Mittwoch, 22. Februar 2012

The importance of audio in video

As this post is about audio, I decided to record it.  I also added some links in the comments to make it more interactive  - I'd be happy to read (or hear ;) ) your comments.

Before you start: Apologies for me sometimes getting to close to my iPhone, next time I'll know better and avoid the pops. Moreover, my aim for the next podcast (if there should be one in the future...): a better structure -  I'm obviously not very good at that when I'm recording instead of writing. Today's conclusion: I'll never gonna be a radio star. Damn it.

In the end, I just add an interesting comment I found on, posted by Theo Rossi

"I never watch any video with bad audio."

I think he's not the only one.

Montag, 20. Februar 2012

Recommended blogs to follow as a video journalist

My RSS-reader got quite a lot new sources regarding online video/video journalism. Here are a few blogs that I think are worth following when you're interested in (online) video journalism:

1. Adam Westbrook

Regularly blogging about online video & entrepreneurial journalism, offering a lot of helpful posts and in my opinion a must in a VJ's feed reader.

2. Mastering Multimedia

Blog of multimedia producer Colin Mulvany, not regularly updated but nevertheless a great source to learn about multimedia, especially online video.

3. Multimediashooter

Very interesting and helpful blog about multimedia (with a lot of posts regarding video), also offering tutorials and podcasts.

4. KobreChannel

Blog by Prof. Ken Kobre (teaching photojournalism) and editor Jerry Lazar about visual journalism. Unfortunately not regularly updated, however, worth a regular visit is the main site "KobreGuide to the Web's Best Multimedia & Video Journalism", introducing picked videos and audio-slideshows, mainly from major media sites, that are worth watching according to the publishers of the KobreGuide.

5. IM Video Journalism

Blog of award-winning and innovative video journalist David Dunkley Gyimah, who has trained VJs around the world.

6. DSLR News Shooter

Anyone shooting with a DSLR should definitely bookmark photo- & video journalist Dan Chung's page.

7. NewspaperVideo

Blog of award-winning videographer Chuck Fadely, unfortunately last updated a year ago, but with a lot of "old" posts definitely worth reading.

8. iVideocracy

Same here, this blog about video journalism was last updated a year ago, however worth hoping for a new post and going trough the old ones.

9. Michael Rosenblum

No VJ - blog list without Michael Rosenblum, the "father of video journalism" .

10. Cindy Green

Videojournalist Cindy Green blogging about her profession.

11. NewsVideographer

Multimedia Journalist Angela Morris' posts cover a broad range of topics on online video journalism, e.g. ethics, shooting, editing, conferences & contests, but also takes a critical look at videos published by other journalists.

12. Online Journalism Blog

No (online) journalist should miss following Paul Bradshaw's blog.

13. Online Video Journalism Blog

Eight broadcast journalism students @London City University blogging about Online Video Journalism

For all German VJs I'd recommend Roman Mischel's Blog, who also blogs with VJ Markus Böhnisch on . Moreover I'd recommend "VJ-Wissen für die Fernsehpraxis" and a very interesting German blog about online journalism in general.

Here's also a list I created on Twitter regarding online video journalism (which will hopefully be growing).

More blogs/Twitter accounts I should follow? Give me the link :)

Sonntag, 19. Februar 2012

Joining the meme-hype: Video journalism

I finally found a meme about video journalism on the Blog of videographer Glen Canning. What do you think about it? I really like it, and thinking of the time I spend with rendering my videos, the last one really matches somehow...

Donnerstag, 16. Februar 2012

Why I love video journalism....and why it's not crap.

I've heard it more than once:

- "VJing is a cheap version of journalism and is just existing because   
   of cutting costs"
- "VJs cannot achieve the same quality as others and are unable to 
   cope with filming, interviewing and cutting"
- "video journalism = lower quality" 

Or seen the pitying expressions of the counterpart, saying "I'm sorry you have to go through this on your own". Well, I'm not.

Ok, I might not have a very happy face on this picture, but I'm probably just concentrating. Or cold. Or maybe looking at the TV team filming exactly the same event. But with a staff of seven people. Or this picture was shot right after that awkward moment when the report asked me where my sound assistant was. That's me. I'm the sound assistant. I'm the videographer. I'm the reporter. I'm the cutter. And I love it. 

It's just great to sit in front of your finished report, knowing that you did it all on your own. But first of all I even love every step of it. I love researching a topic, thinking about ways to realize it in a video, I like to speak to and interview people, get to know more about them and about certain stories. I'm passionate about filming and I like to think about which shots may be best to tell the story and are also nice to look at. And cutting (especially your own shots) is simply fun.

So being a VJ sounds like the perfect job for me. Although it was more a coincident that I became one. I applied for a trainee at a local TV station in Germany, aiming to be a TV reporter one day. However I was told that this station was only working with video journalists.
My first thoughts: "Never heard of that before. Sounds good. Go for it."
Right decision.
Still, since then I always heard voices saying what I mentioned above, to sum it up: "video journalism is worth less".

