Author Archives: Franziska Bährle

How Social Media is raising my risk of getting a heart attack & reducing my faith in humanity (yes, this is a very long headline, but you read it either way – ha!)

This is not gonna be a post about how much time platforms like Facebook, Twitter or YouTube take off my lifetime. They surely do, but that’s not what what’s been annoying me over the last few months. This is not a blog post to blame the social networks I’m in, but the people who are with me – or at least some of them.

There’s times when I sit in front of my laptop, start breathing heavily, shaking my had while feeling the urge to shout out loud. These are times when I read a post, a comment or a tweet that just freaks me out, makes me angry or just sad, because I once more realise the lack of intolerance in our society. Let me give you an example (not that you’d need one, do you?): When the German football player Thomas Hitzelsperger had his coming out, I read a lot of positive comments, articles and statements on this. However, there were also those that lead to the reaction I described above. Homophobic bullshit. Unfortunately I, especially when it comes to stories like these, tend to increasingly read the comments to check how positive or negative the feedback is. I remember one tweet where someone collected Hitzelsperger-related comments that had a homophobic background – I had to stop after the third one in order not to run around screaming or order a punching ball with express delivery.

To make this clear: I know that some people might think of me as naive after reading this. How can one think it’s possible to only have conversations full of harmony and brotherly love? And especially on social networks, where anyone can post stuff anonymously? How can one think that there would ever be a time full of harmony and tolerance in the whole wide world?

I don’t.

I do know that there’s a lot of homophobia, racism and intolerance in this world. However, it became even clearer to me through social media. What I’m writing about here is not about people who openly run around being racist or homophic, shouting out their opinions and happily spreading their intolerance amongst others. I’m not writing about Putin or the German party NPD. What I’m writing about is the daily intolerance and as well lack of respect, which comes up in social networks. It’s about conversations that were absolutely harmless and turn into people attacking each other, leading to the conversation escalating terribly – for no reason. It’s person A commenting on a video with „You suck and you’re an ugly prick“, person B writing the comment „haha, what a fag, there’s no place for you in football“ below a Hitzelsperger article or person C commenting „we don’t need more foreigners here“ on an article about immigrants. People who wouldn’t run around screaming out loud how they feel about immigrants or gays. Mostly those guys who, if this topic comes up in private talks, start their sentence with „I’m not racist/homophic, but…“ Seriously, guys: How about trying „I’m not an idiot, but…“ – how does this work for you?

I was close to naming these hidden racism/homophobia/intolerance. But it’s not hidden at all. It’s public. And it’s honest. That’s what freaks me out. There’s so many of them. And social networks make this even clearer as people have more possibilities to post their opinion (which, in general, wouldn’t be a bad thing of course) and they, especially when they don’t have to use their real name, are „braver” to express it. I’m quite sensitive when it comes to intolerance and it makes me sad that there’s even more of it existing than I thought. But I don’t think this is just me being too thin-skinned. I am a person for whom harmony, respect and tolerance is quite a big deal. But if this wouldn’t be, or less be, the case, this wouldn’t change what I described here.
Anyways, all this stuff I read won’t lead to me spending less time on social networks. But it lead to me thinking that our society is, in some regards, even more fucked up than I thought.

Seriously, humanity. Get a grip.

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Hey TV. I’m gone. For good.

Fun fact first: I bought a TV this week. Without having a connection to any television program. And I’m not planning on changing this.

About a year ago I wrote a blog post about my way from TV to web video. After starting my MA in Online Journalism at Birmingham City University, I became less interested in television, where I had worked in before, and fell more and more in love with web video. Pretty soon it was obvious that I wouldn’t want to go back producing videos for television.

When I studied in “Brum”, I didn’t have a TV set – and to be honest, I didn’t miss it at all. This year in June I moved to Düsseldorf to work for a company that’s all about web video, giving me the opportunity to learn more about this medium. And it became even more fascinating to me. I decided not to get any TV connection in my flat, realizing I hadn’t really watched TV for quite a while anyway. And if I was, I was only complaining about it.

