Lesson 5: Basic Video Storytelling

Lesson 5: Video Storytelling Basics

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Capturing Quality Video

Rules are made to be broken, as the saying goes, and it wouldn't be hard to find video that eschews the advice in the video above. 

Still, Picasso painted realistically before pioneering a more cutting-edge visual style, and it would also behoove you to master the more traditional video production fundamentals even if you eventually want to pursue more avant garde video narratives.

How To Improve Your Video Skills

In a field where video journalists produce everything from six-second vines to two-hour documentaries, no single set of rules can dictate a successful video approach for every situation. Rather, the best video journalists respond to the story they're telling. Reporter narration or no? Long or short run time? Chronologic narrative arc or anecdotal lead? The correct answer to these questions is "it depends on the story you're telling."

That said, there are best practices for narrative video storytelling detailed in the video at left, in Greeley Kyle's video below and across the World Wide Web. Add a dash of that advice to practice, practice, practice, and you have the receipe for improving your own video storytelling.

Discovering a style of video journalism to emulate also helps your own work, and finding quality narrative video online has never been easier. From the New York Times to Vice, from the Alaska Dispatch to the Miami New Times, video storytelling has found an online home in outlets that were practically print-only a decade ago. Add the tens of millions of videos available on YouTubeVimeo and social media and you have an embarrasment of video riches.


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Interview with Greeley Kyle

Professor Greeley Kyle is a teacher and a doer. Before joining the UMass faculty in 2014, he taught broadcast journalism for 20 years at the University of Missouri, and before that he lead the investigative reporting team for the local NBC affiliate in Memphis, Tennessee. 

Over the years, he has helped hundreds of students produce video stories, and he shared five stories as good examples of the "CCCs" he discussed: The Cancer Letters by Jana Shortal from WCCO, Piano Prodigy by John Larson, Iraq Grad by Barry Simmons from WTVF, Potato Prison by Steven Stalk and Marc Rice from WESH and One More Dead Building by Scott Goldberg and Gary Knox from KARE 11.

Editing with Adobe Premiere

Whether it's done on a cell phone, a laptop or a proprietary broadcast system, video editing is a skill journalists need to know.

What software should you use to edit video? The answer is whichever program you prefer. These dozens of programs and apps are all designed to lead you to the same place: an edited video file.

The video above details a basic workflow to edit video in Adobe Premiere, which is installed on UMass Journalism Department computers. The same general principles of timeline editing is found in other popular video editing programs like Final Cut, iMovie and Vegas.


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Now it's your turn.

Log into Moodle to complete the Lesson 5 exercise.