Thursday, September 30, 2010
CNN iReport roundtable: Boot camp week four

Video is an integral part of how CNN tells stories to the world, and we challenged you this past week to profile a person on video working with their hands.

Today in the roundtable we have two experts who will be taking your questions:

Chris Hrubesh has worked for CNN for 22 years as a video editor, field audio recordist, photographer and producer. He has been to several war zones and covered the last four elections as well as dozens of severe weather events. Check out these photos of his career.

Merv Teo has worked for CNN for eight years and is an accomplished producer; field producer, segment producer, video editor, photographer, lighting and field engineering assistant. In his current role, Merv produces breaking news and original content on a daily basis for CNN.com.

For those who may have missed it, check out this story and accompanying videos for their tips (including tips by CNN legend Mark “Mad Dog” Biello) on how to shoot and edit the CNN way.

Come armed with your questions and we’ll see you today at 3 p.m. ET.

123 Comments
September 30, 2010
Click to view Sherbien's profile

Hi everyone

September 30, 2010
Click to view alisonv's profile

Hi Sherbien, hi everyone who's coming!

September 30, 2010
Click to view hhanks's profile

Hi how is everyone? Our special guests will be here in a moment.

September 30, 2010
Click to view alisonv's profile

Hi Henry.  All's well.

September 30, 2010
Click to view katie's profile

Hi all!

September 30, 2010
Click to view hhanks's profile

Chris Hrubesh and Merv Teo will be here soon. We've been very impressed with the videos for this week's boot camp!

September 30, 2010
Click to view nsaidi's profile

Hi everyone!

September 30, 2010
Click to view blueyedczech's profile

Hrubesh is in the House!!!

September 30, 2010
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Welcome Chris aka @blueyedczech

September 30, 2010
Click to view zdan's profile

Hey everyone!

September 30, 2010
Click to view blueyedczech's profile

How may I serve you'll?

September 30, 2010
Click to view alisonv's profile

Hi Katie and Nicole

September 30, 2010
Click to view alisonv's profile

Hi Christina!

September 30, 2010
Click to view hhanks's profile

@blueyedczech and @OneMervOne will be taking your questions for this hour. They've seen your videos as well. Anything you want to know about video shooting/editing, fire away!

September 30, 2010
Click to view tyson's profile

Greetings! Great line up today.

September 30, 2010
Click to view alisonv's profile

I'd love to get a kind of analysis of a few of iReports they looked at.

September 30, 2010
Click to view blueyedczech's profile

Here is one of my critiques from your submissions.

 

Ben Manofsky: The Glass Man

Your focus is a “little soft” which means slightly out of focus. Zoom all the way into his eyes

before you start the interview and set your focus.

Instead of an ugly door and forklift over his shoulder, you should have glass blowing or glass

products over his shoulder during the interview.

Your first shot is midway thru a pan. Start the shot static and then do a pan. Use a tripod.

Once you establish Ben, you don’t need to keep popping him back in. Stick with your broll of the

glass blowing. Seeing a talking head is boring.

When you have nat breaks, find some good nat; not just ambient noise. Get close to the

blowtorch or oven and use that nat.

At the end you should’ve shown more glass products; closeups.

I liked the variety of shots you used.

September 30, 2010
Click to view alisonv's profile

Also...after editing, I've noticed sometimes that either during the compression or the upload to CNN, the sync is sometimes a little off on the audio/video.  Anything that can be done to help that?

September 30, 2010
Click to view hhanks's profile

Check out the glass man here... we loved this one - http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-495848

September 30, 2010
Click to view alisonv's profile

Thanks Henry.  watching it now.

September 30, 2010
Click to view davidw's profile

@alisonv -- There's a couple of things that could be happening, sometimes on our end or it could be a setting in your computer. Next time it happens, let me know and we can get our developers to chase it down.

 

 

September 30, 2010
Click to view alisonv's profile

If no one esle is jumping in... ;-) 

 

I would like some feedback on mine - Serious Pizza.  Thanks.

