Before you arrive at your story’s first location, you should have made sure the battery is charged, the memory card has plenty of recording space, and the camera, microphone and other equipment is set-up and working properly.
There are two main types of video needed to produce a TV news story: interviews and B-roll footage.
This footage will be used to show your story’s action. When your team arrives at an event, the videographer should start recording a variety of shots: wide shots to establish settings; medium shots to concentrate on activities; and close-ups to show details. If there are any special events taking place, make sure you know when they will happen so you can record them.
For each camera angle record 5 to 10 seconds without any camera movement. Once you have a variety of static shots for a particular activity, you may record some shots with camera movement (pans, zooms, etc.) but keep in mind these type of shots are not as flexible when it comes to editing your footage.
As you record, pay attention to anyone who is staring into your camera or otherwise distracting from your shot. When this happens, change your framing to eliminate the distraction, or change to a different location.
Make sure you get plenty of B-roll footage that shows all the important parts of the activity you are covering. If you use all of your time recording B-roll, you should be able to arrange with people to record their interview within the next few days.
While the videographer starts recording B-roll, the reporter should start finding people to interview. If you have not contacted anyone in advance, find some people who are willing to talk about their participation in the activity and give them an approximate time of when you will interview them on camera.
For each interview, find a location that is relatively quiet and has a background that is tied to your story. This background may have people engaged in the activity you are covering, but you do not want anyone in the background who distracts from your interview.
Get your interview subject and have them stand where you have chosen the location based upon the lighting, noise-level and background. Only interview one person at a time. If a person needs someone else to stand next to them, make sure only one person is in the shot.
The reporter should stand with their back to the camera, and the interview subject should face them. The videographer frames for a medium shot of the interview subject, including lead-room in the direction the person is facing. The reporter does not need to be included in the shot, but the back of their shoulder, part of their arm and the hand holding the microphone may appear. Let the person being interviewed know that they should talk directly to the reporter and ignore both the camera and the microphone. (The reporter is the only person who should hold the microphone.)
When the videographer is ready, start recording and monitor both the picture and sound. Unless there is a technical problem, do not stop recording until all questions have been asked and all answers have been given, The reporter needs to make sure all background, topic and follow-up questions are asked and the person has time to answer. When the reporter thinks the interview is done, tell the videographer to stop recording, then thank the person for their time. Do not promise what, if any part of the interview will be used in your final story.
Repeat the process for at least 5 good interviews using 5 different backgrounds. If your background options are limited, make sure the reporter stands on different sides of the camera so that each subject is either looking toward camera-left or camera-right, without having everyone looking in the same direction.
If you run out of time during the event to get all of your interviews, ask people when they will be available in the next few days.
Record the Sign Off
If you finish recording all of your interviews and B-roll during your story’s event, and the activity has not finished, record the reporter sign-off. This will be a stand-up, which is a medium shot of the reporter speaking directly into the camera while holding a microphone with a flag. The mic flag visually identifies a program or network.
Choose a location with a background that represents your story, such as the main activity that is still in progress. While the videographer sets-up for the shot, the reporter should memorize their sign-off. For Logan Live! the minimum sign-off is: “From James Logan High School in Union City, California, this is NAME for Logan TV.” (The reporter’s name is substituted for NAME.) Make sure you record the sign-off without any changes to the standard text.
For a more advanced sign-off, write a one-sentence final thought. A final thought may be how to contact the organizers of the event, where to find out more about the topic, or something else that will make the audience keep thinking about what they have just seen. If the reporter has found the time to write a final thought, try recording it as a stand up that ends with the standard sign-off. To make this work, the reporter needs to memorize both sentences and recite them without mistakes while looking into the camera.
Do not worry if you do not get your sign-off recorded at your story’s event. You will have another opportunity when it is time to complete your story.
Saving Your Footage
When you are done recording for the day, make sure you keep your recordings in a safe place. If a borrowed memory card was used, make sure you do not return it until you have transferred the footage to your project folder. Follow the steps in the Video Footage Transfer guide.