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 – ‘Power of Video & Online Video – Inspiration / Industry
  • M: pm – Setting up & video rules. Sequencing exercise
  • M: pm – Video Journalism Ethics – what can we do and not?
  • T: am – Editing a sequence in Premiere
  • T: pm Audio Critique
  • T: eve: Theory Seminar

Assignment 1 – Deadline: Sunday Midnight

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 better understand online video journalism and successfully complete the assignment.  

  • A 2–3-minute news video composed of a single video interview and relevant video sequences. Find a subject that has a relevant story or experience that can highlight or represent the bigger news issue. Focus on getting a good interview (clean sound and informative/emotive soundbites) and building strong, relevant scenes, sequences, and shots. USE A TRIPOD 90%+ of the time. 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 a full day planning/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. You have 2 topic choices:
  • Choice 1 — ‘Pollution Hacks’. Pollution is part of the daily existence of life in China’s cities. However, 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 embed your audio.
  • Your client is AJ+ (www.ajplus.net).
  • Please remember there are infinite styles of web video. AJ+ is Al Jazeera’s digital-only news channel. It highlights human struggles and achievements and passionate voices. it’s a good first format for you to try for your assignment this week. Read a good article about AJ+ from digiday here
  • Here are some aspects of what makes an AJ+ story:
  • Unique angle on a major story.
  • Pushback to conventional wisdom on how the mainstream media or governments frame an issue.
  • The emotional or compassionate side of a story. Show specifically how people are directly affected by the issue (Emotions go beyond sadness can be awe, humor, 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.”

Assignment Guidelines

Produce a video of 2-3 minutes, no reporter on-screen. Text overlays will provide issue and story context. Do not include narration. A single character is best. (For instructions on making titles check out https://vimeo.com/64701649)

You don’t need to make your text overlays move like AJ+ Simple titles are fine but they should look different than subtitles. Make sure they are on screen long enough to read. Use credible sources and attribute if possible. 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 so unless you have your own band, you might try searching free Creative Commons Licensed tracks. Try Jamendo. Do you know what a Creative Commons license is? If not – check out this video. Wanna Work Together? from Creative Commons

Here are a few examples:


Important reminder:

Are you by now organizing your files and assets properly, you should be renaming your file and building an organized archive and file structure as outlined in the photography sessions in the first week. This is critically important and will ensure you don’t lose data and have problems editing your first independent video. Please watch MMT’s video editing section and start with the first video called ‘Organising Assets’ Watch all of the videos on this page except for the last one on Time-lapses to brush up on editing and exporting practice. For those who need more help with subtitles, you can learn how to do that there too.

Assessment / Critique Checklist

  • Your video is 2-3 minutes long
  • Your video is suitable for the target publication – AJ+ (who is your audience?)
  • Your video has a clear focus within one of the 2 news issues
  • The story answers essential WWWWW+H questions relevant to the focus
  • You have filmed a single subject for your video interview, somebody who can highlight or represent a small personal story that sits within the bigger issue of your chosen topic. You have filmed relevant video sequences to visualize the action and environment of the subject of your story.
  • Quotes from your subject capture information & emotion
  • Your video also includes well-sourced relevant contextual; facts and information from credible sources delivered via text overlays. The Text overlays are a different style than the subtitles. The text overlays should deliver clear concise information and be on screen for long enough to read.
  • Sources should be properly attributed, you can do this in small print or in video credits
  • The video has a beginning, a middle and end.
  • The feature is embedded in your digi-platform

Class Notes & Screenings

You can find this week’s PPT here: Video Week 2018

Here are some examples of some previous student work – they are not perfect but give you an idea of the standard expected.

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 is 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:

Another World Press Photo Award winner from 2014. Look at the way this story follows the action and gives us a sense of drama and character.

One of my personal favorites forms of video is short form documentary. If you are interested in this form to 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 are some further tips:

Get your interview right — The links below are great.


For a beginners 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 coursework 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 and Instagram. We will be coming back to these in more detail in the social & mobile section.

The business of online digital video

You’ll need to get to grips with the numerous 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 IInstitute 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 monetization 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 organizations. It’s well worth watching the whole report.

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 interactive, to 360 video – and video made specifically for social platforms like facebook & 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.