Articles about "Video"

Taking an Instagram Photo with an iPhone

Tips for broadcast journalists: When sharing breaking news on social, speed trumps beauty

Today’s multimedia journalists have to do it all on their own – report, write, edit, drive, set up live shots, and post to social media and the Web. Usually, that’s just considered a long list of stuff to do by deadline. But in breaking news coverage, the journalist has some tough choices to make.

The biggest challenge is getting the great video for the story that’s going to air on TV and being the first one to inform news consumers via social media. Here are some strategies to help serve both masters.

Let’s break down these tips into three categories:

  1. What to shoot
  2. Workflow
  3. How to distribute via social media

What to shoot

Shoot the most obvious thing news consumers will recognize right now. After all, we’re talking about breaking news and the situation may change by the time the newscast airs. This isn’t about beauty, it’s about social media speed – beat the competition and get back to using your broadcast camera for the newscast.

Because we’re talking about TV, video is a must. We want to give our followers a taste of the great stuff they’ll only see on TV later. Still photos are obviously another way to bring your followers in. Shoot one of each.

This video and photo are from a breaking news fire in the San Francisco Bay Area in June. The video gives social media followers a sense of what’s happening and confirms the reporter’s on the scene gathering information. The still photo is complementary.

Video of fire:

Photo of helicopter water drop:


Work flow

This is where multimedia journalists have a tough decision to make. Which is the priority: social media or the newscast? I’d recommend shooting the social media stuff first. Dedicate a few minutes to it – five minutes max – and then go back to your camera.

Don’t beat yourself up over what you couldn’t get out through social media. Remember, this is more about informing news consumers now and beating the competition, not having the prettiest shot. You want your followers to know you’re there. If you’re first, they’ll catch up with you again on the newscast or on the web when you’ve got your complete video story assembled.

In the end this is about making choices. You can’t be in two places at once operating two cameras at once and doing two jobs at once. Keep this in mind: the best pictures are for your broadcast story, the first pictures are for social media.

If there’s a scenario where you’re waiting and don’t want to miss it – say a building collapse – set up the broadcast camera, lock down the tripod, and then start rolling. With the camera rolling, get out your phone to shoot your social media video and photo. Then go back to the camera.

How to distribute breaking news video via social media:

— Use your phone to gather your social media video. Skip the tablets; even an iPad mini is too big to fit in your pocket. You want to be as mobile as possible, and being able to stuff your social media newsgathering and distribution tool into your pocket is the epitome of mobility.

— Upload your videos via YouTube. Cellphones have simple, already-established workflows that make the process quicker.

— Here are 10 steps to reporting breaking news via social media

1. Shoot your video.

2. Choose send.


3. Choose the YouTube option.


4. Write a simple description for the YouTube video description box that you can copy and paste into a social media post later when the video is published.


5. Choose SD. It’s faster, which is what we’re shooting for here.


6. Choose “Public” and then Publish (top right).


7. Wait for a few seconds and chose “View on YouTube.”


8. Once on YouTube, choose share.


9. Choose Twitter or Facebook to post there, or email to send the link back to your Web Team at the station.


Simon Perez is assistant professor of broadcast and digital journalism at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School Of Public Communications.

Related training: How and When to Shoot Video with a Smartphone Read more


Cell Sets Fire to Pillow, Story Sets Fire to TV Station Website

A news report about a small fire with no injuries took the internet by storm last week. The question is why.

The story is about a Dallas area teen who says her cellphone caught fire beneath her pillow as she slept

The teen went to sleep with her Samsung Galaxy S4 under her pillow and awoke to a smouldering mess, according to KDFW, a Dallas-Fort Worth Fox affiliate. The father of the teen told KDFW he thinks the phone battery may have caused the meltdown, Samsung says the battery was not an original part but was a replacement unit.

The video has generated more than 1.1 million YouTube Views, 4 million page views on the station’s website and generated even more for the other Fox owned and operated stations that posted the story.  Until now, the station’s YouTube record stood at 27,000. KDFW Consumer reporter Steve Noviello says he has never seen anything like it, but says there are some solid reasons for its success.

“The story is easy to relate to and pulls on those ‘holy grail’ elements that news consumers love- ‘Your Children, Your Safety, Your Stuff,’” he said.

