How to do video packages FAST
Darren Durlach is an award winning photojournalist and TV News Photographer of the Year currently at WBFF-TV in Baltimore
Here is an interview with him on how he makes shooting a story as fast and efficient as he can:
Here’s his advice for shooting a story fast:
Think about every way it could open as you travel to the job, call the person you are to interview to talk it through, think of a beginning, middle and end.
Usually, by the time you are on your way to a story you know what it's about, and you can think of something to open with and something to close with.
As soon as you arrive...
Get the images and sounds that you might not be able to get later. So if it’s a news story and there’s a fire blazing, or a broken main spewing water into the street, get that immediately.
Get the moment
Get close to people. Darren calls this zooming with your feet. Rather than staying back and using the zoom on the camera, get close to them. He has a shotgun mic on his camera so he can pick up sound from them and, if necessary, he can whip it off and use it hand-held to conduct interviews.
Once the perishable stuff has been captured, he can go back and get clean shots, using the tripod, to cover the scenes he has already shot hand-held.
Shoot for the edit
Darren has a mantra he repeats to himself:
- Tight, medium, wide
- Get the moment
- Action, reaction
By which he means getting the shots you will need to tell the story in a series of coherent sequences.
Tight, medium, wide (medium are story-telling shots, wides are for perspective, tights are detail shots)
Get the moment Capture things as they happen, keep your storytelling in the moment
Action, reaction (for example, get the person being rescued from the building, then the reaction of the significant other who has been watching that).
Effective sequencing in the field
Sequencing is breaking an action down to its component parts:
Wide shot to show the scene, and give an overview of the action (eg a postman walking to his van)
Medium shot of the action: The postman reaching down to pick up a box
Close up: of the box
Darren does this because the viewer understands the story better if you are linking shots together effectively.
One further piece of advice: Don’t edit two same-size shots in a row, ie don’t use two medium size shots together.
Here’s an example. This award-winning report of a flood is called C’mon Son
When Darren arrived he shot everything that might go away first, so: the water main, the flood. He got 15 good shots of the water before he was told he had to get back.
Then he found people to tell the story through – he says he put his mic on lots until he found the brothers who are the focus.
When he interviewed them he avoided chest-up shots, the sort that you see when officials are giving their press statements. The interviews are shot using the tight, medium, wide sequencing approach. For variety, one is in silhouette, one is shot through a door.
And much of the sound track is sound bites from the characters. Those sound bites tell the story from their perspective, and the reporter’s narration is edited in to the pauses.
This technique, little used in the UK as far as I'm aware, is called parallel parking, where you see a gap, pull alongside it and neatly reverse your few words of narration into it.