I'll echo the tip given above. Also, some of the vid and especially the second interview with the smoke blowing through your shot we're a bit hot (so to speak). Try getting use to working with your Zebra levels turned on. This is a great tool for me because I also had issues with over-exposure.
I agree with what was said above about the nats. Some seemed a little forced and not blended in.
You have very good ideas. I liked the interview with the smoke between you and him.
Take time to make your shots are as good as they can be. I'm not sure how long that building was burning, but it looks like you had time to think about getting better and steadier shots. A few super wide shots could have added.
The firefighters were communicating a lot with each other. Maybe leave your mic on someone not entering the building and step away from him for 10 minutes. See what you can pick up. Same with the home owner. If you miced him up, neighbors would most likely be coming over saying "Are you okay?" "Is this bringing back memories?"... Anytime you can have someone other than the reporter ask the questions, you usually get much better and real sound. You would get to know the owner much better.
Overall, very good for 14 months experience. Good Luck!
So....blend your nats better....fade them in and out....up and down like a symphony....you learned the hard way about shooting around smoke...your eye is pretty good...you got some good composed shots...and while it was a good story I didn't really feel a part it by being brought to the scene with flavor....or nats and nat bites...and character(s)...and you had all that put you just need to recognize when a better story could be told....the peoples whose house it was would have been better to hear throughout the piece what was going thru their heads seeing the house burn...thats the salt and pepper that would have made it zing. And then thats how you will learn to build a flow to pace the story along. But believe you me...there are a hundred different ways to tell this story...make it your own in the best way possible and you'll do alright.
but this story lacked a compelling closing shot....something as simple as the last wall collapsing, or a guy rolling up the hose. There was nothing visual that said "story over, fire out."
On my old fire department (college days), we used to do burns like this every so often, and the highlight was the group photo we would do, with the house burning in the background.
Was there anything like this happening at this practice burn?
Yeas ago, when I was learning to shoot, we would look at edited stories like this one with the sound turned all the way down--no narration or nat sound--just to see how the visuals flowed and carried the story to a logical conclusion. That was--and still is--the easiest way to figure out if your story has a logical beginning, middle and end.
Nice framing on the SOT's. You obviously know what you are doing, and I encourage you to keep up the good work.
Let's set the storytelling aside for awhile and just concentrate on technique in general. When you are in an environment like this with planned events and virtually unlimited fire access you need to take advantage of that by taking me inside the story. I want to see action, action, action! You should be showing me firefighters in teamwork! shouting and moving. Nats of the compartment doors flying up... BANG! nat of hose dragging across the ground ... ZIP! water hosing down the building... SHHHHHHHHH! Scanner chatter, blip! of a siren and a flash of a light.. whoooop. Steady wide shot of the home burning with the crackle, crackle, of the fire popping. Stop with the medium shots to medium shots and give me that extra wide - medium - extra tight. When you think it's wide enough shoot wider. When you think it's tight enough, shoot tighter! This will save your @$$ when you are sitting in the edit bay. You should have an opening and closing shot for 90% of your stories. They should be the best shots of your pkg.
I'm alright with a lil Rambo off the shoulder shooting in live action but give me some steady tripod shots. It's been said a hundred times... My head doesn't shake around when I look at something... don't let your shots move around... keep them steady.
DRB is right about the sound off idea. I strongly recommend that the rookies watch their stories that way and pay close attention to the visual structure and quality of your stories. After that you can move on to things like sound editing, story structure, pacing, storytelling, mic work, action/reaction, teamwork and team storytelling, lighting... it's long road. Stick to the basics the gentlemen have suggested to you.