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Interview / Feature Story Exercise

Overview

The feature story is commonly found in news, current affairs and magazine show programs. This exercise allows you to produce a 2 or 3-minute story on any person and topic you find interesting. The primary requirements are that you include an interview and fitting B-roll to match the content.

Logistics: Basing your story around an interview is a great place to start. Find someone who is an expert in something, and who can speak articulately about their work, cause or hobby. It should be something, which allows for B-roll shots. It is suggested you visit your subject ahead of time and decide on a good place to shoot the interview. Shoot the interview first, and then the appropriate B-roll. Use the B-roll to tell the story. Avoid unnecesary fades, edits and jump cuts. You should find an interesting way to open the story and a fitting way to conclude.

Unless you prefer to work alone, you can team up with a partner for this exercise and help shoot each other's projects. One of you will be the "producer" while the other will serve as the PA and help setup gear, etc. If you are the producer, it is up to you to decide if you want to run camera and have your partner ask questions, or you may choose to ask questions and have your partner tape. Regardless, YOU are the one responsible for the quality, content and grade.

Objectives:

  • Gain experience in the planning and designing of the interview
  • Know how to set up and use portable lighting instruments
  • Know how to use lavaliere and other types of microphones
  • Can plan, shoot and edit B-roll sequences

Requirements

  • Shoot about 6- 10 minutes of original interview footage (Be careful not to record too much interview footage. If you do, you'll have too much video to easily log and search through.)
  • Shoot appropriate B-roll (think: mini-continuity sequences)
  • Edit piece to fit just inside either a two or three-minute window (eg 1:59:29 is nice) It must be either 2 or 3 minutes- not somewhere in between (2:37)
  • Use lighting equpment and techniques to enhance your subject's appearance
  • Interviewer will not be seen or heard
  • You can work with a partner and interview the same person- but you must have different projects and objectives. If you do this, both should shoot equal amounts of B-roll and edit his or her own project.

Paperwork

  • Program Proposal (who, what, where, why, audience, objective, venue, etc.)
  • List of questions/ideas for interview
  • Copy of release forms
  • Individual typed critique
  • Optional (not required but worth brownie points/extra credit):
    • Raw footage log (include transcribed interview and B-roll)
    • Diagram/drawing of interview setup showing talent, camera positions and lighting.

Grading (50 points total):

  • Pre-production (10 points)
  • Camera & lighting (20 points)
  • Post-production (15 points)
  • Critique (5 points)

Be sure to check out the interview tips in the class lecture notes.

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