Photographer’s second nature: broadcast journalism

Broadcast journalism is one of my favorite pieces to news reporting; broadcast journalism mixes the art of photography/filmography into newswriting. There are many aspects that go into creating a successful broadcast: camera shots, effective B-roll, primary source interviews, and voice over.

This is an example of a broadcast I filmed, wrote, and voice-overed with Sarah McCarthy; this won a Gold Medallion with MHSPA.

Beginning with camera shots, there are four main shots that need to be used in variety to create a successful broadcast: establishing shot, wide shot, medium shot, and close up; these are to be shot in order with B-roll and voice overs. Furthermore, it is the responsibility of the editor to successfully pair shots with what is being said in voice over.

For the entry to the broadcast, we usually use establishing shot, wide shot and then move into medium shots, with B-roll and voiceovers following throughout. For interviews and facts, we stick to tight camera angles, sticking with medium shots and close ups, and to exit the broadcast, you use the reverse camera angle formula for the entry.

This is another example of a broadcast video I have made with my fellow editors, Megan Karnuth and Kleio Vrohidis. The below explanations will refer to this as an example.

Next is B-roll, although being an alternative to the main shots of the broadcast needs to be of high quality and relevant. Within my broadcasts, I try to focus the camera on subjects my interviewee touches on. I interview a coach who mentions a player? My broadcast features a shot of that player while he talks. It is all about compositional placement and knowing what will enforce your voiceover.

Primary source interviews follow the same reputability as they do in writing a story. In the above example where the broadcast is on an athlete, it is best to contact their coaches and captains, because after all, those are the sources right there with them while they play. Would it be effective to use a parent as a source in that situation? Sure. But can they attest to the evolution of their child’s technical skills in the game with sports terminology? Not likely. However, any source in contact with the subject is likely a great primary source, unless the topic is politics per se, where you would need an expert rather than an opinionated constituent.

Finally, the informative piece of the broadcast: the voiceovers. Now voiceovers can be as intricate or as baseline as you want, but they have to give the who, what, when, where, why, and how. Introductions of your sources titles, place of event, why they’re of interest, etc, are the best points to offer. Voiceover is where a lot of sound editing comes into play, where it is the responsibility of the editor to make them feasible when above other noises or leading into another clip.

Although a lot of high school journalism broadcasts have been filmed using iPhones or iPads before, it is recommended to use a nice DSLR camera with a tripod. For the above story I used a low level DSLR (Nikon D3300) which was sufficient in getting wide, establishing, medium, and close up shots with a fair amount of focus blur (which peaks the viewer’s senses to understand ‘oh, this is of high quality!’).

Of course large-market media will have better technology teams for their broadcast, but I highly recommend iMovie for a fair editing interface to high school journalists. Not only did iMovie allow us to effectively mesh clips together and override with voiceover, but we were able to add music, change the tone of our clips, speed or slow clips, add titles, and more.

Broadcast journalism is definitely becoming more prominent in today’s digital world, and serves as a quicker way to spread news to the word- that is why it is so important to understand.


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