Florida man teaches karate for free in the garage (view this story)

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Rep: 141
Colin Mulvany May 15, 2011, 10:27 p.m. permalink

Hi Jon.

I like your strong central character that has a lot of great things to say. That said, I think you could have tightened the story up a bit. 

Some observations:

The opening was rough and vague for me. Define this story early. 

Open with a couple of tight punches (with great audio) on the bag, cut to the outside shot with the instructor saying, "we pick up kids from the street, they all have a story..." 

Now I am interested in the story. 

Now answer the why of the story. Who is Rene Rayes and why does he have a karate dojo in his garage? The rest of you story will then take care of itself. 

The Interview with Grace can be trimmed. The long list (snore) of what type of training they do is not really needed.  Use the visuals in your b-roll show that. I want to know why Grace is there and what karate means to her life. That would be much more interesting to the viewer.

During her interview I can hear what I think is heavy raindrops hitting the driveway. It is distracting only because I am wondering where that sound is coming from. A quick 5-second clip showing the rain (i.e. sound) would solve the audio issue. By showing it, it becomes a non-issue for the viewer. 

At 1:38 you have an excellent natural sound break with the sparring clip. The problem is that the audio ends and the interview clip with Christian just begins abruptly. I'd reverse the order and start with Christian doing sit-ups, stretch the audio from the sparing shot under it, then fade sparing audio out and fade in Christian saying" fighting..." then show him. It would take the visual and audio bump out of the sequence. You should strive to make each edit as smooth as butter…

Shooting visual repetitious things like sparing and punching a bag allows you to really sequence your video. You had a lot of missed opportunities to open with a wide shot of a scene then cut to a medium shot then a tight shot (or some variation of these.) This would have been a more visually interesting edit. As I look at the shots you have, I see ton of action, but little reaction.

An example would be the sequence of the instructor and student sparring. You basically shot one shot of the action. It would have been visually better to shoot a wide shot of the where the action was taking place (action shot), cut to a tight shot of the instructor saying something encouraging (reaction shot) then a medium shot of the two sparing (action,) then cut to a tight shot of the student's face (reaction,) then maybe a super tight of the gloves hitting the pads (action.) Five shot edited together as a sequence would rock this edit. 

Finally, really listen to your story and ask yourself: “Do I answer all the questions a viewer might have?” Don’t rely on the text below the video player to fill in the blanks.

With a few tweaks, this story can be a lot more engaging and interesting. 

Good job, 


Rep: 0
Mindy McAdams May 16, 2011, 10:25 a.m. permalink

I really liked the solid ending. It had a nice little resolution moment and felt like a real ending to me. I also liked the variety of shots. The low angles were good, and because of that, I got a good sense of how things work when the students are inside the garage. I got to see the walls and the gear hanging there without a boring shot of "the walls," for example.

I felt a little bored when I was hearing "Tuesday we do this, Wednesday we do that ..." It was like a laundry list. It was better when the students expressed some emotion about the classes and the teacher. 

Rep: 3
Jon Busdeker May 18, 2011, 7:03 a.m. permalink

Thanks Colin for the feedback. 

Watching it again, I think I should have trimmed about 30 seconds from the video. 

As for the rain drops, that wasn't planned.  I shot the B-roll on a sunny day and the interviews on a rainy day. I would have gone back and re-shot the interview, but my boss wanted the story, which means I ran out of time. 

It was a bit of a challenge shooting int he garage because of the limited space.  You can only go back so far before hitting a wall.  And if you leave the garage and go outside to get long shot, the light difference between the outside and inside created a shadow..

I'll make sure to get more action/reaction shots.  That's something I don't focus on, but should. 

Thanks again for the tips.

Jon Busdeker
Orlando Sentinel

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