Finding the Story in Your Videos

Videographer aiming a large lens camera at the viewer depicting shooting video.

So rather than endlessly theorizing on all of this “finding the story” in your video stuff, let’s take a look at a simple example:

Let’s say you are attending a children’s birthday party that your child has been invited to.

You want to get some video of the event and perhaps provide a copy to your child’s grandparents.

When you are there of course the “story” of the day is unfolding before your eyes with wild abandon.

If you shoot the video as it happens then all you will have captured at the end of the day is endless video footage of “what you saw.”

“What you saw” is not the story of the day, it’s… well… what you saw!

Also, if the birthday party took three hours to complete then you are left with only two real choices as far as editing a video is concerned.

You can make a three hour video of what you saw at the party or you can edit out a bunch of shots and make a shorter video of what you saw at the party!

Either way the potential for mind numbing boredom on the part of the viewer is enormous!

What IS the Story?

The key to doing this is learning how to break an event or activity into little chunks.

The actual story of our birthday party example is something like this:

  • Child was invited to birthday party of friend.
  • Child was prepared for attendance on the day of the party.
  • Child traveled to the party.
  • Child attended the party.
  • Child engaged in fun, exciting, enjoyable, upsetting, distressing, exhausting activities throughout the party.
  • Party ended.
  • Child traveled home.

Identifying the story can be as simple as that and by keeping in mind that these are the things you need to get video footage of in order to tell the story, you will be way ahead of the game.

It is also important to note that you do not have to shoot everything in the above story at the exact time it happened nor do you have to video a huge amount of footage to represent those things.

The magic of editing is that you can cut together pieces of footage from anytime to create the message you want to convey.

A shot of the child receiving the invitation could actually be set up and shot after the party by just getting the child to pretend (act).

Video of preparations to go to the party could be done days before and in each instance you only need video that communicates the sense of what is happening, you don’t need to faithfully document each thing.

This leads directly into the next tip for lifting your home videos out of the ordinary, shooting to edit.

Part One – Shooting Better Home Videos

Part Two – Finding the Story in Your Videos

Part Three – Shooting Your Video for Editing

Part Four – Keeping it Steady

Part Five – Basic Video Shots

Part Six – The Rules of Video Composition

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