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Online Journalism

reflections on a changing medium

Tag Archives: focal length

I used many of the videography techniques discussed in Herber Zettl’s Video Basic 3, “Chapter 5” when I shot video for my final video project. When I interviewed Debbie, an avid bingo player, on-camera I kept several things from this reading in mind. First, I practiced using different fields of view, angles and focal lengths. For every few questions that I asked Debbie, I altered the position of my camera getting close-ups, medium shots and wide angle shots. This variety of shots enabled me to capture detail in facial expressions, body language, and her surrounding environment. In all of my shots, I tried to leave enough headroom and room in front of her face as “proper leadroom.” These are both compositional elements that Zettl discusses the importance of. Also, I was sure to include Debbie’s face and shoulders in most of the shots to allow for what Zettl calls “psychological closure.”

At one point, I tried to zoom in on Debbie’s mouth as she talked about a time when one of her teeth fell out while eating pizza at a bingo hall. The zoom was very sudden, and Zettl advises against this, but I hadn’t yet grown accustomed to the zoom feature on the zi8 and was surprised by the speed of the zoom. Next time I will keep this in mind.

I did not focus much on depth while getting my interview footage as Debbie’s surroundings were ery bland and it was a fairly straightforward video shoot. Two techniques that I did use that Zettl doesn’t mention, however, involved camera stabilization and the length of individual takes. When I was shooting video of Debbie, I stabilized my elbows on the back of a chair that I positioned to face her in hopes that this would minimize the shakiness of the video. Also, when I began and ended takes, I left the camera running for at least ten seconds after she or I had finished or begun speaking in order to capture establishing and closing shots that would make the video easier to edit and less choppy when watching.

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