Television doesn’t have a lot of significance to me anymore. Instead, I think traditional, linear television is dying – or at least its relevance. And if you don’t want to hear the word “dying”, let’s at least say it’s really not feeling well.

First of all: Sitting in front of a TV set, watching the program that was chosen to be presented to me at a certain time, is not what I want anymore. And I’m certainly not the only one.

(my) tv is dead

Another reason: There’s not a lot of good stuff to watch. At least in Germany. Yes, I do still watch television shows. But seldom German ones. And if I do, I often get the strong desire to hit my head against a wall. Due to health-reasons it’s quite a good choice not to install a television set in my flat then. Sure, there are some great productions that I’d watch. However, in my opinion, there’s not enough of that, so I mostly stick to my favorite US shows – and, of course, web videos.

I don’t want to watch scripted reality shows or such, where people who don’t really know what’s happening to them are being made a fool of themselves. I also don’t want to watch the 5043rd version of a music chart show, neither a used-to-be-entertaining primetime show where Tom Hanks is being forced wearing a cat hat, some pathetic sitcoms that desperately try to find a punch line or a talkshow featuring an uninteresting topic or even more uninteresting attendees, being questioned by tedious talkmasters. And, going back to the linear thing:

I want to create my own program – and I mostly include stuff I find on the web in it. People who think that web videos are all about dancing cats and cuddling babies (or the other way round) didn’t explore the world of web video more than for a minute or so. There’s so much awesome stuff on the web – yes, also a lot of crap, but name on thing in live that’s just full of awesomeness and without any crappy parts. There’s not only YouTube, there’s Vimeo and other platforms, there is some great journalistic video stuff, although unfortunately not that much and widespread yet, and there’s short videos on Instagram and, my personal favorite, Vine (I. LOVE. Vine).

Apart from the time limit of the latter, there’s no limitation in web video. Sure, by now there are some things you should know if you want to be successful as a creator of web videos. But what I actually mean here is that it’s still the opposite of what you’ll find on TV, all the things Charlie Brooker is talking about in his video. Don’t do this, do that, you have to place your interviewee here, you have to include this in your report, don’t make it longer than this because it won’t fit in our program. Nothing too fancy. Nothing that varies too much from what we’re used to watch on TV. And: nothing that’s giving me a reason to tune in anymore.

What I love about web video: the diversity, the wealth of videos, it’s strong social element and the non-existence of limits. There’s no „You can’t do this“, neither regarding the video itself nor its producer. Apart from: Just don’t be like television. 

Thanks web video. Bye TV. For good.

So what about you guys? Still watching linear television? TV at all? What about web videos? Let me know!

RIP

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It’s about time…

…for someone to invent that beam-me-up-thing. Seriously.

…for my favorite shows to start again. (like Homeland: Can you live without it? You shouldn’t!)

…for someone to produce a hoverboard. (Yes. We all need a hoverboard. Admit it!)

And it was about time for me to start blogging again. It’s been five months without anything going on here but more and more incoming spam comments on how great my blog was (“oh and here, look at my blog as well, it’s about penises!” Well, not exactly like this. But still really annoying.) So now I’m back on my blog, writing about hoverboards and genital-related comments. Well, whatever – great to be back! And welcome (back) to everyone who’s reading the stuff I write. That’s three “backs” in a row. Enough for now.

Five months is quite a long time and I really didn’t plan to stop writing for so long – and as you can see, the posts before that weren’t really written in a regular way either. There are a few reasons for that, one of them is time. Over the last few months I didn’t have the time to write regularly, before that I was having too much time. Some would say that’s great, but if your unemployed it, surprise surprise, just sucks. You start losing the faith in your skills and the more days pass, the less you believe in getting a job you really wanna have and you’re happy with. However, I continued hoping and searching for that one, planning to stay near my hometown as well and move to Munich, where quite a lot of my friends live.

