Same-Day Stories, or "Look-Lives"
Report length: 1:00 to 1:15
This is a team project – reporter and photographer. The topic is decided the morning of the newscast, but the same-day reporting team must arrive prepared with story ideas.
Same-Day reports cover breaking news or an event
where there is strong visual potential
Due to the short running length, the reporter conveys only the basic information about an event or issue, which has more immediate influence on the audience.
Same-Day Package is a report
that uses the “donut” format with stand-up at front and back and package in the
middle. The stand-up looks like a live shot, therefore, both the opening and closing stand-up should be shot in the same location. But the stand-up should still be interactive (e.g., walk-and-talk, show-and-tell)
Stand-up -- Package -- Stand-up
- The anchor intro and tag must be written before leaving the newsroom to enter the field (even if only a preliminary one, which can be revised later) This will help you avoid saying in the stand-up what amounts to an anchor intro
- Stand-Up must mimic a live shot (single shot, single location)
- Must use at minimum two SOTS (both on camera) – one from an official with expertise on the issue and others from people who are well informed of the topic or who are witnesses to an event.
- Must get all interviews on camera. May use a phone interview only if absolutely necessary and the reason is compelling.
- Same Day team should give themselves at least one hour to edit (return by 10:30 at the latest)
- Photographer is responsible for editing. The workflow begins with the reporter selecting SOTS and good takes for the stand-ups, writing the script as the photographer builds the audio (VO, SOTS and Stand-ups), and then adds the b-roll, graphics. Final tweaking will be done by TA or instructor.
- Package is accompanied by an online story, but uses only one or two lines as a summary. The video must be posted with the Web story.
- 9am: Leave newsroom by 9am at the latest to enter the field
- 10:30am: Return to the edit lab no later than 10:30am. Preferably between 10 and 10:30.
- 11:30am: Completion (including tweaks) is 11:30am before the 12pm broadcast.
The project is engaging to watch. Camera shots tell the story visually with sequences that clarify and build upon the previous images. Shots change every seven seconds or less. There are no camera jiggles or lighting problems. The stand-up and interview composition is balanced.
NATS and dialogue are balanced (mixed) properly. SOTS and VO are engaging. SOTS kept no longer than 12 seconds. VO is read with enthusiasm and with the appropriate emotional tone. No pops or other distracting sounds in the audio.
Easy to understand, active voice and conversational, has meaning to the audience, conveys solid information and audience becomes better informed at the end. There is evidence of research and proper attributions (where the information comes from). Stand-up is interactive, creative, integral and advances the story.
Shots are trimmed properly (seamless) and transitions fit the piece. No jump cuts or words that have been cut off. Images seem to fit together. Story is allowed to “breathe” with NAT sound inserted between SOTS and VO in certain places.
Tips - The Stand-Up
- The opening stand-up shouldn't repeat what was already said in the anchor intro.
- Use the opening stand-up to draw in the viewer. Don't just open telling us where you are - that information might already be conveyed in the anchor intro. Rather, illustrate something by referring to something behind and what happened at that location. Then lead into the package.
- Use the Mom Rule: explain what we're looking at as if you're explaining it to your mum.
- The closing stand-up provides at least one more piece of information that might make viewers think, "You don't say." Avoid cliches and editorialising, e.g., "That's how the ball bounces."
Stand-Ups - The Chroma Key Test
If you're not interacting with the environment, then you might as well be standing in front of a chroma key wall. DO SOMETHING. Prospective employers will be interested to see how interactive and creative you are with the stand-up.
Guidelines for doing Same-Days
- Start by anticipating what your top story will be the day before the newscast.
- Come to the news meeting informed with 2 or 3 story ideas, which you will then be asked to pitch.
- If you come up with an idea the night before, let your instructors and your producer know your ideas and make sure you get approval before moving forward.
- If you think you might have trouble reaching sources the day of the newscast, you are free to contact them the day before to give them the heads up and even set an interview time. But you must inform them that, due to the nature of breaking news, you might be assigned to cover another story. If that happens, then tell your source(s) so they're not waiting for you to show up and thank them kindly.
- We understand that many sources might not be available until 9-ish. But you should contact a number of possible sources in the hopes that one of them will be reached and agree to be interviewed on camera. Make sure you e-mail as well as leave phone messages. Be sure to tell them you're working under deadline and that you'll be calling back. You can be more persuasive if you explain that all you need is 5 minutes of their time.
