Monday, September 14, 2009

Sound Advice: Shoot With Your Ears

In her report, "Shoot With Your Ears," NewsLab's Deborah Potter addresses the importance of audio in online video, sharing invaluable tips from pros:

Every picture should have a sound to convey the full experience of what it was like to be there. That’s what visual storytelling does best. But if you don’t capture crisp, clear natural sound, you can’t share that experience with the audience.
But Potter goes beyond the usual admonishments about good mikes and headphones, and offers examples of when and why you should put audio in the foreground. She shares examples of award-winning visual journalists who actually prioritized capturing their stories' sounds, and then shot the video afterwards to go along with it.

One reporter advocates timing your questions so that your subject's response will be accompanied by appropriate natural sounds (e.g. the crack of a baseball bat). In some instances she cites, the stories were actually edited and built around the sounds, not the images. The audio becomes the glue that holds the story together.

In short, good videojournalists know to listen for a good story, not just watch for one.

Deborah Potter is a veteran journalism trainer, reporter and writer. She founded NewsLab, a non-profit journalism resource center, in 1998, and is co-author of "Advancing the Story: Broadcast Journalism in a Multimedia World."

Lots more "sound advice" here.

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