Well. Now I’m living 400 miles away from Munich. And it was still the best thing that could have happened to me. (That would be the time to link to deeply moving music, right? I’ll skip that….Well, if you can’t live without one, then click here. )

Luckily I got the opportunity to work with a really cool bunch of guys at the European Web Video Academy from March – May this year, whose office is located in Düsseldorf, the most beautiful city in North Rhine – Westphalia (yes, I love it here). The initial plan was to support them during the German Web Video Award as an intern – a great chance for me to learn more about web video and an honour to work with them. I had a great time those months, learnt a lot, worked a lot and loved it.  Now, three months later, I’m still here: living in my very own flat (finally again! What a great feeling!), freelancing as a videographer and still working for the European Web Video Academy.

It’s almost one year ago that I handed in my final dissertation for the MA in Online Journalism at Birmingham City University. If someone would have told me I’d be living in Düsseldorf one year from then, I wouldn’t have believed it. If someone would have told me I would also be working with those webvideo guys, I would have laughed at him and called him crazy.

Well. Never call someone crazy. You never know what happens.

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visualBrum: same tips – new site

As part of my final project for my MA in Online Journalism at Birmingham City University, I held several videography workshops last year, addressing citizen journalists, communities, bloggers and non-profits – and anyone else interested. To support this, I published some tips for beginners on posterous, including advice on how to conduct and frame interviews, as well as general composition, ethics and basic editing tips. As this service will be shut down on April 30th, I’ve moved those tips to tumblr. And they’ll hopefully stay there for a while.

civi

Moreover, based on the experience I gained in those workshops as well as on lessons learned, I wrote a short eBook called “Citizen Video“, for everyone who’s interested in this topic or even planning to hold such workshops himself. I also collected some tips and opinions on holding such workshops from Adam Perry, John Coster and Mark Potts (thanks again for your support!).

You can download Citizen Video for free on Leanpub. And at least here I can say for sure that this won’t change. 

 

 

 

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The future is web video

Deutscher Webvideopreis 2013

I’ve recently moved to another city for a while and couldn’t take my TV with me. The only thing that annoyed me about this was that I couldn’t use my XBOX for a while. Do I miss the TV program? Not really. Would I miss my laptop and watching web videos? Hell yes.

No matter where TV is going in the future, you surely can’t deny the fact that there’s a big thing going on online. YouTube is now the second biggest search engine worldwide. I will spare you the amount of videos being uploaded on there (ok, well, here you go: it’s 72 hours of video – a day!).

Webvideo is not just that funny piece you saw about that bloke stumbling over his dog and falling onto his cat while an elephant is doing a harlem shake in the background (don’t even try to search for this, seriously – but if you do and find it: let me know).

There’s a lot of stuff out there, a huge amount of producers, some for fun, some already made it their full time job. Webvideo isn’t just something to watch to have some distraction or to kill some time. It’s a big thing. And it’s, in my opinion, the future.

Upon this thought, a group of German journalists and web enthusiasts founded the European Web Video Academy in 2011, based in Düsseldorf/Germany, directed by Markus Hündgen and Dimitrios Argirakos and supported by Julius Endert and Daniel Pahl (disclaimer: I’m working there at the moment).

Their aim: Help web video grow stronger, consult (media) companies and promote a new generation of young, talented web video producers. Moreover, for the third time now, the Academy is presenting the German Web Video Award – whis is the first of its kind in Europa and addressing Germany as well as Austria and Switzerland.

The US pendant would be the Streamy Awards, although they are focussing on a series of videos and differentiating between quite a lot of categories, where they are e.g. also awarding best actor/actress or best writer. The categories of the Streamys are rather based on what we know from traditional TV awards, while the German Web Video Award’s categories, 13 in total, are mostly linked to the web:

Academy Approved Art (AAA), Action, Cute, Epic, Fail, FAQ, FYI, Let’s Play, LOL, Newbie, OMG, VIP, WIN.*

The voting system is a mixture of audience and jury votes. The latter are able to push videos by sharing them on social networks, the three videos with the most shares in each category will then proceed to the final round. A jury will select their own choice of three videos/each category.

This applies for 11 of the 13 categories, the nominees and winners in Newbie and AAA will be fully chosen by the jury.

