As you shoot (MMJ) or assist (reporters with photographers), look for natural sounds that will help bring your viewer into the story. These can be the sound of traffic going by, a siren, a bird chirping, swimmers splashing, a nurse checking on a patient—whatever. If you hear a good sound that could introduce a new area of your story, shoot more video to complete a sequence. Repeat this for every new thought or area you want to cover. For example, imagine you have been sent to do a story about winter’s first snowstorm and its effects on a well-travelled canyon. You get solid sound of the cars driving in snow, and then a few more shots of cars, a mix of telephoto and near shots. Then you get to the bad area. You get shots of spinning tires, people pushing cars, and cars getting stuck. Make sure some of these are close enough for good sound. Interview a few stuck or struggling drivers. Later you find someone from the Highway Patrol. In Utah, all troopers are authorized to talk on camera. When dealing with other agencies, you may need a sergeant or lieutenant. The trooper can give you the who, what, when, where, why, and how about what is happening. She might also give some reaction, whether it be advice, frustration, or surprise.
After the interview you set out to shoot things the trooper talked about that you want to put in your story. You don’t need b-roll of everything she said, but when in doubt of whether you’ll use the footage, shoot it. Better to have and not need than need and not have. Looking for what is out of the ordinary, you stop for some tow trucks pulling cars out of snowbanks. If it’s safe, you can get close enough for NATS. Try to shoot these from the shoulder side, not the highway side. If the tow drivers look too busy to clip your mic on, just shout a question at ‘em as they work. If they shout back loud enough, you can use a quick response. In my experience covering this kind of story, the driver said he loved the first storm of the year because they were “money makers.” I wasn’t sure it was loud enough for the mic to pick up, so I yelled “what?” and he repeated the same words louder and clearer. Once again, after you get a quick NATS or SOT, get more video to follow up for your future script. With interviews from an official, reactions from drivers and tow drivers, and plenty of video and sound of each, you can go log. If your station is nearby, log there. If not, you might be spending the day in your car.
Rather than idling your engine for hours, try logging in a nearby library or empty restaurant (don’t take up tables if they need them for new customers). How do you start your script? Use these guidelines to help you put something on that blank page: Start the package and each new aspect or thought, with natural sound or a compelling thought.
- Spring '18
- Test, producer, Executive producer, Film producer, Television producer