- In your script, stick to the facts of the story.
Make sure you can explain it to a friend concisely and with clarity. Imagine if you were doing an actual live shot and had to
fill 30-60 seconds of time. If you can't explain it to yourself or to a friend, then how
could you possibly explain it to an audience?
- Write up an anchor intro before you leave for the shoot. The opening stand-up shouldn't repeat what the anchor intro says. You can still tweak the anchor intro with new information upon your return.
- Best to shoot interviews first if possible. Otherwise, start with b-roll. Often the interviews inform your b-roll, and the information is also helpful for your stand-up.
- When shooting interviews, take notes. Write down the person's name and attribution. Make sure you get the proper spelling and even write their name phonetically if you have to. Always have the person say their name and attribution on camera.
of note taking, during the interview, write down possible SOTS
(paraphrase) and also possible b-roll. Ask the source if they have access to other visuals. Keep the interview short - no more than 5 minutes. Don't make
more work for yourself than you have to.
- Last thing to shoot are the stand-ups. Remember, you're mimicking live shots so the stand-up needs to be shot in the same location. DO SOMETHING. Walk and talk, be interactive with the surroundings. You can spend 10 to 15 seconds on a stand-up. Provide some specific information. Don't just tell us where you are. The stand-up is your lead (after the anchor intro). Use compelling information to peak our curiosity. What's the hook of the story? For the opening stand-up come up with a good transition to your package. For the closing stand-up, you need to provide at least one more piece of information. You can then use your sign-off and it's perfectly fine to say, "Back to you in the studio", or some similar iteration.
- Be aware of time.... you don't need take after take of your stand-up (you don't get second takes for a live shot). If you stumble, that's fine, just correct yourself and do your best to move on.
- Write up the script on location and cut the track using the camera's hand microphone or wireless (whichever one you used in the stand-up). If you come across new information (or information needs to be corrected) you can cut new track in the edit lab, but you don't want to spend longer than 10 minutes doing so.
- Upon your return, the photographer/editor should immediately make a project folder onto the computer's local drive. NEVER BUILD YOUR STORY ON THE DESKTOP. Save everything to the project folder. Start by copying the clips to the project folder. Open Premiere and save it to the project folder.
- Whilst the reporter determines the SOTS, the editor can start working with the known elements, such as the stand-ups and VO. Build the audio as much as you can. Finally, add the b-roll. All you need to do is get the elements in place to finish your rough copy. Polish the work after all the elements are in place.
- It helps speed up the tweaking if you do the following: mix the NATS with the VO by lowering the NAT sounds so they're not competing with the voice track; for audio that is on a single channel, use the FILL LEFT TO RIGHT or FILL RIGHT TO LEFT audio filters depending on which channel you recorded your audio.
- Copy the NT graphics from the Student Storage folder
called NEWSTEAM LOWER THIRDS to your project folder (always import media
to you project from the project folder). You need the double-line
graphic for the name and attribution. The font is Geneva, the size of
the name begins at 39, the size of the attribution is 25. The Drop
Shadow should be included to have the following properties: Opacity,
100%, Distance - 4, and Spread - 0. You only have to make your title once and
then copy it how ever many times you have separate interviews.
- We'd like to have the same-days exported by 11:30 and loaded into the server so the story is ready for rehearsals. Therefore, the better you know your story, the faster you'll be able to finish.
Editing Tips for Same Day Stories
Here is the best way to complete the assignment after you return to the edit bay:
- The reporter should watch the video to make sure everything worked and to know what shots and bites you have (based on the quality of the video and audio).
- The reporter then chooses the SOT(s). Write down the time-code(s) where they are on the video, transcribe the whole bite if time permits. Otherwise, write down the in-cue and out-cue of the bite to help you remember what the person said.
- Review the stand-ups and determine the best take if you haven't done so already. .
- While the photographer/editor starts preliminary editing, the reporter should finesse the anchor intro/tag.
- Collaborate with the photographer/editor on the video choices for b-roll.
- Get total package running time (TRT), which doesn't include padding. Make sure the TRT is conveyed to the producer immediately upon finishing the story.