We will be discussing how to create feature stories with video. Your role is that of a journalist, and your job is to write a story for the event. The story you write will make the footage come alive for the viewer. The story will be the emphasis, which may help your team or a specific player become great. You may be having your own cameraperson and/or you may be using the footage from the game camera. You as a reporter should remember this about your game-camera or sideline videographer. Their job is to capture the action, and during the game the framing of the shots and keeping up with the action will be what they are thinking about. Oftentimes they will not be able to tell you what the game was actually like. Shooting the game is a specialized and difficult process, it is telling the story visually, and this person is continuously working and keeping a good picture for the entire event. They only see through the viewfinder, and miss much of the story, Do not rely on them to write your story - rather your story and their visual story is one which you will work together on in editing and create your feature.
However if you are going to create feature stories about sports you will have to know how to put together a good story. There is not much of a leap from a print story to a video story. But to make that leap you are going to have to learn to write.
You have the regular Television News story that is 30 seconds or less and you have a feature story, which may be any length. We will discuss the longer feature here rather than the short clip. While you are in the reporter mode try and forget that you are making a video feature, pretend that your words alone will have to tell the entire story. In this way the addition of the video will make your story stand out.
You are used to going to the games and talking about them afterwards, you can expand your short versions to a real story. We are going to put together a plan here.
Introduce yourself, as a reporter you need to identify your self to everyone you will need to speak with. Have a nice card printed, (with the computer available you can print your own card) preferably one that has your picture on it. Few people have their photo on a card, this alone will help you stand out in the mind of the people you will be working with. Introductions are important for the remainder of the season, the first introduction will be the one remembered so make the best impression you can - even dress up and wear a tie for a change - *Laughing*
1. Going to the game is the first thing, your job starts well before the game because there is a lot of information you need to have. Before the game is time you will have to get it. You will need the rosters for both teams and the statistics for both teams. You want the coach's names. You want the schedules.
The statistics are important but they are not the entire story, you use them to make the story more interesting. Do not rely on statistics to write the story for you.
Get all the newspapers the next day and clip (cut out) the stories that were written, add these to the information which you gather during the game. Reading these stories will often add to the story which you write, If you do use any of this material - give the reporter and the paper credit - the last thing you want is to make an enemy of a fellow reporter or the paper they work for. Other reporters are excellent sources of information and a comradrary and friend ship exists between all of the reporters and photographers of the different media.
Be free with what you know and share, help the other members of the working press as much as possible. This is really the spirit of reporting. A simple thing is to have a multiple power connector to plug in your electronics, and share the extra plugs with other reporters. Duplicate mikes, headsets, and other cords are good for you but will allow you to be a good person to know at the games, pencils, papers, scotch-tape and duct-tape, extra copies of the rosters and the statistics are good to have to share.
2. Get all of the background interviews before the game, after the game you will get the reactions to the outcome. If you are doing an unbiased version you will have interviews from both teams, if your doing a piece for your team and being supportive you will only interview your players.
3. You don't get to just watch the game - you have to keep the statistics and write the story as you go, make notes and be creative.
4. After the game you get your final interviews with the heroes and coaches, or any other special interest story you are working on.
5. Now the real work takes place you have to set down and write your story. Write as much as you possibly can, the big stores and the little ones. You have your heroes but you have the other heroes who seldom get recognized - the player's assists are what make heroes. The way the team works together is what results in a winning team. Your viewpoint will be special and the more comprehensive and complete you are the better the story. Your stories can help make a team and can definitely make a player.
6. Think you're done - nope - now go back and re-read it and revise it. Clean it up
7. Done yet - nope - now read the story OUTLOUD - with PACEING AND EMOTION - how does it sound - is the sentence structure clear - now you need to go back and make it HEARABLE AND UNDERSTANDABLE for the viewers.
8. The final step is the voice over itself - and - as you read it for the recording you will undoubtedly want to change a word or two - but try to keep this to a minimum, writing the story over as you record it will take you forever and you really don't have that much time.
9. You will have a mix of audio for the final program - 1. natural sound from the game - 2. the interviews - 3. your commentary. 4. music and or sound effects. A feature program is not simply the reading of your story it is the compilation of all the parts of the documentation process.
We are not finished with the discussion of writing yet. How we will expand your story into a video program will come later. I just wanted to make the point now.
You story is going to be viewed well after the event is over, and this can be a real plus for you. You have reported the story and you have the writing and the revision done, now you can go back once more and get the inside story. Expand the story into a timeless piece.
