What About Video for Digital Storytelling?

February 28, 2020  •  Leave a Comment

Hey Everyone! This week I want to discuss video.  Now I'm not an expert at all and really don't know a lot about shooting moving pictures.  I have been a still photographer for most of my life and have only recently started shooting video, mostly for my own personal use.  I do have a YouTube channel with 30 or so short videos.  They are mostly of hiking and camping with some photography and photo editing thrown in for good measure.  But I do admire those who can tell a story through video.  There is a lot of forethought that goes into a small movie or video.  You have to have a story and a timeline in your head, and then there is audio that goes along with it.  That is a whole other world that I'm not familiar with.  A couple of my photography friends in my camera club shoot great video, and I'm inspired by what they do to try and do something similar. But it's hard to concentrate on still photography and video at the same time.  It's either one or the other, or you just do both poorly.  I'm still working on that one.

One of my personal projects for the year is to visit all of North Carolina's state parks.  This project is to, one, get me out of the house;  two, make more photography; and, three, do some hiking and camping.  While I'm doing this project, I had an idea to record my adventures with short clips of the adventure with my dog Forrest.  So I will have some "Forrest Goes to..." adventures.  Here's a link to the latest one I did, Forrest Goes to Fort Macon.  Hope you enjoyed the video.  What were the tools that I used to make this?  I currently have two Gopro cameras:  one older Gopro Session 4 and a newer Gopro7.  But I also use my phone, my Sony A6500, and my Canon G7XII.  On this particular video, I used all of the above in one form or another.  They all came in handy at different times.  The Gopros are great for action-type scenes, like Forrest hiking or the camera mounted to my truck to show us traveling.  I might even mount the camera to Forrest one day to get his eye's view of what's going on.  I haven't quite figured that one out yet.  The Sony A6500 and the Canon G7XII are great for still shots, like on a tripod for an interview.  And my iPhone, well, it's just always with me so it's great just to pull out when something happens and I don't have the other cameras with me.  I do have mounts for the GoPros and mini-tripods to mount all of these cameras on.  I have a cheap microphone that I can hook up to my iPhone to use as an audio recorder, but honestly I haven't done much talking in my videos yet.  All of these things fit into a little bag that I can take with me when I go out.

For video-editing software I use iMovie.  It's not the most advanced, but that's why I like it.  It's simple and I can do quite a bit with it.  I can export straight to YouTube from the software or export a file from my computer files.  I shoot in 1080 right now and don't see the need to shoot in 4K video for a couple of reasons.  One is storage.  4k takes up a lot of space on my computer and computing power for rendering the video, which might be too much for my current computer.  I am only putting the videos on YouTube and Facebook, and the quality doesn't need to be 4K.  The other reason is that all of my cameras, from phone to oldest GoPro, will shoot in 1080, and not all of them will shoot in 4K.  I get licensed free music from YouTube that you can download and use for free for the background music.  This music sets the mood of the video and helps me create the clip.

And all of that is the easy part.  The storytelling is the hard part.  You have to have a story in mind of how you will shoot it, camera angles and such in mind before you start videoing.  When you have all of your raw footage, then the editing begins and that's where the story starts to unfold.  Do you go in chronological oder, or do you just tell the story with maybe even flash back moments?  All of this is done in the editing.

I could go on and on about the powers of moving pictures, but you know the power.  You see it every day in television, movies,  and almost anywhere.  And you have a camera with you all the time.  That's how I started, with my phone on hiking trips.  So pull out your phone and start shooting video.  Have fun with it.  Shoot your cat or dog (not literally! LOL), put those shots to music, and you'll have your first movie.  That's all for now.  So until next time, get outside and shoot!


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