Steady hands get the best shots.



With journalism changingone-man-band to a primarily digital platform, getting comfortable shooting video is now essential for all journalists no matter what they specialize in. It’s no longer enough to be just a great writer, you know have to be great at filming and editing video and audio too.

In Briggs, Chapter 7 we learn about the importance of shooting video. The chapter discusses how times have changed from when it took multiple people to shoot video and write the journalism, now the growing trend is “one man bands” as they call them in the chapter. These are journalists that are not only the reporter but also the videographer.

A real world example that the book talks about that I really connected with was about reporter Mara Schiavocampo, she was NBC News first digital reporter in 2007, now she works for ABC News. She performed as a “one-man band” by shooting and editing the video that she captured all herself. In 2009, she went to do Detroit in order to do a story on the troubles on the auto industry was facing there. Later, her piece was introduced on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams and was called “their digital correspondent”. Even though the video and audio wasn’t amazing quality because it was all completed by one person on the scene, the story was still told beautifully. The audience still appreciated the story even if her video was a bit shaky but she claimed to have done that intentionally.

In 2009, at a workshop sponsored by the National Association of Black Journalists in New York, she said, “These were real people telling good stories. Why would I get in the way with a bunch of trach and stand-ups and everything?”

Schiavocampo has a point, throughout the chapter the texts talks all about the different types of microphones that one can use in order to capture the best audio or the different strategies one can take in order to plan to shoot the best video possible. But, sometimes the story is compelling enough that all that extra stuff isn’t needed.

I did enjoy in this chapter how the book walks you through different tips in order to shot amateur video. Telling the reader to so things like building a storyboard, to mix up your shot sand to build to five shot sequences.

I liked with the five shot sequence how the book broke down an example of where to shoot. An example that they use in the chapter is the shoot video of a man giving a woman a tattoo on her arm. First, start with a close up on her hands, then show the needle filled with ink touching the woman’s skin. Second, do a close up to her face and show the deep concentration on the tattoo artist. Third, do a wide shot to show both of the individuals and show the audience where exactly this is happening. Fourth, do an over the shoulder shot showing the tattoo artists perspective of the process and maybe even the woman’s reaction. And lastly, to do a creative shot to maybe show the room from a different perspective.

This example really helped me to better understand and think about the process of five shot sequence. It can be a bit daunting to understand if you have never shot or edited video before, besides your favorite Taylor Swift concert video because that doesn’t count. Its helps at least for me, to put in visual perspectives that way I can later think back on when I am shooting my own videos, so my own video doesn’t appear like Taylor Swift concert videos do that I am constantly seeing on YouTube.

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One thought on “Steady hands get the best shots.

  1. Awesome Article – really enjoyed it. I’ve always thought this but never seen it written. With the attention spans of the google generation and instant news – Video i often a far more engaging and effective media form that written pieces in this day and age

    Liked by 1 person

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