Video storytelling highlights importance of sound
Over the weekend, I took a course on video storytelling through the Poynter’s News University site. Video storytelling is becoming more prevalent on news sites because with the technology today basically anybody can take video, even if it’s just with a cell phone. The course began with information on what type of stories to tell using video. Some advice it gave was to do stories that television wouldn’t do, and an example it gave was a story about a local resident who owned a pet duck. I agree that more quirky stories should be on the web, and more immediate news stories should be on television. The internet gives journalists more opportunities to cover personal interest stories. I think at a smaller newspaper or organization this is a great way to get the community involved. As it said in the course, if you put different people in the video those people are going to view it and they’re going to tell other people to view it, so you’ll get a higher number of hits. I think an important point the course made was that video stories have to be able to stand alone. Often times, I think many people would choose to watch a video over reading text. So it makes sense that a video has to stand alone because if it needs text to supplement it, people might skip it all together.
What I took most from the course was how important the use of sound was. The course gave four different examples of videos that all depicted fourth of July parades. Each had a different focus, but I thought how each author used sound was what contrasted the videos the most. The first video used the natural sounds of the parade, but it was a longer video (roughly four minutes) with few cuts so those sounds became boring. The second video was more fast-paced because it had more cuts. The cuts made it immediately more interesting to me, but the author also interviewed parade goers and cut those in between parade shots. I liked the use of natural sound in the third video, but I didn’t like the use of a narrator’s voice and the very short interview of one parade goer. I thought more interviews, or even a longer interview, could have made it more interesting. The last video combined natural sound with a narrator who was a parade goer. I thought that was the best way to make the video because if the author is the narrator it often sounds scripted and dry, whereas the parade goers have more emotion and enthusiasm.
For me, the sound really makes or breaks a video. If the sound doesn’t match the tone of the piece I lose interest, if the sound is boring I lose interest, if the sound is annoying I lose interest. You get my point. Sound is important.
I chose an example of a video from the Star Tribune titled “Best and brightest among the nation’s young are drawn to Twin Cities.” It uses the subjects of the video to tell the story and includes still photographs that further explain what the subject is discussing. This is a pretty good example of a video story because it uses local people from the area of the newspaper, it shows a lot of the city that it’s focusing on and it is fast-paced enough that I wanted to continue watching it instead of navigating away from the page.