September 30, 2010
Click to view dmi2's profile

Similar to @alisonv's question, how/what determines the video's thumbnail. That has a strong influence on a viewer's decision to click or not...

September 30, 2010
Click to view blueyedczech's profile

You should really limit your dissolves. It looks better to have cutaways instead...let me know if I need to tell you what cutaways are.

September 30, 2010
Click to view OneMervOne's profile

hi guys, sorry im late, got held up

September 30, 2010
Click to view alisonv's profile

Ok, David.  I think it happened on the music video I uploaded last. 

 

I love the Glass man.  I liked all the shots, too.  And seeing all the tools.

September 30, 2010
Click to view Sherbien's profile

Hi Alyson

September 30, 2010
Click to view hhanks's profile

Welcome back @OneMervOne!

September 30, 2010
Click to view hhanks's profile

We loved @alisonv's pizza video too... @OneMervOne had some thoughts on it as well.

 

http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-496336

September 30, 2010
Click to view blueyedczech's profile

That was for you Alison.

 

September 30, 2010
Click to view OneMervOne's profile

@alisonv

 

i liked your pizza piece alison, i thought it was great, here are some of my comments:

 

- i felt it didn’t need the report track, let the natural sound from the environment tell the story. Or get the subjects to talk about the history if she really wanted it in the piece.  

 

- I would have opened the piece with the cooks singing as a nat break to set up the piece, not too long maybe the last 7-8 seconds of it before he says the pizza’s burning, then move on to the story.

 

- Editing is good, and the shots are good, I would have gotten a close up of the margherita sauce going on the dough at some point

 

- Entire piece can be shortened up just a little bit.

 

hope it helps

 

September 30, 2010
Click to view alisonv's profile

Blue eyed.  I have a problem with my i-movie software at the moment.  If I don't put a transition in, it won't go to the next clip until half-way through the clip.  I don't know if I need to download the program again. Other thoughts?

September 30, 2010
Click to view davidw's profile

@dmi2 -- The thumbnails are generated automatically by our computers.

September 30, 2010
Click to view hhanks's profile

Welcome @dmi2

September 30, 2010
Click to view blueyedczech's profile

I am here to answer camera tips so let em rip....

September 30, 2010
Click to view alisonv's profile

One Merv, yes, that is very helpful.  Thanks.

September 30, 2010
Click to view blueyedczech's profile

Which Imovie do you have?

September 30, 2010
Click to view dmi2's profile

@davidw - OK, thanks. Too bad I can't influence that somehow!

September 30, 2010
Click to view OneMervOne's profile

@alisonv

 

gimme a sec about compression, which version of imovie are you using?

September 30, 2010
Click to view alisonv's profile

I'd really like to hear comments about other videos you all saw.  Even if we don't have time to watch them now, we could watch them later.  I find it really helpful to hear as much feedback as possible - what worked and what didn't. We can all learn from each other.

September 30, 2010
Click to view davidw's profile

@dmi2 That's on our wish list. Don't have an ETA though.

 

September 30, 2010
Click to view Sherbien's profile

I wanted to know how's my video I got terrible problem doing it bec if time constraint and converting and editing

September 30, 2010
Click to view blueyedczech's profile

Here is another one Alison.

 

Moving Camera

Why did you call it moving camera? I thought the story was about a doctor?

What do the ships at the beginning of the video have to do with this story?

Don’t show video that has nothing to do with your story unless you use a voice over to explain

what it is.

If you wanted to start with video that has no audio, you should have brought in Osiris Torres

Reyes’ audio underneath the video.

Your subjects’ face has shadows all over it. Move her into the sun or hit her with a reflector.

Your framing is much too wide at the beginning.

Your font needs to be darker so we can see it.

Don’t allow a still camera person to use a flash while you are shooting. It is distracting to the

viewer and a big no no.

What does the train have to do with a health clinic?

Putting your camera on a rail road track with a moving train is a really really really bad idea for

obvious reasons.

Don’t take unnecessary risks for Ireport.

