NewsTeam Spring 2012
Look Live Lessons
Real time exercises can help students gain valuable insights and an understanding of the NewsTeam routine and its standards. These exercises provide lessons that should be applied to all future work.
- On the day of the newscast, same-day reporters should come prepared with a story. Students who keep up with news and current events will have the advantage. Some same-day stories can be decided the night before the newscast. Take this opportunity to do preliminary research and contact primary sources to arrange for interviews. That way, when you come to class, valuable time is not wasted trying to determine what the story is about.
- When you appear on-camera, dress appropriately, which means professionally. Refrain from wearing ball caps or t-shirts, especially shirts that advertise products or political slogans. Also, avoid wearing sunglasses, even if the day is particularly bright.
- Test the cameras before leaving the equipment room. Make sure that the cameras record in MOV, check the microphone inputs, and also test the SD card. For more on menu settings click here. Failure to test the equipment may result in wasted time and effort, and possibly even a re-shoot or aborting the story entirely.
- White balance the camera on location, which will save time from having to colour-correct in post-production.
- The footage should be exposed correctly. Over-exposed or under-exposed footage does not meet broadcast standards. Failure to properly expose may mean having to re-shoot.
- Shoot stand-ups in locations where the background is relevant to the story. Try to show activity in the background.
conduct interviews or do stand-ups using the on-board shot-gun
microphone. The audio quality from the shot-gun is not acceptable for voices. Good audio is part of our broadcast standards and is not a suggestion. Bad audio may require having to re-do either an interview or a stand-up.
- Perform sound checks using the audio meter in the camera's viewfinder. The levels need to be strong, but not distorted. During interviews, make sure that the stick microphone is close to pick up good audio levels.
- Since the Same-Day story is a two-person team, the reporter should always hold the stick microphone during interviews.
- During interviews the photographer should compose close-up shots, but the exception here is to compose loose close-ups, providing enough room to zoom in on the image in post when it gets scaled to a 4:3 dimension for broadcast. Also, leave enough room to insert a lower-third graphic.
should avoid composing stand-ups as close-up shots. Instead, make them
wider to show more of the backdrop. A medium shot is more acceptable for
- Bring your research notes and have a focus. People being interviewed should not feel that their time is being wasted when they're asked mostly general questions. They want to know where the interview is going.
- Never interrupt the person while they're replying to your questions. During the interview take notes and ask follow-up questions. But let the person finish their thought.
- Record the VO portion of the Look-Live in the same location as the stand-up. Don't cut the VO in the audio booth unless you need to correct or update the information. Sometimes, updates can be included in the anchor intro or tag.
- Shoot both the opening and closing stand-up in the same location, which gives the appearance that you're doing a live shot.
- In the closing stand-up, include a summary before you give the sig-out. Use the proper sig-out, e.g., You Name, NewsTeam Boulder. It's fine if you follow that with, "Back to you in the studio."
- Reporters need to record a pause for padding prior to their opening stand-up and after their sig-out. Maintain eye contact with the camera for a few seconds. Don't turn your head or adjust your hair immediately before you start talking or the moment you stop.
- While in the field keep track of your time. You should return to the edit lab no later than 10:30am to give yourself roughly a full-hour of post-production. The deadline for finishing the same-day stories is 11:30.
- Bumpy camera shots, especially when the camera is mounted on a tripod, should not be used in the final edit. This requirement conforms to broadcast standards and should be adhered always. Footage taken from a tripod must be rock steady. Hand-held shots should not appear clumsy or erratic. Excessive zooms are distracting and appear to the audience as if the camera operator hasn't figured out what shot to get.
- Shoot sequences that are composed with proper headroom and lead space.
Even the slightest bump should not be used. Seriously, take your time and practice the best in broadcast standards. Sometimes students who are new to this have tendencies to pan or zoom on nearly every shot. There is no need for such camera motion if you shoot sequences. Also, refrain from moving the camera if you can't make the motion appear smooth. In addition, a cut between a shot in motion to a static shot appears jarring and can be distracting.
Use creative angles and change the camera height to get a variety of shots. Most important, shoot sequences that use a combination of wide, medium, and close-up shots, which will make the editing go smoother and faster, saving your time!
Get Close-Up Shots
The following shots rely too much on wide shots. Too often, students forget, or simply ignore, the power of the close-up. But when it comes to viewing news packages on mobile devices such as iPhones, close-up shots are much easier to look at in the smaller-sized screen. Today, many camera operators who shoot for broadcast also know that their work will likely appear on the Web. 50 percent of their footage will be close-up shots, 25 percent are medium shots, and 25 percent wide shots. Close-ups are powerful shots that tell the story. Don't neglect them.
Also, there are no sequences in the following footage, and too many jump cuts, or lack of continuity in cuts from wider to closer shots. You can write more creatively to sequences and adjust your editing patterns to reveal detail as the story advances.
- Upon returning to the edit bay, the reporter should log the footage, noting the best takes and sound bites. Give this information to the photographer so they can start editing a rough cut. Meanwhile, the reporter should return to the newsroom (Armory 209) to write the anchor intro, which the producer needs sooner rather than later. Avoid writing the anchor intro (and tag) in the edit lab so that you can get approval of your script, print and hand it in more readily.
- In editing, you must not forget to create a project folder. Copy the footage inside the folder. Set the scratch disk and name your project document. These steps are required so that the auto-save will function properly. But also, in case there is a brief power outage, or Final Cut Pro closes unexpectedly, you will be able to recover most of your media files and edit sequences without having to spend valuable time trying to reassemble the project.
- Assemble a rough cut first and then fine-tune. Don't forget to scale the images so that they fit in the 4:3 dimensions for broadcast.
- Pan the audio in your stand-up and interviews so that it can be heard in both channels (not just the one it was recorded in).
- Don't forget to include the lower-thirds, using the double-bar graphic in the NewsTeam Lower Third folder, which should be found on the computer's desktop at every station in the edit bay. You need to copy the graphic and paste it in your project folder before you can import it into Final Cut Pro.
- The lower-third for the stand-up should be divided with your name on the top bar and the attribution (NewsTeam Boulder) on the lower. Use the default font, Lucida Grande. The name is left-justified with a font-size of 36 units, and the attribution is right-justified with a font-size of 30 units, or smaller depending on the length of the attribution for the interviews. Also, the font should contain a drop shadow (go to the Motion tab in the Viewer where you can check the Drop Shadow box). The length of the lower-third should last between 3 and 5 seconds. Make sure to choose sound bites that last long enough to ID the person. Finally, add cross dissolves at the beginning and end of the graphic and font clips and adjust the length of the dissolves to 12 frames.
Proper Lower Third