Dairy Farms

Latin Lens

Well-known member
Okay....not that bad but there is always room for improvement. This critique will appear long and thus give you the sense that lots is wrong but the contrary. I want to help explain all I feel you could use to help you improve and hopefully get you to where you want to be.

Being a news photog means more than just pushing a button to record and placing mics on people. You set the tone with images and sound you gather to tell a story. When you get handed an assignment by the desk....ask yourself, "Whats the story?". In this case...it appears you have some concerned dairy farm owners who need some state/fed assistance to stay in business....right? Okay now....start thinking about while driving to the location what you might find on a dairy farm (cows, hay, etc.)...and what happens on a dairy farm (pumping milk from cows and taking care of cows/farm)....those kinds of things. Get your mind working to stimulate your artistic mind....that way when your driving up and you see a dairy farm from the side of the road you can get out shoot it...maybe a sign saying "Entering Dairy Country"....be always on the lookout for things because those are the small shots that make a BIG differance in stories.

Next you knew there was going to be a meeting of some sort....and let's be honest....meeting b-roll is can be rather boring when there is no real action going on like people yelling at eachother and stuff like that. I would set the stage with the meeting but I would have tried to stay away from it as much as possible...thats where creativity and help from your reporter come into play. This is teamwork at its best. Sure there are limitations when you're working in a small market but try, try, try and communicate with whom you need to get better stories told.

So with that said lets actually get into why I said it. Opening shots and getting the appropriate b-roll/sound is the most crucial. Finding a video shot of what your story is about is a great way to start off your story....this can be a beauty type shot or an artistic one....but find something that says this story is going to be about dairy and here's why you should care. So I would have liked to see a better....perhaps with a much wider shot of a dairy farm or cluster of fams (whence the shot from the road). I didn't see too much about what encompasses a dairy farm...saw the cows but there wasn't much milking and would have liked to have seen more...and would have liked to have heard the milking....take me to the farm in every aspect...with my eyes and my ears....Tv is a medium that needs to stimulate the sight....the ears....and the mind. If you do that then you can say that you put a good story on the air...and then you'll do it all again tomorrow.

Halfway thru is where it gets boring because of the meeting....this is where teamwork comes into play. If you're goning to utilize it as an element in your story....then do a setup...find an outside shot of the barn they are meeting in and hopefully the reporter can write a line saying.."so a group of dairy farmers meet here...in Mr. Crowley's barn to disscuss....blah, blah, blah"....so a couple of shots to help cover that would suffice. But here is where you pay attention to what the meeting is about...and find the appropriate shots to cover that part because I am sure your reporter will be talking about it. Here's where I like to participate...offer lines to them....help with structuring the story....that kind of involvement to show you care and want to help.

Alot of your video was dark....too dark for my taste...so watch your iris. One interview was nicely placed outside but the other was inside the dark barn and it didn't look good. Be mindful of your surroundings and choose the best place possible to make it relevant to the story.

I would also like to hear a little bit more natsound pops...and more nat sound under track...sometimes it sounds too quiet...and we know there is noise when it looks like there is sound....and this is where you control audio to supplement track to stimulate the ears...sound can be very powerful.

Hows that for a start...keep trying. It took me years to finally incoporate all this stuff into my shooting but you have to try and you have to start with attempting to improve one thing and then another and then another...until you finally have all them and your work will take on a whole new look and you'll feel more comfortable when given a difficult assingnment. Good luck my friend.

Latin Lens

Well-known member
Matt...you're early in your career....this is a time to grow, explore, experiment and just plain have fun. When you get 10 years under your belt hopefully it'll still be fun...but all the exploring and experimenting and growing will have paid off....you just have to try. Don't be afraid to fail. The next few times you try something new...it'll be a mess but you'll learn from it...and besides you can't learn unless you actually physically do it....kinda like the lotto---you can't win if you don't play.