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SportsShooter.com: Member Message Board

Daily HDSLR Video Work
Matthew Jonas, Photo Editor, Photographer
Longmont | CO | USA | Posted: 11:22 AM on 02.29.12
->> Hey there SS video shooting community.

I have recently taken a new job where we shoot video along with stills on a majority of assignments. We try to produce 1 to 2 videos a day.

I'm looking for video examples from people on the staff of papers or wires or whatever falls in between who are shooting video along with stills and producing daily video packages. I would also be interested in hearing about issues you have or things that make shooting video easier to do.

We are primarily using the D3s and will be using the D4 as soon as they show up.

Thanks ahead of time.
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Nic Coury, Photographer
Monterey | CA | | Posted: 12:31 PM on 02.29.12
->> This is all me.

I'm the staff photog for a weekly news magazine in Monterey and I shoot video as well.

I shoot a Nikon D7000 for video and a Senn MKE-400 for mic with a Zoom H2 in there too.

On the lens front, I really like the 16-35 with the VR for video. It makes hand-held shots really nice.

Here are some samples that I shot while shooting stills:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4kePafyxWZY&list=UUbmhhH0lZyJYBgTm39jyu0w&in...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9fkzG3Bsno&list=UUbmhhH0lZyJYBgTm39jyu0w&in...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oWerHUo1miI&list=UUbmhhH0lZyJYBgTm39jyu0w&in...
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Matthew Jonas, Photo Editor, Photographer
Longmont | CO | USA | Posted: 8:16 PM on 02.29.12
->> Nice work Nic. Are you recording audio directly into the camera or with the H2 or both? The audio was very clear in the interviews. Is that the MKE-400 or a wireless lav? Thanks.
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Chris Pietsch, Photographer
Eugene | OR | USA | Posted: 12:17 AM on 03.01.12
->> Some sites worth following:

http://www.findingtheframe.com/

http://www.dslrnewsshooter.com/

http://masteringmultimedia.wordpress.com/

http://newspapervideo.com/blog/
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Chris Pietsch, Photographer
Eugene | OR | USA | Posted: 12:20 AM on 03.01.12
->> Also, I have assembled links for a multimedia class I teach at the University of Oregon here:

http://delicious.com/stacks/chrispietsch
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Nic Coury, Photographer
Monterey | CA | | Posted: 1:16 AM on 03.01.12
->> That was all mostly the MKE-400. It's a solid mic and really cuts through the wind.
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Ian Martens, Photographer
Lethbridge | AB | Canada | Posted: 4:11 AM on 03.01.12
->> I've got a question that I hope isn't too far off topic from Matthew's original post. He mentioned that they try to produce 1 - 2 videos a day. With a small photo staff I'm assuming that works out to about a video every couple of days per photographer.
We've been doing video at our paper for over two years now and admittedly most everything I'm doing has been learned by trial and error. I find that when I do even a simple feature video it takes a significant amount of time to produce. A typical video for me involves capturing 15-20 minutes of raw video, including b-roll and interviews. This is at an assignment that I might spend an hour at - which also always includes getting a still photo for print. Then there's time needed to import that raw video, whittle the interesting clips down to a bite-sized 1-2 minutes, select voiceover from the interview/s and incorporate that into the video, add titles and transitions, export the finished project, and finally, add a text description and key search words while uploading the finished video to be accessed by our website administrator.
With shooting and editing it's not at all unusual for that to add up to anywhere from 3-4 hours (or more) worth of work.
So to my question, assuming a smaller photo staff still needs to fill the regular amount of photo assignments in a given work day (in our case usually 3-5 assignments for each shooter), where does the time come from to produce video within deadline on a scale of 2 or more a week per photographer?
Does my workflow sound unusual? What's your video workflow like? Do you shoot and edit your own video or is there someone on staff who edits? Are you given sufficient time to specifically work on videos?
I'd love to hear how members of smaller photo staffs at smaller daily papers make this work.
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Ian Martens, Photographer
Lethbridge | AB | Canada | Posted: 7:22 PM on 03.01.12
->> Matthew, Nic, Chris, anyone else?

I really would love to hear how you all figure video production into your daily workflow.
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Nic Coury, Photographer
Monterey | CA | | Posted: 7:36 PM on 03.01.12
->> Hey Ian,

Good question. No easy answer....

Here's a good example of what you're getting at.

I produced this video:
http://www.montereycountyweekly.com/weblogs/photo-blog/2012/mar/01/video-fr.../

for this week's paper whilest on assignment for that same story.

I shot probably about 15 minutes of video knowing (this is the key) that I'm aiming for 1-2 minutes of final product.

I've found that a shorter, tighter final presentation is easier on the viewer and tighter editing telling a better story with less production.

I was talking with our main video guy about this same topic and it is just not worth the time and effort to put into super long (5+ min) videos. We aim for 1-3 minutes of tight, interesting clips that tell the story.

The video above I produced in under one hour, meaning ingesting the footage, converting it and editing.