September 30, 2010
Click to view hhanks's profile

We also enjoyed @misael's "Moving camera" - http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-496480

September 30, 2010
Click to view alisonv's profile

The older (better) one  6.0.4 

 

I know I need to learn a more sophisticated editing program. I'm only very superficially familiar with adobe premier. I just find iMovie so fast.  But the transition thing is driving me crazy. 

 

 

September 30, 2010
Click to view OneMervOne's profile

actually, also @alisonv

 

what kind camera are you shooting on, in HD? or SD?

 

 

 

September 30, 2010
Click to view blueyedczech's profile

Yes Alison, Imovie can be very frustrating. FCP express might be your cup of tea.

 

September 30, 2010
Click to view hhanks's profile

Hi @dmi2 - loved your tug captain video. Our experts are taking a look too.

September 30, 2010
Click to view alisonv's profile

I am shooting with a Canon mini dv 3ccd.  It was nearly state of the art for non-professional cameras...

 

about 12 years ago!

September 30, 2010
Click to view dmi2's profile

@hhanks - thanks, I had fun with this assignment. Open to comments too. (I've already seen most apply to my video!)DOC-496955

September 30, 2010
Click to view alisonv's profile

If you have suggestions about buying a camera - good but not break-the-bank level, I'd appreciate hearing them.  Also, I live in Europe, but am moving back to the States.  I've always understood that PAL is better than NTSC

September 30, 2010
Click to view Ulman's profile

Hello from Santiago, Chile.

Thanks 4 the workshop on-line.

Good fun and informative..

Have all a wonderful day. :-)

September 30, 2010
Click to view OneMervOne's profile

@alisonv

 

depending on which format you're shooting and editing in,

 

in imovie when you go to export your edited video,

 

select export movie using quicktime

 

under settings make sure the compression settings is the same as whatever you're shooting in,

 

make sure the prepare for internet streaming box is not checked, that may be why

September 30, 2010
Click to view alisonv's profile

Blueeyedczech,

 

Is it as hard to learn as Final Cut Pro?

September 30, 2010
Click to view OneMervOne's profile

@alisonv

 

if you're shooting on a GL1 or something, you can also just export quicktime to DV and that should take care of your sync issues on your end.

September 30, 2010
Click to view dmi2's profile

@hhanks. Great! One question I had was what could be done to steady the camera in situations where tripods transmit vibrations (deck of tug)? There were limited spots for bean bags and my budget doesn't cover a steady cam!

September 30, 2010
Click to view hhanks's profile

Welcome @Ulman

September 30, 2010
Click to view OneMervOne's profile

here are also some comments on other videos ive watched

 

Hand rolled Cigars:

http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-496251

comments:

 

-          good use of nat sound

 

-          good shooting so we see how he actually does it

 

-          get a great sense of the scene and the story in a min

 

-          I would have shot more b-roll, tried starting with a close up shot of his hands working on the cigar off the top with natural sound, then bring in his voice and the subtitles telling who he is then showing him on camera for a little bit before going into him rolling the cigar, would be a much stronger piece, but good job nonetheless!

 

 

Raja and fireplace:

 

http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-496496

comments:

-          for what it is, being a single cam, staying on one shot and no editing, its not bad at all.

 

-          Suggestions for improvement for next time, have subtitles for the translation so we know what he is saying

 

-          Talk it over with him before hand, so you’re not asking the questions as you go, that way you let the piece move entirely with him telling the story, and just let him talk.

 

-          It is hard to hold the camera steady, for these types of walk and talk pieces, try attaching the camera to a monopod and that way as you move your camera will be a little steadier

 

-          Definitely if you are able to, I would shoot the walk and talk and shoot extra b-roll of him working, close ups of his hands, as he lays the brick, scrapes the mortar, and edit that over him talking and intercutting showing him on camera at some point to make a more compelling piece.

 

September 30, 2010
Click to view OneMervOne's profile

@Sherbien

 

watching your video now

September 30, 2010
Click to view alisonv's profile

One,

 

I use the quick time movie "expert settings" then I choose for Use: Broadband High.  I don't choose streaming.  But on my version it is one or the other.

