Video assignment



This exercise has three objectives:

  • Conduct a video interview with an interesting person
  • Learn to shoot different shots (wide, medium, close-up etc …)
  • Learn how to shoot B-roll


Create a short profile of someone who has a story or who does something interesting or unique. DO NOT USE a personal friend or family member. This video should be something a news organization would want to post.

Examples are a car mechanic fixing an engine, a hairdresser or barber working on someone’s head, a manicurist painting very fancy nails, a fisherman with a rod and reel, a watchmaker repairing a wristwatch, an art student working with clay on a pottery wheel.

It should tell a very short story.  Have beginning, middle end.

Ideally, you will have an interesting story idea to start with. You will research the background necessary to understand your story. You will find a good contact person who is an expert on your subject matter.

Make sure the story has interesting visuals.

  1. Go to the site where you are going to shoot and observe the scene and the activities that tell your story — without shooting. Spend about 30 minutes doing this.
  2. Imagine the story as a series of events or activities. What are they? Can you think of four or five of these events?
  3. Now shoot these events or activities as sequences (use the “Five Shot Method” for EACH sequence). One event may consist of SEVERAL sequences.
  4. Then — and only then — conduct the interview with your expert. Use the images in your head (from your shooting) to frame your questions!
  • Use a tripod to shoot the interview if you have one.
  • REMEMBER NOT TO MOVE THE CAMERA WHILE SHOOTING. If you want to change the camera angle or the shot, turn off the camera, move, refocus and begin shooting again.
  • The interview should be brief, about 2 to 5 min.
  • Make sure to capture nat SOT (natural sound on tape) on the scene. Don’t chatter while you are shooting — you will ruin your audio track!

Length of video: 60 – 120 sec.

Story: Must tell a coherent, journalistic story (hard news not necessary); must be interesting to watch and listen to.

Audio: Must have continuous audio, including at least one good interview, and NO ADDED MUSIC.

Titles and credits: Must have a title near the beginning AND credits at the end. Credits must include (1) YOUR first and last name; the words Oakland University; and (3) the month and year (you may include other words as well).

Also must include a caption of the interviewee’s name and position (if relevant).


Use the same criteria as for option one but focus on an event. The event must be newsworthy (not your cousin’s third child’s baptism luncheon).

It should tell a short story … have a beginning, middle and end.

See above for the rest of the criteria.