In the final round, it’s again a 50:50 jury and audience choice. Points from 6 to 1 (6 for the best video) will be split between the remaining six videos in each category, both by the jury and depending on the amount of shares (this time both on social networks and blogs). They will then be added to announce the winner – in the case of a tie between jury and audience vote, the latter will be the determining factor.

By the time of writing, more than 3000 videos were being submitted, around 89.000 shares counted, while the competition has only started four weeks ago. The winners will be announced in a ceremony in Düsseldorf on the 25th of May. This event will be accompanied by a two-day “Videocamp”, an unconference/bar camp for video makers. The ceremony will be streamed live on YouTube.

To get an impression, here are some pictures of last year’s ceremony.

*The categories explained: 

Academy Approved Art: 

best video in terms of camera/editing/audio

Action: 

a video with a lot of…action!

Cute: 

No matter if it’s a video of a car or a baby, the cutest one is going to win in this category.

Epic: 

There will only be one truly epic video: The best video of the year.

Fail: 

worst professional video

FAQ: 

service video, explaining step by step how something works

FYI: 

no matter if it’s a journalism or documentary piece, it’s all about informing the audience

Let’s Play: 

gaming videos

LOL: 

funny incidents or comedy: it’s all about videos that make you laugh

Newbie:

for the best budding video producer

OMG: 

for the video with the best surprise effect

VIP: 

for talented personalities in front of the camera or commenting in the background

Win: 

best marketing video

 

 

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Trying to capture New Zealand

In September and October I spent 30 days at the other side of the world, five in Sydney and the rest in New Zealand. I travelled through both the North and the South Island, saw a lot of places, all of which were simply amazing.
I took my camera equipment and filled a lot of space on my Mac with the clips I shot, spending quite some time doing this. Which was fun.
However, I realised that it’s tougher than I thought to produce such a kind of video. I would have loved to have more time, to film more and in more different ways, trying different things –  apart from the need for more time to explore this country.
Well. I guess that just means I need to go on travelling to catch up on that. What a shame!

To be honest, the video should maybe rather be called “Trying to capture New Zealand”. When I e.g. went to Abel Tasman National Park, my companions and I agreed, any time we took a picture, that we couldn’t really capture what we saw – it was too stunning and overwhelming. Sure, you can never replace the experience by a picture or a video (despite them being a powerful and great way to express/show something). But I’ve somehow never felt this as much as I did in New Zealand.
However, I hope this video properly shows how beautiful this place is, brings back nice memories to those who have been there and a desire to go to New Zealand for everyone else.

Oh, and here’s also some pictures.

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Studying the MA in Online Journalism at Birmingham City University (yes, this is the short version)

Two weeks ago I handed in my final project for the MA in Online Journalism at Birmingham City University. The course took one year and was quite different from what I had expected, for various reasons – but in a positive way.  Taking this course was the best decision I could have made. I’ve probably never learnt so much in one year. Moreover, it wasn’t just an additional qualification, but lead me in a direction I wouldn’t want to miss anymore. But more about that later.

First of all here’s some details about the course and the School of Media at BCU, for everyone who’s interested in the program. There’s quite a lot to say about this intense year, I’ll try to sum some things up:

 

The course structure

The course consists of two modules each in the first two terms and a final project in the end. I started in September 2011 (starting in February is also possible, as well as distance and part time learning). In each of the two taught terms you’ve got an Online Journalism module and another course (Enterprise + Production Lab). All of those modules are very practical and based on independent study and work. If you’re expecting to sit in the lectures, listen and write an exam about that in the end, you’re wrong. The lectures are the basis and it’s up to you what you make out of it.

In each course you’re working on projects, but there’s one huge difference from what I had experienced until then: What’s most important is what you learn from working on those projects, that you explore the area, try new things out and learn through all of those experiences – failure is fine (something that was hard for me to accept in the beginning – but it made total sense).

