I recently completed a self-guided course called ‘Video Storytelling for the Web’. It pointed out the keys to formulating a successful web news video. I learned how important it is to select the best stories for the web, plan out the story beforehand, know the equipment and conduct a proper interview. I found the course to be helpful in the fact that it stated the difference between a web video and a standard news video in each section of material.
Before the course, I had never put deep thought into web videos or video journalists. I had not considered a web video to be a story and always thought of it as an assignment. The course pointed out that it’s important to capture a moment in time and include the four key factors to achieve success. The factors include visual appeal, emotion, character and news value. For example, sports coverage requires excellent visual appeal in its movement, emotion requires going beyond the facts and character allows the people to tell their story, often connecting with viewers.
Web video often surpasses the standard news video by featuring topics viewers wouldn’t see on the 10 p.m. nightly news. Also, it requires much less structure and can be posted at any time of the day rather than waiting for the 6 p.m or 10 p.m. news. For example, a man covered in tattoos or a woman with a pet pig. These examples prove that what you can do for the web, you often can’t do in television or print media.
I believe it is most important for a web video to be able to stand alone. Standard news videos are usually complimented by the print or online version or attributed by a narrator. I learned how essential it is for a web video to cover all aspects by itself with a clear storyline, good audio and good video.
I enjoyed the hands-on activities throughout the course. It was neat to physically apply the light, atmosphere and noise elements to a video interview setting. Condoleezza Rice’s vice president interview exemplifies a rich yet simple setting, good lighting and good audio. The camera catches Rice at a correct angle and maintains it consistently throughout. Short, productive questions are asked and the video gives a clear message.
As with most careers, video journalists carry a lot on their shoulders, literally. They work hard for every web video story by collecting the footage, editing the audio and video and maintaining consistency between the audio and video components. Web videos really are more than assignments, they’re stories!