Ever listened to someone tell a story so well you could literally visualize every scene? Those are the best kind of stories. These stories are full of details and imagery that captivate you and place you inside the storyteller’s mind as if it were your story to tell. The ability to tell stories through video has made our history what it is today. Being able to see exactly how something happened adds so much volume to a story. This reason alone breeds my interest for learning the mastery behind creating videos.

I love the way Mark Briggs begins Chapter 7 of Journalism Next: A Practical Guide to Digital Reporting and Publishing. He introduces the chapter with a story (of course) about Charles Bertram, a man who recorded a video of an 8-year-old baseball player who lost a leg to cancer at the age of 1. Charles decided to shoot the video with no voice-overs and no interviews. The raw footage could stand alone and make an extremely powerful statement to anyone who watched. This video of 8-year-old Adam Bender, went viral with over 3 million views. It’s so amazing how much of an impact one video can make.

The meat of the chapter was an excellent teacher on how to create videos. Not just a regular degular video, but a video that can make an impact and tell a story. I never really think about the different angles and shots videographers put into their final masterpieces, because I’m usually focused on the content of the video. But thinking back, poorly recorded/edited videos always get my attention because they genuinely distract the viewer from appreciating the video’s message. Someone should be able to watch a video and think about nothing else but the content of that video, not how poorly it was put together. I feel like this is what separates the most powerful videos from the regular videos that were recorded to simply have documentation of an occurrence.

Learning about wide-angle shots, medium shots and close-ups, opened my mind to a whole new world of videography. I am a master when it comes to Snapchatting special moments and coming up with cute, quirky captions to match. I even taught myself how to customize Snapchat filters! That’s another story for another day. Then reading this chapter, I learn about zooming, panning, storyboarding and the complex software of videography and say, “Yeah…I’m definitely an amateur at this video thing.”

Taking a camera out for a test-run in my Digital Journalism class, definitely secured my feelings of amateurism. Most times, I feel frustrated and hopeless when I’m struggling to get the hang of new things, but videography is so enticing that I could only pay attention to my small victories. Successfully learning how to set up the camera’s exposure and “white balance” for different lighting made me feel more like a professional amateur, if that’s even a real thing. I am excited to keep learning about the nature of videography and I’m sure once my first video is super poppin’ I’ll look back on this post and smile.

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