I really liked that approach, which was implemented by every lecturer. It makes you rather try new things, as you know you won’t only be marked on the final piece, but also on the whole way on which you got there, your efforts, your approach, what you’ve learnt, how you’ve developed your skills etc. – absolutely new to me, but something that I really appreciated. 

 

The workload

When I had a first look at my schedule, I thought they must have made a mistake. Two lectures a week was not really what I had expected, I was a little bit disappointed and signed up for more lectures from other programs. Well, I dropped them all. Those two are indeed more than enough to keep you busy. An important part of this course is independent study where you build up on the stuff you’ve learnt in the lectures. 

I didn’t expect this year to be an easy going studying/holiday – mix, but it was still much more work than I would have thought. So if you’re planning to take this course, be prepared to work some extra hours – it’s all worth it though.

 

The course leader

I have to admit that I didn’t really know much about my award leader Paul Bradshaw before I came to Birmingham. It turned out that I couldn’t have had a better one.

Paul’s knowledge in this area seems to be endless, I didn’t want to miss a single lecture as each of them was highly interesting, helpful and informative, so were the resources Paul offers with the lectures.

However, Paul isn’t a only a lecturer for the one day a week you get together, he’s doing that 24/7 – that’s at least how it seems. He’s regularly forwarding emails about projects you can get involved in, upcoming events, conferences, as well as job offers etc. Paul’s also highly supportive, I always knew I could get back to him whenever I had questions or issues arised. Moreover, he’s coming up with a lot of ideas on what you could work on, try, improve etc. 

What I appreciated a lot was that Paul is really interested in the development of each student: Instead of “just” teaching, he’s giving you advice, pushing you to try new things & find the area you want to specialize in and supports you to develop your skills there. He’s giving feedback apart from assignments and is always looking out for anything that could help you regarding your professional development. This was just an amazing support that had a great influence on what I got out of this course.

 

BCU School of Media

I loved the whole atmosphere here. Everyone’s very helpful and open for questions even if you’re not on their course. I always knew that I could contact other award leaders if I had any questions that they might be able to help me with – which is not self-evident. I really appreciated that.  Diane Kemp and Caroline Officer for example helped me a lot when it came to videography questions (permissions in the UK etc.). Dave Harte gave a fab social media skills course in the first term and Annette Naudin supported me a lot with a video project I was working on for BCU.

In general I never had the feeling of me being the “tiny student” compared to the lecturers. I was rather used to the “almighty” prof, standing in front of the students, sharing his knowledge to them. Sure, the lecturers on my course also shared their knowledge, but it’s a different way of doing so,  much more a mixture of workshop and conversation.

Apart from that, the way you communicate here was just a whole new level for me – after some time it became normal, but at the start I couldn’t believe that students and lecturers were communicating on Twitter – with course own hashtags or the possibility to ask questions (Dave Harte truly is the word record holder in replying tweets). Moreover you can keep track on what lecturers and fellow students are up to. Twitter is an essential tool in the department and I loved that. That’s one  of the things other unis could learn from (as well as the above mentioned focus on the student’s development)

 

Birmingham

I didn’t have a very good impressions of Birmingham before I came here, the images I saw on the internet weren’t really promising. However, what ever you see or hear: Explore it yourself and you’ll see that Birmingham is a really cool place. I really like the city, especially the coffee shops and the area around the canals.

Moreover Birmingham offers so many possibilities linked to the course. There’s a huge hyperlocal blogging as well as social media scene and a lot of interesting meetings are taking place there, like the monthly Birmingham Social Media Café.

 

The UK

For everyone from abroad: It’s in general great to study online journalism in the UK. In my opinion the media scene is much more developed in this area than in other countries, amongst them Germany.

