Posts filed under ‘video’
Every April, 103,000 of my colleagues in media and I descend on Las Vegas for the National Association of Broadcasters Convention. Here are some of the out of the way eateries I’ve discovered over the years. Please add more! See you in Vegas!
1. Lotus of Siam. Excellent, authentic, and seriously spicy–Thai cuisine. Try the spicy prawns or the sea bass in any of the three sauces–I’ve had the ginger sauce with mushrooms and it was divine.
2. Kaizon Fusion Roll. Asia fusion with interesting (and gigantic) sushi roll combinations in a low-key, hip bar atmosphere. Just across street from Hard Rock Casino, but not nearly as pricey as their famous sushi spot.
3. Lindo Michoacan. A local Mexican 3-restaurant chain well regarded, including by my local friend whose wife hails from Mexico.
4. Sen of Japan gets rave reviews and is more authentic Japanese, for purists.
5. Pamplemousse. Locals go here for special occasion, reasonably authentic French fare. Haven’t tried it myself, so give me your feedback.
6. Echo and Rig Pick out your cut of steak, then have it grilled up at the restaurant next door. Talk about “on-demand” dining!
7. Piero’s. A Las Vegas institution and close to the Convention Center where we’re all living for this conference. Dinner only.
8. The only Vegas eatery on the strip that makes my list is Beijing Noodle No.9 at Caesar’s. Try the Soup Dumplings–the soup is actually IN the dumplings, not the other way around!–and a bowl of Lanzhou noodle soup.
Amy DeLouise is a writer/producer/author speaking all week at NABShow–the National Association of Broadcasters convention–in Las Vegas. Her Post/Production World classes are listed here http://bit.ly/ADatNAB16. Please stop by!
It happens more often than we’d all like to admit that inexperienced speakers are selected to deliver important information directly to the camera. Whether they are the head of a department, the leader of an initiative, an enthusiastic volunteer, or the child of the executive producer, this person might not be all that comfortable with a teleprompter, or might not work with cameras and crews every day the way professionals do. That doesn’t mean you can’t direct a confident delivery. But your approach will need to differ from how you’d work with an actor or an experienced on-camera speaker.
I Need to Direct My Boss on Camera, Now What?!
One strategy for encouraging a natural delivery from your speaker is to do a quick Q&A with them off-camera first. I often stand farther away than is truly necessary, and lean forward. This is to encourage a slightly louder speaking voice from the talent. It forces us both to connect on purpose, not simply by default. It’s surprising how often this Q&A approach works quite nicely, and feels natural.
Another strategy is to suggest in advance of your shoot day that the “host” practices a bit by recording themselves with their phone. Even though I have spoken before rooms with hundreds of people, before I taped my first Lynda.com course, I did the same thing. Speaking to a lens is vastly different than talking to people who react in real time. The first thing that struck me about my pre-recording was I didn’t smile enough. Even thinking about smiling helps the delivery seem more natural and congenial.
What About a Teleprompter?
Most folks aren’t aware of how much skill goes into reading from a teleprompter. Some people also do better with bullet points, rather than full copy. If you intend to use a prompter, you will need to add 30 minutes to your recording time for several rehearsals, to let the person get used to reading the words naturally. Most people trip up on one major issue: that the prompter follows them, not the other way around. They will get progressively slower as they read, waiting for the prompter to “catch up” when the prompter is actually following their speed. You’ll also need to add some big gaps to force people to slow down their read.
How to Work with Kids for Direct-to-Camera Videos
Kids are naturals. Don’t over-coach them. Do give them examples in advance from kids’ shows they like to watch. Remember that audition pre-interview? Ask a few questions about shows they like, so you can reference them just before and during the shoot. Encourage kids to practice with their i-things at home. But the best thing you can do with kids is be a supportive cheerleader. Use the same tools for keeping parents out of sightlines that you use with other gatekeepers: give them their own monitor, preferably out of the room. But check in periodically to be sure they’re happy. Because a happy parent will be a great ally for you as you create a positive experience with your production team
This blog post is excerpted from my new book The Producer’s Playbook: Real People on Camera (Focal Press/Routledge). Purchase the book here Buy Real People on Camera. Or if you are coming to #NAB16 please stop by my Post|Production World session on getting the best with real people on camera – info Amy at NABShow on Real People.
You’ve got to shoot and interview and ask the questions. How do you get the best from your interview subject(s)? How do you prepare? These four steps will improve the process every time.
- Research. I don’t just mean your basic Google search or Wikipedia page look-up. I mean actually reading something your interview subject has written or watching a speech they have given so you can a) learn from it and b) refer to it and build rapport. Also read articles about your person, so you understand where they come from and what they do. Talking to people who know them well–a spouse, assistant, co-worker–can give insights into their style, character and personal history.
