Field Work: What To Know Before You Go


Before you go into the field to shoot a story, take time to prepare. One of the most common problems beginning reporters and writers make is not shooting enough broll, or the right b-roll. Taking a few quick minutes to prepare, will save you time in the field and help you come back with the necessary video. Focus your story Answer the basic journalistic questions in your story: who, what, when, where, why and how.

This will help you determine a clear focus for your story. A story that is too broad will be difficult to shoot and write and will not be effective storytelling. Knowing your focus will help you determine what b-roll to shoot, who to interview and what questions to ask. At the same time, don’t be rigid. If your interviews and research dictate that you change direction, be prepared to adjust your story to fit the new focus. Do your research Do as much background research as possible. This may involve doing a search on the Internet or making informational calls. Your research will help you develop a list of potential people to interview.

Make calls to set up interviews and have a back-up plan ready if they fall through. If possible, do some pre-interviewing on the telephone to get an idea whether the person will give a coherent interview. Make a list of general questions to ask during the interview. Chart your story Make a quick outline of your story and what elements you need to get: b-roll shots, type of interviews needed if you are doing a VO/SOT or package, and other elements, such as maps, photos and drawings. If you don’t have time to do an outline before you leave, think of potential b-roll shots as you travel to the shoot.

Read more in the ATVN Broadcast Handbook on Trello

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