And that's just wrong.

Right, a lot of VJs are not professionally trained camera men or cutter. And yes, a VJ has to film and interview at the same time. He's an all rounder and has to coordinate and think of quite a few things. So many people think there's less quality, as a VJ couldn't fully concentrate on one thing during his training or the actual shoot.
It is right that it's a "shared concentration" you're working with. But all this doesn't mean that you cannot produce a good piece of journalism. You can keep an eye on your camera, hold the microphone in your hands, ask questions and listen to the answers. Even without looking weird. It's simply practice. But it is all about practice, isn't it? Same with shooting and cutting. Practice. 

And yes, I'll never know as much as a professional camera man or cutter does. But nevertheless I'm not automatically barred from the ability to produce a qualitative piece of journalism on video on my own. And I'm really sick of being reduced to a consequence of cutting costs or an example of low quality journalism. Stop it. That's not who we are.

I even think video journalism has some advantages:

- being in charge of everything can have a positive influence on the finished report:

YOU have got your story in mind and that's why often YOU might be the best one to actually shoot and cut it. Someone else may sometimes not understand exactly which pictures or cuts you got in mind.

- a VJ is more flexible, especially with a small video camera (like this one, if anyone fancies sponsoring me....)

- I heard quite a few people I interviewed saying that they felt more comfortable with just me and not a whole TV team, so they could speak to me much easier and were less nervous

There's only one thing I don't like sometimes: sometimes I really wished to have a teammate. But being a video journalist doesn't mean you always have to work on your own. Back in Germany I worked on a series of reports with my friend and colleague Josefine Martl.
The topic was "extraordinary hobbies", we finished 5 reports (No. 1,2,3,4,5) and: Each of us filmed and we did the cutting and texting as teamwork. This was the probably the best experience I had in my two-year trainee. It was exciting, it was pure fun and enjoyment and: we learned a lot and even won a local television award in the category "budding journalists".  

Maybe I forgot some points at the moment. I'd be happy if others would share their thoughts - of course also those who aren't fans of video journalism. I'm ready to start a discussion. 

Sonntag, 13. November 2011

Birmingham impressions - Volume 2

Before I came to Birmingham, I didn't really have a very good impression of the city. The images I found on the internet gave me the feeling that the city may be best described with the words "industrial", "grey'" and that it maybe quite nice, but really nothing special. When I discovered the city I found out, that it's much more beautiful than I thought. I really like Birmingham and I really think that the images you can see online are not very encouraging to come here.
For my enterprise project at Birmingham City University (I'm studying my MA in Online Journalism) I'm creating a website with impressions of the city - of course some who've been to Birmingham may still not think, that it is a nice city, as this is subjective, but I do. The film is the main part of the project, trying to convince people, that Birmingham's not just "the second city" but a very nice one, too. I hope the video fulfills this aim. Feedback and comments are of course greatly appreciated. :)
This is my second video about Birmingham, some parts of it are used in this video, too. Many thanks to my friend Sebastian Huber, who gave me the rights to use (and shorten) his song "Day Night Day".

Donnerstag, 3. November 2011

My new hobby: Lightpainting

I just bought my Canon EOS 550D a few months ago. And I love it. I use it for filming and photography. And in both cases, the quality is amazing! So are the possibilities, which I'm still exploring, especially regarding photography, which I just started when I got my camera. In doing so I found something called "light painting". I had seen pictures like that before, but I always thought it would be more of a photoshop than photography work. But it isn't. Lightpainting's a fascinating art of photography - which I had to give a shot. So I started reading tutorials (thank you, world wide web) and realized, that light painting isn't as difficult as I thought. There are a few things you have to think of:

- a tripod

- a light source (for example the flash light of your phone, a torch etc.)

- a camera that allows slow shutter speed

Mostly I'm using a shutter speed of 30 or 60 seconds. After releasing it's time to paint - whatever you want. If you want to include yourself or others, it's not a problem either. It's even possible to take a picture of yourself AND paint whatever you want during this time - so it's not necessary to stand still for 30 seconds, trying not to breathe…
I took the picture you see below on my own, including me painting, moving and even breathing. ;) 
I just released (automatically, so I had a few seconds more to rush in front of the camera), positioned myself and stayed in that position until the flash (a very important tool for that) was released. After that I started to paint immediately. 

Once you're finished it's quite exciting to take a look at your camera and see, if your idea worked out. Lightpainting is a lot of fun and the results you can achieve are really amazing
You'll just have to get used to people watching you and being quite astonished. Which isn't surprising, as light painting is waving a light in front of a camera. How can this sight not be confusing? :)
If you want to try it out, or already did, feel free to post your results here - I'd be happy to exchange experiences, tips and pictures with other lightpainters. 
Well, I just started, and there are a lot of tutorials to read/watch, a lot of pictures to take (with a lot of them not showing the result that I wanted to see). But that's fun.  And I'm already addicted to it.