In the digital world where journalists are increasingly required to wear many hats, video is an important tool that can bring even more to the story. Manoush Zomorodi, author of the multimedia eBook Camera Ready: How to Present Your Best Self and Ideas On Air and Online, shared some tips with 10,000 Words on how to make video to better your story and attract more viewers. Zomorodi will be giving a conference on this topic as part of mediabistro’s upcoming Literary Festival. To find out more, check out the program list here.
1. “Video should add an angle to your text, not just rehash it.”
In the all-encompassing medium of the Internet, doing video for the sake of doing video is not the best approach. “Add value with video,” said Zomorodi. “Done a profile of an actor? Film an interview cruising around with his driver. Researched a piece about the future of online banking? Shoot a quick video showing us all YOUR favorite banking apps.” Doing a video version of an article won’t add more to the piece—video needs to let the audience learn more about the topic, and more about you.
2. “The most important thing about a good video is actually good audio.”
Have you ever clicked open a YouTube video, but then found yourself checking your email or Twitter? With so much information and so many ways to receive it, it’s your job to make sure information inundated viewers don’t lose interest. “Unlike a written article,” said Zomorodi, “most people multitask while watching video.” Poor audio quality is not only distracting, but will quickly turn away viewers. The remedy? “Be sure to mic everyone you film. Even if you are shooting with your phone, clip on your headphone mic with a safety pin.”
3. “Just switching on the webcam is asking for trouble.”
With so much video content being produced daily, preparation before filming can really set apart good video. Zomorodi recommends thinking through what you want to say by writing out one sentence that sums up your main point, and 3 points to back it up. “Babbling run-on sentences can make even the smartest writer look like an unfocused doofus,” she said.
4. “Writing for video is different than writing for any other medium.”
The oft-repeated writing maxim “show, don’t tell” applies to video as well. “Let good video footage do the talking for you,” said Zomorodi. She also suggests writing colloquially for video. “For example, a sentence like: ‘However, the IMF faces great difficulties when dealing with the downfall of the Euro,’ could be translated into: ‘But the IMF will have a tough time figuring out how to deal with the Euro’s troubles.’ Simple and succinct language works best for video.”
To learn more video techniques for the publishing world, check out Zomorodi’s conference at mediabistro’s Literary Festival. The interactive online event will bring together industry professionals with keynotes, conferences, and workshops. It’s also a great chance to meet like-minded writers, editors, and denizens of publishing.
Manoush Zomorodi is the author of the multimedia eBook Camera Ready: How to Present Your Best Self and Ideas On Air and Online. Her on-camera expertise comes from years of producing and reporting for BBC News, Reuters Television, and other media outlets. She moderates conferences on digital technology and hosts live video events, in addition to doing media coaching. From 1995-2006 Manoush reported and produced for BBC News, with postings in Washington, Berlin, Brussels, and New York. As a freelance reporter and anchor, she covered business and technology for Reuters Television in New York from 2006-2010.
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