The only thing that took time was the upload, but I don't count that in my production time.

Sure my editing and sound production could be cleaner, but I think it works for it's purpose.
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Matthew Jonas, Photo Editor, Photographer
Longmont | CO | USA | Posted: 11:14 PM on 03.01.12
->> Ian, I agree with Nic. There is no easy answer to making it all work.

The biggest issue we have is time. I try to schedule assignments with enough time after to edit both the photos and video before the staffers have to get to another.

We are usually sticking to under 2 minutes for most videos. Most of the time the interview is done first if possible. This way you can get a better idea of the b-roll you will need to make it work. I found that you can never have enough b-roll.

Interviews are the longest clips. B-roll tends to be 10-30 second long clips. Overall you end up with less than 10 minutes of footage to cut down to a minute and a half.

The nice thing about the D3s is that you can set up the camera to record video to one card and stills to another. We use 2 machines to edit on: one for video and one for stills. The video clips can be transcoding while you are editing photos.
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Eric Seals, Photographer
Detroit | MI | United States | Posted: 11:20 PM on 03.01.12
->> Hey Matthew and Ian,

I work at the Detroit Free Press and have been doing video storytelling for about three years but have been a photojournalist for about 18 years.

We do quick daily turn around video;
https://vimeo.com/31162538

but long form as well (my favorite)
https://vimeo.com/35552022
https://vimeo.com/31669370
https://vimeo.com/35442744

Those of us that do video don't do it on every assignment we get. We determine which assignments need or deserve video. Which ones will hook and grab our viewers with a compelling story, interesting visuals and when that video is over they leave it better educated or informed about a person in their community or an event.

Question....Is it possible for you and your staffs to take control and determine what assignments really need video and the ones that don't?

Picking, choosing or having that option would less the load and instead of "capturing 15-20 minutes of raw video, including b-roll and interviews." as you say Ian you could work a video much harder for the story and impact it haas.
Of course I'm not sure of the work dynamics but to me (an example of) shooting a quick video of a new natural trail about to open is better served going back the 1st weekend when that trail is open and getting great natural sound, the buzz of activity and the interviews that would come from all that stuff.

A really good site with a forum for questions like these and videos done by others working at newspapers is Finding the Frame.

http://www.findingtheframe.com/

Really good site where people post their videos (long and short ones) and get feedback from others. Really good learning goes on here from watching and reading the comments and feeback.
The forum is great for the excellent questions you guys asked.
Some topics on the forum now range from
"What I learned shooting my first DSLR videos"
to
"Opening your video...Grab in the first 10 seconds"

I'd really encourage you guys to join, submit videos for review and ask these questions on the forum Check it out.

Hope to see you on there :-)

Eric
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Ian Martens, Photographer
Lethbridge | AB | Canada | Posted: 12:44 AM on 03.02.12
->> Thanks for the feedback guys!
Even though we've been doing video for some time now, it hasn't really been forced upon us as a main priority of our day. That being said, I quite enjoy doing it - as long as I'm able to have the time to do it right. And of course, as I mentioned above, I'm still trying to figure out a workflow that could make things a little less time consuming. I will definitely be checking out those links to see what I can learn!
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Matthew Jonas, Photo Editor, Photographer
Longmont | CO | USA | Posted: 1:02 AM on 03.02.12
->> Thanks for the links Eric. I really enjoyed your longform videos. We aren't quite there yet, but its something I would like to get us into eventually.
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Nic Coury, Photographer
Monterey | CA | | Posted: 2:15 AM on 03.02.12
->> I'm with Eric:

"We determine which assignments need or deserve video. Which ones will hook and grab our viewers with a compelling story, interesting visuals and when that video is over they leave it better educated or informed about a person in their community or an event."

I look at video as another medium. It doesn't work for all things, but some visuals just lend themselves to moving stills and audio a lot more to further the story.
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G.J. McCarthy, Photographer
Dallas | TX | US | Posted: 11:25 AM on 03.02.12
->> [Note: I started writing this last night but was exhausted from a gig so went to bed, then Eric came in -- damn you Seals! -- and pretty much kicked the ass of any points I make. But, if still interested, read on.]

Matthew:

[Unintentionally Blowhard Statement #1]

I am very well versed in this topic. I have been trained to shoot and edit video for about three years here now and do a fair amount of both throughout the year. To point, I would say easily 60 percent of what I do in that regard involves dually shooting (and later editing) video and stills on one assignment.

[Ambiguously Self-Promotional Link #1]

I actually a post about that very topic for my paper's photography staff blog; I let my music nerd out, too.

http://photographyblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2010/07/hemiola.html

[Here's where I stop qualifying with needy, self-involved bullshit and get to the meat of my point]

When it comes to shooting video and stills at once, less is more should be the mantra for both mediums. That's not to say that you pull back and half ass. No, you give it your all, but you pay great respect to the limitations in front of you and just do the best with what you can.

