Week 7 (16/9): Starting on our video story

Photo from piqsels.com

BY CAZ ADAMS

To complete this part of the assessment, you will be required to submit a portfolio of evidence of practical activities, demonstrating your skills as related to the unit of competency.

You should refer to the list of criteria in the Assessment Checklist to understand what you need to demonstrate in this section of the assessment. This Guide outlines the assessment criteria used to assess your performance. You can also clarify the assessment requirements with your teacher.

Once completed you will need to submit this assessment for marking.

Format:

Medium Video + written scripts and evaluation
Length 2-5 minutes
File type .mp4
How to submit Save in the “Assessment submissions” folder in the Student Drive. Upload to Youtube or Vimeo, embed in a post on your WordPress site. *  Due to the present situation of online learning, please make sure you also submit it to me for marking via email: carol.adams7@tafensw.edu.au

This information is in the subject guide.

Create one or more video stories on a topic of your choice.

The stories should be between 2 and 5 minutes long, and must include:

    • an interview
    • a piece to camera
    • voice over
    • close up/s
    • location shot

   You will need to submit:

    • Finished video file (MP4)
    • Evaluation of your process and finished product (200 words)
    • Scripts
    • Production sheets (These can be accessed on the Student Drive)
    • Paper edit notes (can be messy!)
    • Research and other notes

So this week:

* Think about what story you want to tell as a video story.

Don’t just go with the first thought in your head. Toss ideas around until you find something that fills the assessment criteria and is still able to be made during these challenging times. 

* Concept and research
Is this something that you feel passionate about? 
Is it a story that needs to be told now?
Can you get access to the subject? 
Are you able to research it?  Normally you would be able to go and visit places/people to get research done, but presently most research will have to be done online. So is there info about this online or can you get info by phoning/emailing someone?

* What is the angle?
Is this story from the subject’s point of view (POV)?  Is it your POV? 
Is it aimed to inform a special audience?
What makes this story stand out? e.g. There are many stories about climate change. Can you make a story from the POV of a certain creature that is dangerously affected by it?  How is your story going to be different and stand out from all the others on the same subject.
Oh, and BTW I love stories about climate change. Just give me a fresh/interesting angle please!

* Who is the audience?
If it’s for children, don’t use words or visuals that they would not understand or are not age appropriate (like swearing).  Keep in mind that the mood/tone of the video must also suit the audience.

* Why do you want to tell this story?
Are you trying to get a message across, inform or just entertain? 
Sometimes the best way to deliver a message or info is by doing it in an entertaining way…. But don’t get so carried away being funny/clever that you lose sight of what you had set out to achieve.

* Can you tell this story best in a visual medium?  If you hear the story more in your mind that than see it, maybe it would be a better audio story. If the best way to tell it is with pictures… then it’s a video story.

The following will be repeated when it comes time to video but please read it now so that you can see how you can visually tell your story.

How to tell a video story during Social Distancing

* You cannot get closer to a human than 1.5 metres… so using a radio mic is out.  Best not to have another person use your hand-held mic either as it is a hard surface.

* For close ups on a person, keep the required distance and zoom in. Unfortunately this will result in poor audio, so best to use VO and have the person be doing something interesting on camera. Get enough footage to cover the length of the voice over. Try different shot sizes and angles. Maybe try a slow pan (from one side to the other) or a tilt (vertical panning).

* You can shoot locations and people taking dogs for walks… but keep your distance and don’t show faces unless you get their consent. So you can shoot the backs of people and then go into close ups of their shoes striding the pavement!

* Shoot a story about Social Distancing from a dog’s POV.  Shoot hand-held and down at the level of a dog.  They will see feet and legs more than people’s faces. This can be a very effective way of telling a story.

* If you have a car, take a drive and shoot a video where no-one is around. Don’t shoot while driving! You could also park the car somewhere and shoot safely from inside your car.  If it’s through the windscreen, clean it first.  Park at different locations for variety.  Right now some bars/hotels, clubs, gyms and stores will be closed.  Various locked up premises can tell an interesting story. Don’t touch things and if you do, remember to wash your hands!