September 30, 2010
Click to view blueyedczech's profile

DMi2,

Watching your video now. If you are going to use a stick mic, btw thank you for using an actual mic, try to shoot your Captain tighter so we don't see him holding the mic. I liked the way you used stills in your story. Your shots are pretty steady.

September 30, 2010
Click to view hhanks's profile

Thanks @OneMervOne - @JoyfulGypsy will appreciate the  comments, I think she might be here shortly.

September 30, 2010
Click to view hhanks's profile

@dmi2 - I will see if @blueyedczech can take that one.

September 30, 2010
Click to view dmi2's profile

@blueyedczech - great point. Should have tried again since there was some hand noise on the mic too.

September 30, 2010
Click to view alisonv's profile

I can't believe it...I just realized there is an "option" settings box you can click on. I've exported hundreds of times and never noticed it. A whole new world! But how do I what my camera settings are? (I know that's a really stupid question...but there it is.)

September 30, 2010
Click to view blueyedczech's profile

DMi2,

That is a tough one. If you are on a deck of a ship or a moving plane your viewers will understand a few shakes here and there.

Is very difficult thing to do in those circumstances. You could also slow it down in edit if the shakes are too much.

 

September 30, 2010
Click to view Ulman's profile

With all due respect... I am not too worried about getting it 101% perfect.

I believe a certain "poetic licence" is appropriate sometimes...

I tend to experiment and there is always a discrepancy between the

intention and the actual outcome.

I accept that... actually it has presented me with some interesting surprises,

which I later make intentional.

Am I making sense ?

September 30, 2010
Click to view alisonv's profile

One,

 

Yes, it's a GL1.  Can we upload from DV?  I thought it would be too big a file.  Will the quality be better?

September 30, 2010
Click to view hhanks's profile

(Quick announcement for anyone who has seen Toy Story 3 - http://ireport.cnn.com/ir-topic-stories.jspa?topicId=497306)

September 30, 2010
Click to view Ulman's profile

@ hhanks, yes.

September 30, 2010
Click to view blueyedczech's profile

You are in luck Alison, unlike 12 years ago, camera prices have come down substantially. You can get a good HD camera for $200-$300. Most of them shoot on SD cards and not tapes so that makes it even cheaper. Check out cnet.com for camera reviews or consumerreports.com.

September 30, 2010
Click to view dmi2's profile

@blueyedczech. OK. I assume you mean slow it down in post not in camera? (Just have consumer video gear. @davidw - I have a wish list too!)

September 30, 2010
Click to view OneMervOne's profile

@alisonv

 

your canon 3CCD DV camera naturally shoots video at 720x480

 

so in your case, it should be something along the lines of 720x480 DV NTSC

 

if you come up with file size too big,

 

the other option is export quicktime to ipod,

 

it naturally converts a high quality .m4v which would take care of your sync issues and is workable on our end

September 30, 2010
Click to view Sherbien's profile

Thanks onemervone

September 30, 2010
Click to view blueyedczech's profile

Ulman,

Amen to that...Not asking for perfection...we understand you guys aren't getting paid.

 

September 30, 2010
Click to view hhanks's profile

Nice shots in your iReport @Ulman

September 30, 2010
Click to view alisonv's profile

Thank you One and Blue,

 

This advice is really incredibly useful.  Thanks so much for doing this, iReport team!

September 30, 2010
Click to view mpgomatic's profile

Hey, I'm late to the party!

 

September 30, 2010
Click to view blueyedczech's profile

Dmi2,

Yes, I am talking about slowing it down in your edit.

Imovie has a slo-mo feature.

 

September 30, 2010
Click to view davidw's profile

@Ulman -- Did you have someone helping you with the shooting? You did a good job getting wide medium and tight shots, especially if you shot it by yourself.

