View Loops and Montage assignments…
Visual Evidence in Documentaries
Harlan County, USA
Video Journalism: Carrier of the Economy
Moving the Camera
Static Camera (locked-off) :
-staging and blocking talent
-dynamic framing and editing
-handheld, panning, tracking, etc.
-the long take
-planned vs. spontaneous (handheld)
– unnatural, motivate the move
– start frame (10 sec.) , movement, end frame (10 secs)
– plan shot, practice with tripod head or monopod swivel
– skateboards, cars, bicycles and wheelchairs
– gopro attached to moving vehicals
Handheld (with monopod):
– wide angle, adjust focus
– tai chi movements ( from the center)
– iphone smoothee, flowmotion, etc.
– DIY – hang a weight
The Cranes are Flying, 1957 – Mikhail Kalatozov and Sergei Urusevsky (camera)
Husbands and Wives 1992, Woody Allen
Blair Witch Project, 1999, Daniel Myrick, Eduardo Sánchez
Job/Hobby Profile Assignment (10%):
Rough Cut Due in two weeks
no more than 2 minutes
In this assignment, you will do a 1-2 minute profile of a person at their job or doing their hobby, like gardening or painting. What does this person do at their job or hobby? What is the activity? How often do they do it? What experience are they getting? What experience did they need before getting the job or starting on the hobby? If the person works at home, how do they manage home life and their work? How might you tie the job or hobby to larger questions about work or creative activity?
The two areas of focus in this assignment are 1) moving with the camera and 2) conducting an interview, but you should of course pay attention to continuity and framing. So choose a subject that does not spend the day sitting in front of a computer, even though most jobs do include some of this.
- First, have a pre-interview discussion with your subject. Find out some things about them and their job.
- Prepare a story outline, interview questions and a shot list for visual evidence.
- Then set up a time/place with your subject and conduct a sit-down interview at a good location for lighting and sound recording.
- After the interview, get the visual evidence you need by following the person at work or, even better, as they work on a particular project. Continue to ask questions while following the subject with the camera. You may find that the answers are more interesting than in the sit-down interview.
Interview (A roll) + Visual Evidence (B roll)
- talk to subject without camera, find the story
- use interview to support, not replace, visual evidence
Plan the Story:
- make an outline of the story: hook, intro, complication, climax, resolution
- make a shot list for the visual evidence
- make a list of questions for the interviewee. remember, no simple yes/no questions
- find a good location with decent visuals, good lighting for the subject and minimal or no background noise
- use a tripod or keep is still if you have the camera on a monopod
- change camera angle/zoom between questions for shot variety, but keep to standard medium shot (leave enough head room)
- follow rule of thirds for framing (leave some space on the side interviewee is angled)
- pay attention to the background (give a sense of place)
- get mic close to the subject. three feet is ideal
- test your levels
- remember to push record!
- no bumps, ticks or hisses near mic
- do not let subject hold mic
- find a good key light to fall at an angle on the subject’s face. near a window or lamp, for example. try to avoid overhead of fluorescent lighting
- With a basic DIY light set up, have a Key Light and Fill Light at a slightly higher angle than the subject. And then, if you have another light, use it for the Background Light. See Lighting on the Fly
- never shoot a subject in front of a window!
- “bounce” lighting off the walls for fill and backlighting, or use reflectors
- avoid heavy shadows
- start with getting full name (perhaps spelling) and other relevant info (position, title, job)
- let people talk. keep silent for a few moments after a question has been answered. when you are silent, interviewees will fill the void with something perhaps more authentic
- do not direct actions
- don’t move the camera off the subject when they are showing/pointing to something. you can get it after the interview
- look for visual evidence at location of interview
- continue interview while shooting visual evidence
- listen to your subject
In-class assignment: VMMC Haunting