December 21, 2020 Training

Video Script Writing by Rick Allen Lippert

When writing an outline, start with the general and then get specific

    Tell them what you’re going to tell them, Tell them, and Tell them what you told them

Don’t include full dialogue or narration — paraphrase

Don’t specify shots unless it’s totally necessary

The focus is on content, not the visuals

Now is the time to present to and get approval from the client

    Expect changes

Good writing comes from rewriting

There are pros and cons to presenting a copy of the script draft to your client when you go over it. Depending on the client, it could empower them and allow them to feel more involved, or it could distract them. Either way, try to keep the focus on you, on your descriptions of the script instead of just reading it

Two reasons to revise — tighten up sentences and word choices, and to include the clients thoughts and notes

Commercial Genres — price and item, testimonial, voice on camera, product comparisons, institutional (slice of life)

Other notes for commercials:

    Use adjectives sparingly

    Keep sentences concise

    Use action verbs (no “is”)

    Describe music feel (especially if you don’t already own the rights to something)

    Include call to action

Writing PSAs

    Any style like a commercial

    Rely on viewer’s sense of duty

    Narration is not always needed

    Scripts can look identical to commercials

    May or may not need call to action

Always read scripts aloud

Start storyboarding, if required

Prep shooting breakdown (equipment, locations, props, costumes, people, etc. required)

Video Foundations: Cameras and Shooting by Anthony Q. Artis

Types of Cameras

Consumer Cameras — personal use cameras, $200-$1500, smaller imaging chips (reduced quality), fewer manual controls

Prosumer Cameras — smaller form factors than broadcast cameras, $1500-$10000, most have XLR inputs, larger imaging chips, interchangeable lenses, more manual controls

Professional Cameras — $10,000-$50,000, XLR inputs, interchangeable lenses, large imaging chips, many manual controls, larger form factors

Super-Chip Cameras — very large imaging chips, interchangeable lenses, $6,000-$20,000, blurs the line between prosumer and professional cameras even more

DSLR Cameras — (digital single lens reflex camera) $1,200-$3,000, no XLR inputs, but very large imaging chips, interchangeable lenses (which can be cheaper and smaller because they’re photography lenses), greater image possibilities with lower costs than prosumers but video is an afterthought

“Must Have” Features — HD, records to media cards, manual controls

“Nice to Have” Features — XLR inputs

Extras — large imaging chips, peaking functionality

Camera Anatomy

    Record Check — you can check the last thing you recorded without going to playback

Zoom Controls (primary and secondary) — often on top of camera, one is pressure sensitive, secondary is smooth (sometimes)

    Mic/Line Level Switch

    Gain Control — allows you to accommodate for shooting in different light levels

    Zebra Control — turns on a zebra stripe effect (unsure why)

Always take time to correctly set your settings when you get a new camera and check often

    Set your file formats — file type, definition type, resolution, frame rate (NTSC v PAL)

Next to frame rate, a P stands for progressive and an i stands for interlaced. Interlaced is created by scanning the odd number lines and then even number lines to generate the image (looks like traditional broadcast, slightly rougher). Progressive is composed of a single image (more filmic look, looks better as stills or in slow mo)

Try to always use manual focus. Fully zoom on the subject (the eyes if it’s a person), then adjust focus and pull back to set shot to composition. Shot should remain in focus even if you zoom or pan the camera, as long as neither the camera or subject move from their spot.

Your chances of being out of focus increase if your scene is dark. Creating a lens hood from tape and cardboard can help you be able to see the LCD screen in bright light.

Consider getting a secondary monitor to use instead of the built in LCD screen, allows you to better see any noise from gain, any peaking, and your focus.