Week 5 Video

You will need to bring your camera & manual, video suitable SD cards, fully charged batteries, tripod and have Adobe Premiere installed. If you have a new camera, I suggest going through some of the http://www.multimediatrain.com video section before class. I also suggest you watch some online tutorials for your own specific camera brand and model.

  • M: am: 1. Seminar: Online video inspiration.
  • M: pm: 2. Workshop / exercise: Camera set up, camera rules, class exercise — sequencing
  • Housekeeping – Assign Student Responsibilities
  • M: eve: optional Chinese Documentary Screening at Hops bar
  • T: am: Workshop: Editing a sequence in Premiere
  • T: pm 4: Seminar & exercise: (1.5 hours) Video interviews + interviews, exercise shoot a video interview
  • pm 5. Audio Critique
  • T: eve: Theory Seminar

This weeks learning outcomes — Students will:

  • Understand basic technical camera & video principles such as file formats, camera settings and frame rates etc.
  • Be introduced to various forms of digital, online video journalism and storytelling across different platforms — including news, features and documentaries. Students will also consider how video is used in broader multimedia journalism practice from raw video clips inserted into text stories, to mixed media interactives, to 360 video – and video made specifically for social platforms like facebook, snapchat & instagram.
  • Learn how to structure a video story, write a script, and how to use professional software Adobe Premiere to edit video. Finally, students will learn how to upload video files to the web and embed audio into a web page.


As always, if you aren’t consuming journalism or viewing the links we provide, you will struggle with your assignment. You will need to consume plenty of video journalism outside of class to understand online video journalism. There’s been an explosion of online video journalism formats and platforms in recent years, and journalists today are no longer constricted to broadcast format.

  • Assignment: (2 topic choices): A 2–3-minute news video composed of a single video interview and relevant video sequences. Focus on building strong, relevant shots and sequences and clean audio. USE A TRIPOD. Assignments not filmed on a tripod will need to be redone. If possible pre-interview your subject, then plan your questions, shots and sequences before the shoot. If that’s not possible and you are new to video, we recommend recording your interview first (Aroll) and then finding relevant sequences to film (Broll). You should spend around one full day shooting and half a day editing. Stories need to be driven by visuals and character interviews and we need to see characters in action and show their environment. Your client is AJ+ (www.ajplus.net) and your assignment is:
  • Choice 1 — ‘Pollution Hacks’. Pollution is part of the daily existence of life in China’s cities. However, young people are innovating, using life hacks to deal with air pollution in their hometown. From wearing fashionable pollution masks to community rainwater harvesting, exercising in domes or making their own DIY air purifiers. Produce a story showing what their top life hacks to deal with pollution are in Beijing.
  • Choice 2 — ‘Affordable Housing in Beijing’. Low-cost housing is tough to find in China’s cities. However, people find ways, from living in dorms, to grid homes, basement homes, or living in suburbs like Tongzhou and Yanjiao. Some live in tiny spaces in the hutongs or migrant villages. Produce a story showing how people find a place they can afford in Beijing.
  • Once you are done export your video, upload it you Youtube or Vimeo, (you’ll need to make an account if you don’t already have one) and embed it the same way you embedded your audio. Deadline Sunday eve.


  • 2 to 3 minutes, no reporter on screen, on screen text instead of narration. 1 character is best. (For instructions on making titles check outhttps://vimeo.com/64701649)
  • You don’t need to make your text move like AJ+ Simple titles are fine. Please do not use fancy wipes like AJ+, use straight cuts instead – for now. You may use a very occasional crossfade but not at every cut.
  • You may or may not add music, if you do it needs to be legal to use, unless you have a band, you might try searching free Creative Commons Licensed tracks. Try Jamendo. Do you know what a Creative Commons licence is? If not – check out this video.
    Wanna Work Together? from Creative Commons on Vimeo.

     Here are some aspects of what makes an AJ+ story:
  • Unique side angle on a major story.
  • Pushback to conventional wisdom on how the mainstream media or governments frame an issue.
  • Emotional or compassionate side of a story. Show specifically how people are directly affected by the issue (Emotions go beyond sadness can be awe, humour, anger, love, inspiration, etc…).
  • Great visuals. Is there something we need to see (and hear) to believe? This is video, so let’s leverage those stories. It doesn’t have to be “hard news.”

