Freelancing in Video: Tips from some pros and a workshop!

Video producers Léa Khayata and Elettra Fiumi head up their very own production company here in New York, Granny Cart Productions. We’ve written about them here before because they’re alums–both class of 2011–and because their experiences starting a company have taught them many lessons about this industry and freelancing. They’re teaming up with another alumni, Andrew Lampard, and producer […]

Drones & Journalism

You may have seen their footage from protests, sporting events and the Nepal earthquake. You may have watched them whizzing around public parks and beaches. But, thanks to stringent rules set up by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), drones are still a limited part of the modern journalist’s reporting arsenal. 

There always seems to be a new piece of gear, a new version of editing software or a new trend on the market for videojournalists. We decided to consult the experts, Columbia’s very own video professors, on the equipment that they can’t live without. Here’s some amalgamated wisdom on what they think is essential for anyone starting out in the videojournalism industry.

Protecting your external hard drives

If you’re dealing with photos, videos and audio on a regular basis, you probably know by now that you need to back up everything you’re working on. We’ve all heard horror stories of someone losing months of footage because their hard drive crashed. Prevent losing your magnum opus by taking good care of your external hard drives.

Video and Photo workshops under $1,000 in 2015

Last year, we published a list of great visual journalism workshops, and there are lots of lists like this out there. After looking through them, we’ve realized that the prices of these workshops are way too high for most of us journalists, especially for those who are freelancing or just starting out. So we narrowed it down; here’s a list of workshops under $1,000 (plus travel expenses) that we think are totally worth your hard-earned cash.

Behind the Prizes: Hers to Lose

Brent McDonald was the lead videographer for the New York Times' 'Hers to Lose,' the second-prize long feature winner in the 2014 World Press Photo Multimedia awards. McDonald explains the challenges of filming a campaign that took a turn for the worse, and how he and his team got access in the first place.

“When you don’t have money and you don’t have experience, you need to have time.”

A lack of experience or formal media training didn’t stop Katriina O’Kane, an environmental scientist, from producing a sophisticated multimedia web doc. Profiles from the Arctic casts a spotlight on scientific research in the Canadian North. O’Kane answered a few questions about what it was like to do a big project with little financial support, why she thinks science reporting is important and what lessons she learned while producing the series.

Everyday Instagram: “Changing perception and challenging stereotypes.”

Instagram launched in October 2010. Two years later, photographers Peter diCampo and Austin Merrill started posting, under the username @EverydayAfrica, scenes of African life happening alongside the wars, famines and other "news events" the two photographers were covering in Ghana and the Ivory Coast. As they put it on their website, “As journalists who are native to Africa, or have lived and worked on the continent for years at a time, we find the extreme not nearly as prevalent as the familiar, the everyday.”

The freelance market can be precarious, especially for those who are just starting out. Journalists complain about poor pay, unclear expectations and needy editors - a contract can help you avoid these problems. Columbia Visuals reporter Joanna Plucinska met with Bill Loundy, the Director of Talent Management at Content.ly, to discuss some of the things that every freelancer should keep in mind when drafting a contract.

Producing A Documentary: The Personal Piece

What if the character in your next piece isn’t a stranger at all? What if it’s a family member? Could you interrogate your parents and get them to reveal secrets they’ve buried since before you were born? Could you delve into the personal accounts of people you’ve known your whole life? How would you even approach it? This is exactly what documentary filmmaker, Lacey Schwartz, had to do in order to produce her documentary, Little White Lie. Recently, Columbia Visuals talked to Schwartz about the process of producing a documentary and turning the cameras on her own family.

A well-edited sequence creates clarity and allows viewers to understand the action taking place on screen. In order to create a seamless sequence in the editing room, you need to understand how to capture all the necessary footage. We've put together a basic list of shots you’ll need in order to create a coherent sequence of action- it's a simple starting place if you've never shot a sequence before.

Illustrated Journalism

Comics journalism is exactly what it sounds like: a hybrid of comic book-style illustrations and reporting. We interviewed some of the pioneers of the graphic journalism field about their projects and publications, and the way they're contributing to journalism.

If you’ve just started working in visual media, you may notice you’re starting to accumulate a lot of digital files. Yes, digital files take up less space in your apartment than literal files, but figuring out what to do with all of that stuff can be daunting. First time choosing a hard drive? No problem. We’ve got a crash course for you.