Photo Courtesy KDFW Dallas

Photo Courtesy KDFW Dallas

And he says he wrote the online story in a way that he thought would appeal to that audience differently than the TV story. “The way I posted the story was very deliberate- in addition to shooting video, I snapped some cellphone pics.  When it came time to post I did so with the cell photos not the standard generic news logo or freeze frame from the package.” Noviello says the Fox stations that used the snapshot photo as their lead image saw about double the return as those that used a freeze-frame from the story.

Stations often don’t post news stories on YouTube preferring instead to drive viewers to station website pages. But YouTube does offer compensation from a share of advertising revenue it generates in pre-roll ads on popular videos.

Noviello said the large YouTube viewership helped the online site. “We didn’t get wrapped up in where the traffic was going,  only that it was flowing.  This ‘viral’ was a first for us and the data is very useful.  As opposed to trying to ‘direct’ all traffic back to our website to make the folks upstairs in sales happy, we got it out there and watched the rising tide lift all boats.” In short, he said, we stopped trying to force the viewer to come to where “we are” but tried to reach them where they are.

Noviello said 65 percent of the 1 million plus YouTube views were from mobile phones.

I had to ask why Noviello believed the story to be real. “We did another story some time back about lithium ion batteries and I have had hundreds of e-mails from people who tell me their batteries get hot. It has included everything from phones to e-cigarettes and baby monitors,” so the story of the phone fire beneath a pillow was not a big surprise.

That safety issue is not just a scare tactic.  A Pew Research report says most teens sleep with their cell phones. And it is not just a “teen thing.” Pew says 65% of adults say they sleep with their phones in the bed or next to the bed too. “Samsung does warn you not to put your phone in your bed, but the warning is on page 208 of the phone’s user manual,” Noviello said.  When he wrote the story summary Noviello mentioned the buried warning saying,  “13-year-old sleeps while her cell phone smolders under her pillow.  The manufacturer points to a warning you’ve likely never read.”

Noviello is producing additional stories about battery safety. “The stories we are hearing about are not all replacement batteries.” The Consumer Product Safety Commission set standards in 2007 but today’s electronics are different from older devices. The question arises about whether the old standards should apply to today’s equipment.

For newsrooms, especially TV newsrooms, this story goes against conventional wisdom about what kind of video will generate the most online traffic. The conventional wisdom and experience is that raw or nearly raw sensational video of spot news or oddities are the viral traffic winners. But this story is a completely packaged news story that ran online just as it aired on TV. The lesson seems to be that new and compelling content attracts viewers.

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Katy Perry

How Katy Perry, Elvis and Springsteen can change the meaning of your video

It seems that everywhere I turned online this weekend, somebody was flying a quadcopter with a camera through fireworks.

Leaving the wisdom of doing that out of this posting, I wanted to play with how music and special effects would affect the viewer’s experience with a fireworks video shot via drone and published in May. In the original, a classical score and slow drifting shots add drama and elegance to the piece.

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Crime scene

Hyperbolic to sensitive, how news outlets treated dramatic car crash video

The 55-second cell-phone video of an SUV going the wrong way on the Interstate, smashing into a sedan and exploding into a fiery ball that killed five people quickly sky-rocketed to one of the most viewed videos ever on the Tampa Bay Times’ website. It’s also a case study to examine how different newsrooms treat difficult content.

The Tampa Bay Times, which Poynter owns, ran the whole video, unedited, along with the sound. The Tampa Tribune ran the video without the sound. WTSP and WFLA used small portions of the video in a package, but then stopped using it, as did Fox 13. ABC Action News used a tight clip of the video in two packages. Bay News 9 ran the video but truncated it before the crash. Read more

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Washington Post exec: Publishers can’t expand video offerings on their own


There needs to be substantially more scale” in digital news video, says Steven Schiffman, The Washington Post’s general manager of video, in an interview with Beet.TV. “Even 20 million video starts is not enough to make this a vibrant business for premium publishers to do what they need to do to create the type of content in the ecosystem,” he said.

The Post has hired more than 30 people for its video initiative, Schiffman says. It now creates more than 30 hours of content and 300-plus clips per month. “But long-term we would love to be able to double down on our investment. We would love to be able to produce 100 hours and 1,000 clips and create really strong, diverse, video content if the revenue model on the top end of the P&L supported that,” he says. “Today we can’t.”

