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Video Storytelling Workshop: Three things you'll take away

video workshop
If you have any lingering doubts about the pervasiveness of video in our world today, consider this: about two-thirds of all search results now contain video. And here’s the more important detail: people are actually watching these videos - by the billions. In October alone, 183 million internet users in the U.S. watched more than 37 billion videos on the web.  

The bottom line: journalists, educators and media professionals can all benefit from some basic video storytelling skills. We’re not talking Oscar-worthy filmmaking here. Just the ability to shoot, edit and present compelling and informative video content. Those are the skills we hope to impart at our upcoming Video Storytelling Workshop, taking place January 9-11, 2013.

Here are three things you’ll walk away with:

1) How to use a video camera (really): For most of the workshop we’ll be working with the  Canon Vixia - a standard HD consumer video camera. Like most modern camcorders it offers basic automatic settings. However, you can enhance your shooting and better troubleshoot in tricky locations when you have a deeper understanding of the manual settings that come with most video cameras. We’ll show you how to set the white balance, monitor audio levels and adjust focus to get the most out of your shots. We’ll also review the basics of a DSLR camera for those who want to incorporate still photos in their videos.

We all know that compelling video is more than just good lighting and sound - it’s composition.  So we’ll go over framing techniques for common shooting scenarios like sit-down interviews or man-on-the-street interviews (stand-up shots). We’ll also talk about capturing “b-roll” sequences - a combination of close, middle and wide shots that illustrate a scene or demonstrate how something is made.

To help with this instruction, we’ll be joined by Jigar Mehtha, a former video journalist for the New York Times and the creative mind behind the multimedia documentary project 18 Days in Egypt.

2) How to plan a shoot: A good videographer knows that the most important work comes before a shoot. For a video project to be viable, a producer has to ask herself, “What are the scenes and the soundbites I will need to make the story work? What sort of access will I need to capture this material? What factors could affect my shooting (lighting, sound, time of day)?”

We’ll lead you through this planning process. You’ll learn how to produce a storyboard and a shot list, which will organize your video shoot and inform the way you edit your video together. A well thought-out plan can be the difference between a compelling, professional piece and the stuff of old home movies.

3) How to use Final Cut X and Photoshop: At the end of the workshop you should be able to use Final Cut X to import, edit and compress videos for web.  You’ll be able to weave together different scenes, clean-up audio and add basic text to your videos. We’ll also show you how to polish still photos in Photoshop through cropping and basic color/contrast corrections. You’ll learn how to incorporate these image into your video storytelling.