This week the skills again were focused on a piece to camera and using a green screen effectively. This involved creating a 30 seconds news beat style piece including 2 stories in a style similar to that of BBC Three’s 60 second news segments.
In order to carry out this skill a camera was set up on a tripod in front of a green screen which I then recorded a piece to camera based on a short script I wrote for the article. This involved research and condensing the story in 20 seconds for the headline story and 10 for the one to follow. This was difficult as I had to carefully pick which information was relevant and fact check to ensure everything I was saying was reliable. Creating these short summaries of the stories relied on knowing the story so well I could essentially create an opening paragraph (25-40 word summary) but deliver it verbally.
This also meant I had to physically and verbally present myself to accurately reflect on the stories. For example I used a much more serious tone for my first story relating to the Zika Virus and switched to a more relaxed colloquial way of conveying the second more humourous story relating to nudity in the BBC One show War and Peace.
In terms of problems I had to face was mainly ensuring I could keep to the time limit. During my practise I found that I could read it at an appropriate speed that on average come to around 29-30 seconds long. However during the recordings I found I often lost my train of thought and took me a few attempts to get a recording I was happy with. Also during the recording I found that the first try I was not looking at the camera due to being distracted by there being others in the room, while not doing anything distracting I found it hard to keep myself from directing attention to them. I redid my recording in order to over come this, as well as the issue of the recording being started after I had already started to speech.
Example of the piece to camera being used in this format in the industry are that of new beat style presentations, which are very prevalent on the BBC news website and on BBC Three television. The pieces are often very to the point and short summarising an entire story in around 10-20 seconds including only the most key pieces of information. This summary format works well for people who are busy and do not have time to look in depth at each story covered yet keeps them in the loop of the relevant news. This skill is also very useful for news readers when reading summaries of stories for the news and the skills involved allow them to present themselves well and read with confidence while maintaining eye contact with the camera.
While I am pleased with the overall piece and think it is better overall there are some elements I would like to improve on. Remaining focused on the camera is something I find quite difficult and is something I will strive to work on in future. This will come with practice and I will work on being able to concentrate and allow myself to be natural in front of the camera, however for the most part I believe this will come in time. The footage in front of the green screen itself is of a much higher quality and in much clearer focus as well as having better quality audio, although there is quite a bit of background noise due to the classroom setting and in the final piece I look off to the side. This was rectified in the second recording however due to not being recorded properly (due to the recording being started halfway through a sentence) I could not use this footage. I also was not looking into the camera, this was mainly due to nerves and was again rectified in the second recording however, again, I could not use this due to errors with the footage initially. Looking into the camera is not something I normally have an issue with and along with being distracted detracts quite a lot from the final piece. The professionalism of the piece is detrimentally affect by these two facts. In order to counteract this I did several more retakes while looking at the camera, while not getting it perfect every time I was able to get enough good footage that I could cut together to create something much more professional.
Green Screen How to Guide
Critical analysis of Green screen work following peer and tutor feedback