Some things I've picked up over the years …

You don't *always* need an interview; at least, you don't always need to incorporate the traditional kind in your edit.

A few months back, myself and one of our regular videographers kind of made an informal bet/pact that we would try to do away with interviews in our videos as often as possible.

Point being -- and maybe it's just because we all grew up with bad TV news -- we just don't give our viewers enough credit. Between the intro copy on video link to the actual content of said video, the average person who is even tempted to look at newspaper video can get the gist pretty darn quick.

So with that in mind, as I shoot (and later edit) video, I try to think less in terms of explaining something to a viewer and more in terms of why they should even bother watching.

Find the nugget of truth in your subject -- the biggest take away -- and let that be the "interview" for your story. Make sense?

As far as having to do both stills and video at once ... Funny thing I noticed a while back -- shot-for-shot, my average video just looks like the movie version of the still edit I turn in from a gig.

Having said that, my obligation is always still first, video second. But you'd be surprised how long a good moment can last. Sure, plenty are fast and fleeting, but I guarantee that more than half the time, you can fire off a few stills then switch over and roll a good five to 10 seconds of video. It's tricky and it takes practice, but it is doable.

You know how we all say backgrounds are super important in stills? Think of audio in the same terms for video. Nothing confuses me more than watching a videographer roll without headphones on. Even if it's just Apple ear buds, you have to listen to what the viewer will eventually hear.

One last thing -- and maybe I should have mentioned this earlier, after the interview thing. Stop thinking in terms of A-roll (interview) and B-Roll (the stuff that runs under the interview). It's all A-Roll; it's all important.

When I think about some of my favorite documentary filmmakers -- Errol Morris, Werner Herzog, Denny Tedesco -- every shot counts, just like a good photo story. I never get the sense they are in search of "filler" to accompany the audio.

Obviously the time factor is important, though. Those guys have months, years; we have, hours, a day, if we're lucky. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't try.

Anyway, I'm rambling now. Eric said it all a lot more succinctly so I just defer to that. And sorry if this is super heady and makes me sound like a gasbag. I guess this topic has kind of been in my head for a couple days now.

Yesterday the LA Times Photo folks asked about video on their Twitter feed and I replied with a dismissive dig about not ever watching newspaper video (which is not altogether true, but I'll admit a lot of it -- including the work I do at times -- turns me off). I got a DM from them that said, simply, "agreed, let's make them better."

That really struck me. It's way to easy to shit on something than it is to break it down, figure out improvements and then realize them. While it seems like interest (from higher ups) in newspaper video has backed off a bit, it's still something we're required to do. Why not make it something we're proud of and wanting our community to view?

Cheers,

- gerry -
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Eric Seals, Photographer
Detroit | MI | United States | Posted: 10:04 AM on 03.06.12
->> Hey Matthew,

A few days after reading your post and responding I had one of those assignments shooting stills and video on a assignment. It ended up working out well but the juggling act between the two wasn't ideal.

Here is the link to the video and stills about Godzilla the wild turkey that attacks a 69-year-old woman here in Metro Detroit.


http://tinyurl.com/GodzillatheWildTurkey


Some of the stills I shot with my Canon 5D but it seems like such a video story not a multimedia piece with stills and sound so I also used my GoPro's and a Panasonic HVX200.

With the light from being outside with Godzilla I was able to pull frame grabs of my GoPro footage and my Pano that ran in the Detroit Free Press and the quality held up well. I'd much rather have focused on all video but gotta feed both the newspaper and web beast like you and everyone else that does both have to do on a daily basis

Have you ever thought of pulling frame grabs sometimes? Of course it's not the end all to be all because of quality (depending on the lighting)

Eric
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Matthew Jonas, Photo Editor, Photographer
Longmont | CO | USA | Posted: 12:01 AM on 03.07.12
->> I thought about pulling frame grabs from the video I shot today. I might give it a shot tomorrow. I have some time to cut the video together before we are running it. The only thing that I see that might be an issue is that I am shooting 720p with the D3s. That should be enough to run in the paper but I don't know at what size.
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Chris Pietsch, Photographer
Eugene | OR | USA | Posted: 1:01 AM on 03.07.12
->> Here is a frame grab resource that might be useful: http://digitaljournalist.org/issue0704/d2-voodoo-tool.html
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Eric Seals, Photographer
Detroit | MI | United States | Posted: 9:12 AM on 03.07.12
->> Pulling a frame grab off 720p you should be able to run a 4 or 5 column picture with no real image problem depending on the light, that's been my experience from the few times I've done that.

Check out this frame grab
https://vimeo.com/35552022

It is off my Panasonic HVX200 indoors with the main light coming from birthday candles and it held up really well at 720p

Let me know if you end up using a frame grab in the paper, I'd be curious how it works for you.


Or course that's another reason why I have my Canon 5D Mark II as a b-roll camera on my side when I'm shooting with my Pano so I can pull it up when I feel I need it for stills sometime in addition to the b-roll.

Eric
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Thread Title: Daily HDSLR Video Work
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