September 30, 2010
Click to view hhanks's profile

Welcome @mpgomatic

September 30, 2010
Click to view Ulman's profile

@ blueyedczech.. I like taking risk  I don't mind scr****g up. I rather like

making mistakes.... Thanks Blue & HH

September 30, 2010
Click to view OneMervOne's profile

@sherbien

 

i would split your video comments into 2 halves.

 

the first half you did a good job on getting closeup shots,

 

but the shot changes were too quick when you went to cover what she was saying and you had a line of all the same kinds of shots.

 

try to get a variety, closeup, medium shots, wide shots, and experiment with different angles.

 

when you string them together, be mindful of your visual pacing, think of how the story should FLOW visually. the cover video should lead into each other and visually represent what she is saying.

 

the other half was more of style where you moved the camera around as she was talking, i liked the camera work there, but you have to find a way to weave it together so the entire piece flows as a whole.

 

only other comment was the piece was a little too long and could be trimmed up a bit.

 

and you could have established a shot with her working with her hands before showing her on camera

September 30, 2010
Click to view EWillies1961's profile

Hi all & sorry for being late

September 30, 2010
Click to view alisonv's profile

BlueEyed, amazing about prices.  I paid 2500 when mine was new.  I must admit it has lasted a long time, but I know the technology must be so much better today.

September 30, 2010
Click to view mpgomatic's profile

Thanks, Henry ... just got back from a little road trip. Drove the electric Nissan Leaf yesterday.

September 30, 2010
Click to view blueyedczech's profile

Dmi2,

Did you monitor the audio with headphones? You would've heard the hand noise on the mic.

 

September 30, 2010
Click to view hhanks's profile

Welcome @EWillies1961

September 30, 2010
Click to view dmi2's profile

@blueyedchech - OK, thanks. Other thoughts?

September 30, 2010
Click to view EWillies1961's profile

@alisonv

The pizza video was great. Took me back to my college years making pizza. It also made me very hungry.

September 30, 2010
Click to view blueyedczech's profile

mpgomatic,

I am jealous of your "leaf testing"....Off subject..Sorry.

 

September 30, 2010
Click to view davidw's profile

@everyone -- We've only got a few minutes left, so let's go to lightning round. Chris and Merv probably won't have time to look at any more videos right now. but if you had general questions and problems about shooting or editing go ahead and shout them out now and we'll get through as many as we can.

 

September 30, 2010
Click to view Ulman's profile

@ David, No, I don't, trial & error. I always to shoot / shot  myself :-), obviously not literally ;-)

September 30, 2010
Click to view mpgomatic's profile

@blueeyedczech It was wicked cool. =) I am truly fortunate to have this beat.

September 30, 2010
Click to view JoyfulGypsy's profile

Howdy.  Finally was able to log in. 

 

Thanks for the feedback. These boitcamp assignments have been very helpful and fun.

 

Wish I'd known was ok to use photos in the video.  Next time.  :o)

September 30, 2010
Click to view dmi2's profile

@blueyedczech - Yes I did have headphones, but missed that for whatever reason. I'll need to pay more attention next time.....

September 30, 2010
Click to view alisonv's profile

One,

 

Sorry to keep bugging you, but I'm looking at the settings and don't know what the 720 x 480 refers to.  I don't see that setting.

 

There's something that says H.264  or DV/DVC Pro NTSC  or DVCPro50 under compression settings.

September 30, 2010
Click to view Ulman's profile

@ Gracias for the round table.. greetings from down South. ❤

September 30, 2010
Click to view OneMervOne's profile

@joyful gypsy

 

hey there, i watched your video, here are some of my comments:

 

Hand rolled Cigars:

 

http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-496251

 

 

comments:

 

-          good use of nat sound

 

-          good shooting so we see how he actually does it

 

-          get a great sense of the scene and the story in a min

 

-          I would have shot more b-roll, tried starting with a close up shot of his hands working on the cigar off the top with natural sound, then bring in his voice and the subtitles telling who he is then showing him on camera for a little bit before going into him rolling the cigar, would be a much stronger piece, but good job nonetheless!

