The rush to video is one of the Big Ideas in print journalism at the moment. Newspaper companies see the bottom falling out of the ad market and they see sales graphs they could ski down. Rightly, they are embracing the web as the path to salvation.
Wrongly, too many are doing this by demanding that newsrooms “do video” without providing the necessary training and bodies. I am baffled by this approach: nothing looks worse than cheap telly – and where is the evidence that there is huge public demand for wobbly news bulletins with the production values of a Soviet-era home movie?
For video to work for non-AV news providers, they need to learn how to become … err … AV news providers. It sounds so simple and yet and yet… Training is at the heart of getting this right- and doing that properly is not cheap.
One area where costs can be cut is kit. I shot this clip of a friend up Ben Nevis on an Olympus digital camera. Now, the lighting is terrible, the camerawork wobbly and the production values redolent of the Trabant facory circa 1971, but the quality of the picture is pretty good.
You can buy these cameras for about £100 on eBay. Throw in free video editing software (iMovie, Windows Movie Maker or Avid Free DV if you want to be really professional) and you have all the tools you need for a basic video news service. Providing you know what you’re doing.