The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Aug 12, 2013

Four tips to help journalists create more videos

Posted by Matt Singer

Almost immediately after Videolicious received an investment from Knight Foundation in May, more than 100 newspapers, magazines and television stations signed up to use the Videolicious Enterprise platform to create editorial videos.  In our most recent funding round, we’ve raised more than $2.25 million from investors that include Knight, and the Washington Post Company.

There’s a consensus that video is a central component of the digital future of journalism, and we’re making it easier for newsrooms to use it. Videolicious automatically edits videos in seconds on a mobile device, so every member of a newsroom can create sophisticated finished products.  We also spend a lot of time working with journalists on solving the other part of the video creation challenge:  how to fit video production into an already busy schedule.  

I've personally traveled to more than 10 cities in the past few weeks, meeting one on one with journalists to help them determine how to create the best possible videos in the shortest amount of time. I, and other members of the team at Videolicious, have been able to help them quickly create compelling videos—complete with B-roll, logo graphics, transitions and music—leveraging their existing access and editorial expertise.  As a result of that experience, we want to share some of the best tips that have come out of the newsroom sessions we've held at newspapers across the country. 

Work with what you have

Don’t take a special trip into the field just to create a new video. To create videos on a regular basis, it’s important that video creation does not become a separate process.  Most journalists already spend time speaking with sources in person or visiting locations to document events.  These newsmakers and events can form the basis of a visual story.  Plan to film the people with whom you’re already speaking and the news events that you’re already attending.

Limit the amount of footage you shoot

When creating your first video, it’s tempting to shoot a lot of footage to create a comprehensive news video.  However, the excess footage can create a lot of extra work later when it’s time to make creative choices.  A compelling video can be comprised of just one interview sound bite and just one to three illustrative B-roll clips.  When your goal is to shoot a maximum of just four shots, it’s a lot easier to make those four shots look good; it takes less time to shoot them, and it’s much easier to put them together later in just a few minutes.

Edit while shooting

If you want to interview your subject in a video, avoid recording an entire conversation.  You’ll be creating a lot of work for yourself later on when you try to sift through the footage to find just the right quote.  One technique that many journalists have shared with us is to interview your subject off camera, and at the end, ask the subject to repeat the most interesting quote while you record them on video.  Try to record the clip without your voice prompting the subject in the clip by counting down before you record. If you can set yourself up with a clean sound bite, you won’t have to create one later. 

Don’t replace your article

It’s less intimidating to start creating video when you conceive of it as a visual supplement to a text article.  For example, if you were creating a cooking how-to article, an effective accompanying video might just focus on one key technique in the process (such as how to sauté the onions).  In this way, the video can be just a few shots, but the combination of at least one great demonstration clip and the personal expertise and passion of the on-camera interview subject can create compelling content.  This will help the video drive more interest in the article and complement your in-depth coverage.

Because of the support of Knight and other investors, Videolicious is signing up more media partners every week.  If you'd like to learn more or see a demo of Videolicious, visit our site, or reach out to us today.

Matt Singer, CEO, Videolicious

Related link: "Videolicious Raises $2.25 Million From Washington Post Company,, and the Knight Foundation" on TechCrunch.

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