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T351 Audio / News Exercise

Overview: You will produce a short (2-4 minute) news piece on the topic of your choice.

This exercise is worth 20 points and will give you experience producing a news story and to further refine your production skills. You will also get a chance to use field audio gear and use a reflector to help illuminate your subject.

Instructions: Pick a topic and write a brief (1-2 sentence) introduction for the on-camera news reporter to read. You also need to have about 3-4 open-ended questions to ask people on the street. You can write a brief reporter "wrap-up" in the field or can prepare it in advance.

Students need to bring in 2 copies of their paperwork to lab. This includes your reporter's on-camera opening remarks and the 4 open-ended questions. Be sure to also download releases or to get on-camera, videotaped releases.

The person being graded will produce the news story and serve as cameraman & editor. This person should also supply the intro, questions and a conclusion. One of your partners can function as the reporter. While it is difficult for you appear in your own story, you can do this if you want to.

Given three people in a group, one will hold the reflector, one will serve as the reporter, and one will serve as the camera/producer/editor. If you have a 4th, they can run audio. After each story is shot the group will rotate to another position and use another story. You shouldn't spend more than one hour on each rotation.

Shoot reporter lead-in and use the reflector to add fill light. Use a wired or wireless lav on the reporter. Make sure the shot is framed nicely and shoot a few takes.

Find a place with high traffic. Stop people and ask questions. Be sure to get a written or on-camera release. ("My name is ________ _______. You have my permission to videotape me.") Use the wireless or wired lav on the reporter and a handheld shotgun for the interviewees. Be sure to frame them nicely and use the reflector to add fill light.

Shoot a closing with the reporter. Make sure it's framed nicely and has fill light from the reflector. (Shoot a few takes)

When you are done, you need to edit your piece together and turn the completed quicktime file (saved as your username) into the dropbox. You will also turn in releases and a 1-page critique.

Helpful production tips:

Shoot all of the interviewees at a MCU without the mic or reporter in the shot. Alternate their angles (Shoot half facing right and half facing left.) This way you can edit them together without a bunch of reporter jump cuts. Don't forget to get releases!

You might want to shoot the reporter intro and the outro at the same time (after you've shot the interviews).

Rotate positions and shoot the next producer's piece.


When you are finished shooting, edit the piece that you produced and shot. Don't worry too much about the final length- but try to keep it under 4 minutes (5 minutes max!). The only graphic requirement is that you have a slate that lists: the segment title, date, your name as the producer, and the crew names and positions. (For brownie points you can add tastefully-composed lower thirds,B-roll, and other production elements.) At the end of your piece fade to black. After the black has run for at least three seconds, include all of the on-camera releases (or submit copies of the signed releases along with your critique).

The following week, you should turn in:

  • Completed news piece turned in via the dropbox (saved as your username)
  • Copy of signed releases (unless you are using on-camera releases)
  • One-page critique. Consider addressing any or all of the following:
    • Did you feel comfortable running audio & camera? Did your piece end up looking and sounding good? Did the fill light from the reflector help? Was it fun or scary stopping strangers on the street? Did it turn out to be an interesting or quality story?

Sample topic: Earthquake in Haiti: Are we doing enough?

Reporter open: Thousands of refugees from the earthquake in Haiti are suffering from hunger, poverty and sickness. We're here on the IU Bloomington campus to see how students are dealing with this tragic disaster and what they are doing to help out.


  • Describe how you are affected or what you think about the earthquake in Haiti.
  • Have you done anything personally to help out? If so, what have you done?
  • Describe what you think the typical college student can do to help the most.

Reporter close: (Improvise/write quick wrap up based on responses)


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