Schiffman says the Post is already pursuing “low-fruit” opportunities, such as embedding videos in articles “where the video essentially tells a broader richer story than just what you could read in the text,” but he has other ideas of solving the revenue riddle, including a consortium of premium publishers: “There’s an opportunity to potentially partner with what might be seen in other industries as a competitor, where other premium publishers along with The Washington Post could band together and create a service that potentially could be very competitive and very valuable to media buyers and advertisers.”
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Budweiser YouTube video

What you can learn about video storytelling from the Budweiser Super Bowl commercial

I often use commercials as ways to teach journalists how to write compelling stories. Budweiser’s “Puppy Love” Super Bowl commercial gives me one of the best examples of video storytelling that I have seen in years.

So let me walk you frame-by-frame through the ad. The story teaches us how to build tension, how to use the “rule of threes,” how to find narrow focus and how to build to the big explosion at the end of the piece — the payoff.

Great stories have so much in common with this commercial. They have tension, context and an explosion of action. They are highly focused and don’t get distracted by characters who never pay off. You don’t need music, horses or puppies to tell a story.  Stick to the fundamentals that work every time. Read more


In 2014, HuffPost Live will try to turn cool ideas into a sustainable business

When HuffPost Live launched in August 2012, it was an ambitious undertaking, to say the least. Twelve hours of livestreamed content per weekday with hopes to expand to 16. Studios and fully staffed newsrooms in New York and Los Angeles. A whole new way to watch and deliver news that was digitally native, interactive, and not bound by the time slot or format constraints of traditional cable news networks.

Sixteen months later, HuffPost Live has changed a bit. Several hosts have moved on to places like MSNBC, Fusion and Pivot TV. The L.A. studio is closed (though the Washington, D.C., office just got a new studio) and the livestream has been cut back to eight hours. The free-flowing, boundless nature of HuffPost Live’s programming has been given a bit more structure.

“It’s in a different place now than it was three or six months ago,” said Danny Shea, who became HuffPost Live’s editorial director in August. Shea, who began at Huffington Post in 2005 as an intern and has worked his way up the editorial food chain, has had an unofficial role in HuffPost Live since its launch. Now he’s charged with “trying to bring more of the HuffPost voice and sensibility and tone and story selection and just sort of HuffPost DNA to HuffPost Live.”

HuffPost Live is also trying to position some of its coverage ahead of the news curve rather than as a response or follow-up to what’s trending on the site. HuffPost Live producers met with Huffington Post’s editorial staff on a recent gun violence series, for instance, trying to figure how to best integrate HuffPost Live’s series into Huffington Post’s coverage (which has its own vertical) as the anniversary of the Newtown shooting approached.

“I think that integration has been a big part of our growth,” HuffPost Live co-creator and president Roy Sekoff said. “That’s what we’ve gotten better at.”

And there has been growth. A record number of video views in November (just under 109 million, 510 percent more than this time last year, Sekoff said), which beat the previous record set in October, which beat the previous record set in August. And the channel has also been able to drum up — and maintain — advertiser interest. Citi, for example, just renewed its sponsorship of HuffPost Live’s music series, with eight more parts scheduled to run between January and April.

HuffPost Live has yet to make a profit, but Sekoff said it’s actually “ahead of schedule” to do so (he declined to go into specifics).

“We wouldn’t have launched something this audacious if we didn’t have the knowledge that we have this great platform in the Huffington Post and in AOL,” Sekoff said. “We knew if we could tap into those audiences that already existed and already showed a desire and a hunger for video, then we’d be in a very good place.”

The timing couldn’t be better. BuzzFeed says digital video is “set to take over the world.” Mobile use has grown exponentially as well in the last year. Ad revenues, too: according to the Internet Advertising Bureau’s most recent report, mobile ad revenue skyrocketed, up 145 percent from the same time last year to $3 billion. Digital video ad revenue was up 24 percent, to $1.3 billion.

As more traditional brands like the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times continue to develop and refine their efforts to corner that market, brand new digital news companies have entered the arena. Venture capital firms are putting money into video news startups. It’s safe to assume that they’re expecting a positive return on that investment.

