Here’s the final part of the series: Video, Let’s Get Technical Imagine you’re a pro rock-climber, contemplating the 300-foot granite face looming above. To succeed, you need to visualize how you’ll make it to the top. It’s the same with video. Envision what you want to see on the screen, then plan, plan, plan ahead! Storyboarding Like an essay or an audio clip, first write an outline and script. With video, you will also create a pictorial guide called a storyboard. Print out several copies of a template. Draw out each shot. It doesn’t have to be complicated at all. Use stick figures. Just make a quick sketch to envision what you’ll see through the camera. Each shot should last between 3 to 5 secs. Under three seconds, people might have a hard time grasping what is going on, and over 5 secs, people generally become bored. When you’re speaking to the camera, however, you can hold the shot for a little longer–like 7-8 secs. So for a one minute clip, you’ll need about 12-15 different shots. (EXTRA TIP: Abroadview.org gives some great tips about choosing visuals for your script.) Under the picture, write the portion of the script that you plan to say. Variation of shots: Sequence and distance As you tell your story, make sure to show a sequence at various distances from the camera. For example, when filming the DJ sequence, you could start like this: Shot 1: Establishing shot of room with DJ equipment (The viewer can see your entire body, standing near the DJ equipment, facing a crowd) Shot 2: Medium shot. (Closer to the DJ booth. Midriff to just above your head with your hands visible on the turntable.) Shot 3: Close-up shot. (Your fingers on the turntable) Shot 4: Establishing shot again (This time with the camera behind your head capturing the silhouette of your back and the crowd dancing below you) Shooting Tips 1. Hold the camera steady. For each shot, remain stationary and count for at least 10 seconds. You can cut the footage down later in your editing program to the appropriate length. Don’t zoom in and out. For the interview portions, use a tripod if possible. 2. Position of people in the camera. When you are speaking to the camera, shoot yourself straight on–like a news reporter. GOOD
This is a nice shot because I’ve centered myself in the middle and the camera is capturing a shot just over the top of my head. I look like I’m about to speak directly to you. EXTRA TIP: If you are using a camera with a built-in microphone, this is also a good distance to stand for the interview portion, as you’ll be close enough for the camera to pick up your voice. Stand too much farther away, and it may be hard to hear you. BAD
Too much space over my head in the camera frame. BAD
Way too much space over my head and I’m not centered. SOUND Make sure you and any other camera operator use headphones to verify the sound is being recorded. If you’re outside, stay conscious of your surroundings. If a car goes by while you’re trying to talk, wait until it passes. If you’re trying to speak where there is loud music, choose another place. It may drown out your voice and make you hard to hear. Or, you can record your voiceover in a quiet place and edit it over the music. EQUIPMENT Don’t spend lots of money on equipment. There are several inexpensive options for video: 1. Borrow a friend’s equipment or use a smartphone. Just make sure that you know how to upload the content of the camera into an editing program. Here’s how you can enter your iPhone footage into iMovie. 2. Buy a Flip camera. Here’s a link about how to capture footage into iMovie or Moviemaker. 3. Here are a couple of how-to videos for editing with iMovie or Moviemaker. Final Tips You could possibly shoot the whole thing by yourself, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Have someone else film the portions where you are looking directly into the camera, then takeover for the other parts. Practice and memorize what you are going to say directly to the camera. If you’re not good at memorization, narrate the whole thing–until the end. Make sure you include a small snippet where you are directly addressing the audience. Above all, remember to smile. This will naturally increase your energy and make you pleasant to watch. Have fun and happy shooting! By Michelle Stockman, who worked in the Columbia Business School admissions office, has a Masters in Journalism from Columbia, and has assisted Accepted.com clients applying to top business schools since 2007. When not advising Accepted’s clients, she is a multimedia producer with works published by Agence France Presse, Economist.com, WSJ.com, the Times of India, and Hindustan Times. She is happy to help you with your application.