Class Agenda – Monday Feb. 27

More video editing tips

The importance of an organized workflow:

Get to know your footage. Log your material. Organize into folders, if that helps you see everything.

Go through and isolate your sound bites. Figure out a system that works for you. Usually I have the interviews on V1, B-roll on V2, and text on V3—at least at first. For audio, usually I have interviews on A1, B-roll audio on V2 (and sometimes B3 if it overlaps) and any music last.

At least until you’re ready to commit to the placement of your B-roll, it helps to keep it on its own separate track because one you start unlinking audio from video and moving them around, it’s easy to lose talking head shots that you later want to bring back, and then you have to go back through the original raw clip, bring it back down again, potentially re-sync the audio… it’s a pain.

Linking and unlinking audio and video.

You can temporarily mute individual tracks while you’re editing.

Audio and video transitions. Adjusting the length of these transitions.

Zooming in and out for more accurate edits.

Widening audio tracks so you can see the waveform and using the pen tool to tweak audio manually.

Adding text slides.

Zooming in and out on footage once it’s in the timeline.

Slow-mo (again, make sure you’re actually shooting at the higher frame rate if you intend to do slow motion or it will look jerky)


Class Agenda

Check-in on video progress. 

Upload any footage you have so far.

Breaking news in video

Most of the work we’ll be doing this semester is slower-paced video where you’ll have the ability to take your time to put together a thoughtful, carefully edited final prouct. But you might one day find yourself in a breaking news situation where you’re filing material throughout the day as you get it.

When you work for a wire service, they will have a system for filing footage and still images. When sending in photos, you have to enter a lot of information in the metadata fields of your editing program.

Freelance Image Metadata Fields

With video, you’ll need to file something called a dopesheet along with your footage. The dopesheet is basically a summary of what you’re sending them so they can see it all at a glance.

Information Document for AFP TV

The dopesheet contains the following information:

File: 2015ChiromoMortuary.mp4

Size: 238.4 MB

Journalist: Emily Johnson

CUE: A day after a deadly Al Shabaab attack killed 147 people at Garissa University, families and friends of the missing students awaited the arrival of dozens of bodies at Chiromo Mortuary in Nairobi. A leader of the Supreme Council of Kenyan Muslims spoke to the families and condemned the attacks. Images and soundbites.

HEADLINE: Families and friends of missing Garissa students await the arrival of bodies at a Nairobi mortuary


Francis Ochode (man), Sheikh Adan Wachu (man)




SOUNDBITE 1, Francis Ochode (man), father of missing student (18 sec): “So l was trying to look for my son. I have not even got him on the phone, I have tried and failed. So I went to Kenyatta Hosptial to see the ones brought there, he’s not there. I have come here to the mortuary, I have not yet seen the body.”

SOUNDBITE 2, Francis Ochode (man), father of missing student (30 sec): “Yesterday I tried since morning after hearing the news from the radio, so I started calling him, but all was in vain. He never responded up to now. So I’m doubting, if he’s surviving. Even if it was snatched, that phone, how can’t he borrow somebody’s phone and say, oh Daddy, I’m just alive. That’s why I’m worried maybe he’s not alive.”

SOUNDBITE 3, Sheikh Adan Wachu (man), Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims (23 sec): “My utmost condolence for innocent children who were killed for crimes they have not committed. Those are my children and your children.”

SOUNDBITE 4, Sheikh Adan Wachu (man), Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims (23 sec): As an umbrella body of Muslims, our positions has always been very clear. We came out very clearly condemning them, and we will continue to condemn them here and even in the hereafter.

WS of Red Cross worker talking to families

WS of woman reacting to bad news

VAR of families queueing to go inside mortuary, security

MS of bodies arriving

WS of bodies being brought inside

The actual video file you’ll send them (I usually use WeTransfer, although some places may have another system in place, often via FTP) will be minimally edited, but the trick is that you have to work fast. You pull out soundbites, transcribe them, and cut together a sequence of your best B-roll. Then you put it all in one video project (sound bites first, then B-roll), export, and send.

Discuss: What are some of the practical considerations you might want to keep in mind when covering a breaking news event?


At some point during the semester, everyone must cover one breaking news event. You will file a video with at least two sound bites (from different interviews) and 45 seconds of B-roll, with accompanying dopesheet. The trick is that you must file it within three hours of wrapping your filming. 

It’s up to you what you want to cover: a protest, the Phagwah/Holi parade in Richmond Hill next month, the St. Patrick’s parade, etc. Just make sure you pick something that takes place at least two weeks before final projects are due so you’re not scrambling to get them both done at the same time.

Visual Poem Pitch w/ Michelle Nys

We are planning to do our piece on people that work with their hands on projects, and film it from start to finish weaving in and out of each persons profession/project.

Some of the talents we are looking to explore are, baker’s, tailors, architects, carpenters,etc. We would make sure we get up close and personal in each persons facial expressions, hand motions, the before and after of the particular thing that they are working on.

I think that we would be able to tell a story both through each individual project and all professions intertwining with one another.

We would probably use some natural sound as well as music. But the idea is to get very close up shots of each profession.

Visual Poem Pitch (Adam & Seth)

The basic theme is: peace turns to chaos, then back to peace.