 

And finally my very personal review (the short version):

I expected to learn how to work online as a journalist, I saw it as an additional qualification that would enhance my skills in a changing media landscape, which I found very interesting. However, I would have never imagined that I would learn so much on this course, neither did I think that my professional development would be influenced that much by it. When I started this course I had just finished my VJ-trainee at a TV station. I already loved the internet and spend quite some time with it, however didn’t have a clue about online journalism, I didn’t even know much about Twitter ( I remember when Paul sent me a dm on Twitter and ask me why I kept my tweets private. I had no idea what he was talking about…)

One year later, Twitter and other tools are a normal part of my daily routine, I’m excited about all the possibilities given in working as a journalist online (not only regarding video) and I couldn’t imagine to go back to where I was before I started the course. It wasn’t just an additional qualification. If I compare my skills, interests and ambitions before I took the course, there’s a huge difference – the course has clearly changed my whole professional development and I’m even more in love with this job than I’ve already been before.

There’s so much more to say about this course, but one thing I’ve learnt is that people are not really willing to read long texts online… So I’d better stop and if anyone should ever want to know more details, please get in touch.

Just a final statement:  

Without hesitating I can say that I would take this course again and can recommend it to anyone. If you want know how to work online as a journalist, this is in my opinion the course to choose.

 

And here are some tips for new students on the course: 

 

Don’t plan to become an expert on everything.

There’s so much stuff you are learning on this MA, but don’t expect to get out and be able to rock every single discipline. That’s just not possible. Think about which area interests you most and you want to specialize and work in later. Surely don’t ignore the other areas, but don’t plan to become a community managing data journalism expert, who’s creating online videos including fab motion graphics and knows all about SEO.

 

Network!

One of the main lessons I’ve learnt on this course: To value the power of networking. Get in touch with people, go to events, chat about your projects and keep in touch, e.g. via Twitter. You’ll see how import and helpful a network is for projects, jobs etc. – and also help you to learn more about each certain area of interest.

 

Blog!

Set up a blog and publish posts about your work, research and area of interest. Get in touch with others in the field, interview them or/and try to get some conversations going on your blog.

 

Be curious, ask questions and try new stuff.

Don’t just sit and listen, ask questions if you want to know more or something’s not clear. Explore the field, put as much time in your own professional development as you can and also:

 

Don’t be afraid to fail.

It’s more important to learn from experience than to produce a fab piece. If you’re already great at producing podcasts, it doesn’t make sense to do exactly this because you hope to get a good mark from it (you probably won’t as this is not all that counts). You’re doing that course because you want to learn more, so try new stuff, build up on your skills and don’t stop because you are afraid to fail. This will get you much further than sticking to things you already know or just going the safe ways.

 

Make the most out of this course!

 

 

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Citizen Video

I just published my very first eBook. “Citizen Video – Training and engaging citizens in video journalism” is based on experiences from holding video workshops, the attempt of developing a video community in Birmingham, as well as on interviews and further research.

The handbook is part of my final project for the MA in Online Journalism at Birmingham City University and was written for everyone planning to hold video workshops for citizens: media organisations, citizen journalism websites or anyone who wants to share his knowledge to others.

You can download it here – for free:

Comments are as always very welcome.

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10 tips to get you started in video journalism

I’m currently holding video workshops for citizen journalists, communities, charities and nonprofits in the Birmingham area. For this project I’m also working out tips and tutorials which the participants and anyone else who’s interested can look up and download online, in order to have some information in addition to the workshops – or to be able to read through the stuff we’ve covered there again.

A few months ago I already posted some tips on this blog, however, I now added some and left out those linked to interviews as I wanted to include more general ones first and will be posting interview tips separately.

I decided to post the startup tips here as well, comments and notes are as always very welcome.

Now here we go:

1. Don’t shoot a video just because you can.

Video isn’t made for every story. Before covering a story, think about which medium is the best one to tell it with: Text, audio, pictures, video, graphics?
Don’t use video for e.g. council meetings, exhibitions or long interviews – there has to be a reason why you need to have it on video, something happening, something you need to show. A video about a bunch of politicians sitting and talking at a round table? Yawn.

2. Check your equipment every time before you go out to shoot a video.

Rather do it twice than regret it later. Check if you have everything with you, if your batteries are fully loaded (take some backup with you!), your tripod, camera and mic are working, your memory card is empty etc.

