A professor from York University’s Glendon Digital Media Lab asked me to conduct a one-hour workshop on video storytelling for staff and students.
One hour is not a lot of time.
Video storytelling is a huge topic!
I wanted the students and staff to get good value from the experience, so I put together a two-part training for them.
Video Storytelling Video Workshop Series
Part One of the training was a series of 10, three-to-five-minute, online videos briefly covering the process of nonfiction video storytelling.
The content was based on my dozen or so years writing, producing, directing, hosting, shooting, and editing documentary-style video content for broadcast television.
By creating a series of videos, I was able to add more detail to the training – more than what I could have covered in a one-hour, in-person session (more like thirty minutes if I wanted to leave time for Q & A). The videos also allowed the students to consume the content on-demand and at their own pace.
Video Storytelling In-Person Session
Part Two of the training included a one-hour, in-person session (seen above). The first half of the session was a review of key concepts in the video series (for those who hadn’t watched it).
- The basic building blocks of nonfiction video storytelling: voice-over narration, interviews, and visuals
- Conducting story-directed research
- Writing the script
- Video pre-production
- Recording video interviews
- Shooting B-Roll
- Using photographs in video
- Writing and recording voice-over narration
- Video editing
- Sound post-production
Student Q & A
The second half of the in-person session was devoted to Q & A. Here’s a sample:
Q: After I graduate from my media program, how can I get a job in the media industry?
A: You can certainly apply to media jobs through various job boards. And it always helps if you have connections in the industry. But in this day and age, employers want to see what you can do, up front. They want to see some “results in advance.” If you want a job in video production, you should be creating video and posting it online for potential employers to see. Build a portfolio. Start a YouTube or Vimeo channel, create content, then share it with industry contacts. You should also have your own website, with your name as the URL. A YouTube or Vimeo channel, and personal website can be powerful calling cards and recruitment tools that work for you 24/7.
Q: I’m a student. I can’t afford to buy expensive video gear. How am I supposed to make videos for YouTube?
A: You don’t need a lot of expensive equipment to make videos for YouTube. Do you have a relatively modern smartphone? Add a window, and you have pretty much all you need to get started creating online video. Today’s smartphones can shoot 4K video, record audio, edit, even livestream around the globe! Concentrate on the kind of content you want to make. Add more advanced gear to your workflow when you need it.
Q: Which video-editing software do you recommend?
A: Just about any video-editing software out there today can give you professional results, even Apple’s iMovie. It all comes down to your grasp of video-storytelling technique. Having said that, if you plan on being a video editor in an independent production house, or agency, you’ll probably need to know Adobe Premiere Pro. It’s quickly becoming a standard because it’s full-featured and runs on both Mac and PC. If you want to be a professional broadcast editor, then you’ll need to learn AVID Media Composer.
Q: You talked about animation in your workshop. What animation software do your recommend?
Adobe After Effects is the industry-standard compositing, visual effects, and animation tool. But be prepared for an incredibly steep learning curve, especially if you have no previous experience with digital media tools. It’s a beast! It took me years to get proficient with After Effects. And I am by no stretch of the imagination an expert user. Honestly, I do the majority of my 2D animation work in Apple Keynote! Keynote and Microsoft PowerPoint are deceptively powerful graphics and animation programs. I often refer to them as “After Effects Lite.” No, they do not have all the features and power of the venerable After Effects. But they may be all the tool you need.
Here’s the link to my video workshop series on Digital Video Storytelling on the Glendon Digital Media Lab website. You’ll need to scroll down the page a bit when you get there.