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Jim Krause | Classes | P351 Video Field & Post Production

P351/J560 Op-Ed/Audio/News Story Exercise

Overview: You will produce a short (1-3 minute) Op Ed / News story on the topic of your choice. You will work in a small group (3-4 people), with each member producing their own story.

This exercise is worth 20 points. It will give you experience in environmental portraiture and practice using field lighting and audio gear, and provide the opportunity to produce a short op-ed or news story, suitable for your portfolio.

Instructions: Pick a topic and write a brief (1-2 sentence) introduction for the on-camera reporter to read. You also need to prepare 2-3 open-ended questions to ask people on the street and a brief reporter "wrap-up".

Students need to bring in a copy of their paperwork to lab- and also upload it to the appropriate Canvas assignment. Paperwork includes your reporter's on-camera opening remarks and 2-3 open-ended questions, and a reporter "wrap-up". Be sure to also download releases or to get on-camera, videotaped releases.

The person being graded will produce the story and serve as cameraman & editor. This person should supply the intro, questions and a conclusion/wrap-up. One of your partners can function as the reporter. While it is difficult serve as talent in your own story, you can do this if you want.

Given three people in a group, one will serve as the camera/producer/editor (the person getting graded on their piece). The 2nd will help with lighting (LED or reflector), and the third will serve as the reporter and audio/mic operator. If you have a 4th, they can help with any tasks, get lattes, or appear on camera to provide an opinion. After each story is shot the group will rotate to another position and use another story. You shouldn't spend more than one hour on each rotation.


When you are finished shooting, edit the piece that you produced and shot. You do not need a title- the only graphic requirement is to start with a slate that lists the segment title, date, your name as the producer, and the crew names and positions. After the slate (not title) add a second or two of black before the story fades up on the first shot. Be sure to fade to black at the end. Please keep the length under 3 minutes.

If you are submitting on-camera (recorded) releases, add them after several seconds of black has run at the end or include them as a separate file.

You should turn in:

  • Completed piece (shared via the P351Google Drive folder)
  • Copy of signed releases (unless you are using on-camera releases) uploaded to the appropriate Canvas assignment.
  • One-page critique. Consider addressing any or all of the following:
    • Did you feel comfortable running audio & camera? Did your piece end up looking and sounding good? Did the fill light from the reflector/LED help? Was it fun or intimidating stopping strangers on the street? Did it turn out to be an interesting or quality story?

Helpful production tips:

  • Shoot all of the interviews fairly tight, at a MCU without the mic or reporter in the shot.
  • Remember composition: (Rule of thirds, etc.) Consider the horizon line and what's in the background (for both your reporter and your interview subjects). It often helps to raise or lower the camera to get the horizon line in the right place.
  • Alternate backgrounds and interview angles (Shoot half of your subjects facing right and half facing left.) DOn't use the same background for more than one interview.
  • Be sure to get releases (signed or on camera).
  • Record the reporter intro and the outro at the same time (before or after you've shot the interviews).
  • The News Story should be produced as a stand-alone segment. Don't make any references to time of day or allude to a host news program (E.g. Don't say "Good morning" or "back to you").

Sample News Topic: Syrian Refugees: Are we doing enough?

Reporter open: Thousands of refugees are fleeing from the crisis in Syria- looking for safe harbor. Many countries have opened their doors with welcoming arms- but others have closed their borders. We're here on the IU Bloomington campus to hear students' perspectives on the crisis.


  • What do you think of Europe's response to the refugees?
  • What if anything do you think the United States should do?
  • Describe what you think can be done to help the most.
Reporter close: (Improvise/write quick wrap up based on responses)

Sample Feature Topic: Downtown Eateries

Reporter open: Bloomington has a wealth of restaurants where one can grab a quick snack or enjoy a candlelit dinner. Let's find out where people like to go and why!


  • Tell me a few of your favorite places to eat.
  • Describe what you look for in a restaurant.
  • What influences your dining decisions?

Reporter close: (Improvise/write quick wrap up based on responses)

Grading Rubric (20 points total):

  • Pre-Production (Reporter introduction & questions): 3 pts
  • Production:
    • Technical (lighting, exposure, framing, focus, audio): 6 pts
    • Aesthetic: (location choice, shot composition, clarity of story, editing/sequencing): 4 pts
  • Releases (on-camera or written): 2 pts
  • Critique: 5 pts


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