The New Normal

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I was trying to shoot a video the other day. You may ask of what and I will tell you because I’m cool that way.

It was of my dog.

Subject Of My Video Training

And, if I’m brutally honest, it wasn’t very good.

With that said, I keep taking videos of things. People talking and walking on the street. Local workers outside on the job is another highlight of the, admittedly, boring video I shoot in the afternoon. This is my secret to a large degree as I haunt the streets of my hometown in the afternoon. I keep practicing.

I keep shooting bad video. And then I take it home and edit it badly.

But I’m better than I was a month ago and I suspect if I keep at it, although it’s a bit tedious at times because I’m not used to it, it might be a little better a month from now.

And I admit I’m starting to have a little fun with it. I need to have more than fun with it, I need to train myself to make it a marketable skill.

I’m doing this because I need to do it. Our normals are different in news reporting now because our news isn’t always going to be published in future fishwrap anymore. So learning skills outside our personal bubble only makes sense.

Traditional news gathering is going to require new tools and tricks of the trade. The old normal is not the same as the new normal.

So, I ask you kind reader, what software do you use to edit video? What works for you and what doesn’t?

And are you shooting video?

What is your new normal?

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  1. Dan said January 14, 2009 | Permalink

    First thing, read this post on 33 Tips for Shooting Better News Video.

    Second: The No. 1 thing you’re going to find out is that the traffic counts for MOST videos are going to be tiny. When you do a straight cost-benefit analysis, you’re going to find that revenue from web news video in MOST CASES isn’t going to come close to covering the equipment and materials costs, much less the training and personnel costs. So if you’ve got a boss who expects that this is going to be the next big money-maker, RUN AWAY.

    Third: Why are you shooting video? What’s your goal? Where would your org like to be with video in 12 months? In three years? Be sure you understand video’s role, and that you plan accordingly. If the people leading your video department have never shot a news video or cut a high school football highlight reel on deadline, RUN AWAY. This is both an art and a science, and curmudgeonly old editors who can “do” video have a way of making really terrible decisions about it.

    Fourth: “Good Enough” is a popular mantra for news web video. But “Good Enough” doesn’t mean you have a license to suck. DO NOT RUN BAD VIDEO. Just don’t do it. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but if you run boring, amateurish video with your logo on it, you’re training your audience to recognize that you don’t know your ass from a hole in the ground. Remember: What was OK in 2006 is not OK in 2009.

    Fifth: Use lower-third titles, and try to make your titles (opening, closing, lower-thirds) consistent. Use a template. DO NOT PLAY “PICK-A-FONT” GAMES WITH YOUR TITLES.

    Sixth: Experiment. If someone tells you “This is what news video on the Web is,” they’re lying. NOBODY KNOWS YET. Try big things. Try little things. Try anything. Just do so intentionally, with a sense of professional curiosity and adventure. If you try something and it flops, DON’T DO IT AGAIN. But don’t sit around blaming the person for trying an idea.

    Seventh: Audio, audio, audio. Follow all the tips outlined in the post I mentioned, but then pay more attention to audio. And if you’re going to be doing quality voiceover work, you need a decent studio mic, a mixing board, and enough training and practice to get the workflow smooth. Bad audio will kill your video.

    EDITING: Unless you’re a TV station, your best bet is to pick Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere Pro. Both are excellent programs, and not hard to learn or use. Use Final Cut if your org uses Macs, Premiere if you’ve got mostly a Windows shop. Don’t sweat the differences.

    IF YOU GO WITH PREMIERE, BE SURE TO GET THE PRODUCTION BUNDLE. Yes, you WILL need Soundbooth (you will come to use it all the time). And you will need Photoshop. Etc. And yes, you need them all on the same video editing computer. Do you need AfterEffects? Yes — even if you don’t use it right away. Get started on learning it — because that level of title animation sophistication WILL BE the new normal shortly. You can’t afford to put off learning.

    Do I still shoot? Absolutely.

  2. Lindsey said January 14, 2009 | Permalink

    I’m doing my best to teach myself how to edit in iMovie, but it’s slow going. And I’m thinking real hard about buying a Flip camera. I want to do video so badly but it’s quite the challenge.

  3. Brian said January 17, 2009 | Permalink

    I use Roxio’s Easy Media Creator. It’s got way for features than I need , but I find it easy to use and pretty powerful. Also, a word about equipment: It was only after I bought my JVC Everio camera that I discussed it produces videos in a format not compatible with any software I’ve tried. You have to change the extension on each clip before you can view or edit it – a major pain!


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