For the final project in my photojournalism class, we got to mix things up a bit and create a video instead of take a series of photos.
I’ve shot a few documentary style videos before, but never one that had a news angle to it. Most have been documentaries for assignments where we want to tell a story about something. Obviously a news style documentary tells a story, but I found the experience to be quite different from what I’m used to.
As soon as I got to Island Lake to shoot I was faced with my first challenge that can usually be avoided with traditional documentary: the weather. Whenever I’ve been faced with adverse weather in the past I can usually reschedule with my subject.
When shooting a news story, rescheduling is not an option. I went out with the volunteers and picked up trash, shooting b-roll footage of them in between downpours of rain. My camera is weather sealed so I had no problem shooting in the rain. The built in microphone on the camera isn’t the greatest, so I had to be careful using an external microphone and covering it up whenever it wasn’t in use.
The second challenge shooting a news-style documentary was gathering footage in the moment. Normally with a documentary I’ll do the interview first and find b-roll to fill in over the course of several days afterwards.
Because of scheduling, I had to shoot as much b-roll as possible during Trash Bash and record the interview after the cleanup was over. This ultimately led to a few holes in the interview that I didn’t have any content to cover with. I had to come back several days later to get more content to polish off the story.
It was a lot of fun to get back out, shoot, edit, and create a video that could make a difference to the people at Island Lake.