 

 

September 30, 2010
Click to view blueyedczech's profile

Denada Ulman. Hasta Luego.

September 30, 2010
Click to view alisonv's profile

Hi EWillies!  So nice to see you!

September 30, 2010
Click to view mpgomatic's profile

I have a bigger (?) question... I'm scaling up my efforts this fall - moving from primarily producing 3-5 minute clips into a longer 30-60 minute piece. Finding a home (and funding) for it is a bit daunting. 

 

So the question ... could iReports expand into longer pieces (with some backing)?

September 30, 2010
Click to view OneMervOne's profile

@alisonv

 

use DV/DVCPRo NTSC, if file size is too big then use

 

H.264

 

DVCPRO50 is for PAL

September 30, 2010
Click to view alisonv's profile

Thanks very much.

September 30, 2010
Click to view hhanks's profile

Here's a great example of some of @blueyedczech's work, I encourage you to take a look for some examples of shooting in the field - http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/living/2010/05/26/natpkg.tour.de.farms.cnn

September 30, 2010
Click to view Sherbien's profile

Thanks one merv one. I will improve on the next assignment

September 30, 2010
Click to view hhanks's profile

An example of a natural sound package edited by @OneMervOne, another to consider - http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/world/2010/01/13/natpkg.haiti.quake.cnn

September 30, 2010
Click to view blueyedczech's profile

Any more questions for me about cameras or shooting?

September 30, 2010
Click to view hhanks's profile

Thanks all for attending - next up, interview tips!

September 30, 2010
Click to view alisonv's profile

This was the best one yet.  Thanks to all of you for your help.

September 30, 2010
Click to view mpgomatic's profile

@blueeyedczech - Any tips for shooting motion? (vehicles, animals, people)

September 30, 2010
Click to view blueyedczech's profile

Thanks everyone for your great questions and making Ireport shine. Have a great weekend because mine begins......Right now! As Rick Sanchez likes to say...

September 30, 2010
Click to view davidw's profile

@mpgomatic -- We can't help with funding part, but  if there's anything else we can do, I'm happy to help.

I enjoy your car stories and would love to see the longer stories.

September 30, 2010
Click to view dmi2's profile

Thanks all, Cheers!

September 30, 2010
Click to view mpgomatic's profile

@davidw - Thanks for the kind words! I was thinking about using kickstarter. We'll see ...

September 30, 2010
Click to view PattyE's profile

Just want to say hi to everyone.  I enjoyed viewing all of your videos. I couldn't create one myself, due to personal commitments this week, but learned much from your comments and critiques!  Thanks! 

 

PS - Now I want a slice of pizza...

September 30, 2010
Click to view Sherbien's profile

Thanks ireport

September 30, 2010

hey everybody, just checking in for 15 minutes this is great thanks for having me

September 30, 2010

I have a questions about transitions.

 

How do you decide which transition to use when editing. I notice Sanjay Gupta uses a lot of blurred motion transitions. Is that an editing choice or does he specify that. To play it safe I always use straight cuts but I'd like to experiment safely with some other ssuggestions?

September 30, 2010
Click to view sunethra's profile

I am so very sorry I just got up, its Friday and 4.00 a.m. in the morning.  Just wanted to say that I am enjoying the boot camp assignments, and I m sorry that I missed the very first one, as my computer had gone off during that time.  In anticipation of the next assignment.

September 30, 2010
Click to view larena's profile

Daviw hi I am late as usual I am still having problems getting comments directed to my e-mails can you help me please? and Congratulations for all who were vetted on CNN thanks

September 30, 2010
Click to view sunethra's profile

Thank you so very much OneMerveOne for your very valuable time and telling us and giving us more tips on how to do better videoing.  Appreicate it very much, will put to use your valuable advise on videos next time.  So sorry I was not on roundtable earlier, cos of the very big time difference in Sri Lanka.  Thanks you once again, I would not have seen the comment if not for my very good friend and fellow ireporter forwarding to me your comments, Thanks again.

September 30, 2010
Click to view cv28's profile

Thank you!!

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