At least $10 million of venture capital has gone into startup NowThis News, which launched in the fall of 2012. NowThis also has some Huffington Post DNA; it was co-founded by Huffington Post co-founder Kenneth Lerer and former CEO Eric Hippeau. Like HuffPost Live, NowThis aims to be the mobile video news source for its viewers, though its take on reinventing broadcast news is quite different.

NowThis News is focused on creating bite-sized news clips (upwards of 70 a day) tailored to the platform that distributes them. Instagram users can get their news in 15 seconds or less. Vine viewers get it in six, somehow. If HuffPost Live is for the Web and mobile viewer, NowThis is for the social mobile viewer.

“We wanted to create short-form social video content that ultimately is a utility for people who don’t necessarily have a lot of time on their hands,” said Steven Belser, NowThis News’ VP of production and creative services.

NowThis now boasts between 10 and 12 million views a month on its website and app, though Belser said the real number is probably much higher, as that doesn’t count views on the many platforms on which NowThis is often viewed (Vine, Snapchat and Instagram, for instance). And, of course, there are all those other media companies NowThis has partnered with, such as BuzzFeed and Atlantic Media.

“The average mobile session length in the news space is quite short, and quite often it’s determined by your environment,” Belser said. “We want to offer you a variety of content options that vary in length to help you maximize your experience.”

HuffPost Live does this, too, though it makes clips out of its livestream. “We do more quick hits, if you will, that we can mine for good VOD play,” Sekoff said. “And then we’re really leaning in to our longer form programming.”

Longer form programming? That seems a bit counterintuitive. According to comScore, the average length of online videos has decreased, from 6.7 minutes in July 2012 to 5.1 minutes in October 2013. A New York Times article (from 2010) said almost 20 percent of viewers stop watching an online video after just 10 seconds. Forty-four percent stop watching after a minute.

Surely, everyone is going shorter these days?  Maybe not as short as a NowThis News Vine, but there’s the New York Times Minute, which debuted last month. Executive editor Jill Abramson said at the time it would be “a quick and useful way to keep up with the news.” E.W. Scripps just paid $35 million for Newsy, a video news company that curates video news from a variety of sources into short “video news bites,” usually less than two minutes in length. The sale should go through within days of the closure of the Scripps’ wire service.

“I know a lot of people are focused on making short videos and making everything as short and tight as possible — and that’s great,” Sekoff said. “But where does that then go to in a bigger place? That’s what, I think, we’re able to do. We have both. We have something that you could sit back and watch for an hour or two … Or something that you can grab on your phone while you’re waiting in line.”

Now coming off its two-hour Newtown special and gun violence package, HuffPost Live will do similar multipart, in-depth series on poverty, drug addiction and email dependency, Shea said.

“I’m incredibly proud of them,” Sekoff said of the series. “They’re smart, they’re insightful, they’re incredibly moving and to me that would be like a signature that we can do.”

Conversation still makes up a good part of HuffPost Live’s content. And for people with more patience, the longer segments are real conversations where guests have time to breathe – and those can produce news, too. Actor Chris Noth recently stopped by the studio and made two newsworthy pronouncements: that the director of his Sex and the City film told him to lose some weight before shooting began, and that the GOP and the Tea Party were racist. Both of those made headlines in several other outlets.

“I think that’s really important for building the HuffPost Live brand,” Shea said.

And, as the HuffPost Live brand is inextricably tied with the Huffington Post brand, it’s going to do more global content, too, making use of Huffington Post’s partner newsrooms all over the world as part of the new WorldPost initiative. It’ll give HuffPost Live some local reporting on its global stories, of which we’ll be seeing more.

Global coverage, too, seems counter-intuitive. Why invest in international coverage when the prevailing sentiment is that Americans don’t want to watch it? As Pew Research Center’s most recent “State of the Media” report says: “in 2012, Americans were far more interested in domestic news stories than foreign ones.”

“Traditionally, media companies and networks have assumed that audiences don’t care,” Shea said. “I am a believer that Americans today care about world news because the world is smaller and because people are just more aware of the world.”