The video will be shot from the West end of 34th Street, to the East end of 34th Street.

The audio should flow from start to finish without much cutting between tracks, so here’s the plan for shooting:

5 scenes:

  1. The peaceful Highline
  2. The bustle in & around B&H
  3. The chaos at Herald Square
  4. The bustle in & around NYU/Bellevue Hospital
  5. The peaceful East River Ferry

Each scene will be shot with the camera and shotgun mic (for backup audio). The other person will simultaneously record the audio with a zoom mic (this will give us smoother audio transitions between the shots in each scene)

Each scene will be about 40 seconds consisting of three, 10-second shots (w/ 5 seconds between each shot for repositioning the camera). B-roll will be laid over the transitions in post, but it’ll give us uninterrupted audio between the main shots.

We’ll also aim to get about 10 shots extra shots at each locations for b-roll. Some with additional audio (like the sound of the waves in the first and last scenes).

If we’re organized hopefully we can get the shoot done in a couple of hours.

Class Agenda – Feb. 15

Pitch workshop

Class feedback on 10-shot sequences

For next class (Wednesday Feb. 22): 

Begin shooting your visual poem. Bring to class whatever footage you have so far. Remember that your first rough cut will be due March 1. I won’t grade you on each individual cut, but remember that the more complete your early versions, the more feedback you’ll be able to incorporate into the revisions and the better your final project will be.

Visual Poem Pitch

Public signs in New York City have always fascinated me. Subway platforms, streets, avenues, parks, businesses, tourist attractions, transportation hubs, all of them are full of interesting and creative signs. Sounds of the city is another thing that is very interesting to me. Subways chimes, train announcements at places like Grand Central and Penn Station, Times Square buzzing with tourists at night, all have very distinctive sounds.

So, for this project, I want to combine these two. I would like to film as many signs as I can around the city and turn it into a creative video with the sounds that I mentioned above as the audio track.

I think showing the signs rapidly on the screen up close, combined with the background music would provide an interesting audio-visual experience to viewers.

Project 1 Pitch

I’d like to go back to the jazz club Kris and I discovered for our 10 shot sequence assignment. The manager of the place showed us around and there’s opportunity to get some visually interesting shots from the live music downstairs to the meat barbecuing in the smoker. Natural sounds could come from the chatter of people dining, the live music, the bartending. I’m imagining the opening to be a montage of quick close up shots and natural noise only and the last shot of the montage would be a drink being handed to “me” (the camera) and you hear the glass on the bar, then a sequence of shots played in reverse, and then you see and hear someone playing the piano in the club. The manager has already invited us back to film again so there won’t be an issue with getting access.

Visual Poem Pitch

I’m interested in doing my visual poem centered around the High Line. From a filming perspective, I think that the park would be incredibly visually compelling and uniquely representative of New York “nature.” Since it is a public space, it would be somewhat accessible to film in without having to receive extensive permissions.

I think it would be interesting to start with someone coming off the actual subway before traveling to the refurbished rails. I would either want to follow one distinctive person or group of people as they travel down the park, with cutaways to the surrounding scenes. I think that between the art, length of the rails, and fauna, there would be a good opportunity to get both wide and close shots.

The park would also probably come with a lot of interesting natural sound to work with. I’m anticipating being able to layer clips of people speaking and laughing as well as street noise and the rustle of leaves in wind.

Some challenges I’m anticipating are working in a cramped space and weather conditions. If I recall correctly, the High Line is supposed to be the most-visited New York City attraction, and the crowd of people on a good day might make it difficult to set up large equipment. Working in the rain or with harsh wind also seems sort of difficult.

I’m also not sure that there’s much of an angle to this piece? If I had to go with something, I would probably want to explore the idea of the High Line either being a respite from the city, as they pride themselves for being in promotional material, or merely a tourist hell. I’m not sure if that’d be enough to carry an already highly-covered attraction.

Pitch for Visual Poem

So for this upcoming visual project I was highly interested in covering the art’s and culture within New York City. Now this is a broad topic but I intend to cover this from a different angle.  In terms of my visuals I was going to pursue artwork that are lesser-known to the general public. New York City has a rich history in arts and culture but there are lesser-known pieces that are important and have a history within local communities.   For example, in the early 2000’s the Bronx House of Detention for Men shut down. Although various artwork and sculptures located on the outside of the facility have been preserved since and have been integrated with the structure of the Bronx Terminal Market located at 151st and River Avenue. Other areas I may cover within my reporting include the Loews Paradise, constructed in 1929, located at Grand Concourse. The main lobby within the theater features 3 domes within the ceiling which accommodate painted murals portraying Sound,Story and Film. At the same time accommodating other artwork. Loews Paradise currently is serving as a local congregation, which should not be too difficult to reach out to as far as reporting goes. These are just a few examples of the lesser-known artworks within the city, while more will be included within my video coverage. While pursuing this, I may attempt to capture some of the energy within the area of the Lincoln Center, being that this area highly offers work in the performing arts. At the same time perhaps I can record some of the various street art and Graffiti within the city. Through this hopefully I will be able to provide a narrative that can visualize the importance and history of the arts within NYC communities.