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4.1 Structure Your Video

So you’ve recorded some captivating images and sound bites—now what? In this lesson, you’ll learn how to structure your travel video so it tells a story.

4.1 Structure Your Video

Hi and welcome back I'm Cindy Burgess for Tuts+. In the previous chapter, we covered the basics of capturing good video from a technical standpoint. In this chapter, we're going to take a closer look at video storytelling, how to put all those pretty pictures and sound bites together. In this lesson, you'll learn how to structure your travel story in several different ways and how to include yourself in the story. First, let's talk about why we're recording video in the first place. One of video's biggest strengths is its ability to show action or movement, that's what sets it apart from photographs. So before you hit that record button, ask yourself how was this shot different from a photograph. If it's not, you're not using video well, sure, landscapes are beautiful but we're not making slide shows here. Why should video of a mountain just sitting there? Instead, focus on recording experiences and moments that are actually fun to watch. Unusual activities like volcano boarding and swimming with whale sharks are a given when it comes to video. This doesn't mean you have to be an adventure seeker like me though, just look for the action or movement in whatever you're experiencing. Let's say your sampling street food. Don't record the food just sitting there on a plate. Get some action shots of it being prepared and some shots of you digging in and tasting it. Maybe you want to capture a slice of life in the main square look for moments of action. Here we've got water flowing in the fountain. Children feeding birds, vendors selling goods, video done well involves action. The camera itself isn't necessarily moving but what you're recording is, so good video stories include action. They also have a beginning, middle and end. One of the easiest ways to tell a story is chronologically, in the order the events happen. For example, I decided to try volcano boarding in Nicaragua. In this video, I tell the story chronologically. We start at the base of the volcano as we're getting ready, then we climb up, then we slide down. The end. Take a look. [MUSIC] This is Cerro Negro the youngest volcano in Nicaragua and a hot spot for sand boarding. [MUSIC] My friends and I are climbing to the top so we can slide all the way to the bottom. [MUSIC] First the hard part going up [MUSIC] It's only 1,300 feet to the top, but the path is steep and rocky. [MUSIC] Looking down, we can see where the lava flowed in 1999, that's when Cerro Negro last erupted and it could go again at any time. Yep, this volcano is active. [MUSIC] >> [SOUND] >> Hot? >> Yeah. >> Heat and volcanic gases like carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide are pouring out of holes in the ground called fumaroles. >> This is water >> The gases are dangerous, so we can't stay long. Besides, we're anxious to get to the top. A few hundred feet more, and it's time for the fun part. >> [INAUDIBLE] >> Gearing up? >> [SOUND] >> Getting a quick lesson. >> Lean back and hold tight. >> And then going down. >> I'm ready. [MUSIC] >> There he goes. [MUSIC] >> [LAUGH] This is the absolute brilliant. [MUSIC] >> So that's telling a story chronologically. But for a story I did about another volcano excursion in Guatemala, I took a different approach. I decided to start with the most exciting shots first, that red hot lava, then go back and tell the story of how we got there. [SOUND] This is the holy grail of volcano tourism and I found it in Guatemala. >> [INAUDIBLE] >> [SOUND] My quest took me along the cindery slopes of Pacaya. One of one of the most active volcanoes in Central America. It's a tough climb, two hours of hiking over rock and ash to a height of 6,500 feet above sea level, but it's well worth it for a chance to see this. [MUSIC] The heat is intense. The lava is at least 1300 degrees Fahrenheit and the heat coming up through the rocks makes it uncomfortable to stand in one place for long. The heat melted off, melted my shoes [LAUGH] The lava has been flowing continuously from Pacaya since 1965, making this national park near Antigua a popular tourist attraction. But it's also dangerous. Finally, reached the spot where molten lava. Suddenly, a new lava flow starts and threatens to block our way back. Go ahead. It's time to go. I left Pacaya with something incredible images and, of course, melted shoes. Lasting reminders of what, for me, was an epic journey. [MUSIC] Starting with the most exciting shot grabs people's attention and draws them in. Bottom line, it's your story how you tell it is up to you just keep it short both of those videos were under two minutes long. The actual experiences took all day, but who wants to sit through hours of video of us climbing. I don't, and I was there, capture the highlights. If you're going on an organized tour, a good tip is to talk to the guide beforehand and ask what the schedule of events is. This can help give you an idea of what and when you might want to record. Don't try to film everything, you're never gonna get it all and even if you do, you shouldn't use it all. The process of editing is about putting together a concise, engaging story. Not cramming everything that you've shot into one long, boring video. If you have lots of great experiences, over the course