How to tell a story in self-isolation:

By the time you come to video, who knows what the rules will be!

If you’re practising self-isolation or if health guidelines are upgraded to self-isolation for all, then you will have to think outside the square – or should I say, inside the box (your home!)

This can be challenging but it can be done. I’m here to help you through with this, so no need to stress over it. 

And it’s good practice.

Look at the spaces around you.  Is there enough light to shoot in? 

This will probably change throughout the day, so when you come to shoot, choose the best times.

Do you have a garden or a balcony? 

Please watch the video below. 

I wouldn’t call it an amazing story but in times like these it is a very informative video and it’s shot entirely on a balcony.

If it was being made now, the angle could be: Avoid Crowds – Grow Your Own Fresh Food  – so the dialogue/video would need to refer to that. 

I wouldn’t call it an amazing story but in times like these it is a very informative video and it is shot entirely on a balcony.

If it was being made now, the angle could be: Avoid Crowds – Grow Your Own Fresh Food  – so the dialogue/video would need to refer to that. 

This video incorporates:

    • A piece to camera
    • Close ups
    • Location shot
    • Various camera angles and techniques – to make it interesting
    • Music
    • Voice Over –  Listen to how well the voice keeps going when all we see on screen is a close up of planting. 

Unfortunately the video does not include an interview.

But hey, if you have no-one to interview you could shoot yourself asking questions of a plant.

Then cut to a Close Up of the plant and add you doing a funny VO as if the plant was answering the question. If you keep your hand out of shot you can lightly touch a leaf so that the plant shakes a bit as it it is talking.

Yep, we all have to be very creative right now!

  • Notice how the story has a clear Beginning, Middle and End.
  • I would suggest referring back to this video in a few weeks time when you are planning your shoot.

In case you are concerned that it’s going to be difficult to video a story in isolation, here’s some information that might be helpful before you settle on a story.

General Videoing Info:

When filming, the general rule is: If anything can go wrong, it will go wrong!

e.g. You want to video someone or you speaking on camera. 

Then no doubt right at that very moment a lawn mower will start up, a truck, motorbike or plane with come along. It will sound terrible and most probably impossible to hear or understand the dialogue. You just have to be patient and wait until all is quiet.

If you can’t wait for quiet, then think outside the box.

Where else you can shoot this? Or can you shoot it and have the person on camera be doing something that relates to them or what they are talking about?

Then later record them as audio (in a studio or quiet place) saying what they would have said had they been on camera. Then when editing, lay their VO on the top of the footage of them.

If recording them as audio is also a problem, then when editing, add their words as text on top of the vision you shot.

Problem solved!

When things go wrong thinking on your feet/outside the box can lead to something more interesting.

TASK:

This is not about being the best, the smartest or having the best story.

It’s about letting your mind go.

You will NOT be judged on this, so breathe easy.

Okay, you will find an object, any object. 

It can be a mug, clothing, laptop, phone, pet, book, jewellery, a painting on a wall, a piece of fruit etc and have 10 minutes to write a paragraph about it.

Don’t overthink it.

Don’t try to be clever.

Just let your mind wander and see what happens.

But before you start here’s an example:

My Mug.

My mug is purple. Well really, it’s mauve. I love drinking my daily coffee out of it because it’s large and the handle feels nice to grip. In winter, I love wrapping my hands around it to keep them warm. When I’m writing at my computer, it seems to give me comfort. I guess you could call it my writing companion. Not that I talk to it … well that is except when it leaves a coffee ring on my desk. Then I give it hell! Oh, but don’t tell Jenny. She gave it to me years ago as a birthday gift. I wonder if she ever thought it would bring such happiness.

Easy. It’s nothing earth-shattering but now let’s see how we can video it.

