19 April 2008

Top Tips for Video Journalists

Newspapers may be looking to their TV counterparts for film inspiration - but one video journalist reckons they need to “mix it up” a bit, too.

Practitioner and trainer David Dunkley Gyimah concedes there’s nothing wrong with using “the bedrock of TV style shooting” as a template, but he believes VJs can also learn from other forms such as feature films.

To make his point, he offers the benefits of his experience with a brief guide to shooting video - highlighting the pitfalls and offering some best practice tips.


“All stories have an inbuilt metronome. It can be languid or pacey. You can affect its pace in the edit, but try and feel the pulse.”

Tell The Story

“Unless you’re shooting docs and are adept at observational-based features, there are many occasions when you’ll need a narrative.”

The narrative should explain the story and provide background context.

Vocal Coaching

“The voice is an instrument and can telegraph emotion and meaning. Learn how to use it. ... Some broadcasters often start their careers mimicking a favourite before their voice comes into its own.”


Journalists can produce superior videos if they do things the hard way and “script to picture rather than the easier picture to script”.

Words, Words, Words

“Write the spoken word, not the literary one. That often means halving your word count and working to active sentences with few parentheses.”

The Interview

“Interview in situ. You don’t always need the set up - rule of thirds interview.”

Learn From Others

“If you’re shooting to TV’s stanza, you run the risk of making your videos stale after a while. … Watch what other people are doing, not as a spectator but as a technician.”

Go Against The Grain

“Learn to break the rules that are there to help you on your way to shooting video. Remember they’re just guidelines: rule of third, crossing the line.”

The full version of the guide can be viewed on Dunkley Gyimah’s blog.



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