Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Don't Miss the Video

It's been great to see both the volume and quality of stories being produced by The Orion's video team this semester. Jeff Barron and Erik Walker's short features are often the freshest elements on the home page, and I love the way they're defining what an Orion video looks, feels and sounds like.

I especially appreciate the way each piece has a consistent open and close -- the sections sliding into place beneath The Orion logo and an animated screen shot of how to find more videos and content on the website -- with the occasional twist, usually a funny or interesting closing actuality from someone interviewed for a story.

So far, the two biggest strengths of these stories has been the creative approach of the team and the consistently professional editing.

After looking closely at the last couple of posts, the free-school-supplies story and the Jake Shimabukuro concert story, I think a few simple tweaks would help improve the overall quality of the videos:
• As good as the hand-held shots have been generally, they would have been even better with a tripod. I noticed the concert shots going in and out of focus at the edges of the frame, and I think a tripod might have helped there, too.
• Sound continues to be a problem whenever video is shot remotely. The Samantha Duncan interview, for example, has a consistent echo (probably from all the hard surfaces in that room), while the Eli Goodsell interview had none (probably because of all the things the sound could bounce off of in his office). One good way to make the sound more consistent is to make a habit of using a lavalier mic clipped to a person's shirt, blouse or sweater for interviews.
• Lighting outdoors has been particularly good, but indoors has been a problem. Eli Goodsell, for example, was placed directly underneath an overhead light, so the top of his head reflects a strong white light and his features are in shadow. When deploying a light kit isn't practical, be aware of what's happening with the existing light.
• I'm happy to see fewer zooms and pans, but I'd like to see even fewer...like none.

To see more work by Jeff, Erik, Emily Bertolino, Ethan Snee and Juan Cisneros, navigate to the video page on theorion.com.

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