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Former Producer thoughts

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Rodney King
Former Producer thoughts
on Jun 14, 2001 at 4:33:23 am

I used to produce the weekend news shows for a mid-market station.

For starters, we would simply NEVER use video that we (or the network) didn't produce. It was a news department rule. We did, however, appreciate receiving VNR's, as we would recycle the tapes as work tapes.

You probably won't find many stations with that hard of a rule these days. But, it's very, very rare for one to run a package...but it's nice for the producers to have the package for information.

I've found that it's best to send 3-5 minutes of B-roll + 2-3 10-15 second sound bites. The shots should be loosely edited...about 10 seconds long, and the bites should have a couple seconds of lip flap at either end. This gives the editor something to work with.

Very important...all the necessary information needed to write the story should be on the tape (this is usually the purpose of the edited package). You can send a script with the tape, but at some point, the script and tape are going to get separated...and you can't write a story if you don't know what it's about (well, you're not supposed to, anyway).

Most importantly...the thing has to look like a news story, not like a commercial or PR piece. Producing something that is obviously a commercial is a guarantee that it won't see air.

The tape format should be Beta...or even better, if it's a small mailing, call the stations and ask what format they would prefer. Almost stations have Beta, but most are switching to DVCPRO or Beta SX. 3/4" decks are becoming extremely rare in newsrooms...and any oddball formats (such as D-9)will be a waste of time. I've actually seen VNR's come into the station on VHS...they don't even get viewed.

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