Chapter 8: Telling Stories with Video

Some things just can’t be expressed with words. That’s where the POWER of videos comes in.

Copyright: avcreative.co.uk

“The tools have changed, but the game remains the same: visual journalism is about telling compelling stories that connect an audience with subjects, people and issues.” – Mark Briggs

First thing to know about making videos to tell one’s story is that perfection is not necessary. A video’s authenticity and behind the scenes feel, can go much further sometimes than a “perfectly” edited video.


  1. Use different approaches depending on the project.
  2. Storyboarding.
  3. Mix up the shots.

Some good accessories to have are:

  • Tapes and batteries: Make sure you have enough power and space.
  • Microphones: Built-in mic for natural/environmental sound, wireless-mic for interviews and shotgun mic to get conversations among several people.
  • Tripod: There’s nothing better than a steady shot to produce a professional video.
  • Headphones: Listen while you shoot to make sure the audio is good.
  • Lighting: Powerful lighting produces a powerful video.

Some great lessons for visual storytelling, according to Briggs, are:

  • Define your story in the first 20 seconds; make sure to HOOK your audience.
  • There must be a beginning, middle and end.
  • Don’t let your viewers get bored! Short clips are the way to go.
  • Focus on only ONE central idea and stay with that ONE idea.
  • Characters are what make your stories. Better characters = better story.

Final thing is to publish your video online. Posting it on your own website is great, but viral video distribution is that way to go. Freelance multimedia journalist Angela Grant recommends using TubeMogul that will automatically upload your video to 20 different video-sharing sites, including YouTube.

Bottom line: Shoot, shoot and shoot some more.

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