Chairman`s Award Video Helpful Tips and Guidelines

Chairman`s Award Video Helpful Tips and Guidelines
By Paul Lazarus and Andy Fenberg
White Dwarf Productions
The Chairman’s Award is FIRST’s highest honor. The Chairman’s Award Video is a
celebration of your team, your mentors, your sponsors and your school. Hopefully, your
video will help other teams understand what it takes to become a Chairman’s Award
The Chairman’s Award video focuses on FIRST’s core values:
Building and Sustaining a Team
Helping Others
Spreading the message of FIRST
‘Gracious Professionalism’ and ‘Coopertition’
If your team wins the Championship Chairman’s Award, your video will be shown to over
25,000 people at the FIRST Championship.
The goal is to produce your video at the highest quality possible – best sound, best
picture – no apologies. The video will require creativity, careful planning, scheduling and
a lot of hard work. Make your video something you and your whole team will be proud of
when it’s shown on the large screen at the FIRST Championship.
Here are some suggestions for how to approach the video:
1. Form A Video Production Team
You’ll need a camera crew, editors, writers, and producers (scheduling/organizing).
Have at least 3-5 students and at least one adult mentor involved all year round.
2. Gather All Production Materials
Camera, lights, microphones, editing software, headphones, etc.
3. Outline Your Script
Plan how you will portray your team embodying each of the Chairman’s Awards
core values.
4. Find A Theme
A theme will help tie your video together and give it a unique quality. Try using your
team name, team color, team motto, music or a movie as a jumping-off point. Here’s
your chance to be creative.
5. Make A Schedule & Action Plan
List your team’s scheduled events, competitions, demos, mentoring, fundraising
activities, etc.
6. Assign A Camera Crew
Assign a crew to each scheduled event. (Preferably two people at the minimum, one
person to hold the camera, the other to log the footage)
7. Start A Footage Checklist
This will help you keep track of what shots you’ve covered and what you still need.
Keep it up to date as your production moves along.
8. Plan Your Post-Production Schedule
Post-Production includes editing, sound-mixing, addition of music, titles & graphics.
Give yourself deadlines so you don’t have to finish the video in a huge rush at the
NOTE: White Dwarf Productions will provide templates for shot lists, logging sheets,
and a production schedule. These will be available on the FIRST website as well as
a short video guide.
1. Tell A Story
Frame your shot to communicate as much useful information in the picture as
possible (who, what, where, etc). If the shot can be understood without narration or
a subtitle it is telling a story.
2. Get Coverage
Film an event from several different viewpoints. Youll have a lot more flexibility in
editing and much better chance at telling the complete story. There are three basic
shots to include for full coverage:
Master – wide shot that tells the whole story (who, what, where)
Medium – focuses closer on the action (who & what)
Close-up – shows details of story (who or what)
3. 8 Second Rule
Whatever you’re shooting, hold the shot for 8 seconds – don’t zoom or move on.
This will assure that no shot is too short to use in the final edit.
4. Camera Movements
Terms for basic camera moves:
Panning – moving the shot Left or Right
Tilting – moving the shot Up or Down
NOTE: To make sure you have plenty of options in editing, record each
panning/tilting shot three times at different speeds – one slow, one medium and one
fast take.
5. Tri-Pod
A tri-pod is always useful when setting up a steady shot. Although it’s not always
possible to use a tri-pod when getting the shots you need, here are the best
situations for using a tri-pod:
• Interviews
• Establishing locations and wide shots.
• Smooth panning and tilting
6. Framing The Shot
Frame your shot before you start recording. You’ll save tape space this way and
avoid wasted time in editing. This is not always possible when shooting
documentary footage in fast-changing situations.
7. Zooming
Don’t overuse the zoom function. It’s best to use zoom only when setting up your
shots. If you want to use the zoom for a creative shot, that’s okay, but do the same
story shot without a zoom so you have a choice when editing.
8. Team Recognition
Help the viewer quickly recognize the team members in each shot. Team members
should always wear team t-shirts on-camera. Also, try displaying a team
logo/banner in the background whenever possible.
1. Sound
Avoid interviews in noisy locations. Try to find a quiet environment. There are two
key tools you’ll need to achieve your best sound quality:
a) Microphones
Avoid using the camera’s built-in microphone. Most built-in camera mics are
designed for very basic sound quality. They’ll pick up a ton of background noise and
the sound clarity will not be as good as if you use an external microphone. Ideally,
use an external mic hardwired to the camera:
Lavalier Microphone: close-up, single subject
Boom/Shotgun Microphone: broad, focused sound for groups
b) Headphones
Always monitor your sound to avoid unusable recordings. Make sure to plug
headphones directly into the camera while shooting.
2. Lighting
a) Indoors
Light your subject whenever possible. Front light and back light is best. However, if
you only have one light, a single, front light can help enormously to highlight your
subject and separate them from the background.
NOTE: Avoid any large windows in the background. They will wash out the picture
and your subject will be lost. Instead, use light from the windows to light your
subject from the front or from the side.
b) Outdoors
12 – 3pm is the harshest time for sunlight. Try to shoot outdoors in the early
morning, or late afternoon up through sunset.
NOTE: Avoid having the subject facing the sun. This will result in the subject
squinting and looking uncomfortable.
3. Interview Technique
a) Introductions
Have your subject introduce themselves at the top of each interview. Make sure
they include:
• Their name
• The spelling of their name
• Their title or position (relation to the team)
b) Repeating Questions
Ask your subjects to include your questions in their answers. This will help to create
a complete, self-supported sound-byte. It’s better if you don’t need narration to set
up the quote.
c) Get Short, Interesting Quotes
There’s no time in your video for extraneous talk and long-winded answers. Listen
for the most interesting part of your subject’s answer. Then ask them to repeat that
portion in a shorter, more direct way if possible.
1. Labeling
Keep track of each completed tape by labeling both the tape and its box. Its most
helpful to include:
• Tape number
• Shoot Date
• Events contained on the tape
2. Logging
Keep a detailed log of all your tapes. Include the date, where the shot took place
and a list of the subjects and angles you shot. This will help you quickly locate all
the shots you need when editing and save you hours of time. Make sure to include:
• Tape number
• Event
• Starting timecode of each shot
• Description of each shot (action and camera setup)
NOTE: We’ll post a log sheet template to the FIRST website for easy download.
1. YouTube: White Dwarf Prods – Chairman’s Award Video Guide (2009)
A video tutorial demonstrating all of the tips outlined in this guide.
2. YouTube: White Dwarf Prods – The Original Chairman’s Award Videos
Check out the White Dwarf Productions Chairmans Award Videos 2004-2009.
3. Current TV - Documentary Production Tutorials
Current TV has a very useful website that contains video tutorials for making 5minute documentary news shorts. These tutorials are relevant to the demands of
the Chairmans Award Video Project.
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