The coverage of the team will be a long-term project and over the course of the season you are going to gather many unrelated facts and stores, a good notebook or system of files is going to be indispensable for you now. As you write the story your research and will come together and you can tie things which you did not believe you would use into an interesting and complete story.
Now back to the beginning again, before the event. You need to know the rules, if you are going to understand the calls of the referees. And if you know the rules you can comment on the game in a more complete manner. A knowledge of the rules of a game and the knowledge of the game itself is not static - the game changes - the rules change - the style of playing changes. You as a sports writer/videographer will need to know and keep up with the sport, and not just one sport but all of the ones you cover.
There are a number of people that you need to know, the principal, and the athletic director, all of the coaches, players, managers, and business manager. All of these people are sources of information for you, and you will need to speak with them all at one time or the other.
Quotes - get used to making the quotes in context, and are absolutely accurate. The video camera is going to be indispensable for you here, because you don't have to transcribe the words.
Your questions will determine how freely the person talks, you will want to spend a few minutes with each person you interview and discuss what you are going to ask them, so they can get the topics in their mind. If you have prepared before the game you can have the questions written out. and give the list to them before the game, when you ask them if you may come to them after the game for the interview.
Examples of the list
Interviewer - "This is Coach (name) of the V/JV/S - M/W (sport) team"((complement the team)) 1. "Coach (you had a good/rough game today/tonight) ??How would you describe the overall flow of the game??
2. "Coach on offense you have some good players, tell me about 3 different players which earned comment this game.
3. same question - defense -
4. ??was there a key play, which made the game a win for you??
5. Player (name) was injured today/tonight how are they now?
6. Player (names) injured in the past how are they - will they come back?
7. (the next game is always one to worry about) Coach we play (name) next, what preparation are you planning for the practices? What are the strengths of that team?
8. Coach tell me about the entire season and how you project the rest of the season.
In editing you will cut some of the comments, and cover them with action or still shots. Don't hurry the person you are interviewing - and don't cut them short so you can get to the next question. Sometimes the person will ramble and take a while to get to the point, its alright. You will be able to have more material to edit (choose from) Hopefully the interview will be so smooth that you will be able to use all of it.
PLAYER INTERVIEWS - you will want to make these interviews - and get the responses and feelings of the player - their history - Practice sessions and after the game -are the best times - If you are going to do pre-game interviews do them well before the game starts, a couple of hours if possible.
Team Group shots
Is there a sports expert - (student)(parent)(fan) who you can interview - ?
You will need to learn to organize your self and have the method for saving all of your information. Things you will need
1. A clipboard and plenty of paper. If you are doing play by play have two clip boards (or a stiff cardboard which you can have two papers side by side)and tape so you can secure the rosters
2. Blank the statistics sheets
3. extra pencils and a small sharpener
4. A steno pad
5. A couple of large zip lock plastic bags to store materials, you can use these to put notes into as you compete sections - the program - and other materials which you will gather. I recommend large zip-lock bags because they are waterproof - and can be the file folder for the information later on - these bags will keep the pages from becoming scattered.
A waterproof marker will be handy to write on the outside of the bag for later identification.
Conference games - may have the managers print the statistics and distribute them to the reporters at half-time and following the game - be sure to pick up these copies
The school paper is a good source of information - if one is available put one of them in the bag also.
You don't have to set in the press box that little table may end up being more of a problem than an asset. Place yourself where you have another point of view, such as behind the players bench, or in the crowd. You will see and hear the game differently from another point. The attitude of the crowd and what they say may give you a better story. If your are behind the scorers table you will be able to follow the discussions, which always happen during a game. These are little vignettes, which can be good for your story.
If you are doubling as a cameraperson, while writing these stories you will not be shooting continuously. Instead you will only shoot when some particular event occurs. Also if you are responsible for the interviews after the game - your nearness to the court will place you in a position to reach the Players - Coaches - or Officials faster. After the game there is always a press of people trying to speak with all of them. Being there first will give you the best chance of having your questions answered. In this situation the camera will be hand held or preferably on a monopod - Stable shots are important.
The reporter & photographer team -- this is the best way to get the interviews. Now from the start remember you are a team - and you help each other - setting up and carrying equipment - contacting people and gathering information -
If you observe the professional television news teams, you will see this is not the case, rather the reporter (on camera personality) will more likely have an elitist attitude - If you are the Reporter don't start you career as a prima-donna, you will make your photographer hate you, and the other media personnel will laugh at you. Again I am stressing the importance of the team attitude, you may be the star but you won't be for long unless you strive to be helpful and share the workload. This manual being written to give you the tools to become a true professional, and if not a professional to produce really great amateur videos.