My Mug – Shot List

    • CU – Close Up
    • ECU – Extreme Close Up (just eyes or mouth and chin, sugar on a spoon)
    • MS – Medium or Mid Shot
    • WS – Wide Shot
    • V.O – Voice Over

V.O:  My mug is purple
SHOT 1:  CU –  mug.                                           

V.O:  Well really, it’s mauve.
SHOT 1: (cont’d) Pull back to show the mug is sitting a bright purple surface showing it’s really mauve. 

V:O: I love drinking my daily coffee out of it because it’s large and the handle feels nice to grip.
SHOT 2:  CU – pouring steaming water into the mug (with coffee) and stirring it. This could be adding milk or sugar to an already made cup of coffee.

SHOT 3:  ECU – mug handle.  Hand comes in and grips it.                                  

VO: In winter, I love wrapping my hands around it to keep them warm.
SHOT 4:  MS – Dressed in thick jumper and scarf, two hands hold the cup tight. Maybe lips blow on the coffee and see steam rise. Then lips take a warming sip.

V.O: When I’m writing at my computer, it seems to give me comfort.
SHOT 5:  MS – WS – SAME person sitting at their computer with the mug of coffee alongside.

V.O: I guess you could call it my writing companion. Not that I talk to it… well, that is except when it leaves…
SHOT 6:  MS – Person speaks Camera

V/O: … a coffee ring on my desk.
SHOT 7:  MS – (to establish) then Zoom in fast to the coffee ring on the desk with a dirty coffee cup nearby.  (this would be great with either a dramatic music sting)

V.O: Then I give it hell!
SHOT 8:  MS – SAME person yells at coffee mug! (in the edit this would work well if all audio is totally lowered and some funny text expletives appear on screen).

SHOT 9:  CU – SAME person’s face. Angry and maybe reddened.

V.O:   Oh, but don’t tell Jenny (Conspiratorially).
SHOT 10:  CU – Same person on camera.

V.O: She gave it to me years ago as a birthday gift.
SHOT 11: MS – A few party items set out on a table (G’asses of wine, cake with candles (or one cupcake with one candle would do, bowl of nibbles etc). A few wrapped presents.  The hands rip paper off a smallpox and extract the mauve mug.

VO:  I wonder if she ever thought it would bring such happiness?
SHOT 12: This can be anything that shows happiness. It could be the SAME person curled up asleep on the sofa, clutching the mug. Or beside a musical instrument, while the SAME person plays music, or sitting an outside surface (in the garden / on the balcony) watching on while the SAME Person kicks a goal, juggles etc. Then the SAME person gives he mug the thumbs up.

SHOT 13: CU – a shot of the mug. It could now have 2 eyes drawn on it and a smiling mouth.  Or this could be done in the edit if you know how to use Photoshop or After Effects etc.

Now your video
    1. Open a Word doc.
    2. Name it after your object e.g My Mug
    3. Take 10 minutes to write a paragraph about your object.
    4. When 10 minutes is up make a copy of your paragraph. You now have 20 minutes to follow the example above and break it up with SHOTS to tell the story.

We’ll all come back and chat about the experience in 30 mins.

Just do what you can. And keep it simple.

Hopefully this task has shown you how you can make a video anywhere, under any conditions.

Add scary music to it and it’s a horror film. Music that pulls at the heart strings and it’s a romantic film. Mystery music and it can be a thriller. 

Of course you would choose shots and set ups to support the genre you choose.

Now it’s time to get on with …

PART 2: VIDEO STORY

Start thinking up ideas / writing / researching a script.

  • Open a Word doc and start jotting down ideas.
  • In another doc keep a link to all articles/info you research.

Have fun with this! Challenging times often bring out extraordinary abilities that we don’t know we possess.

Reminder:

Assessment Part 1 – Audio – was due last week

Please email it to me at: carol.adams7@tafensw.edu.au

If you have not yet finished your Podcast or Audio Feature, please refer to Week 6 lesson for detailed instructions.

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