Thursday, December 15, 2011

How To Write To Video

Producing a cool video that is entertaining, funny or touching, is one thing. Writing the story around that video is something else entirely different.

That's right: videos need writers. Seems like an odd pairing, but the fact is that every good video tells a story and every good story starts with a good writer.

If you want to improve your skill as a video writer consider interning with a television news reporter. In the digital age video sources are plentiful, especially when a crime has been committed someplace where crimes are expected: a bank, a shopping mall a liquor store. Many times these videos speak for themselves, other times they require explanation, or at least some narration to help explain what is happening in the video or maybe what is happening off camera that the viewer cannot see.

Don't be confused. I am not talking about a scripted video, I am talking about raw video, usually a news piece, that needs some punching-up to make it consumable. On any given day there are thousands of hours of digital video being collected, most of which needs a writer to help convey the story that goes along with it. How you do that is a skill I don't have, but I know who does. That means if I ever need to write a piece to go along with a video I am just a few phone calls away from a resource that can help me.

How about you? Have you ever tried writing for a video? It's great practice--and you never know when the skill might come in handy.

WTVF reporter Nick Beres is a veteran reporter who knows how to work fast, but I think one of his best skills is writing to the video. The story that Nick produced Monday required his best work.

This remarkable story from the Nashville station — crafted with surveillance video — is about a man who crashed into a quick market gas station and what happened next. Watch the piece, then we’ll discuss what it teaches about great writing. My interview with Nick is below....

Let’s face it, Nick had very little, other than the surveillance tapes, to work with. He had almost no audio except for a soundbite from the son. So the story would be almost 100 percent voice over video. To make that work, Nick explains the video, he doesn’t narrate it. That is the key to writing to video. Don’t compete with the images, and don’t say what I can already see. Tell me what I would not know from watching the video

Click here to watch the video and read the rest of the story at

1 comment:

Rainy Kaye said...

I've done some video work, but not nearly enough. Thanks for the reminder I need to work on this. Great post. =)