- Pre-Interview. Have a phone conversation several weeks in advance of your interview. Weeks not days, because you don’t want someone saying “As I said to you yesterday…” in their answer. I find phone is better than Skype or Google Hangouts, because people are more honest when they can’t see you. If you don’t have the time or ability to pre-interview, then talking to someone who knows this person is even more important. You don’t want to be blindsided by a strong viewpoint, a difficult to understand accent, or some other element that you could easily prepare for in advance.
- Create a Story Arc. Everything is story. Even reality. Find the challenge that your subject had to overcome. This is the high point of the story, and you can work backwards from it as you develop questions to lead up to the main high point. Also think of what might hook in viewers to this story. How can you elicit that bit of the story arc? Then think about how the story ends. What’s a good way to help your subject get to this conclusion?
- Reverse Engineer Your Questions. Reviewing your research notes, your pre-interview notes, and your draft story arc. Then build questions that can elicit those answers and topics. The goal is not to control every moment, but to help support your subject as they reveal their story. people always ask me if I send interview questions in advance. Absolutely not! Send a list of topics, sure. But don’t give away your questions that are designed to elicit a story arc or you will find yourself interviewing someone who has over-prepared. If someone tells you that you MUST send questions, send three or four but write them related to themes. Get into the specifics on site.
Look, we all know that nothing is ever set in stone when you conduct an interview with a “real person” (i.e. not an actor or someone highly media-trained) on camera. Good preparation makes the shooting and editing process go much more smoothly.
This blog post is based on one of the chapters of my upcoming book The Producer’s Playbook: Real People on Camera (Focal/Routledge). Details and pre-orders here. For more details on specific interviewing techniques and post-production strategies for working with interviews, see my Lynda.com courses here: Amy’s stuff on Lynda.com
While Sarah Palin glittered her way to a Donald Trump endorsement, most of us can’t pull off that on-camera look. In fact, it’s generally advised to stay away from shiny, high contrast fabrics, let alone shiny stuff dangling off a fabric. This is because contrast can confuse the camera sensor, and may cause a “moire effect”–the image may seem to vibrate. Especially once the quality is degraded through broadcast or Web compression.
So what’s best for your next event or appearance that will be recorded on video?
In this heady pre-primary season, take some cues from our political class. For women, solid jewel tones work well. Reds can be tricky. But you’ll still see plenty of women wearing them for televised events like the inaugural swearing-in ceremony or the State of the Union address. (To be honest, purple stands out more, as in this photo of the SOU a few years back.) For men, a pop of color in a tie works well (see Lindsey Graham’s canary yellow). The same rules about avoiding busy patterns and high contrast apply to both ties and scarves. The Prince of Wales is a natty dresser, but this combo of polka-dot tie on striped shirt would be a nightmare on camera.
It’s always best to bring a few options to a shoot, and if you have time, do a short screen test. And if your production is against a green-screen back drop, of course avoid green (remember to check earrings, ties, etc!) or those elements will disappear–just like magic!
Amy DeLouise is a director/producer who works hard to make people look great on camera. Her book on producing with real people on camera comes out this spring from Focal Press.
Storytelling through video can help you advocate for a cause, raise awareness and money, train, and motivate. And with video engagement levels and distribution platform options at an all-time high, charities, associations, government agencies and corporations are producing more reality-based short video content than ever before. But many communications teams launch into producing videos without a solid script. That can throw up unnecessary roadblocks to success. With a plan for your nonfiction story arc and a script-to-screen process, producers can lower their overhead costs and improve storytelling impact and audience engagement.
Identify Characters: Be sure you’ve identified a main character (protagonist), which might even be your organization. Are there supporting characters? Those might be other people who can speak about this person or product or initiative. Don’t use more than 3 or 4 characters in a less than 5-minute video, or you’ll overwhelm viewers and confuse your narrative.
Write a Script: You wouldn’t build a house without a blueprint. Don’t shoot a video without a script. Even if your video is largely based on real people interviews, you want to have some kind of game-plan going into those interviews so you can craft a compelling story. Your script can include bullet points for the topics of potential “soundbites”–something that helps you create your interview questions and craft the story line on paper before you start spending money in the field or studio.
Create Storyboards: Particularly if you’re producing a graphically-driven piece, you will need storyboards to help guide the way before you invest in animation. For other types of videos, your storyboards can be as simple as stock images in a Powerpoint with a few descriptions beneath each one. These visuals can really help you when you’re faced with choices of how to light, shoot and edit your production.
Get Interview Transcripts: If you are interviewing people for your show, get transcripts made–a very small investment of a few dollars per minute–so you can select your soundbites on paper before spending time and money editing clips together.
Build an Editing Script: Once you’ve inserted your favorite soundbites or options into your initial script, you’ve created an editing script. Add in your selections or options for stock music and other visuals, such as stock or archival photos, videos and graphics, and you’ve got your guide-posts for a streamlined post-production process.
For more detailed tips about how to create an effective short-form branded stories on video, try my new Lynda.com course in nonfiction Scriptwriting.
Amy DeLouise is a director/producer, speaker and author who makes branded short-form videos for impact.