Exercise 1

When you shoot video, it's important to pay attention to the composition of each shot. The way the image is positioned within the frame makes a difference to the viewer. Poorly composed shots are distracting and hard to watch. For this exercise, you will be asked to choose the best shot from a series of images of the same subject and explain why you made your selection. Use the terms you learned from your text on page 66 to describe why you rejected each of the other shots.

ATS4 Photo 3.1

Is this the best shot to use? Why or why not?

ATS4 Photo 3.2

Is this the best shot to use? Why or why not?

ATS4 Photo 3.3

Is this the best shot to use? Why or why not?

ATS4 Photo 3.4

Is this the best shot to use? Why or why not?

ATS4 Photo 3.5

Is this the best shot to use? Why or why not?

Exercise 2
Discover Sequences

A strong video story is more than just a series of shots edited together. For a story to make sense, each shot in a visual sequence needs to connect to the shots that come before and after. And the camera needs to stay on the same side of what's called the "imaginary line." Before beginning this exercise, read Chapter 3 in your text and then watch this video by photojournalist Dave Wertheimer.

Now, go to a TV station's website and find a video story that demonstrates good sequencing. As you watch it, think about how the sequence fits into the story and how it helps to tell the story.

Questions--Good Sequencing

  • Note the URL of the story you are reviewing
  • Note the exact time when the sequence you are discussing occurs in this story.
  • Describe how the sequence fits into the story and what its value is to viewers.

Exercise 3
Skill Building--Shooting a Story

Part 1

The assignment editor is looking for story ideas on a slow news day and comes across a missing person alert that a local police department issued a couple of weeks ago.

ATS4 Grandma Screenshot

76-year-old woman left Champlin, MN en route to Minong, WI on Wednesday, June 30. She may have driven through Cambridge, MN; Siren, WI; and Spooner, WI or may have taken alternate routes. She is driving a 1984 blue 4-door Mercedes with WI License #TXP401. She is dependent on medication. If you have any information regarding Georgia Smith, please contact the Champlin Police Department at 612-525-6216.

Your station already has done three stories about the search for Georgia Smith. Today, the assignment desk asks you to see if there's a follow-up you can do. You reach the woman's son by telephone. He has no progress to report but mentions that he's going to be distributing some flyers, “just to keep busy.” In the box below, discuss how you might turn that into a story. Be specific about the visuals and sound you hope to collect.

Question--Turning an Event Into a Story

  • How might you turn flyer distribution into a story?

Part 2

Photojournalist Dan Dwyer shot the Georgia Smith follow-up story for KSTP-TV in St. Paul, Minnesota. Take a look at his raw video to see what visuals and sound he captured and compare those elements to your list.

In the box below, tell what you notice about how Dwyer captured the elements he needed.

Questions--Visuals and Sound

  • How did the photojournalist capture the elements he needed to tell this story?

Part 3

Next, you’ll have a chance to watch the finished story.

Reporter Rod Rassman and photojournalist Dan Dwyer covered the Georgia Smith story for KSTP-TV in St. Paul, Minnesota. This story was one of several the station did on the case.

"It's a good lesson in recognizing the potential of a story when your story subject is playing down what they're doing (which happens often),” Rassman said. “I could see in my mind the video of this guy all by himself, putting up flyers with his mother's picture on them. I knew it could be powerful ... not as powerful as it ended up being, but powerful nonetheless.”

"I always say that my greatest 'daily victory' with this story is the fact that I let the story unfold for the viewers, just as it unfolded for me in the field. Her son was holding up really well, until he had to actually say the words, 'My Mom is missing,' that's when he lost it. Dan did a wonderful job of letting those moments play out slowly and powerfully."