An echo in his soul (view this story)

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Rep: 91
Peter Huoppi June 29, 2010, 2:40 p.m. permalink

You found a great subject for this story, but the video is less a story than a glimpse at your subject. It's OK in my book to do a piece that is completely subject narrated, but you give up some of your ability to tell a story. Consider organizing your video with some of the techniques you used in the text story.

Some of the color you included in your story is beautifully apparent in the video's b-roll. The lead of your text story is great, and the shot we see in the thumbnail captures that nicely. But then you have some great color in the story that doesn't show up in the video: clipping the sheet music to the shopping cart, customers approaching surprised and amused. If it's good color for your story, it's probably good b-roll for your video.

Your video opens with a nice wide establishing shot, but then cuts away to a shaky close-up on the sign on the building. I already just saw the sign, you don't need to show me a closer version of that shot.

The biggest thing you could do to improve the shooting is to use a tripod. As a viewer, when I look at something that I know to be stationary, I expect to see it not moving. When I see the letters on the side of the building moving because the camera is hand-held, it turns me off of your video. You can get away with it a little more when you're up close to the subject, as he moves around when he's singing, but really, there's no reason you couldn't have used a tripod here. I also think you could have held your shots longer rather than panning and zooming so much.

Aside from the tripod issue, the shooting was nicely done. It can be difficult to shoot a story about a subject who is standing in one place and doing one thing, but you moved around to different angles and shot a nice variety of wide and tight. The thing you needed more of is the reactions of customers. Always try to think about shooting the action, and then the reaction. This will gives you "cutaway" shots that you can use instead of fading to black.

The shot of the customer and the subject singing together was my favorite moment of the piece. You have a few nice reactions: the thumbs up, the tight smile, a few more of these would have helped everything flow together really well.

I think the fades to black and the text screen really interrupt the flow of the piece. You've got such nice natural sound, it's a shame to interrupt the flow by cutting to black or making me read some text. If you need to relay factual information, and I think the bit about how much he raised is important, then better to do it with a little bit of narration.

Overall I liked this piece a lot. I think with a little steadier shooting and some tighter editing it could be very strong.

Rep: 4
Don Himsel June 30, 2010, 7:53 a.m. permalink


A good use of multimedia. Strong character, good audio, good visuals. Steadying the shots would help. Overall an engaging piece. Nice.

Rep: 33
Adam Wisneski June 30, 2010, 9:43 a.m. permalink

Thank you both for the review. Peter, thanks for the detailed analysis. I know that takes time, and I really appreciate it.

I HATE the tripod. But I agree that I need to use it more. I feel so much more free to move about and grab moments and angles and tight, medium, wide shots without lugging that thing around, adjusting the legs, making it level, and all that tripod stuff. Maybe after time it feels more natural.

I've been using more narration lately. I agree that stopping to read text really does interrupt things. I think I shy away from it on quick stories because I don't like the way TV does narration, and I'm not sure how to do it differently and effectively. I don't particularly like the way they weave snippets of what a person says into their own narration. It feels disjointed. But what do I know.

I will def. think about action, reaction shooting. I'm writing it down and putting it where i keep my wireless mics to remind me on a shoot.

Thanks again for your time. This was really helpful.

Rep: 91
Peter Huoppi June 30, 2010, 2:09 p.m. permalink

Learn to love the tripod. I was "just" a still photographer for seven years before I picked up a video camera. When I started shooting video I figured I would do better without the tripod. After I ended up spending too much time trying to edit around unsteadiness, I learned to embrace the tripod.

You absolutely do sacrifice some mobility, but in the end it pays off in steadiness. It takes repetition to get used to setting it up and moving it around, but if you do it every day it becomes second nature.

Even a lightweight cheap plastic tripod can work in one of these situations where you're moving around a lot.

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