of your travels, make lots of short videos. Choose a separate focus for each one, I like to do a video for each unusual activity I do. In that video, I won't include shots of the town or the hotel that I stayed at. I focus just on the activity. If I do stay at a really cool place like this one in Utila, Honduras, I will make a separate video for that. What you'll end up with is a series of short videos, which are perfect for posting online and sharing through social media. Your friends and family will actually look forward to watching them because you're not forcing them to sit through hours of continuous pointless shots. Be sure to get yourself in your story as well. I find that I get so wrapped up in recording that I forget to capture shots of me while I'm there. Now, you don't have to say a lot. Just turn that camera around and tell us what you're experiencing at that moment. Maybe you wanna record your reaction to your first sip of Sake or how you felt after repelling off that cliff. It doesn't have to be long, just remember, don't narrate all of your other shots as you're recording. Save the narration for later. One thing I like to do when I'm editing my videos is tell the story visually first, just in terms of pictures and sound, no narration. This works really well when you're telling your story chronologically. Again, think of your shots as individual building blocks. Let's say, these are all of the shots that you've captured. If you follow the technique I showed you in the last chapter, you should have a variety of wide shots, medium shots, close ups, over the shoulder shots and maybe even a point of view shot. You should also have some sound bites and maybe little clips of you on camera. Choose your best shots and then arrange them in the order they happened. It doesn't matter which editing software you're using just drag and drop the shots on the timeline. Again, if you were following the technique I showed you, your shots should be about ten seconds each. This doesn't mean you have to keep them that long. In fact, you shouldn't. The average shot length in professional videos is three seconds. Long enough to absorb what you're seeing, but quick enough to keep the pace moving so people don't get bored. So, once you've got your shots arranged in the order you want Trim them down. If you've arranged your shots logically your video should tell the story even without a script. Here's a look at a version of the volcano boarding video I did for the tour company. There's no script, just visuals and sound bites with music [MUSIC] >> It's wetter. [MUSIC] Lean back the whole time. >> I'm ready. [MUSIC] >> I think you'll agree the video tells a story in itself. Now adding narration is easy, just write a short script adding some of the details you learned while you were at the scene. Tell us things we can't know just from looking at the pictures for example the height of the volcano or how long it took for you to climb up. Some editing programs like iMovie, will let you record your voice right onto the video, but you can also use your video camera. Just find a quiet location in your house or hotel and record yourself reading the script. Then import it into your editing software just like you did with your video and add it to the timeline. One final tip about adding voiceover, lecture video breathe. Don't talk over every second of the story, pause for sound bites. Think of sound bites like little punctuation marks, a period at the end of a sentence. Listen to how I've used natural sound in this next story. [SOUND] It's feeding time. >> My gosh! And the green iguanas at Arches are hungry. >> They go crazy for bananas, man. >> [SOUND] This Iguana Park in Roatan Honduras is home to more than 4,000 of these guys. >> It look so cute like that. >> They are everywhere you look. In the trees, on the driveway, hanging with the turkeys. Even getting into the garbage but there's no reason to get freaked out. Just ask Gayle Arch. >> It's great, I love it. >> She lives here and says the iguanas aren't as scary as they seem. >> They don't scratch or bite or anything unless you're picking them up the wrong way. >> Right. >> See this guy, he's staying still so he's liking it. Gayle's dad Sherman started the farm back in 1980 as a way to protect the island's iguanas from hunters. Even he can't believe how big it's become. >> I'm just trying to save these poor guys lives, I never thought it would be a tourist attraction. >> And it's not just lizards. [SOUND] The park is also a refuge for rescued and injured animals, like this monkey. [SOUND] [LAUGH] He got the mic thing. >> Hi, Peckle. >> Some of the birds had been years since 1998 when Hurricane Mitch left them with broken wings and damaged beaks. There's even a fenced enclosure in the ocean full of lobster, conch, and tarpon which Sherman bought from poachers. [SOUND] But make no mistake, the iguanas are the real stars here. They bring in about 150 people a day all looking for a chance to get up close and personal with these prehistoric looking creatures. My only advice- >> [INAUDIBLE] >> Keep your fingers well clear during feeding time. Being able to hear those of iguanas scrabbling across the ground and crunching the leaves makes the visuals much richer and makes our story that much better. So now you know how to put your travel story together. In the next lesson, you'll learn where to find finishing touches like music. Stay tuned.

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