Draft Video Story


Since television is just a little career that I’ve been in for 15 years, working as a photographer and video editor, I decided to use some unconventional equipment to shoot this piece, just to see how it would turn out.  I shot this video on my Olympus E5 DSLR still camera.  The camera records short segments of audio and video, up to seven minutes, and I had never used it for this purpose.  I also figured I would get less attention shooting with this camera than my full-size television camera, and it worked out very well.  I used a 50-200mm lens, with a 2x extender, and my 12-40mm lens as well. The camera has a native 2x multiplier, so many of the shots were extreme telephoto, giving a very good depth of field and also allowed me to shoot from a distance to get more natural video.  The track audio, I recorded on my iPhone 6s, and it also turned out very well.

I have used primarily Final Cut Pro 7 in my non-linear editing career, and prior to that I did tape-to-tape editing (back in the dark ages) for news stations both locally and nationally.  This is a rough cut, I have only used a few transitions, and I will potentially add some more video.  Using Adobe Premiere Pro is new, but there is a function within the program where you can basically make the program work just like Final Cut Pro’s keyboard commands, so after turning that on it was off to the races.  Learning the keyboard commands for video editors is key to working quickly and efficiently, so transitioning to this program was fairly simple.  I imported my video and audio tracks, and used the workflow that I have done countless times.  A quick and dirty method of cutting video very quickly is to drag all the video into the timeline and then quickly mark in and out points in each clip, deleting those that will not be used and then cutting and pasting the video together.  After viewing the video I had imported, I wrote a script, using some natural sound from an on the spot interview with a church group handing out burritos, and then tracked the audio, and clipped it all together.  One thing I learned over my many years in television is that editing video is a strange thing.  If you have 45 minutes to cut a piece together, it will take 45 minutes.  If you have 4 hours, it will take 4 hours.  So it is best to keep the editing simple, and to set realistic guidelines.  This piece took about 45 minutes to assemble…mainly because there are a few tricks with Final Cut Pro that don’t directly translate over to Adobe, but I made it work.  After exporting, I uploaded to YouTube, and voila!  A quick and dirty video is done.

Since I have worked in a newsroom, I will typically just edit from a script, or a shot-sheet, instead of a full blown storyboard.  The script I wrote is below:

<video of skyline>

Seattle:  the emerald city.  A prosperous and rapidly expanding center of global commerce and trade.

<shots of harbor, etc.>

On a beautiful spring day you can see for miles and take in the beauty of it all.  But when you stop and look closer, you will see that Seattle is a city divided.

<shots of tents on freeway>

The haves and the have-nots are clearly delineated, and are rapidly separating leaving more and more people behind in Seattle’s quest for prosperity.

<various homeless shots>

Homelessness has been declared an emergency, with insufficient resources to cope with the thousands now living on Seattle’s streets.  Those without a place to stay can be found in city parks and on the sidewalks.

<shot of person sleeping on sidewalk>

Some sleep on the concrete,

<shots around homeless mission>

others mingle near the homeless missions.

<burrito people>

There are those willing to help

<nats> “Free Burritos”

and do what they can

<nats> “500 vegan burritos free etc.”

but one meal only gives temporary respite.

<skyline of seattle>

It is unclear how the problems of homelessness will be addressed in Seattle, but one thing is clear

<shots of recreation>

For many in Seattle, it is the best of times.

<Closeup of homeless man>

The worst of times, however for those forgotten in Seattle’s success have likely yet to be seen.

2 responses to “Draft Video Story”

  1. Kendra Christensen Avatar
    Kendra Christensen

    Hi Marcus!
    I’m a little intimidated to critique you since this is totally your area of expertise! I really liked how your video was lots of short clips added together. It gave it a great documentary feeling and still very professional looking. In the first half of your video, I felt that the audio was slightly rushed. It could use a couple of well-placed pauses for effect. It may have been interesting to have another interview clip, possibly with someone who is homeless or with one of the “haves” living in Seattle. It might be interesting to get a different perspective. You have a very interesting topic and your video does a good job at shedding light on such a difficult situation that many are facing. I used to work in downtown Portland and I know that Portland has an abundance of people who are homeless and it’s only getting worse with housing prices increasing and places to rent are getting scarce. Great job on your video.


  2. Don’t worry about critiquing my work, I am constantly rethinking everything and looking for ways to improve, so you’re not the only one! I think I may have hung out with too many fast talking reporters…I keep reading that I may take the script a bit fast, but I guess those darned reporters are rubbing off on me. I plan on finessing this piece a bit more to improve the flow and add a few more shots that didn’t make the first cut. I may also add some captioning to the impromptu interview, just to make sure the point is clear. I am also contemplating taking the last segment of the video, and stopping the video where the homeless man with the gray beard looks straight into the camera. Call it breaking the fourth wall if you will, but I think it is a potentially powerful way to get the point across. He only looks directly into the camera for three frames of video, so I’m not sure if it is going to work, but I think I’ll try.


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