Still Dancing (view this story)

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Rep: 15
Kathy Strauss Sept. 10, 2010, 11:03 a.m. permalink

Hey Mike -- Tough out the sleepless nights! Eventually all kids learn to snooze. Meanwhile, if you can find the time between naps,  I think you should keep making video stories.

This is a great subject and you've given it a good start. I think you could have dug deeper and that's where I suggest you go with your next story. There's lots of potential here -- more interviews with Frank and more b-roll of him not dancing -- show us his movement limitations -- then show us more of his grace on the dance floor, that you've begun capturing here.

I like the surprise of learning they are not romantically involved -- they are good friends and love to dance together -- she commented on that, maybe he could have too.

Oh, and the reporter stand-up at the beginning -- yuck, lose it. It adds nothing to the story. You can use voiceover with shots of them dancing.

Keep it up and hang in there!

Rep: 444
Eric Seals Sept. 10, 2010, 5:46 p.m. permalink

No Mike, don't stop  ;-)  The long road to becoming good a video storytelling is like the road at being a great parent; full of trial and error, fun, challenging, frustrating and rewarding but of course you can't put your camera in timeout like you can your kids! LOL!!

Great subjects for a heart warming story but Kathy is right, you could have gone a lot deeper here not only in their stories but with the visuals as well.

I would have loved to have seen you interview them framed nicely and sitting next to each other on a couch in another room and just let the camera roll when questioning them and see what happens. I'm sure there would have been some nice interaction or reactions to questions of "why haven't you two gone out on a date?" "Which one of you is playing hard to get with the other?" things like that.  Plus there are so many more questions to ask and explore with a good story like this.  

The one thing really missing from this whole piece is emotion or the fun they have.  That picture of them above shows it but I want to see that with video.

Totally agree, lose the reporter at the beginning. I realize this video goes along with a column he writes but perhaps try approaching something like this in another way. Have the reporter do some narration in the piece and cover it with good b-roll.  He really adds nothing to this and isn't the best way at all to start off a video piece. I know it's clique to say but still so very true. The 1st 10 to 15 seconds should be eye catching and solid. 

With the text slides at the 35 second mark talking about Frank and Betty here's an opportunity for you (or reporter) to use narration instead, it will help clean up your edit, make it tighter and avoid the awkward black with little type on it.  You could write this much better, add a bit more information to it as Betty is getting on the bus then go right into her talking about seeing Frank.

At the 49 sec mark, the clip of the bus sign isn't needed. We know from your visuals she is getting on the bus. Little things like that, a second here, 3 seconds there can help you save some time in the overall piece.

I loved the choice of music (swing I think right?) you use in this but the music was competing with her voice on that bus ride.  I'd bring that down a lot.

The sequence of her walking in and then going to her dancing feet, how did that look as a cross dissolve instead of a dip to black??  
It was a nice pairing as she said "we dance." There was also some nice video of them dancing.  Was there a crowd of other seniors watching or even staff members enjoying the "show" smiling, pointing clapping? Was looking for some joy and emotion from others.

With Debbie, Betty's daughter-in-law I would rather have seen her interviewed in a separate area instead of right off the room where they were dancing.  You could of had better command of the background noise and had better framing of her in camera. There was someone behind Debbie talking to that woman with her back to the camera and was somewhat distracting.  The one thing you're always able to control are the interview, make them look and sound nice.

Be careful with your lav wire and hide it well.  I was showing on the back of Betty around the 2:07 mark.

Loved her comment about "I'm 88 and I'm going to die on the dance floor" but his ending wasn't near as good. I would of ending on a really strong visual of them dancing instead.


Rep: 141
Colin Mulvany Sept. 16, 2010, 10:31 p.m. permalink

I too say lose the standup. It is a big bump at the start of the story.  Instead, a well-written voiceover weaved throughout the story, would have been better. With narration you could reveal some of the gold coins (surprises) more effectively in this story. Your use of text slides only pulls me out of the moment.

I think this story had a lot of potential, but the rushed production quality kept it from being a knockout punch.

In a perfect world, the light would have been great, the natural sound stellar, all the subject’s words profound, and the story arc would have revealed itself an hour before you got there. The real world dictates that none of these things will happen according to plan. So a lot of what we do as newspaper video storytellers is work on-the-fly, trouble shooting as we go. 

The mark of a great storyteller is one that finds a way to overcome these shortcomings and still produce a compelling story.  I guess what I’m trying to say is watch the little details as you shoot. The low-hanging fruit like white balance, using manual exposure to control your exposure,  lighting subjects better and, yes, adding narration would have gone a long way in making your story better.

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