Please remember there are infinite styles of web video, AJ+ is just one example. AJ+ is Al Jazeera’s digital-only news channel. It highlights human struggles and achievements and passionate voices, and is gaining traction especially with younger audiences — and it’s a good first format for you to try for your assignment this week.

Here are a few examples:

This last one is very long, and not single character based so don’t use it as a model for your assignment. However you might like to take a look at AJ+ Short Documentaries, this was one I really liked.

Important reminder:

Are you by now organising your files and assets properly, you should be renaming your file and building an organised archive and file structure as outlined in the photography sessions in the first week. This is critically important. Please watch MMT’s video editing section and start with the first video called ‘Organising Assets’ Watch all of the video’s on this page except for the last one on Time-lapses to brush up on editing and exporting practice. For those who haven’t yet done subtitles you can learn how to do that there too.

The business of online digital video

You’ll need to get to grips with the numorous formats and styles for online video, as well as shooting technique. It’s also really critical to understand business

The Future of Online News Video (2016) / Reuters Insititue: Acknowledging the widespread discussion about the future of video, this report sets out to explore emerging consumption patterns as well as the online video strategies of leading publishers. More particularly, we are interested in identifying the opportunities and challenges publishers face in the production and monetisation of online news videos.

 Video Now — Power of Online Video Journalism A new report, Video Now: The Form, Cost, and Effect of Video Journalism, produced by Professor Duy Linh Tu, of Columbia University’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism, has examined the video production of several American newspapers and online media organisatons. It’s well worth watching the whole report.

Assignment resources:

First some online video inspiration – As discussed in class:

  • Digital Online video is distinct from TV Broadcast format
  • Traditional type news broadcast does appear online, (Check out the BBC APP for example)
  • Traditional type news broadcast is limited to a few formats, and now lives among a much bigger range of video journalism, from news features to raw news footage filmed by journalists or citizens, to short and long form documentary, to animated explainers, to drone shots, to live video, to 360 VR, to the ubiquitous readable Facebook video… and much much more
  • There is no format or formula to follow online, though there are a growing range of notable techniques / genres. Particularly new or notable are short form documentary, animated explainers, and VR
  • Video is increasingly tailored to suit various devices & platforms – no size fits all

You’ll need to consume various forms on various platforms. Here are some of the pieces we watched in class:

An incredibly simple, utterly powerful news video using raw cell phone footage: GRAPHIC CONTENT WARNING

Here’s Bob Sacha talking about the Eric Garner video above:

https://medium.com/media/b12884396881e0dbe72c697751d0148a?postId=2c5350365855Another World Press Photo Award winner from 2014. Look at the way this story follows action and gives us sense of drama and character.


One of my personal favourites froms of video is short form documentary. If you are interested in this form be sure to read this post: News outlets producing short, medium and long-form video journalism & documentary online. You might also enjoy a recent podcast: EP85 – Benjamin Chesterton of Duckrabbit talks ‘mini-docs’

Camera Set up + Shooting

For setting up your camera, camera rules hop over to multimediatrain.com

Here’s some further tips:

Get your interview right — The links below are great.


For a begginers understanding of ethics in video journalism listen to this podcast:

As discussed in class no staging. Asking someone to pause or hold an action is generally accepted.

Broadcast Video Journalism

Your IMMJ course work will all be published online, however, that doesn’t mean we disregard broadcast video. Many of our graduates have gone on to film for broadcast clients. The basic skills sets are the same, the formats are slightly more rigid. A good place to look at respected broadcast video journalism is the Rory Peck Awards.

Here are two superb 2014 winners

Here’s a good article on how the BBC is experimenting with video. Traditionally a broadcaster shooting for TV, BBC News is now thinking of formats that are best suited to web audiences. Visual journalism and web video at BBC News

You will also want to explore mobile, possibly vertical video as well as native video for platforms such as facebook, Instagram and snapchat. We will be coming back to these in more detail in the social & mobile section.