3. Shoot rather more than less footage. But not too much!

If you come back from a shoot and start to edit, realising you don’t have enough footage is not only annoying, but will obviously influence your video negatively. On the other hand, having too much footage will take you a lot of time to look through. That’s one reason why you should also:

4. Don’t just shoot what you see. Think about it!

Don’t film everything that’s connected to your topic. Think about what your story is about and how you want to tell it. Decisions are also being made in the edit, still it’s crucial to know what you’re doing. Think about what you need to tell the story.

But: Don’t plan every single shot before you go out to get your footage – it’s reality you’re covering, you’re not following a fictional script. So keep your eyes open all the time, see what’s happening on scene and also be prepared to change your initial story. Also think about how you want to capture it: What’s the best way to frame each shot?

Think before you press the record button!

5. Use a tripod.

This really depends on the situation and the camera you are using. Normally I’d say it’s necessary to work with a tripod. However, some situations will make you shoot without one. Maybe you don’t have any space to build up a tripod or it simply gives you a better possibility to film a certain shot if you’re doing it handheld. Of course this means to try to hold the camera as steady as possible at the same time. You definitely don’t want shaky images.

If you can put the camera onto a steady ground or you can hold your camera steady in your hand (can work well with e.g. Flipcams) you may also be able to work without a tripod. This should be especially fine for short interviews or a few impressions. If you’re planning a longer report and different shots, you should go with a tripod. Especially close up shots are difficult to film without getting shaky images.

You can get foldable and light tripods for a cheap price. Get one! You’ll mostly achieve a better result! (And even more expensive and better tripods are not necessarily so heavy you couldn’t take them with you all day.)

6. Don’t pan, tilt or zoom for no reason.

Pan, tilt and zoom when you’re not recording to change your framing, do avoid it while you are. On the one hand it’s not that easy to achieve a smooth shot with those, on the other hand you should only do it if it adds value to your shot. Don’t just do it because you can. It normally looks much better to use separate shots instead of panning, tilting or zooming around in the video. An example: If you want to show a wider scene and you’re panning from left to right – show the whole picture in one wide shot instead, unless you want to create some suspense for any reason.

7. Don’t just think about the images, but also about the audio!

You might have shot the greatest sequences and most awesome statements, the interviewee beautifully framed. But if the sound of the video is bad, your video will suffer a lot. Video is not only about images. Bad sound can ruin it all – and normally does.

8. Make your videos as long as they need to be. Don’t stretch them or cut      them off.

Don’t stretch your videos to ten minutes just because you got some footage left and don’t want to ditch it. Stop when the story is told. Stop when you can’t guarantee an interesting video anymore. At the same time: If you got a great story to tell, why stop after three minutes? If it is exiting for ten minutes, go ahead – why end it before and hide the best parts? However: Sometimes good footage can’t be used because it may not add value to or match the story, although the statement might be great or the shot beautiful. You often have to get rid of footage you love. Heartbreaking, but necessary sometimes.

9. Show, don’t tell!

It’s a video. Don’t tell every single detail in the voice over or let “talking heads” rule the video. Use this medium’s strengths, show what’s happening:

If there’s a demonstration and its participants are upset, don’t tell your audience that in a boring voice over. Show the people who are upset and get them telling you their feelings instead of describing it on your own.

Instead of having a statement of a footballer only telling you how great and emotional it was for him to score the crucial goal, show him scoring it and his reaction afterwards.

Would you rather hear someone telling you in a video how exciting and scary it is to bungee jump from a bridge or actually see it? Record the whole scene! Maybe even attach a small camera (for example this neat USB-keyring-camera) on your protagonist’s helmet and you got an even more impressive “statement”. However, you normally do want the protagonist to describe his feelings about that jump as well – but right afterwards, not 10 days later.

These are only examples, but this rule is a general one and is not only made for bungee jumping reports or upset demonstrators. So always keep in mind: It’s video, not text. You don’t need to watch a video to be told that the atmosphere was great if you can’t see it.

10. Use different shots.

Don’t just use wide shots all the time, tell your story with different ones. Also use different framings and perspectives. Nothing’s more boring than a compilation of wide shots.

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