Using the camera as both a way of recording the action and reporting the game makes an interesting technique. You can shoot the action and following or during the shot make a comment on the tape. Your on camera mike will pick up your voice well - if the game is loud - speak up - a little experimentation will give you the knowledge of how loud you need to be. You can have a headset mike plugged into the camera for this purpose.
You have four options when recording into the camera
1. the on camera microphone
2. A hard-wired mike - Be sure to have a good insulated cable to connect between the mike and the camera. ( here you have the option of a hand held mike or a lavaliere (clip-on) mike
3. A wireless (hand held or clip on ) mike and receiver
4. the facility may have an audio breakout box
Each one of these options will require you to have a different technique when you shoot, and interview.
(1.) you will need to be close to the subject and have your camera zoomed out wide;
( 2.) Being hardwired, you can be further away - the mike may be placed on a podium or clipped on the subject.
( 3.) Wireless - you are going to be subject to many variables, it is a good thing to have a receiver which you can tune to the house frequency- your own mike frequency may be interfered with by - cell phones - short wave - CB - am/fm radio - television station - other wireless mikes - transformers - electrical cabling - microwave transmitters - or the battery may just die - The wireless mikes are the most subject to problems of all - be ready to change to another system .
(4.) The Breakout box, is a box, which the house will provide to the video crews, to keep the podiums from being filled with microphones, and the floor covered with cabling. - these boxes have XLR connections and you may have a MINI PLUG on your camera. be ready to adapt. Have a long XLR cable for this connection. An adapter to go from XLR to MINI.
The choice of HAND-HOLDING - MONO-POD - TRIPOD holding of the camera will depend on the circumstances. If you are using a new lightweight camera you need some kind of support, or the camera will be shaking all over the place. You can use your tripod as a monopod by extending just one leg, have the head loose and support and direct it with both hands. A monopod is better than shoulder holding the camera but not as good as using the tripod for stability.
Refer to the page on FIELD and look at the list of possible shots which your photographer will be finding from the sideline positions. These shots are all elements of your story, and you need to be aware of what is going on every where as a reporter - not just the action on the field.
We have gotten all the way to here, and have not talked about the editing of the video.
The question now, do you have to fit into a time frame or can this feature be of any length. It will be best to work in 10 min, 15-min -30-min - one hour time frames. Now depending on the nature of the story and the material you have available you will pick one of those time frames. I'm not locking the time in stone its just a guide line.
the times you will add up to determine the program length will be:
1. Your Story as a voice over. covered with video
2. your interviews - a mix of subject and illustrative video
3. the Cutaways with crowd sideline comments
4. game footage - with or without play by play - and or natural sound
4. the time for the title and introduction
5 the time for the close and the credits.
Your story is going to determine how the video footage is used, and so you will record your story piece by piece - remember - the phrases, sentences and paragraphs will have footage to illustrate both covering the speaker and \
between the speeches.
List all of the shots/scenes in categories, shots for the - open - interviews - game camera footage - floor camera game footage - cutaways - close footage.
In vision - your video starts with an open - a set of scenes and title screens, you will have either music or natural sounds over this section.
This section may fade to black and fade to the introduction
How do you introduce the video, your choice - a voice over or shot of the narrator
from your introduction you assemble your program with all of the narrative sections, you will go back and insert video to cover the black.
If you have your voice over sections with a black screen as the video or the narrator as a talking head - It will be clear where your inserts belong.
The inserting of the footage is a creative process, and you will probably make changes as you insert edit. Commonly you will shorten up the existing cutaways and add more shots, to pick up the pacing of the program.
As you look at the project, most likely you will have a stack of tapes and a lot of sheets of paper.
Your Editing script will have the TAPE NUMBER AND THE TIME CODE OR CONTROL TRACK NUMBER LISTED
Remember to log the tape well - have the tape clearly labeled and the accompanying log labeled and keep them close. if there is time-code on your tape finding a specific clip will be much easier, because they are always present. If you are relying on control track numbers the tape will have to be rewound each time and the counter zeroed for you to find the clip. The DIGITAL format has the time code numbers - usually the VHS, SVHS, 8mm, and Hi8, do not have them.
After you have edited a few programs you will develop your own system and style. However you list and mark your tapes and information makes it consistent and clear. You will find yourself making last minute changes, correcting and improving the program. In spite of your best effort to be accurate, you will find many times the information you were given is wrong, or has changed, you will want to correct all of the mistakes, and if you cannot find the clips you need you will have to spend a lot of extra time.