There’s also a significant international viewership. Shea said 40 percent of HuffPost’s audience comes from outside the United States. “That’s obviously a growth area,” Sekoff said. In the last fifteen months, the network has hosted over 10,500 guests from over 90 countries. The increased access to broadband internet and webcam apps like Skype and Google Hangout make it relatively easy for HuffPost Live to see – and be seen by – people all over the world.

Belser’s noticed a global audience for NowThis News, too. “There are countries that are exponentially higher on the social sharing scale than the US,” he said, citing countries in the Middle East and South America (Brazil, for instance, is “one of the most sociable countries”).

HuffPost Live will also make a big push to get college students watching and contributing – people who aren’t so much “cord-cutters” as “cord-nevers,” Shea said. People who don’t necessarily have pre-conceived notions of what news programming is supposed to be. That’s a good audience to target: thirty-four percent of millennials watch mostly online video or no broadcast television.

And there will be slightly more structure, which should help build up HuffPost Live’s live audience (clips account for “most” HuffPost Live’s views). Sekoff once said “we don’t do shows.” Now, it’s “we’re trying to do a little bit more programming that is not exactly tightly scheduled but you know [it'll be on around a certain time],” Sekoff said. “At the end of the day, people like that when it comes to the live part of it.”

WorldBrief, which usually provides some of HuffPost Live’s most popular clips, will continue in that vein. A Washington-centric show will be coming soon as well.

You might also see HuffPost Live on cable. A deal with Mark Cuban’s AXS TV, announced back in April, is still going forward, Sekoff said – though it has changed. The original plan was to air six hours of HuffPost Live content every weekday.

“That didn’t work out for a variety of reasons,” Sekoff said. Though it’s still an “ongoing process” to work out exactly how HuffPost Live and AXS will work together, Sekoff said that current hope is to make a “bespoke,” dedicated show for AXS.

“I really want to be the Internet’s video news network,” Shea said. “I want to be the sensibility of the Internet and Huffington Post brought to life in video.”

HuffPost Live has had sixteen months to find its footing. Now it’s time to see if Shea and Sekoff can develop that Huffington Post sensibility into a sustainable business. Read more


Shows aren’t in the future for Washington Post’s PostTV

The Washington Post’s PostTV video initiative will stop presenting information as shows and move to “easily digestible segments,” Washington Post spokesperson Kris Coratti tells Poynter in an email.

“Since the launch of PostTV the team has learned a lot about how users are consuming video, so they are restructuring a bit to reflect that,” she writes. “These changes are a natural evolution, and they have always said they were going to continue to iterate on the product.”

The Post launched shows including “In Play,” featuring Chris Cillizza and Jackie Kucinich, and “On Background,” featuring Nia-Malika Henderson, this past summer. The new segments will feature “the same staff and personalities viewers have come to know,” Coratti said. “They will also start expanding their areas of coverage beyond strictly politics.”

Coratti didn’t have a timetable for the changes but said, “I would imagine this is going to start soon.” Read more


Facebook adds autoplaying video ads in News Feeds; will they annoy?

The Wall Street Journal | TechCrunch

Facebook will start selling video ads in News Feeds starting this week, The Wall Street Journal reports. Users on desktop and mobile will see them beginning Thursday, according to the Journal’s unnamed sources.

The ads will autoplay in users’ feeds, reflecting a change others, including TechCrunch, had noticed being rolled out to all users last week for native Facebook videos after a test period earlier in the year. Read more


KPCC’s AudioVision series feels like TV on the radio and vice-versa

A new pilot video series by KPCC in Southern California aims to marry video with the distinct voice of public radio. The neat effect while playing “The Whale Warehouse,” the debut video on KPCC’s AudioVision site: Close your eyes and you might feel as if you were listening to a made-for-radio piece.

With the exception of a few spots in the video — like when co-host Mae Ryan tells viewers they might want to fast-forward if they get queasy looking at blood — the audio could stand alone. That’s how tight the narration is, and one reason an AudioVision story takes many days to produce.

KPCC visual journalist Grant Slater told Poynter via phone that AudioVision takes inspiration from Radiolab and NPR. But their video stories are done on a one-off basis, Slater said, so the goal with AudioVision is to serialize the TV on the radio — or radio on the TV — similar to what Vice Media, PBS Off Book and the New York Times’ Op-Docs properties have achieved. Read more