tell with my video and what footage I will need for
this.
I know who I am going to interview and what questions I am going to ask
them. (Simple and open questions!)
I am familiar with the visual and acoustic surrounding on the set and have
found good places in terms of light and sound.
5 minutes before the shooting
There is no disturbing background noise on the set!
I have arranged everything on the scene in order to produce ideal
footage.
My cameras settings are adjusted to the requirements of my video
(especially resolution and image quality).
While flming
I take the time to frame the shot and focus, and start flming a few
seconds before I start the interview.
I hold the camera steady.
I dont make any sound while the interviewee speaks but encourage the
interviewee with my body language.
I wait a second before asking the next question, and continue to flm for a
few seconds after the last answer.
1. Be well prepared
2. Manage 3 key factors of a good image
3. Understand your cameras point of view
5
2. Covering the action
When flming three factors will infuence your fnal product:
Image
Make sure that you hold the camera steady and that you take enough close-up
shots: Head and shoulders to see facial expressions, or the hands that tell us
more about the person. Ideally you have shot:
50% close-ups + 25% medium shots + 25% full shots
Light
The more light, the better the image quality. Natural light is brighter and more
balanced than artifcial light. If you can, flm outside.
Never flm people against light (also called back light). Avoid light sources from
directly above or below the person. Well difused light (also called ambient light)
is better than light from only one source (also called spot light).
For interviews, the light comes ideally from the front, slightly ofset to the right or
left. This way the eyes of the speaker are illuminated and the face doesnt look
fat.
Sound
Background sound provides additional information to the image. The audience
knows that you are standing close to a busy road or the ocean, even though
that element is not in the picture. But too much background noise will disturb
your interview. - For interviews use a microphone for best results.
3. Point of view
The camera is never objective. By placing the camera at a certain point you are
making a statement. For example, flming children from above their heads means
the camera is looking down at them. Later your audience -when watching
these images- will be looking down at the children too. Be aware of the cameras
point of view!
The wrong placement of the camera can also confuse your audience. For
example, when you record a discussion between two people you cannot just
flm them from all sides. You need to keep to one side, so that Mr. Blue is always
sitting to the right from Mr. Orange.
Image
Light
Sound
6
EDIT
Editing is all about putting one image next to another, its relation to each other,
and the resulting efect on the audience. So how to make the best edit choice?
Practice and experiment! Watch your own videos and ask yourself:
Does this cut work? Why does this edit feels awkward?
In his book In the Blink of an Eye, Walter Murch talks about the Rule of Six: An
ideal cut is the one that satisfes all the following six criteria at once:
1. Emotion
It is true to the emotion of the moment;
2. Story
The cut advances the story. Through each cut the audience learn something
new about the story or character;
3. Rhythm
The cut occurs at a moment that is rhythmically interesting and right. Try to
feel the moment that is best to end an image and show the next one;
4. Eye-trace
It acknowledges what you might call eye-trace - the concern with the
location and moment of the audiences focus of interest within the frame.
A cut will be less noticed if your action ends on one side of the frame
and another action continues at the same position in the next image. The
audiences eyes dont have to jump to a diferent place on the frame;
5. Two-dimensional plane of screen
The cut respects planarity - the grammar of three dimensions transposed
by photography to two [ex. 180 Degree Rule, p.9];
6. Three-dimensional space of action
The cut respects the three-dimensional continuity of the actual space [where
people are in the room and in relation to one another].
7
SHARE
Once you have cut your movie into its fnal shape you will have to export it out
of the editing application. Without the export you cannot watch your movie on
other computers or applications! How to export your movie depends on your
editing application. Some application call this act export some call it share.
Many of you will upload to YouTube. Today, most video editing application let
you export and upload to your YouTube account in one step. If your application
doesnt ofer this service, these are the settings to export your video in order to
get good results on YouTube:
File type
MP4
Resolution
If you have shot your movie in the common HD format (16:9), you can upload
your video in 720p or 1080p. Both formats are considered HD quality. 1080p
is the full HD quality. 720p is the small brother. But even the Swiss national TV
broadcasts currently in 720p quality.
Video codec
.H264
Audio codec
AAC-LC (mono or stereo) with a sample rate of 48khz
Before you can upload to YouTube, you have to login to an existing YouTube
account (for example the one of your organisation), or creat your own YouTube
account.
Uploading video to YouTube is easy. Using your computer you fnd an upload
icon in the upper right corner of YouTube. Click it and you can either drag
and drop video fles with your mouse directly onto the YouTube surface, or
you can select the fles by clicking on select fles to upload. The upload starts
immediately.
While the videos are uploading you can decide who can watch your movie.
YouTube gives you several privacy setting options:
Public
Anybody can view your video.
Unlisted
Making a video unlisted means that only people who have the link to the video
can view it. You can email the link to who you want. If he/she clicks on the link,
he/she can watch the video. If the person decides to forward this link to a third
person, that person will be able to watch the video as well!
Private
A private video can only be seen by you and the YouTube users you select. The
video wont appear on your channel or search results and will be invisible to
other users.
Once your video is on YouTube you can share your video with others. You can
email the video link to others, or you can embed the video into another web
page, such as a blog.
8
Thats it!
You have now a basic understanding of how to make
your own videos and share them with the world.
Remember:
Learning to use video is like
learning a new language.
Practice, practice, practice!
Your reward comes from your
audience: Their replies, their likes,
their disagreements...
...their reaction to your video
message.
9
Keep your answers short! Less is more: a video message to the point will be remembered. Too much information will be forgotten.
WHO? WHAT? WHY? WHERE & WHEN?
is your protagonist?

happened?
do you want to say?
did it happen?
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is your audience? does the audience like to know? does the audience need to
know?
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